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

    Kindle Edition

  • The Magnificent Masters: Jack Nicklaus, Johnny Miller, Tom Weiskopf, and the 1975 Cliffhanger at Augusta
    The Magnificent Masters: Jack Nicklaus, Johnny Miller, Tom Weiskopf, and the 1975 Cliffhanger at Augusta
    by Gil Capps
  • Golf Architecture in America: Its Strategy and Construction
    Golf Architecture in America: Its Strategy and Construction
    by Geo. C. Thomas
  • The Course Beautiful : A Collection of Original Articles and Photographs on Golf Course Design
    The Course Beautiful : A Collection of Original Articles and Photographs on Golf Course Design
    Treewolf Prod
  • Reminiscences Of The Links
    Reminiscences Of The Links
    by Albert Warren Tillinghast, Richard C. Wolffe, Robert S. Trebus, Stuart F. Wolffe
  • Gleanings from the Wayside
    Gleanings from the Wayside
    by Albert Warren Tillinghast
  • Planet Golf USA: The Definitive Reference to Great Golf Courses in America
    Planet Golf USA: The Definitive Reference to Great Golf Courses in America
    by Darius Oliver
  • Planet Golf: The Definitive Reference to Great Golf Courses Outside the United States of America
    Planet Golf: The Definitive Reference to Great Golf Courses Outside the United States of America
    by Darius Oliver
Writing And Videos

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



Ames, Ogilvie Blast Commissioner's Absence

Doug Ferguson reports on the only exciting thing to happen during day one of the Mercedes Championship.
"It's the opening of the year, this is important," Stephen Ames of Calgary said after completing the first round of the year at 1-under 72. "I think he should be here.

"He's here at the end. Is this any different? It should be the same."

Is that any way for a former Players Champion to treat a Commissioner?
Finchem doesn't travel to every tournament, and he isn't always at Kapalua for the first event of the year. PGA Tour spokesman Bob Combs said the commissioner was at the Mercedes the last two years and "will be attending again."

"It was a combination of business commitments and trying to manage a very challenging travel schedule over the course of a full season," Combs said of his absence.

Well that makes sen...oh wait.
More troubling to Joe Ogilvie, a member of the PGA Tour policy board, was not seeing any member of the tour's executive staff at Kapalua for the first shot, the first round, the first tournament.

"I'm pretty disappointed there's no senior staff from the PGA Tour here on opening day," Ogilvie said before adding a heavy dose of sarcasm. "Of course, when you shut down your offices from the 21st of December to the second of January . . . I don't know of a $1-billion company that does that. It's puzzling."

Well, it is a non-profit, Joe.
"I think it does (send the wrong message) when you've got four of the top 10 not here at a marquee event," Ogilvie said. "It seems to be common sense to me.

"The tour tells the players, you have to be there for the first tournament, but there's no senior staff. If I was commissioner, I'd be here."

"Playing it for free, he won twice."

Okay, next point from Nick Seitz's excellent Golf World story on shotmaking. The ball. The one that's harder to move.

"In some ways the old ball was better," says Johnny Miller. "It spun more, so you could get to just about any flag. The irons today are weighted at the bottom to get the ball up, but you can't put sidespin on it."

Steve Flesch concurs. He dropped his ball-endorsement deal for the '07 season after going winless since 2004, experimenting with different models until he found a Srixon ball that suited his control game better. Playing it for free, he won twice.
Butch Harmon, who coaches Mickelson and Flesch among a flock of tour pros, says, "The young players today don't see an image of turning the ball around doglegs, and the equipment doesn't allow you to do it. The kids are stronger and have sounder swings, and they only see way up high -- they go over everything. It's a power game. You couldn't do that with the old equipment."

Obviously, fans are being cheated by not seeing as much in the way of interesting shotmaking and ball movement. Well, maybe someone stands behind a tee to study the height of tee shots. I don't.

But are today's elite players doing themselves a disservice playing balls sold commercially?


"I don't know what he does for the other 35 weeks a year. It's not like he can wander off and act like a normal human being and just go bowling."

Bill Nichols pens an interesting column on what you would assume is a tired subject: big names skipping Kapalua. But he touches on some key points...

Good thing the tour will set guidelines for its drug policy this season because evidence suggests widespread use of performance-reducing agents. Top players are having trouble getting off their couches.

Kidding aside, Woods' record makes it difficult to criticize his scheduling. Still, it has become a big problem for regular Tour events.

Chances of landing the world's No. 1 player are reduced with Woods booked for four majors, three World Golf Championships and four FedEx Cup events. He also plays Jack Nicklaus' Memorial Tournament, Arnold Palmer's Bay Hill Invitational, the Wachovia Championship, the AT&T National and usually two Buick events.

The Tour initially thought the FedEx Cup would entice marquee names to play more. It has had the opposite effect. With four playoffs, a WGC event and either the Ryder Cup or Presidents Cup at season's end, top players are searching for time off.

But at least the WGC's have...well, taken us to mediocre courses.  Supported the top 50-in-the-world cocoon and alienated the rest of the world by mostly only being played in America. Other than that...

Loved this from Calc, which I didn't see until Nichols printed it:
"He only plays 16 tournaments a year, or 17, and there's got to be a point where that's going to be too many, where he's just going to say, 'OK, I'm done,' " veteran Mark Calcavecchia told reporters at the Mercedes on Tuesday.

"I don't know what he does for the other 35 weeks a year. It's not like he can wander off and act like a normal human being and just go bowling."

"There's so much money in golf today, worldwide, that a ride in a private jet to a limited-field event just isn't worth the inconvenience."

Tough talk from Tim Rosaforte, reporting from Kapalua...

this wasn't the way Tim Finchem designed the FedEx Cup. And this was not what The Golf Channel, Mercedes-Benz or FedEx had in mind when they spent the money, or what the golf fan with a snowdrift outside his window deserves when he turns on the TV for prime-time golf from paradise.


So would Woods, who hasn't been to Maui since 2005. That's the year the tour moved his Target World Challenge to two weeks before Christmas. Mickelson, who hasn't played here since 2001, can be thrown out of this discussion since his problem is not only family, but also 30 mph winds, grainy greens and uphill walks that are part of dealing with the Plantation Course. But Harrington, who is at home in Ireland, and Scott, who is resting up after the Australian circuit, just show that there's so much money in golf today, worldwide, that a ride in a private jet to a limited-field event just isn't worth the inconvenience.

So far, the only suggestion anyone has come up with this week is Steve Stricker's plea to move the event back a week or two (next year it starts January 8th). From John Strege:

"Personally, I think we start too early," Steve Stricker said Tuesday. "I talked to Gary Planos (Kapalua Resort's senior vice president resort operations) and he kind of feels the same way. It's holiday time. Don't get me wrong. I'm excited as hell to be here, but you still have family back home. You've got to take off on the 27th or 28th, right after Christmas, to get over here and make sure you're rested and ready. Personally, I'd like to see it start a week or two weeks later in the season, just to be home through Christmas and the first of the year and be able to spend some time with family and friends."

The merits of his argument notwithstanding, it doesn't seem likely to change, and absenteeism will continue to beleaguer an event that debuted on the PGA Tour in 1953 and probably deserves better.


The Shape of Shotmaking, Vol. 1

gwar01_071228boltseitz.jpgI'm not really sure where to start with Nick Seitz's compelling look at the state of shotmaking in Golf World's season preview because there are so many points worth noting (and I haven't even gotten to Jaime Diaz's companion chat with Geoff Ogilvy yet, but can't wait.)

The first thought is this: consider how much has changed and the depth of reporting looking at the impact of these changes.

In May 2005 I sat down for an SI Golf Plus roundtable that included Brad Faxon, David Fay and Larry Dorman. They essentially teamed up to tell me that shotmaking was alive and well, the game was more interesting than ever, etc...

Anyway if you go back and read it you realize how absurd they probably sound to a majority of golf fans just two years later, which speaks volumes about how perceptions of the game have changed in a short time.

Which brings us to the Seitz piece, where the overwhelming number of folks quoted blame the golf ball above all else (we'll touch on the club, instruction and architecture blame later).

So here's the first item that leaps off the page: 

Such is his upbringing and talent level, Tiger Woods can pitch a tent in both the traditional and new-age camps, but he laments the decline in more resourceful play. "Most of today's young players never had to work the ball growing up because they were more concerned about distance," he says. "Shotmaking has changed because of the balls. They're harder to work. They go straighter."

If balata balls and persimmon heads were still in play, Woods might well win even more. "Any time a player understands how to shape a golf ball and can consistently hit the ball flush, you're going to want the ball to move more and the equipment to be less forgiving," Woods says. "It puts a premium on quality."

Tiger's custom golf balls, a version of the Nike One Platinum not available in the marketplace, spin more and are easier to maneuver. "They're the spinniest on tour," he says, showing he can coin words as well as craft shots. He doesn't mind giving up a little yardage off the tee to gain accuracy into the greens. Of course, he still averages 300 yards per drive (302.4 yards, 12th on tour in 2007, to be exact).

Now, the USGA and R&A have been running around in circles to figure out ways to restore the importance of skill and shotmaking in the game without touching the ball because the tie between PGA Tour play and average golfer consumption of products the pros play is the most holy of synergies.

Yet here have Tiger not even playing the ball they sell. The only synergy is brand-related, not product related.

I find this odd on many levels. Besides the fact it's another example that the all-vital connection between the pro and amateur games that we are told must be preserved (and which we learn more and more does not actually exist), from a business perspective it just amazes me that this ball is not for sale.


Golf Channel UK Goes Dark; Decency Laws May Have Forbidden Any More Big Break Airings

UK readers the channel went dark just in time for the Mercedes Championship's must flee TV opening ceremony. Perhaps the UK's ITC stepped in?

This discussion seems to confirm that viewers are going to be spared The Big Break and Mike Ritz, while Golf Channel UK's web site link takes you somewhere else.


“People whose left hand has taken them to greatness.”

02adco190.jpgElizabeth Olson of the New York Times reports that the Mickelson's will be able to put food on the table for another year thanks to Phil's new deal with Crowne Plaza hotels which, mercifully, should save us from another year of those roundtable ads with Trevino, Feherty, Gulbis, et. al.

The center of the promotion is a Web site,, where fans can submit a story or video by Feb. 2 in one of six categories: people who look like Mr. Mickelson; spectators who have been hit by one of his golf balls;
Glad we clarified which balls.

people who consider themselves his biggest fans;

There goes the PGA Tour membership.
those who have advice for his golf game;
Calling Rick Smith. 
amateurs who think they could be the next Phil Mickelson; and “people whose left hand has taken them to greatness.”, I won't touch that one either.
Mr. Mickelson is a lefty in a sport that favors righties.
After sorting through the online entries and several in-person auditions, Crowne Plaza, which is owned by InterContinental Hotels Group of London, plans to choose five people with compelling stories in each category and fly them to San Diego in late February. There the company will shoot six 30-second spots featuring unscripted conversations between Mr. Mickelson and the fans. The ads will be shown during the 2008 golf season, from mid-April through September.

Hmmm...we may regret the loss of those Crowne Plaza ads after all.

“This is a chance for fans, who used to be on the fairways until ropes were put up, to interact with Phil, who is known for being approachable,” said Michael S. Craig, group account director at the agency that created the campaign, Fallon Minneapolis, a division of Fallon Worldwide, a part of Publicis Groupe.


This is fun. 

Mr. Mickelson, 37, who was not made available for comment, has appeared in ads for Rolex, Exxon Mobil and Ford, among others. He is one of a string of golf greats to lend his name to a brand. Arnold Palmer led the way more than four decades ago and was soon followed by Jack Nicklaus and Gary Player. These days, Tiger Woods appears regularly for Nike.

Although things can go sour in a sponsorship deal if the athlete gets in trouble, Crowne Plaza says it sees no cause for concern with Mr. Mickelson, who is known for his devotion to his family and P.G.A. charity work. “When you think about athletes as endorsers, you are at little risk with a golfer,” said Mr. Craig of Fallon.

Well...most golfers.


"It was not contentious"

Tim Rosaforte not only blogs about Winged Foot's USGA rejection, but also manages go the entire piece without referring to the storied club as "The Foot." (But I'm sure it's a cool hang!).

This part got my attention, not only because once again is new CBO Pete Bevacqua running the show (where's Executive Director David Fay?), but what was said raises a question I suspect many have been pondering:
Bevacqua and Mike Butz, the USGA's deputy executive director, attended a mid-December membership meeting at Winged Foot, where the club's objections were initially raised. "The message we heard over and over at the meeting and since the meeting is that even if Winged Foot decided not to issue an invitation for 2015, an invitation to the USGA [would be welcomed] in the future. The relationship between the USGA and Winged Foot is very, very strong."

Horan agreed. "It was not contentious," he said of the meeting, adding that Bevacqua and Butz received applause at the end of their presentation.

Yes, booing and hissing would have been out of the question, even in Westchester County.
"We have a diverse membership at this club. Some of our members who love the East course are just saying, 'Can't we wait a few more years?' Even among the most dissident [members], it was not an issue of not having an Open at Winged Foot. It was an issue of deferring [the invitation].''

Bevacqua also pointed out that Winged Foot in 2015 was not a done deal, and that there are other clubs who can't wait to get in the rota. "The Open is in a pretty good spot," he said.

Now, just a few years ago, the greater New York area had four prominent Open-worthy venues: Baltusrol, Winged Foot, Shinnecock Hills and Bethpage.

We know that Baltusrol, for the time being, is a PGA of America venue with a not particularly strong sense of devotion to the USGA.

Winged Foot is out for some time based on the recent news.

Shinnecock Hills can't be very secure with the Executive Director (albeit one looking more and more powerless by the day) continues to assert that masked men rolled the 7th green in the "middle of the night," presumably at the behest of Shinnecock members. It's hard to imagine an Open going back there until this little mystery is resolved, but the Executive Director has yet to offer up any evidence that this did occur, and if it did, that the USGA and the club have resolved this rather significant conflict.

And then there's Bethpage. Set for 2009, the course is seemingly in great shape to host many U.S. Open's down the line. However, two variables make the relationship tenuous. The first is unpredictable new governor Elliot Spitzer, a tennis nut who may not be like George Pataki when it comes doing "whatever it takes" to keep the USGA happy. The other wildcard is Craig Currier, the Bethpage superintendent who has held the place together and who can only stay there so long before a club makes him an offer he would be nuts to refuse.

So the question is, has the USGA been unlucky in seeing its 4 New York star venues whittled down, or do they share the blame with excessive negotiating stances, poor communication skills and other assorted oddball behavior?

"Shimabukuro has been called the 'Jimi Hendrix of the ukulele.'"

Set your TiVo's Thursday. From the PGA Tour:

Mark Rolfing of GOLF CHANNEL will emcee the Opening Drive Ceremony, which will take place on No. 1 tee approximately 20 minutes prior to the estimated 10:45 a.m. (HT) first tee time.  Four King’s Guard Drill Team members from the Iolani Palace will perform as representatives from Mercedes-Benz present the tournament trophy, and spectators and players will participate in a traditional Hawaiian blessing led by Kapalua Resort’s
Hawaiian cultural advisor Clifford Nae’ole.

Following a presentation of colors by the King’s Guard, the ceremony will continue with the playing of the “The Star-Spangled Banner” by award-winning recording artist Jake Shimabukuro.  A fifth-generation Japanese American, Shimabukuro has been called the “Jimi Hendrix of the ukulele.” He has performed at Wrigley Field and toured with Jimmy Buffett.

Torre, who won four World Series titles as manager of the New York Yankeesand who is a property owner at Kapalua, will serve as honorary starter and announce the Mercedes-Benz Championship’s first pairing.  Stephen Ames, winner of the last official event in 2007 – the Children’s Miracle Network Classic presented by Wal-Mart – will hit the first tee shot of the 2008 season.



"Perhaps Shimabukuro ought to be playing taps, because this event is drowning in a sea of indifference"

Steve Elling looks at the demise of the Mercedes Championship and comes to the conclusion that all of the things that should be great about it do no work in the current scheme of things. I particularly liked this point, which never seems to be fully understood in Ponte Vedra or with sponsors:

The low-key Hawaiian vibe, which once seemed to work in favor of the tournament because it felt so novel, has become a cultural setback. The Mercedes event draws a remarkably sparse crowd, which hardly engenders excitement across the viewing spectrum. Indifference among the top players and local residents hardly affirms that it's a top-tier event if you are a guy flipping channels.


"The story of the year was the retro-restyling of the TPC Boston"

Bradley Klein serves up his annual architecture year-in-review, noting the TPC Boston's redo, Chambers Bay and the slow state of the new course business.


"He better come on home with me, then. We've got a lot of changing to do."

Thanks to reader Steve for suggesting I read Boo Weekley's interview transcript from Kapalua (I know, I could I ever pass up the chance?).

The bullets exchange was fun, but this is a nice one for the Monty files:

Q. You played good in China, though, I heard.
BOO WEEKLEY: Yeah, we played good in China. We fed off each other, me and Heath. That was a plus. That was a great time over there. I mean, it was great to be able to go over and represent your country. We didn't know -- I knew how he was going to play but I didn't know how I was going to play. I knew he was going to play good because he's been playing and practicing and I had been up in a woods hunting.

Q. Up in a tree killing something is what Monty said, your new best friend?
BOO WEEKLEY: Yeah, I heard he kind of liked me.

Q. He did. He wants to be like you.
BOO WEEKLEY: (Laughing) he better come on home with me, then (laughter). We've got a lot of changing to do (laughter).




I'm not entirely sure what direction the site will take each day, much less all of 2008 (but hopefully that keeps it fun).

However, I can report that I hope to do more video posts in the new year, particularly related to our course design project at Querencia and our soon to be announced project on Vancouver Island, which is slated to start this spring. I'm hoping to put together fairly regular video diaries that reveal our design process. I know you can't wait!

I'm also putting the finishing touches on a book compiling Max Behr's brilliant essays on golf course design. Look for it sometime this summer. 

So in other words, you were warned. There will be shilling in 2008, but it beats pop-up ads.

This seems like a good time to ask a few things: A) what would you like to see more of on the site, and (B) do you use RSS and how?

With that, happy new year!


Boo Headed For Terrorist Watch List?

071231-weekley-vmed-3p.widec.jpgThanks to reader Charlie for catching Doug Ferguson's summary of Boo Weekley's long trip to Kapalua.
Airport security found two bullets from his rifle in his carry-on bag.

“That was kind of like, right out of the gate started the whole week for me,” Weekley said Monday. “They put the red flags on me. I had the cops there. I thought I was going to jail.”

He used that bag during a hunting trip to Illinois and never saw them when he packed for Hawaii. But as Weekley soon discovered, those airport scanning machines don’t miss much.

“I just begged and pleaded,” he said. “I just sat there and shook my head like I was an idiot, you know? They confiscated the bullets and then broke down a bunch of stuff, got in everything and put a flag by me. They said they were going to red flag me.”


"Rules of Golf need to reflect how golf is really being played"

Phil Kosin offers some intriguing food for thought on the Rules of Golf, how they are used by everyday golfers and how they could be tweaked to help speed up play. Thanks to reader Chicago Kid for the head's up.



The wealth of important news, the stories crying out for heckling and most of all, the holiday laziness on my part translated to no posts remembering 2007's highlights and lowlights.

Should you desire to relive the year, monthly archives are here for your enjoyment. And never hesistate to use the site search feature if you are looking for an old post. Both can be found in the lefthand column.

Tomorrow I'll warn you about things to look for in 2008, including video diaries, a new book in the works and a preview of hoped-for web site content. But for now I'd like to thank you all for your active participation both in the comments sections and via email. I could not do the site without all of the reader contributions, so thanks for the enlightening comments, wry observations and spell-checking.

And please keep the comments, story links and photos coming.

Traffic this year easily doubled 2006's and grew steadily each month except in August when you were hopefully out enjoying the summer sun. Though I don't know much else about my readership, these browser and operating stats might be of some slight interest to demographics types. (My sympathies to the Vista users and pray that Macs arrive on your doorstep soon...the Internet looks so much better on an Apple!)

E6   35.07%
Gecko(Firefox)  19.61%
IE7  19.39%
Unknown  15.81%
Safari  6.82%
IE5   0.83%
Opera9   0.57%

WinXP   61.01%
Unknown   16.1%
MacOSX    10.52%
Win2000   5.14%
WinVista    2.31%
Win98     2.14%
Win2003    1.06%
Linux     0.53%
WinNT    0.31%
Win    0.23%
Win95   0.18%

So with that vital information shared, I thank you for a great 2007 and look forward to an even more enjoyable new year.



Winged Foot Says Sayonara To The USGA...Again? **

I think they did something like this after the 1984 U.S. Open, though this split sounds a bit nastier.

Thanks to reader Steven T. for Richard Johnson's Page Six piece for Sunday's New York Post:

December 30, 2007 -- AT a heated closed-door meeting just before Christmas, steamed members of the fabled Winged Foot Golf Club in Westchester overwhelmingly refused to extend another invitation to the US Golf Association for the 2015 US Open Championship. The stunning rejection came in a 340-162 vote - a clear sign of frustration over the nuisances caused by the 2006 US Open.

Gee, I can't imagine why people would be upset at losing one of the premier courses in the land for corporate tents.

USGA reps fueled resentment by telling club members at the meeting that "The Foot" would be paid even less money to host the huge televised tourney than in 2006, when the tony club was compelled to take the money-losing US Amateur in order to land the Open.
Take less money? Wow, I knew times were tough in Far Hills, but isn't that a bit much on the frugal front?
The vote was also a stinging rejection of the leadership of Winged Foot president Leonard Horan, whose autocratic style alienated younger members. Page Six has learned the Winged Foot board last month declined to invite Horan to stand for re-election at the Jan. 13 annual meeting and turned down his recommendation of a handpicked successor. Now, members of the legendary golf mecca are gearing up to fight a 20 percent increase in dues, a final "gift" from Horan.

I would never want to be a club that would have any human being for a member. 


Huggy's New Year's Resolutions

Well, they are not his, but instead, what he hopes golf's greats are resolving for 2008. These caught my eye:

THE ROYAL & ANCIENT GOLF CLUB: "Knowing that it will make little or no difference to 99.999% of the planet's golfers, we will no longer be cowed by the threat of legal action from ball manufacturing companies and this year we will knock 50 yards off the distance the leading professionals can hit their drives. Overnight, classic courses across the globe will become, well, classic courses again."

WALLY UIHLEIN (boss of Titleist): "I am finally going to own up to the fact that, despite all the marketing hype we spew out each year, hardly any golfers swing the club fast enough to gain significant yardage from the ball we make now. So I am going to do the right thing for the game that allows me to earn enormous sums of money. I will publicly announce that a rollback of the golf ball is absolutely fine with me. Besides, my guess is that Titleist will still make the best ball and so rake in the biggest profits."

ST ANDREWS LINKS TRUST: "We will delay the opening of our new humpy-bumpy and brutally exposed Castle course until it is re-designed to the point where average players have a reasonable chance of breaking 100 on an averagely breezy day."

AUGUSTA NATIONAL GOLF CLUB: "Any and all trees planted over the last five years or so will be cut down. All of the rough – sorry, 'first-cut' – grown over the same period will be eliminated. Then we can have our golf course back, the one which Bobby Jones and Alister Mackenzie modelled on the Old Course at St Andrews rather than a generic American country club."

ANY R&A MEMBER (one is all it would take): "If only to drag golf's most high-profile club into the 20th century – never mind the 21st – I will propose a woman for membership. The positive effect on the game's still-stuffy image would be immeasurable. She'd have to wear a tie in the clubhouse though. And promise to vote Tory. Hey, we can't get rid of every stereotype immediately."

THE UNITED STATES GOLF ASSOCIATION: "In June, just to confirm that the world will not, in fact, shift off its axis or come to a premature end, we will resist the urge to cover Torrey Pines in pointless and tedious long grass. Hell, we might even enjoy a US Open that does not include the mindless hack-out, the hit-or-miss gouge and the sheer, stultifying boredom of watching the world's best and most versatile chippers reaching automatically for their 60-degree wedges, unable to take advantage of whatever talents and touch they possess.



The Rookie Class

Steve Elling analyzes the potential of young players who won't get enough starts between now and Labor Day by looking at both the Q-School grads (with pictures!) and the Nationwide Tour grads.



The Ecclectic Year In Review...

...comes from AP's Doug Ferguson.