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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
  • The Golf Book: Twenty Years of the Players, Shots, and Moments That Changed the Game
    The Golf Book: Twenty Years of the Players, Shots, and Moments That Changed the Game
    by Chris Millard
  • The Forbidden Game: Golf and the Chinese Dream
    The Forbidden Game: Golf and the Chinese Dream
    by Dan Washburn
  • The Early Days of Pinehurst
    The Early Days of Pinehurst
    by Chris Buie
  • 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
  • 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
  • His Ownself: A Semi-Memoir
    His Ownself: A Semi-Memoir
    by Dan Jenkins
  • 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, Augusta and Royal Melbourne are my three favorite courses in the world. Like St. Andrews and Augusta you can slam it anywhere off the tee at Royal Melbourne and you can still get to the greens but the putting is going to be crazy if you play it that way. It is really so dangerous around the greens and you can make a bogey from anywhere. And when the wind blows it's, "Oh my God! How do I manage this course?"  FRED COUPLES




So Much For The Gore-Tex?

I walked in late and had other TiVo priorities, so I only caught Johnny Miller's comment about the TPC Sawgrass's much ballyhood "layer of GoreTex" failing on both the fairways and greens.

It is remarkable to see how little roll there is. Did it rain Friday night? Did anyone catch Johnny's exact comment?


Azinger In For ABC Open Coverage; Faldo Still Up In The Air

Gary Van Sickle breaks the news that we may get a one-week reunion of the best golf broadcast team ever.


Sand Shades?

Did you notice that Tiger's sunglasses were not worn while hitting any tee or fairway shots during round 2? Ah except for bunker shots from the TPC Sawgrass's (ridiculous) blinding white stuff.

Courtesy of



"I like the new Tiger, as well."

Stephen Ames, you're off the hook!

Tiger, responding to Rory Sabbatini's inexplicably stupid (even for him) comment about Tiger being "more beatable than ever":

Q. Did you have a reaction to what Rory said yesterday about how he thinks you might be more beatable now than ever?

TIGER WOODS: Well, if I remember the quote correctly, he said he likes the new Tiger. I figure I've won 9 out of 12 and I've won three times this year, the same amount he's won in his career. So I like the new Tiger, as well.

Tiger 1, Rory 0. 


SI Players Poll

The 2007 edition of their annual poll is now posted online, albeit in a cumbersome 17 page spread designed to generate hits!


55 Straight GIR's

Josh Sanburn on the blog offers up a pretty astounding stat on Tom Lehman and the 17th hole at TPC Sawgrass.


17th Hole...Let The Debate Begin (Again)...

17_players.jpgI bickered today via instant message with one of the game's great scribblers over the merits of Sawgrass's 17th hole about midway through the 50 balls finding "Pete's Pool."

This scribe hates it. I love it as a once-a-year, one-of-a-kind spectacle even if in high winds it gets silly. (Oh, and I'm still not wild about the front hole location, but I love Sunday's back right spot).

On the Golf Channel's Post Game Show, Brandel Chamblee didn't hesitate to call the hole unfair and ridiculous.

Before you weigh in, here's Jeff Babineau on today's spectacle:

A year ago, 57 golf balls plummeted their way to watery deaths at the famed Island Hole. That was over four rounds. Thursday’s opening round at The Players nearly matched it. Playing in the final group of the day, Doug Labelle II and Bo Van Pelt deposited balls 49 and 50 into Pete’s Pool. The scoring average on the hole was 3.699, and there were nearly three times as many double bogeys (23) and “others” (12) as birdies (12).

Debate it at any 19th hole as long as you’d like – is 17 a good hole or freaky sideshow? – but the only thing the 17th lacks on its vast teeing area is a spot for medics to perform EKG tests. Amazing that such a little golf hole can cause such high anxiety.

Is it, ugh...unfair? Silly? Brilliant? A masterful match play hole and lame stroke play hole?


We Have A New Undisputed Champion... our second annual fifth-of-four majors watch. Ken Carpenter of The Golf Gazette has blown by the field to claim the  trophy given only to a golf writer so desperate for column material that he declares The Players Championship a major.

At a special ceremony (time and location TBD), Carpenter will receive the bronze statuette featuring a tweed-cap wearing male reading PGA Tour Partners while seated on the toilet of a media center Port-O-Potty.

Pundits, have you ever seen such a clear cut winner?

Since no one else will step up, I guess I’ll just have to say it.

The Players is a major championship.

There. How hard was that?

Who’s to say what is or isn’t a major? By whose authority does a golf tournament earn that distinction? No one’s authority. There is no czar of golf. Old Tom Morris did not pass down some engraved tablets to Francis Ouimet spelling out the requirements for a major.

So, let’s stop all the veiled questions and nonsensical arguments.

The Players is a major championship.

 And this is before he found out Kenny G would be serenading the champion Sunday night!

 More award winning writing:

In defense of the tournament that offers the biggest purse, the richest winner’s share, and the deepest field in golf, here are nine more reasons why …
The Players is a major championship.
1) There are no amateurs or club pros in The Players. In all of the other so-called major tournaments, a significant portion of the field has no chance to make the cut, let alone win the tournament. The Club Pro champion hasn’t made the cut at the PGA Championship since 1983. The U.S. Amateur champion has made the cut in eight of the past 20 Masters, and eight of the past 19 U.S. Opens. (Quick – Can you name the reigning U.S. Am champ? Answer below.)

2) The Players has a 156-man field. The Masters, which is not much more than a big member-guest outing with good TV coverage, routinely has fewer than 100 real competitors, not counting the amateurs and septuagenarians who clutter up the proceedings.

3) Many major champions have also won The Players. There have been 33 victories distributed among 27 different men at The Players, and 19 of them have also won at least one of the other four majors. So adjust Jack Nicklaus’ major total to 21, Tiger Woods’ to 13 and let’s go play.

And add 1 to Jodie Mudd's total!

4) The Players is played in Florida. Florida has more golf courses than any other state. Florida is home to the PGA Tour, the LPGA Tour, the Duramed Futures Tour, the PGA of America, the World Golf Village, the World Golf Hall of Fame and The First Tee program. The best golf state deserves a major championship, and since the U.S. Open and PGA Championship are played in midsummer – as if Tulsa, Okla., is any cooler than Orlando in August -- and the British Open will go to Dubai or China before it ever comes here, The Players is the choice.

I've always believed that the home of the Duramed Futures Tour offices makes The Players major-worthy! Finally someone listens.

5) The Players has the history and the tradition. Deane Beman’s brainchild has spanned the generations – Sam Snead (born 1912), Julius Boros (1920), Arnold Palmer (1929), Billy Casper (1931), Gary Player (1935) and Tom Watson (1949) played in it. Boros and son Guy played in it, Jack Nicklaus and son Gary played in it, Al Geiberger and son Brent played in it, Dave Stockton and Dave Jr. played in it. This year marks the 34th renewal of The Players, and anything contested in four different decades qualifies as traditional.

And I've always said, if both Dave Sr. and Dave Jr. have played in your event, it's a major!

6) The most famous hole in golf often decides The Players. Love it or hate it, No. 17 on the Stadium Course is the single most recognizable hole in the game. Mention “the island green,” and every golf fan instantly knows what you’re talking about. It’s also offers best spectator viewing area, where the average fans sit in front of the skyboxes. Now, name the signature hole at Oakmont Country Club, host of this year’s U.S. Open? In this year’s PGA, which of the 18 will be the most dramatic hole at Southern Hills Country Club? Not even the members can say for sure.

7) The PGA Tour deserves at least one major. Why should the United States Golf Association, the Royal & Ancient Golf Club of St. Andrews (Scotland), the PGA of America and Augusta National Golf Club have dibs on the majors when they stage just one event a year? The PGA Tour is the entity that has changed the game, and the Tour is made up of its players. The Players is a major championship, for the players.

8) International stars build their schedules around The Players.

Eh...not so sure about that one Ken.

Especially now that the tournament dates have been changed, the world’s top golfers can plan their preparation for The Masters in April, The Players in May, the U.S. Open in June, the British Open in July and the PGA in August. Beautiful synergy.

9) The golf course is great. Once decried as “tricked up,” and even ridiculed for its spectator-friendly design, the Stadium Course has evolved into an outstanding track that the players love. Some of Pete “Diabolical” Dye’s hard-edged design has softened over the years, but the course remains a very solid test of shotmaking, from the first tee to the 18th green.

Do you need more reasons why The Players is a major championship? There’s the front nine, you come up with the back nine.

Oh, let's not. 


PGA Tour's Sunday Evening Evacuation Plan Leaked To Media... more specifically. It seems that in the event of Tropical Storm Andrea making landfall Sunday evening, the Tour has enlisted Kenny G to serenade the champion, thus ensuring that all but close family and friends will stick around for this low point in major championship The Players history.

Thanks to reader Robert for this April Fool's Day worthy item:

In the first year of a new tradition, immediately following THE PLAYERS Championship closing ceremony on the TPC Clubhouse event lawn on Sunday, May 13, internationally-renowned musician and avid golfer Kenny G will perform a salute to the 2007 PLAYERS champion.

Does this mean he's going to do this every year? Or is there still hope they might enlist Celine Dion for year two? Fingers crossed here...

"It's a year of firsts for THE PLAYERS, and we looked for opportunities to enhance the Closing Ceremony to give guests a special finale to the tournament," said Executive Director Brian Goin. "We hope the crowning of a new champion coupled with a musical performance by Kenny G will be an ideal conclusion to a very special PLAYERS Championship on Mother's Day."

By the way, whose idea was it to end this thing on Mother's Day?


''I wish the USGA was talking to us, but they're not.''

Len Ziehm details some of the changes Rees Jones plans to make at Cog Hill.  Naturally the latest pricey toy designed to please the USGA is part of the package: a SubAir system under the greens. And guess who will pay for it?

This was buried deep in the story...
Jones' involvement is no guarantee, though, that Cog Hill will get its coveted U.S. Open.

''I wish the USGA was talking to us,'' Jemsek said, ''but they're not.''


What Are Those Misting Things...

...on the TPC Sawgrass' 18th hole!? Are they on the grandstand? Is it a bug repellant?


The Road Hole As A Par-5?!

old_17b.jpgThanks to reader Jordan for noticing this bizarre plan for the Old Course and this summer's Women's British Open...

At the last men's British Open, the course was stretched to more than 7,000 yards. For the women, it will be a tournament-record 6,638 yards with a par of 73. The 17th hole, known as the Road Hole, will be stretched to 453 yards as a par-5.

So for the men in 2005, the fairway contour juts in to stop the men from hitting wedge in (see aerial to the left), while the hole is too long for the women? I don't think so.


TPC Sawgrass Interactive Tour

Pretty nice interactive feature posted by, though I haven't checked out the Dye, Fazio and Rees Jones interviews with it yet.


17th Hole Pipeline

players_header_logo.gifThe 17th hole "Pipeline" on is working very well and seems to be a much slicker telecast than Amen Corner Live. Non-annoying announcers, multiple camera angles and few commercials. Oh and great sound on the tee too so that you can hear some of the pre-shot discussions.


“We are at or beyond any other Open in terms of general inventory sales"

Tod Leonard reports on the cash cow that the Torrey Pines U.S. Open is becoming and boy just in the knick of time to help pay those pesky USGA employees who expect things benefits! Damn people!

“It has gone extremely well,” Griffin said. “We are at or beyond any other Open in terms of general inventory sales and gross dollar sales. People were really starved for something like this, and they have really embraced the opportunity.”

We're moving inventory! That's what happens when you have good product. Just ask Tony Montana.

“It has been terrific, as good as it gets,” said Pete Bevacqua, the USGA's managing director for all U.S. Opens.

The Open by which all other Opens will be judged – at least before Torrey Pines – is the 2002 event at Bethpage Black on Long Island that generated enormous interest because it was the first Open to be staged on a state-operated facility where everyday golfers regularly played.

Bethpage smashed attendance records, drawing 297,500 fans for the week, and Golfweek magazine reported the gross earnings likely exceeded $100 million for the nonprofit USGA, which uses the money to stage all of its other championships and support its golf programs.

There was an enormous city of 78 hospitality tents at Bethpage that cost as much as $175,000 apiece.

At Torrey Pines, the first municipal course to host an Open, there will be about 60 tents in three villages on the North Course (many of them going for $210,000 each for the week), but there are 11 other hospitality areas, mostly situated in the Lodge, that well exceed $175,000.


Players Championship Photo Caption Help




Over-40 Softball League Game Featuring Commissioner Finchem Breaks Out!

finchem_200.jpgYou know since I've been doing this blogging thing I've seen some soft questions thrown at Tim Finchem, but never have the assembled scribblers and inkslingers lobbed 'em up so generously before.

Let's start with the illiterate. Apparently this scribbler does not subscribe to any golf publication... 

 Q. Was Pete Dye involved in the revisions, and to what extent if you would?
Who let Jeff Gannon in the room? 

Here's another one:

 Q. There's been a lot of unofficial talk about the purse this week. Can you confirm what the purse is and whether the final amount is a world record for a golf tournament?
Wow, they clocked that one at 19 mph! 

And Finchem's answer, also available in oh, every major or minor publication:

COMMISSIONER TIM FINCHEM: Is it a world record? The purse is $9 million. The record part I'm not -- I'd have to defer to our brain trust over here.
JAMES CRAMER: We'll have to look. We'll research that.
COMMISSIONER TIM FINCHEM: I've learned over the years never to jump in and say, "Yeah, absolutely."

Well, except when Manougian said "how about 15 years?"

Back to the fast balls...

Q. What was your reaction to Tiger calling 17 gimmicky, being that it plays such a central role in this tournament?

COMMISSIONER TIM FINCHEM: I read the transcript. It doesn't trouble me. There are an awful lot of players over the years who have not had a good time at 17 for whatever reason. It plays -- you know, his suggestion that maybe it should be No. 8 is an interesting one. It plays as No. 8 -- everybody who's ever played the tournament has played it as No. 8 because we have a two-tee start on Thursday and Friday, so they have that experience. He's the first player I've heard suggest that we move it to No. 8 on the weekend. We don't intend to do that. I saw in his comments he used the word "wonderful" related to the hole, so I like that part.

Q. It was somewhat confusing. We weren't sure if it was wonderful or gimmicky.

You can just feel the tension in the room! I bet Tony Snow reads this and thinks, I have it easy!

 Q. You're now 33 years into this thing. Every year we come here and there's always the question fifth major, is it a major, isn't it a major. Where do you see that argument going or that discussion going, and how does it get -- Jack yesterday said maybe it could replace one of the existing four. What do you see happening down the road here?

Yes, what would a Players press conference be without a fifth major question?

Wait, finally something tough...

 Q. Does Tiger and to a lesser extent Phil have more influence on TOUR decisions and how the TOUR is run than other players?


Wow, we know how to stop the Commissioner from rambling!

Nice follow up too:

 Q. And if not, do you think there's a perception that they do and how do you confront that?

Here's where the rambling answer unravels a bit:

I continue to be amused -- I'll give you one example. I just read an article here this week that said that the reason for the FedExCup was because Phil and Tiger wanted a shorter season. That's just wrong. It actually had nothing to do with the FedExCup. I mean, it's true that Tiger and Phil at one point or another have said, you know, I'd like to see a shorter season. I think lots of top players over the years -- a lot of players generally have said I'd like to see a shorter season. Why is that? It's a long season. It starts in January and goes until November. And you don't have to be a rocket scientist to see that if you're going to end the season with the TOUR Championship and it's well into the football season, that's a challenge.

So we wanted to convert that to a system where we could have a good solid season to a section of our season and maintain solid playing opportunities for the membership, so we managed the situation where we have $32 million in prize money in the fall and we have the FedExCup, and these guys can decide how they want to use that platform. I think there is way too much written about that subject from a perception standpoint than relates to the real world.

Oops, we launched into nonsensical MBASpeak mode. You know what that means? Translation: Phil and Tiger wanted a shorter season.

More hard-hitting stuff:

Q. As a fan of all sports, I enjoy Major League's Homerun Contest or NBA's Slam Dunk Contest. I don't know if it's in the works or not, but would it be asking too much to have a TOUR long drive contest this week in the future since there is no Pro-Am?

And here's where Finchem's saying to himself, "I picked the wrong week to stop wearing deodorant."

Q. What is your assessment of the way the FedExCup race is going, and do you see it picking up even more popularity as it continues?
Our assessment right now is it is an absolute plus for the TOUR and for tournaments and for sponsors and for the players, no question. How big of a plus, we'll have a better sense of after the Playoffs this year, and then we'll see what happens next year. But if we get a good base late this year then I think we'll be in good shape for next year.

I think we have to be careful to remind fans that this is in addition to everything else we've had. It's not in place of anything. It doesn't take the place of some things that the Money List stands for. It doesn't -- it is not in competition with THE PLAYERS or the PGA Championship or any of that. It stands for what it is; it's a season-long competition, and I'm delighted that the players see it that way, are supporting it, and I'm pleased that from my perspective, maybe not 100 percent, but virtually all the players that are in those top seeds going into the competition will play all four weeks, which that would be the first time that ever happened in this sport, and I think it would be pretty exciting.

Wow, that was productive.


Bamberger On Pernice

pernicechip_299x299.jpgThe second major profile analyzing Tom Pernice's opinionated nature actually yields examples of his thoughts. However I'm not sure that's always a good thing. This time it's Michael Bamberger doing the interviewing for SI:


Pernice, a former member of the Tour's policy board, regularly criticizes Tim Finchem, the PGA Tour commissioner, for being "afraid of conflict" and for "surrounding himself with people who aren't willing to challenge him, which I consider a sign of weakness."

He believes that some of the architects the Tour has hired for its TPC courses (he names Tom Fazio and Ed Seay) have built "bad courses because not one of them can play worth a lick, can't even break 85."
So much for the positive, uplifting stuff.


Writing about one of his wins and he and his daughter's love for Rush Limbaugh:

Not because of what he did on the course, but because of what happened afterward. His two daughters came running out: Kristen, who was seven at the time, and Brooke, the blind daughter, who was six. Brooke ran her fingers over her father's face, felt his smile and finally had confirmation that he had won. She immediately made the sign of the cross on his face. She is as devout as her father and mother, who was born a Methodist but converted to Catholicism.

(Says Brooke, "It doesn't matter what kind of Christian you are, as long as you're Christian.")


Uh Brooke, FYI, some people, like even the person writing this profile of daddy, are actually not Christian. Just an FYI!

And here's dad whipping out a circa 2004 talking point:

The mainstream media, with their supposed liberal bias: Don't even get him started on that. Ordinary Americans have no idea what's really going on in Iraq "because every day the media (are) reporting the number of people who die" instead of the progress being made.

Hey, I have an idea. Maybe Tom and Brook take an Iraq vacation and report back on the progress?

Ah back to the comfort food:

The Tour fined Pernice earlier this year for his pointed criticism regarding the changes to Torrey Pines, a penalty "which I think is a crock," he says. And then he goes off again, explaining how the renovations done by Rees Jones have stripped the course of its "traditional look."

Pernice used to consider Torrey Pines South a 7.5 on a scale of 1 to 10; now, stretched out to 7,568 yards, Torrey rates a 4.

"But Tiger likes it," he says.

"That 77,000-square foot testament to conspicuously conspicuous consumption."

They won't be framing this John Steinbreder column on the TPC Sawgrass monstrocity. As he did in the wonderful Club Life, Steinbreder puts the new structure's excess into perspective.

For one thing, a clubhouse should never draw more scrutiny than the course, or courses, it is designed to serve. It should be, at most, a compliment to the track on which the rounds are played, and only a secondary point of interest.
And more importantly...
My fear is that its vast size and scope might inspire others to go to similar extremes when building or modernizing the places where they don their Eccos before a round, much in the way Green Chairmen have for years responded to the impeccable look and lushness of Augusta National by attempting similar feats on their own tracks, often with disastrous results. The temptation to follow in those footsteps can indeed be great, and only the most sensible and steadfast club leaders will be able to ward off fellow members who decide they must have at least some of what the folks at Sawgrass have, no matter how inane or incongruous those desires may be.



The Golf Gods Speak!

And I think they find the new TPC clubhouse a tad excessive! Or at least, they'd like to see that new player's lounge get some use (check out Adam Schupak's tour at