There is nothing to do in St. Andrews but play golf and bathe.
Thanks to the readers who forwarded this email making the rounds following the 2007 Masters.
I think I saw the photo below in print somewhere, but can't remember where.
Anyhow, according to the email, the gentleman in the photo...
...thought that his practice round badge allowed him to “play a practice round” at the Augusta National. The Grounds Maintenance guys in the background actually stopped and took the picture. As you can see I am struggling to restrain from laughing totally out loud. My partner, Sgt. Ken Rogers, is not in the picture because he is actually just out of the left side of the frame rolling in the pine straw, from laughter.
Sheesh, Hogan got his by a bus and I don't think he was this much of a mess.
Bill Fields writing about Johnny Miller's cameo at the Legend's of Golf:
Sixty might be the new 40, but Miller, who turns 60 April 29, feels his age. Before he started getting cortisone shots, his right elbow had been so painful he was reduced to swinging one-handed in corporate outings. "I was pretty good at that, but that isn't very impressive," he said. "It's nice to be healed enough that I can at least play with [my] kids. I didn't realize how much I missed at least having the option of playing versus not being able to play whether I [wanted to or not]. I'm grateful for that."
But his knees still ache, and he can feel a slipped disc from his back to his shins. "My back is totally killing me right now," Miller said after the first round, "just burning a hole through my L-5 with the pain running down into my lower legs." Said his wife, Linda, "I think if his body would let him, he would like to play more. It's shot."
Miller's back was so tight when he woke up Friday morning he thought he was going to have to withdraw, but 10 hot towels and 1 1/2 Lortabs for the pain and a driver loaded with 12 strips of lead tape--"It was already F-0, and I probably made it about a G," he said, "so it would do all the work and I wouldn't have to use my body that much"--got him through the day.
Uh, I'm trying not to envision Johnny wrapped in 10 hot towels.
According to Golf World's John Strege, we might as well leave now if we want to see the weekend rounds at Torrey Pines for next year's U.S. Open. The culprit? The San Diego County Fair and oh, the fact that we have about 10 million too many residents.
The USGA is trying to work out a compromise with the fairgrounds, which has as a negotiating chip--12,000 parking places the USGA covets. At this stage the two sides are at a stalemate; neither can reschedule its event, though the fair is willing to delay its start--for a price.
"We would give them seven days of parking and start the fair a little late, but we would be making a huge concession," Fennell said. "We would have to be kept whole financially."
Fennell noted if the fair forfeited its opening weekend, lost revenues would exceed $800,000, a sum the USGA steadfastly refuses to pay, according to Bevacqua. Fennell argues the USGA could recoup its investment by charging for parking. He also pointed that giving up the USGA presidential jet would also help cover the cost while also allowing the organization to restore the recently reduced staff benefits.
Just checking to see if you were reading! I of course, am responsible for that last sentence.
The USGA offers free parking and already has an arrangement to use Qualcomm Stadium (home of the San Diego Chargers) for parking.
"We're not overly concerned about it," Bevacqua said. "But we have every intention of working with the fair, and if we could work a compromise, that's our hope."
Uh, forget the fair. Have these people ever seen the 5 on a Saturday? Not pretty.
A San Diego reader wrote in to suggest the shuttle ride from Qualcomm Stadium will take about 2 hours on county fair weekend and also wondered why they couldn't find parking less than 20 minutes from the course. That $800,000 is sounding like a bargain!
Caught this poll on golf.com. Naturally, you can guess what I voted for (sorry Mr. Nelson).
We want to know...
Byron Nelson won 11 tournaments in a row in 1945, a record that may never be matched. Which of the following records do you think is the most impressive?
* 30.5% Nelson's 11-straight victories
* 4.8% Hank Aaron's 755 career home runs
* 9.2% Jim Brown's record of eight NFL season rushing titles
* 37.7% UCLA's run of 10 NCAA basketball titles in 12 years
* 15.3% Wayne Gretzky's 2,856 career points
I think the only thing more amazing than the inclusion of Wayne Gretzky's 2,856 career points was that 15.3% actually voted for him!
At least one more player besides Stuart Appleby was willing to go on the record about Phil's missed pro-am.
"He could have still made it here," [Rod] Pampling told reporters after carding an opening-round 68 on Thursday.
"The (PGA Tour) rules say you have to play in the pro-am to play in the (main) tournament so in my opinion he shouldn't have been allowed to play."
Golf Channel's Brian Hewitt scores a major exclusive by finding out when they'll be dedicating the
TPC SawgrassThe Players Stadium course clubhouse:
Sources at The TOUR confirmed today they have scheduled the dedication for the new 70,000 square foot, $32 million clubhouse at the TPC Sawgrass for the Tuesday before next month’s PLAYERS Championship.
Uh, $32 million? Oh I think we have our first question for the commissioner!
In this 2005 Ryan Herrington item from Golf World, the tab was penciled in at $16-18 million
Hey, it's not our money!
The L.A. Times's Mike Penner has covered his share of golf and has been inexcusably passed over as a columnist. And his latest and last column is something you don't read everyday in a major newspaper...
From an unbylined wire service story:
Phil Mickelson will compete in the EDS Byron Nelson Championship today despite missing yesterday's pre-tournament pro-am.
PGA Tour rules state that a player missing a pro-am is automatically disqualified from the tournament, except for "extenuating circumstances".
Mickelson had planned to fly into town in his private jet late Tuesday night from nearby Little Rock, Arkansas, roughly a one-hour flight, in time for his 7am pro-am tee time, but the Dallas Love Field airport was closed due to severe thunderstorms.
Instead, he spent the night in Little Rock, arriving here at TPC Four Seasons resort shortly after 11am yesterday. Mickelson, it seems, was happy to play an afternoon pro-am, but the tour decided not to rearrange the tee times. Instead, he had lunch with the amateurs he was supposed to have played with.
"Phil was prepared to play in the afternoon. It wasn't his decision not to play," said Mickelson spokesman TR Reinman.
The PGA Tour's decision to allow Mickelson to play in the tournament was greeted with cynicism by some fellow players, who accused the tour of having a double standard, recalling that Retief Goosen was disqualified from the 2005 Nissan Open for missing his pro-am tee time, after oversleeping.
But the tour issued a statement defending its decision.
"Phil did everything physically possible to get here Tuesday night, but was grounded in Little Rock due to circumstances completely beyond his control," said tour executive vice president Henry Hughes.
Eight-time PGA Tour winner Stuart Appleby said the appropriate question was whether Mickelson had made every effort to get into town in time for the pro-am.
"I'm sure a lot of players think it's a very dodgy decision," said Appleby, who was curious to know whether Mickelson could have arrived at the crack of dawn in time to play.
"Each situation has to be looked at independently. If a player makes a reasonable effort, he gets a pass. If he doesn't, he should be disqualified. I don't care who you are.
And Stuart, do you think he made a reasonable attempt?
"If the (Dallas) airport was open in the early hours this morning, what I would say to my pilot is 'I've got to be in Dallas at 5.30am. If it's open, call me and wake me up."
That's a no.
I did go back and try to dig up the stories on Goosen's 2005 DQ at Riviera and after oversleeping, he did make it to the property just after his tee time.
I say it's all Rick Smith's fault.
Not to wear out this Tiger-plays-Oakmont thing, but a reader who would rather not be associated with this wretched site made this point:
One thing left unsaid in the Woods item is that he obviously studies videotape of past events at a course before seeing it for the first time. That's the only way he would have thought about Oakmont as a tree-lined course and then have been surprised when he arrived.
To the inkslingers out there considering a Tiger question at Wachovia, how about asking about this instead of about the due date or the new dog.
What's he looking for on old tapes of majors? Has he learned stuff from video that has helped him in any of this 12 wins?
From Doug Ferguson's lengthier follow up on Tiger's practice rounds at Oakmont:
He also had heard the debate whether Oakmont or Winged Foot was the toughest championship course on any given Sunday morning for the members. "Of all the tournaments I've ever played, no golf course was harder than Winged Foot,'' Woods said late last year.
He was reminded of that comment when he walked off the 18th green Sunday morning after his first trip around at Oakmont.
"It's not even close,'' Woods said. "It's this one.''
And that was with the green bumping along at about 10 1/2 on the Stimpmeter (the course was under snow a week ago). It usually runs in the neighborhood of 13 for some of the members' tournaments.
"Every green is pitched one way or another,'' Woods said. "If you do miss on the high side, it's impossible.''
“Any implication that participants are drinking in excess or performing an activity that requires a level of alertness while drinking does not meet network standards,” said Leslie Anne Wade, a CBS Sports spokeswoman.It's a good thing network standards don't allow for shows about people getting killed!
The Daly ad has already run about 10 times on the Golf Channel, which last year ran his reality series, “The Daly Planet.” Dan Higgins, a spokesman, said that while the ad met network standards, “we’re sensitive to the issues at hand and are looking at other viable options to running the commercial,” like restricting its airing to later hours or running an edited version.
Hey, I know. Just air it during the Greg Goose 19th Hole since the set is stocked with booze. Then it won't look so bad!
Meanwhile, in Larry Stewart's LA Times piece, he quotes the Maxfli dude:
"We went into this with the idea that John Daly is fun, exciting and approachable," said Bob Maggiore, senior director of marketing for TaylorMade-Adidas of Carlsbad, Calif. "In hindsight, maybe we should have seen the risk. But we looked at John Daly as someone who lights up a room, not someone with a troubled past."
Well, at least he's honest.
Brian Hewitt talking to Butch Harmon about his new marriage:
Where, Harmon was asked Tuesday, will Mickelson’s place be on that totem pole?
“I have already called Fred Couples, Adam Scott and Stewart Cink and assured them this won’t change my relationship with them,” Harmon said. “I’m not Rick Smith. I’m not going to spend 24/7 time with Phil. When he needs help I’ll be there with him. ...But if you’re asking me who’s at the top of the totem pole, Adam Scott is my main client. And I’ve explained that to Phil.”
Here we'd gone a full two days without an insult flying! Let the instructor spat begin!
"The field was so weak that more world ranking points were awarded to the winner of the BMW Asian Open."
Even so, fall tournaments must have been wondering about Nick Watney's victory in New Orleans last week. That was a full FedEx Cup event, but the field was so weak that more world ranking points were awarded to the winner of the BMW Asian Open. Watney earned 28 points, only four more points than the winner of Mississippi tournament last year.
From the moment Woods stepped onto the first tee and pulled the Sasquatch Sumo Squared driver from his bag and launched his Nike One ball approximately 330 yards to the middle of the fairway...Now I know it's not for me to offer writing suggestions, but I really think the future of journalism will be more informative for us consumers. Dudurich could have filed something like this:
From the moment Woods woke up in his NikeFitTherma jammies, slipped on his Seamless S/S Colorplay Mock, adorned his SP-8 TW Tour shoes in the hot new black and Del Monte white (available May 3rd), slipped on his Custom Crested Tech Xtreme Glove, Nike's brand focus stepped onto the first tee and pulled the Sasquatch Sumo Squared driver from his bag and launched his Nike One ball approximately 330 yards to the middle of the fairway...
Gerry Dulac filed a few more anecdotes and quotes from Tiger's Oakmont round. He managed to focus on--perish the thought--the golf, instead of plugging the "surprise" clinic for some rich AmEx customers.
The greens were running at 10.5 on the Stimpmeter the past two days, not nearly as fast as they will be for the Open. And they were not as smooth as usual because they had recently been aerified.
"They said they're extremely smooth," Woods said. "Granted, they do have a lot of movement to them, a lot of pitch to them, but people seem to hole a lot of putts here. After playing it, it was hard for me to see that because I was seeing balls bouncing all over the place."
Woods did not play in the 1994 U.S. Open at Oakmont because he failed to qualify as amateur. And he had never even been to the course until Sunday -- a strange fact given Woods' love for the game and the way he embraces the history and tradition of the sport. Nonetheless, Woods said he really enjoyed his first visit to Oakmont, though he admitted it was different than what he envisioned.
"I just remember seeing all these trees everywhere and you get down here and all of sudden there's nothing there," he said. "It's very open. You can see all the holes from the clubhouse. It's very different than what I envisioned."
I guess he hasn't been reading the tree removal stories!
"So we feel that there is good opportunity for us, not only with our wine, but also obviously the golf"
I really want to root for Ernie Els, but it's hard to feel like he's committed to winning majors at this point when you read this...
New Delhi: The past couple of years haven't been great for World No. 5 Ernie Els, but he has, for sure, kept himself in contention in most of the tournaments. CNN-IBN caught up with him recently while he was on a short visit to India.
When he's playing well, Ernie Els is a joy to watch. What's more, he's one of the nicest people you will ever find. But these days, playing golf is not the only thing that keeps him busy. He has his own wine label and is ensuring it is noticed everywhere.
"We are looking around a little bit to look at golf course design opportunities, some developments around the region, I think the interest in golf is really growing in the region. So we feel that there is good opportunity for us, not only with our wine, but also obviously the golf," Ernie Els says.
Debra Gruszecki in the Desert Sun reports on the latest links course to open in the Palm Springs area. Thanks to reader Todd for torturing me--and therefore you all--with this story.
But first, the caption for the story's accompanying photo on the left: "Golf course architect Clive Clark designed the course, which resembles links in the rolling hills of Scotland."
That backdrop looks so linksy doesn't it? And when did links start appear in the rolling hills of Scotland.
I know, so picky.
Anyway, the piece:
The Eagle has landed for the Cabazon Band of Mission Indians.Ah yes, bet that was heavy on the accent!
The Cabazon celebrated their "soft opening" Friday for Eagle Falls Golf Course, a new amenity linked to its $200 million Fantasy Springs Resort Casino and Special Events Center.
The 18-hole, par-72 championship course designed by noted golf course architect Clive Clark is "uniquely suited for the advanced player,'' said Willie Maples, Eagle Falls' director of golf operations.
"It offers a challenging and friendly golfing experience for the average player,'' Maples said.
John James, tribal chairman, said the golf course is a great addition to Fantasy Springs.
"It's one thing they don't have in the east end of the valley, a golf course - and it's a classic course," he added.
And a links to boot!
"It's very impressive that the Cabazons have taken a good portion of their land, and connected the golf course to it to make it more of a resort destination,'' Maples said.
Robb Mihelic, head golf professional, said Eagle Falls is creating a buzz in the Coachella Valley.
"We've probably had close to 1,000 rounds already,'' he said of the course that replicates the links, stone walls and bunkers one sees on the rolling hills of Scotland.
"We've had a lot of locals," so far, he said, but that is expected to change soon.
Play-and-stay packages are being formulated by Fantasy Springs. Golf pros also envision a "comp" program for high-rollers down the road, along with golf incentives for local residents.'
What about panelists?
Ron Sirak vents a bit about the number of no-shows at the Byron Nelson in the year they will be honoring the great man.
I'm finally glad someone made this point, though I think Sirak could have been even more blunt:
Why the are players staying away?
The easy answer is the scheduling-conflict excuse. But the irony there is that in an era when all of the top players travel by private jet they are finding it more difficult to get to tournaments than the guys back in the days when Byron and the boys drove four to a car from tournament to tournament.
Irony, hypocrisy, it's a fine line!
The more complicated answer -- and probably the correct one -- is that very few of today's millionaires appreciate the fact that it was guys like Nelson who struggled to make ends meet that made today's PGA Tour possible.
There is a sense of entitlement among contemporary players that is totally out of proportion with both their achievement and their sacrifice. That sense of entitlement tends to view the world through me-colored lenses. Just as last year the one PGA Tour event all players should have been tripping over each to enter was in New Orleans, the one must-make tournament this year should have been the EDS Byron Nelson Championship. And it had nothing to do with prize money or scheduling. It had everything to do with what was right.
There will be a golf tournament this week at Las Colinas and Cottonwood Valley. There will be a party at the TPC Four Seasons Resort. And there will be tributes to the life and career of Byron Nelson at the tournament that bears his name. And knowing the first-class way the Salesmanship Club does things, it will be a celebration that will not only be worth remembering, it will be so compelling there will be no choice but to remember it.
One of the things that keeps the LPGA an organization that respects its past is that it has help remembering that past because a half-dozen of its founders are still alive to remind the young players that it was not always as nice and easy as it now is. The PGA Tour, being about 20 years older than the LPGA, has lost most of its direct connection to its roots. In Byron Nelson, it lost one of the most important.
Nelson was not the kind of guy who would grab a player and say, "Hey, don't ever lose appreciation for what you have." Or, "Don't ever forget that the game made you, you didn't make the game." Byron didn't have to use words like that. His actions said it much more eloquently. It seems, however, that not all the players were listening.