Latest From GolfDigest.com
Twitter
Feedblitz
To Get GeoffShackelford.com Posts Delivered To Your Inbox Enter Email Address Below:


Powered by FeedBlitz
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

There is always a way at St. Andrews, although it is not always the obvious way, and in trying to find it, there is more to be learned on this British course than in playing a hundred ordinary American golf courses.  BOBBY JONES


    

Wednesday
Dec122007

"The Sharp Park Golf Course and Club House are historically significant facilities."

The Pacifica City Council has petitioned San Francisco to not even think of touching MacKenzie's Sharp Park. Included is their resolution, printed in the Pacifica paper.


Wednesday
Dec122007

"America no longer can say it produces the vast majority of the best players in the world - arguably it does not even produce the majority"

Mike Clayton previewed the Australian Open and weighs in on the proposed tour merger with Japan and Asia:
The long-term future of golf in Australia should be tied to golf in Japan and Asia and there has been movement on that front in recent months.

Only the combined strength of these small tours - given the measure of a big tour is America or Europe - will see them create something significant, something to rival Europe and something that is worth a sponsor investing a considerable amount of money.

The problem with rolling three tours into one is that the players are always going to look at the game the way players always have and that is 'how does this affect me?'

Big decisions must be made with the long-term benefit of the game in mind and clearly the long-term benefit of the professional game is to create a tour to rival the best in the world.

America no longer can say it produces the vast majority of the best players in the world - arguably it does not even produce the majority - and that balance will only continue to tip in favour of the 'foreigners' as the rest of the world uncovers talented players with games that are capable of winning big tournaments including the biggest events in America.
Wednesday
Dec122007

Monty Gets Good Night's Rest, Bamboozles Pen Pushers Into Believing He Is A Merry Old Chap

I was stunned to enter Sherwood's cart barn today to find a jovial group of writers parsing the Colin Montgomerie transcript, only to hear things like "he really can be nice if he wants" and "he's not the fat shlub I thought he would be" and "how's that mysterious looking shredded chicken?"

Apparently Monty put on quite the show for his 9:15 press conference, which is about three hours before any sane individual would arrive to listen to any tour player but Tiger. However, there are those with early deadlines so the turnout was lovely. You can read the lovefest here, or get the overview from Mark Lamport-Stokes.

Or I can put it more succinctly: Monty and Captain Faldo have figured out a way to give the impression that they get along.

Lamport-Stokes:

"I've spoken to Nick and it's fine," Montgomerie told a news conference on Wednesday during preparation for this week's Target World Challenge. "It doesn't concern me."

After being criticised by Faldo for an apparent lack of team spirit at the Seve Trophy in September, Montgomerie countered by saying such comments should have been directed to him personally instead of through the media.

With that hatchet now seemingly buried, Montgomerie believes it is paramount for Europe to maintain the team unity that has helped them win the Ryder Cup five times in the last six years.

"Let's hope the ambiance of our European team remains as it has done throughout that time, meaning that we go in there relaxed, we go in there as a team," he said of next year's contest in Louisville, Kentucky.

Ah that's the team spirit!

Wednesday
Dec122007

"Melbourne seems to bring out the odd yahoo, while Sydney is not really renowned for that."

Brent Read looks at Paul McNamee's attempt to mimic the antics of TPC Scottsdale's 16th hole at The Australian's 11th tee. While it screams of a "be careful what you wish for" scenario, there is great joy in reading Robert Allenby trying to dig himself out of a hole.

Allenby did little to endear himself in his home state of Victoria by claiming Melbourne was renowned for producing the "odd yahoo" at its tournaments, while Sydney produced a more refined spectator.

The par-three 11th is based on the famous 16th at the Phoenix Open in Scottsdale, Arizona, where spectators line the hole and create an atmosphere more akin to a rock concert.

"There's no problem in the world with people being loud," Allenby said.

"I'm coming up to 17 years as a professional. I play in America for God's sake. That's the land of the loud. I don't have a problem with someone being loud on a hole. It's when people use foul and abusive language."

Asked whether he expected to be targeted given his strident criticism of the hole, Allenby replied: "I have my earplugs ready for 11, that's not a problem. I know people are going to come just for me.

"That's just the way it is. I'll deal with it. I'm here to win the tournament, I'm not here to come second.

"At golf tournaments, I'm used to people yelling. It's just when people are abusive and use (bad) language, that's not very nice because there's always a lot of kids at our tournaments."
Fast forward...
Pressed on the differences between spectators in Melbourne and Sydney, Allenby suggested the affluence in Sydney's eastern suburbs meant the fans were more respectful.

"The areas around here are a little bit more subdued, sophisticated," he said.

"Obviously there's a lot more money in Sydney than in Melbourne. I don't mean that in a bad way because I am from Melbourne and I have a lot of friends there and people who support me.

"Melbourne seems to bring out the odd yahoo, while Sydney is not really renowned for that."

Allenby also advocated selling light beer at the tournament, as they do in the United States.

"Your average (beer), they're 4.9, 5 per cent," he said. "You down three of them and you're buzzing. It's not so much serving alcohol. It really depends on where and how much you serve."

Wednesday
Dec122007

"Woods either uses things as motivation to take his seemingly indestructible golf game to higher levels or simply blocks them out of his mind."*

Yahoo!'s Martin Rogers is the only scribe (golf.com's Michael Walker also weighed in*) to cover the odd events at Tiger's Tuesday press conference, but he draws a much different conclusion from the incident than I have.

Despite the intrusion of a rogue television crew from a British dating program that tried to embarrass the world's No. 1, there was not a crack in his professional demeanor or a flicker of annoyance.

"Hi Tiger, my boyfriend is a big fan of yours, but he often calls your name out during sex," squealed a pile of mascara and cleavage from the third row. "Do you think he might be gay?"

"That's a very interesting question," replied Woods.

The conversation continued, with the woman making a suggestive comment about a golf club – too lewd for this online publication – and Woods giving a neutral answer.

"I think I should dump him and get back with my ex," the woman said of her "boyfriend" toward the end of her routine.

"I guess you have to figure that out," Woods said.

"I think I should meet someone new. Do you think I should join a dating Web site?"

With that, the woman and her camera crew were ordered to leave by tournament staff.

Immediately, the event's PR crew started fretting as to how annoyed Woods would have been by the exchange and how it might affect him.

Somehow, I don't think they need to worry.

Woods either uses things as motivation to take his seemingly indestructible golf game to higher levels or simply blocks them out of his mind. If more than a decade's worth of the best golfers in the world have failed to shake him out of his stride it will take more than a Spice Girl wannabe and her misguided humor to throw him off.

After sleeping on it, I'm of the school that this incident needs to be examined by the PGA Tour quite carefully. The AP's Doug Ferguson has noted for some time that these meet-and-greet sessions with Tiger are out of control. If I'm Tiger or his agent, I would have to see Tuesday's incident as more than just an annoying little incident, but instead as a serious security issue.

He certainly can handle a heckler better than just about anyone. But what if one of these mysterious TV types that now get access to press conferences so that the PGA Tour can reach out to the coveted youth demo included someone who wanted to do physical harm?

Tuesday
Dec112007

Tiger's Talk At Sherwood...Some Of It

Tiger Woods addressed the scribblers and television bobbleheads in his now-annual PGA Tour Player of the Year acceptance speech and annual state of all things Tiger.

Some highlights...at least those left in the transcript. (I'll explain momentarily.)

Q. If you look at just your performance on the course, you have one fewer win this year, one less major, and yet it looked like it was a pretty good year if not better than the year before. I wonder if you could just square with that, why the numbers would show last year --

TIGER WOODS: Yeah, I think it was a better year this year, even though I didn't quite -- I had a chance probably -- a great chance to win three of the four majors this year. I finished second in two of them. I was just a few shots away from basically doing what I did in 2000, the number of seconds I had, it wasn't that far away. What did I finish, second to Phil, and then the two major championships. If I get those done, get those squared away, people would probably be comparing it to 2000 if not better.

Fast forward...
Q. When you do come close like you did at Oakmont and other situations like that, I think you said that you'll go back and reassess what you did that week. What was that process like and what did you find out from it?

TIGER WOODS: Frustrating because I thought I played well enough to win the championship, and that's one of the most frustrating things. I didn't capitalize on my opportunities, like at Augusta I did not finish the last two holes well. What did I play them, like 3-over or 5-over par in three days -- no, 4-over par in two days. I bogeyed 17 and 18 both Friday and Saturday. You can't do that and expect to win a major championship.

And then what I did on Saturday at the Open, not capitalizing on the best ball-striking round I had in any of the four majors, and I wind up with -- what did I shoot, even par or 1-under, something like that? That was a day I could have taken the lead and separated myself a little bit, and I didn't do that.

And now a word from our censors... 
____________________________________________________________________________


____________________________________________________________________________


Because this is a family values web site, I will try to explain what happened.

There was a lovely looking young television reporter type lurking in the interview area, who seated herself well before the start of Tiger's talk. Behind her was her cameraman. She took the mike for her question, which, I should note was in a British accent and went something like this: When my boyfriend and I are having sex he keeps calling out your name, Tiger. Does this mean he's gay?

There was then a follow-up that included some sort of reference to her boyfriend's woods missing her holes, followed by a plug for some kind of dating web site, and well, I was just wondering at this point why I wasn't rolling my video camera so you could see Steve Brenner remove this credentialed "reporter" from the interview room.

Then, after a series of inane fatherhood questions he's been asked about a million times, we got back to business.

Q. I was just wondering, given your business interests in Dubai, whether you could ever envision maybe a couple Tour stops and maybe picking up your European Tour card for '09 since they're adding that big tournament on the back end.

TIGER WOODS: That's a good question. I've contemplated that since basically '99 and since I started going over to Europe and playing over there in Europe. I started playing in Germany, I believe, in '99. I've always been one or two short of keeping my status over there, and there's really no way I can keep up the commitment level that I have by playing that much golf on both sides of the continent and all the things that I have to deal with at a venue. It tends to wear you out a little bit.

So much for that theory.

Q. Welcome back home. I have a question for you -- two of them. First was all, your schedule in early '08, do you plan on playing at Riviera this year?

TIGER WOODS: I haven't looked at my schedule yet for next year. As soon as this tournament is over, within the next week after this tournament, I'll figure out what my schedule will be for my run up to Augusta and making sure I get all the tournaments in that I need to get ready and prepare and make sure everything is on schedule for that.

That's a no.

Q. You've probably heard that Golf Digest and the USGA is kind of following up on something you said at the U.S. Open last year when you were asked how a 10-handicapper would do on a U.S. Open course, and they're going to have three celebrity amateurs and another amateur play just a week or so before you guys tee it up there. What do you think of the idea?

TIGER WOODS: I think it's an interesting idea. I think they should play the Monday after the tournament. That's when it's the hardest. A week or two before is not so bad. It's just amazing how the grass seems to grow in the last couple weeks for USGA events.

No, I mean, they'll finally get an understanding of how difficult it is and how narrow the fairways are and generally how fast it is, the overall golf course. The USGA loves to have it quick and demanding.

I think what separates -- what amateurs don't really probably truly understand is the pin locations, how difficult they can be. At Oakmont -- I've played Augusta all these years. I've never seen pins that difficult, and they were actually being nice to us. I think that's the difference is that at say Pinehurst and at Oakmont, you felt you could easily putt the ball off greens. You don't find that feeling very often in tournaments.

And my contribution for the greater good of mankind:

Q. In the new Golf Digest you were quoted as saying if you ruled the game you guys would be playing persimmon and balata. Can you talk about that, and can you speak to whether you think there would be any interest in a tournament once a year where you guys actually use that kind of equipment?

TIGER WOODS: Well, I think that any time a player likes to shape a golf ball, understands how to shape a golf ball or bend -- who can consistently hit the ball flush, you're going to want the ball to move more and the equipment to be less forgiving. It puts a premium on quality. There's a lot of guys that just go out there and just hit it, they mis-hit it, but the golf balls and the club heads, they're so forgiving that the ball goes the same distance.

Like my old persimmon driver that I grew up with, it's only maybe 15 yards behind my driver now. If I mis-hit it, it was like hitting a 3-iron out there. It goes nowhere. That's the biggest difference. You have to hit the ball flush, perfectly struck shots. It goes just about the same distance.

You know, if you -- this is a good story. I actually played the 9th hole at St. Andrews in 2000 with a gutta-percha ball and with my old golf ball, which was the first Nike ball I put out there, and I drove the green with my ball. And then with the gutta-percha ball I hit a driver and a 5-iron and just barely rolled it to the middle of the green. Big difference in technology. But that's basically the difference in -- it wouldn't be that big a difference, but there would be certainly a distinct difference. It would be fun to play a tournament that way, there's no doubt.

All you tournaments out there wanting to get Tiger Woods to show up, now you know what might get his attention.

Q. How familiar are you with a website that's been around for a few years, TigerWoodsisGod.com, which claims to be the First Church of Tiger Woods? What's your reaction to the basic premise?

TIGER WOODS: I've heard of it, there's no doubt, I've heard of it. I've never been on-line to take a look at it. I think just the name itself, I really don't want to take a look at it.

Q. So are you denying your divinity? Are you officially denying your divinity?
TIGER WOODS: I am so far away from that (laughter).

And stay away from the site Tiger. It's the kind of thing that would keep any normal person up at night.

Tuesday
Dec112007

Stricker Needs To Win Grand Slam To Have Any Hope Of Claiming Third Straight Comeback Player Award

In a numbing, at times painful embarrassing session with the pen pushers in Sherwood's drafty cart barn, Steve Stricker kindly addressed some truly dreadful conference call questions while trying to explain his mysterious ability to win back-to-back comeback player of the year awards:

STEVE STRICKER: Yeah, thanks. It is an honor, and to win this for the second straight year, I don't know how I did it, but it is an honor to be voted by your peers. Like Joe and I were talking about, we don't know if the award has the correct name or not. I mean, I won this last year, and I don't know what I did to deserve it again this year. But it is, it's a nice award, and I am honored.

Q. Do you think you can win this a third year in a row?

STEVE STRICKER: I don't know, I was thinking about what I would have to do to win this three years in a row, and usually you have to have a better year than last year. I don't know if I'd be out of this ballot and maybe be on the Player of the Year ballot, which would be nice.

 

Tuesday
Dec112007

"The extent of most golfers knowledge in this country is limited to those pretty pictures from the US Tour"

Thanks to reader Mark for noting that New Zealand's Greg Turner kindly chimed in on the debate over John Darby's The Hills and as always his thoughts make for enjoyable reading.

I think much is to do with the fact that your average kiwi has done so little golf related travel that they haven't seen what great golf can look like. The extent of most golfers knowledge in this country is limited to those pretty pictures from the US Tour and the advertorial reactions to them lamely proffered by your compliant professional golfer.
I, for one, spent much time arguing with the establishment on the European Tour that by their legislated requirement for nothing other than positive remarks about any given venue they cut off important debate at its most visible point. Pro golf - like it or not - is the shop window of the sport. If proper and reasoned debate was allowed at this level, then it would result in much more reasoned debate in general (it might also result in your average pro developing a better knowledge of design when he/she had to fight their corner).

Instead we have the unhealthy cycle of renowned designer (or in NZ's case property developer) being awarded big budget job, event being used to promote, pros being suitably deferential, designer emerging with reputation enhanced and continuing to make the same mistakes over and over again. And in a small and until recently isolated place like NZ no real forum exists to break that cycle!
Fortunately the worm is slowly starting to turn, and there is therefore some hope.

Tuesday
Dec112007

"If I ruled golf? We'd be playing persimmon and balata"

maar01_tigerfeature.jpgJaime Diaz turns in another classic Tiger profile in what seems to be a now-annual state of Tiger piece, this time accompanied by Walter Iooss Jr. images.

So many great anecdotes here related to Hank Haney and a young golfer he's mentoring, but naturally this was my favorite:

Most important to his longevity, Woods continues to have fun with a game he has never stopped loving. He seeks practice rounds with Bubba Watson, who entertains Woods with his freakish power and loose-jointed grace. Woods hits a bevy of persimmon-head drivers and fairway woods on the range at Isleworth, saying he loves the sound and feel and the smaller margin for error. "If I ruled golf? We'd be playing persimmon and balata," he says.

 

Tuesday
Dec112007

What To Ask Tiger?

I'll be sitting in on Tiger's pre-Target press conference today with the hope of slipping a question, though the event has become a bit of a mess between all of the television reporters and the conference call participation.

I have a question in mind for him, but if you have something you want asked, please post it, and if I like it I may just use it. Or maybe one of the pen-pushers present will see it and ask.

Monday
Dec102007

IM'ing With The Commissioners, Vol. VIII

My NSA sources have been busy trying to dig up those destroyed waterboarding tapes, but they did find time to share an enjoyable little chat between PGA Tour Commissioner Tim Finchem and LPGA Tour Commissioner Carolyn Bivens. It seems PGA Tour executives are considering a potential new method of in-house communication...

twfPGATour©: You there Carolyn?

DaBrandLady: shalom tim!

twfPGATour©: Shalom? Is that Hebrew for Commissioner?

DaBrandLady: oh you're such a komiker! pardon me while I brush up on my yiddish!

twfPGATour©: Why's that?

DaBrandLady: didn't you hear about the lawsuit? legal was so excited when they found out!! they haven't been this busy since i deselected several longtime executives last year!!! :)

twfPGATour©: Oh is this in regard to the Jewish-American group you bumped out of the Fairmont for that new event?

DaBrandLady: yeppers! i'm prepping for the depos already. i figure it can't hurt to speak a little of the native tongue.

twfPGATour©:  I see. Well that's why you get the 45% pay raises. If only I could be so lucky.

DaBrandLady: it is unacceptable that you haven't crossed the $10 million threshold yet. especially considering your platform-based market share dynamic q-rating and those great fedex cup tweaks you just, hahaha, delivered.

twfPGATour©:  Delivered! That's an oldie but a goodie! I sure wish you were on the Independent Board of Directors.

DaBrandLady: you don't pay enough. lololololol

twfPGATour©: We don't? Who says?

DaBrandLady: just a joke tim

twfPGATour©: Look, I had a quick question. Do your C-levels have in-house blogs?

DaBrandLady: so funny you should mention that!!! not more than 2 minutes ago i made a note to myself that we need to have our c-levelers sharing their most important thoughts each day for all of the staff to learn from.

twfPGATour©: But you don't really any other C-levels, besides yourself of course.

DaBrandLady: precisely!

twfPGATour©: Well it's something we're looking at but I just can't really see the benefit of Ed or Charles or Henry getting much benefit out of having a blog. Would our staff or the product benefit from hearing their inner most thoughts?

DaBrandLady: no, but it gives the product the perception that executives are working hard on their behalf. 

twfPGATour©: True.

DaBrandLady: but what about you tim?

twfPGATour©: My bandwidth is stretched thin as it is. Between trying to value-stream licensing agreements and bucketizing offshore brand revenue equity, I hardly have time to sit down and write memos much less write a blog post about the negative amortization of Nationwide Tour revenues.

twfPGATour©: Plus, I've used that story about going to that Stones concert too many times now.

DaBrandLady: i don't agree. sure, it was the steel wheels tour and that was about 5 tours ago, but it still connects you with a younger demo, which is why you should blog, tim. it's a great way to communicate with the product and your consumers without actually having to engage in any interface.

twfPGATour©: You really think so?

DaBrandLady: yep. i was just thinking about how my first post was going to be on shtemplen dynamics and Bangalorization of non-essential platform maintenance.

twfPGATour©: I'm familiar with Bangalorization of non-essential platform maintenance. We just set up a new call bank for PGA TOUR© travel in Nelamangala.

DaBrandLady: how's that going?

twfPGATour©: Great, all of our call takers use names like Boo or Bubba or Tiger or Annika. The product gets a big kick out of that.

DaBrandLady: wow, why didn't i think of that!?!?!?

twfPGATour©: But Carolyn, you mentioned shtemplen dynamics. I know that I know what that means, but could you give me an example on the latest in product shtemplenization?

DaBrandLady: oh you shmendrick. a shtemplen is yiddish for brand!

twfPGATour©: Ah okay. My Yiddish never has been what it should be.

DaBrandLady: tim, you are a shtemplen whether you like it or not. you know that any good shtemplen leverages their shtemplen-equity to extrapolate maximized value streams, even if this means sharing details of your personal life as any good blogger does.

twfPGATour©: You put it that way...and, well I'm still not sure. I'll have to think about it and monitor the blog by our non-C-levels to see how that goes. I just have a feeling this will lead to some staff deselection and I know how much it pains Ed and Charlie when they have to fire people.

DaBrandLady: just call me. deselection is one of my favorite parts of the job!

twfPGATour©: Well on that upbeat note, Merry Christmas. Or is it Happy Chanukkah?

DaBrandLady: it's all a mitzvah tim! Mazel tov!

twfPGATour©: Give my best to...

DaBrandLady: He says mazel tov back!

 

Monday
Dec102007

"The majority of golfers want one set of rules but may ignore a rules change, which would render their existing equipment -- which works for them -- non-conforming."

Frank Thomas conducted a not-so-scientific survey of 1500 GolfDigest.com readers on technology and its impact on the game. 

Question 1) How important is it to you that there be only one set of rules? The table shows the results on a five point scale.

Very important --------- 57%
#2 -------------------------- 16%
#3 -------------------------- 10%
#4 -------------------------- 5%
Not important ----------- 13%

I think we have a winner in that one set of rules is important. This is good for golf.
This is beautiful:
Question 2) Do you think something should be done in the equipment regulations to rein in some of the extraordinary performances exhibited by tour players and the like?
"Rein in some of the extraordinary performances." Now that's not loaded in any way. Gee, what miser wants to rein in extraordinary performances?
Yes ------- 26%
No ------- 74%
Well, 26% did.

Frank, it's more like this: would you like to see technology reined into produce extraordinary performances exhibited by tour players and the like using a combination of mental and physical skill?


Love the conclusion:

It looks like our readers don't think reining in the pros by using equipment regulations is necessary. After all, they are the best of the best and there are other means to challenge them.
That's right! Eliminate the fairway!
Question 3) If the equipment performance rules did change because of pro performance and they detrimentally affected you and/or your performance, how likely is it that you would ignore the change(s) and continue to use your existing (now non-conforming) equipment?

Very likely -------------- 47%
#2 ------------------------ 12%
#3 ------------------------ 10%
#4 ------------------------ 7%
Not at all likely -------- 24%

Thankfully, that question wasn't loaded at all!
If the equipment performance rules were to change and so detrimentally affect average golfers along with pros, it looks like about 60% of average golfers would continue to use their existing equipment and ignore the rule (this is not good for golf).
Where's the free market love?
The performance of the majority of golfers (99%) must be carefully considered before adopting a rules change.
There's a newsflash from the manufacturer talking points city! 
Question 4) Do you think that a Ten club (local) rule for elite players is a better idea than changing equipment performance standards for everybody?

Yes ---------------- 63%
No ----------------- 37%

This is a solution which costs nothing and is easy to evaluate. It will not affect current equipment specifications nor will it cause the disruption that having two sets of performance rules for equipment may. I think a reasonable conclusion is that the majority of golfers want one set of rules but may ignore a rules change, which would render their existing equipment -- which works for them -- non-conforming.

Yes, I can see the ad campaign now. "Hi, I'm (tour pro name here) and I just love the decision of whether to leave out my Taylor Made 19 degree rescue, versus my 16 degree. Ultimately they're both so good that I had to leave both out because I really need my putter and wedge."

You have to admire Frank's effort, but he concluded that the game must be played under one set of rules and then declares after the fourth question that a form of bifurcation is the solution.

Monday
Dec102007

"The world's best player charges $4 million to drive through the gate."

Trevor Grant treads thoughtfully through the minefield better known as taking on the issue of excessive purses and apperance fees while considering the impact on golf.
Of course, this boundless gluttony has repercussions for those who don't get to sit at the big table.

Last month, after the announcement of a new European Tour event in Dubai, worth a staggering $11 million, US Tour boss Tim Finchem described it as terrific for golf globally.

However, it's hard to see the benefits in this corner of the globe as the Australian golf tour hangs on for dear life, threatened by a tsunami of cash for tournaments in the Middle East and China.

All manner of tactics have been employed to try to prevent Australian golf's plunge towards global irrelevance.

The organisers of the Australian Open, being played this week at The Australian in Sydney, have followed the money trail to New South Wales, where the State Government has agreed to back the event until 2009.

Thus, the national Open has become Sydney-centric, and now ignores one of the best assets in Australian golf - the Melbourne sandbelt.

By 2009 the Open would have been played in this world-acclaimed golf mecca just twice in 12 years - at Kingston Heath in 2000 and Victoria in 2002.

Australia's most significant course, Royal Melbourne, has not hosted the most prestigious event in the country for 16 years.

It's much the same as the British Open ignoring St Andrews, and a sad indictment on the priorities in golf in this country.

Firmly ensconced in Sydney, the Open's priority is said to be the signing of Woods to play next year.

Sources say the pursuit of Woods has the backing of the NSW Government, which wants to make an impact after losing out to its Victorian counterpart in the bid for the 2011 Presidents Cup.

It sounds great for the game here. Except for one thing.

The world's best player charges $4 million to drive through the gate.

The last time he did so in this part of the world, at the NZ Open in 2002, the tournament was a financial disaster.
Monday
Dec102007

Brand Lady Got Big Raise In '06

Even though she couldn't do much right in 2006, Jon Show reports that Commissioner Carolyn Bivens enjoyed a 45% pay bump.

Tax records show she was paid $690,000 in 2006 after making $238,782 during her first six months of employment in the latter half of 2005. Prorating that amount would have come to about $478,000 in 2005.
Snow notes...
Bivens’ first year with the LPGA was mired in controversy, including the departure of top staff members, disagreements with the tournament association over raised sanctioning fees and cancellation of events, and a tiff with the media over photographic rights. But she has appeared to weather the storm.

“I’m sure there are some things she would like a do-over on, but for the most part, change was necessary,” said one golf marketer, who did not want to be identified. “Looking back, I think she’s done a good job.”

Well, I'm sure a huge increase in reven... 
The LPGA’s revenue for 2006 was $69.7 million, up from $67.4 million a year earlier. That does not include money brought in by events that are not owned by the LPGA. The tour owns and operates the Solheim Cup, which is a biennial Ryder Cup-style event, and now fully owns the ADT Championship, where it bought out IMG’s stake after the 2006 event.

Tournament revenue was up about $1.5 million to $50 million, which includes money brought in from new events and renegotiated sanctioning fees with existing events, as well as increased sponsorship dollars.

And...

Money from television was down $500,000 to $9.5 million. Corporate sponsorship was down from $5.2 million to $4.8 million, which the LPGA said reflected the termination of an exclusive international licensing contract with New York-based Summit Properties International.

Salary consultant Steve Unger questioned Bivens’ 2006 salary in relation to the LPGA’s revenue, but said it is impossible to accurately analyze her income without knowing if there was an automatic increase, or if she met certain parameters for success that triggered more salary.

“The optics of the deal are bad, but it might be totally in line depending on what the LPGA was expecting from her,” Unger said. “It seems like a lot of money for a little revenue.”

But you can't put a dollar value on what she's done for the brand!

Monday
Dec102007

More Best New's For 2007

Chambers_600x550.jpgGolf.com features Golf Magazine's annual top 10 best new courses that you can play, and even starts listing green fee instead of greens fee. A major victory for golfing linguinistas!

Travel and Leisure posts their international top 10 with several different courses, but they both seem to agree on Chambers Bay. 

Monday
Dec102007

"The Isle o' Lewis Is Pining For Ye Trump"

HC-GE749A_Trump_20051021124515.gifThe WSJ's Alistair Macdonald found some Scots who actually desire face time with The Donald: his mum's Isle of Lewis.

Lewis is heavily dependent on employment in the public sector, retail and construction, and fishing, though a fraction of its former size, remains a key employer. In Lewis, the island's only golf course, the 117-year-old Stornoway Golf Club, held a meeting a few weeks ago at which it debated ways to honor Mr. Trump. The club discussed naming one of the course's 18 holes after him and offering him life membership, says the club's honorary secretary, Ken Galloway.

Local councilor Murdo Macleod, no relation, wrote the real-estate mogul asking him to help turn Lews Castle, a deserted and frayed grand Victorian estate, into a luxury hotel. "Every American loves a castle. He can play golf here, do a bit of fishing, shooting, a bit of relaxation," Mr. Macleod says.

He says Mr. Trump hasn't replied. The local council mailed Mr. Trump an invitation to visit a few weeks ago. It hasn't yet heard back from Mr. Trump, a council spokesman says.

Mr. Trump says he saw both letters and passed them on to his people. George Sorial, managing director of Trump International Golf Resorts, says that Mr. Trump receives so many requests daily that he can't reply to them all.

The trevails of a reality television star. 

Sunday
Dec092007

"With this collaboration on a golf reality show leading into the Open’s final round, the U.S.G.A. has further loosened its tie."

Larry Dorman reports on the USGA's latest attempt to capture a younger audience. Gosh it's fun to watch people desperately try to capture the youth audience at the behest of advertisers. Especially when we're talking about a non-profit organization. Touching I tell you.

A one-hour taped show, which NBC will broadcast June 15 as a lead-in to the final round of the 2008 United States Open, will feature a foursome of amateur golfers with varying handicaps, all attempting to shoot a score lower than 100 on the Open setup at Torrey Pines Golf Course.

“We’re very excited about this,” said Jon Miller, the executive vice president of NBC Sports. “If this does well, as I have every reason to believe it will do ratings-wise, it could become an annual event that we put in front of the Open every year on Sunday.”

Right, because the 6-hour telecast isn't enough.

Still, the idea is fun. Four Average Joe's slugging away on the year's U.S. Open course and...oh, wait...I'm sorry, you said what?
To help ensure good ratings,

Roxanne, you don't have to put on the red light, you don't have to put on the red light...

three of the amateurs, to be chosen by Golf Digest editors and NBC, will be “celebrities,” highly recognizable faces from television, the music world or professional sports. The remaining participant, representing millions of amateur golf dreamers, will be selected from a field of finalists culled by Golf Digest editors and voted on by the magazine’s readers.
Wow. Now you want to talk about bend...ah forget it. Shoot, if we're lucky, maybe Kenny G or Celine Dion will be the celebs? Or both? They could even stick around and do a U.S. Open opening ceremony and if we're lucky, medley of their greatest hits backed by John Tesh conducting the Escondido Upward Bound Senior Citizens Home Symphony?
The format: 18 holes over more than 7,600 yards, inside the ropes, from the back tees, in front of a live gallery, with NBC cameras recording every shot and the golfers writing down every stroke.

The round will take place June 6. A U.S.G.A. rules official will accompany the foursome.

Hey, Walter Driver could officiate and show how he types 60 words a minute, all while reading Goldman Sachs emails and issuing a rules decision at the same time. All brought to you by Blackberry.

“Strict rules of golf,” said David Fay, the association’s executive director, quoting the character Auric Goldfinger from the classic 1964 James Bond movie. But of course.
Fay’s cinematic reference, though dated, is appropriate. In looking for ways to update its rather elitist image, the U.S.G.A. is reaching out to different audiences. It has made inroads in recent years with its addition of public golf courses to the Open rotation. Bethpage Black began the trend in 2002, and with Torrey Pines in 2008, Bethpage Black again in 2009 and Pebble Beach in 2010, the Open will have been played at courses accessible to the public four times in the first decade of the 21st century. With this collaboration on a golf reality show leading into the Open’s final round, the U.S.G.A. has further loosened its tie.

Oh, the kids will flock to this. I bet they get at least 5 new members under 50 out of this.

“I’m sure some people will raise their eyebrows and say, why are they doing this?” Fay said.

Why would we do that? It's perfectly in line with the direction you've got the organization headed in David! Right down the toilet...

“To me, the operative word is fun. Sure, it will be interesting and educational, and it will allow people to get some insight into the U.S.G.A. and give us a chance to connect on a different level. But I actually think it’s going to be a hoot.”

The whole idea began with a laugh. Tiger Woods was having a light moment with reporters after the second round of last year’s Open at Oakmont, saying, “If you’re a 10-handicapper, there’s no way you’re breaking 100 out there; if you played all out on every shot, there is no way.”

Woods’s statement gave Steve DiMarco, a Los Angeles writer and director, the idea for the show. He bounced it off a friend, who liked the idea. Then he passed it to Jerry Tarde, Golf Digest’s chairman and editor in chief, who talked to Fay, who talked to NBC’s Miller.

Gosh, if we could only think of a reality show that deals with slow play, we might persuade these heavyweights to do something that's actually for the good of the game.

Sunday
Dec092007

Bohannan: Golf Digest Neglecting The Desert's Many Mediocre Courses

Larry Bohannan wonders why the Golf Digest's list of top 100 courses in America only includes one Palm Springs area course, The Quarry at La Quinta.
And certainly it's easy to understand the competition for the top 100 list considering there are about 16,000 golf courses in the country, according to the National Golf Foundation. That means one in every 160 golf courses makes the list. Even a prolific golf mecca like the Coachella Valley can't boast 160 golf courses, so statistically, maybe the desert only deserves one course on the list.
I like that argument. Sure beats pointing out that about 90 of them are Ted Robinson masterpieces.
But with such famous courses as the Dinah Shore Tournament Course at Mission Hills, the Stadium Course at PGA West, the Canyons Course at Bighorn and lesser-known but strong courses like Tradition and Classic Club, it still seems strange that only the Quarry makes the magazine's top 100.
Britney Spears is famous too, but that doesn't make her a great singer.
Saturday
Dec082007

"Ah, the power of the guaranteed cheque."

I know you can't wait to find out who The Huggy goes to for Scottish Player Of The Year Other Than Monty, so here are John Huggan's year-end awards. My favorites:

BIGGEST POINT-MISSER

Golf’s only deep-sea diver and dedicated self-abuser, Woody Austin, cried off from the Open Championship claiming he was ‘too tired’ to make the long trip. He felt it was just too far to come over and play badly. The wee soul. Funny that Woody managed to get himself to Wentworth for the World Match Play Championship a couple of months later. Ah, the power of the guaranteed cheque.

CLASSIEST IN DEFEAT

In stark contrast to the obnoxious winner that was American captain Buddy Marucci, Great Britain & Ireland Walker Cup skipper, Colin Dalgleish, handled his side’s narrow one-point defeat with great dignity. The Helensburgh man, in fact, did a superb job at Royal County Down, both with the organisational aspects of his role and the more public duties. No one could have squeezed more out of his young men in what was an ultimately heart-breaking loss. His re-appointment for the matches at Merion in 2009 was surely the easiest decision of the year.

CLASSIEST POST-ROUND

It has always been easy to make fun of Phil Mickelson and his sometimes-gushy all-American way of expressing himself. ‘Mom’ is Phil’s favourite relative and ‘apple pie’ is certainly his favourite dessert. But no other professional golfer takes his public responsibilities more seriously, especially when it comes to signing autographs. In stark contrast to many other luminaries who stalk off with nary a backward glance after signing their scorecards, Mickelson stands there, pen in hand, and writes his name until there is no one left, man, woman or child. He has a word for all as he goes along, too. And he does this after every round, almost without exception. His is a great example, one more of his colleagues would do well to emulate.

 

Saturday
Dec082007

"You just don't even want to pull your normal driver out when you can play like this."

Mike Clayton writes about a Royal Melbourne round with Geoff Ogilvy using hickory shafted clubs
Ogilvy had never hit a wooden shaft but he had a couple of hits and concluded that "my body will tell me how to hit it".

It took him no time to adjust to the feel of the shaft and after a few holes he said "you just don't even want to pull your normal driver out when you can play like this".

Manufacturers have made fortunes mass-producing quality metal drivers and they have unquestionably made the game easier for the average player. Mishits are more than kindly treated by the big heads but off-centre hits with a small-headed wood with a hickory shaft are not pretty.

Ogilvy barely missed the middle of the two wood's clubface and anyone watching would have been astounded how far he drove the ball. Into the strong south wind off the eighth tee he covered 230 metres and down wind off the next he was right at the 270-metre mark. At the long par-four 11th he lost one high and right on the wind and had to hit a three-wood from there but that was about the only bad one he hit. At the par-five 12th and 15th he easily reached the greens with seven-iron second shots and at the final hole ripped the hickory over the corner of the dogleg and hit a wedge onto the green.

There was nothing revolutionary about our conclusions as we walked off the 18th. That RM played so short for a great player using a hickory shaft backed up what MacKenzie said all those years ago. The custodians of the game need to control the ball because RM, like most of our wonderful suburban courses, has no more land.