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

    Kindle Edition

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

Fashions in golf courses, as in ladies’ clothes, seem to be so frequently hopelessly exaggerated. We have our latest Parisian styles, and they are adopted for every form and every contour, quite regardless of the land to be dealt with...the real test of a course: is it going to live?  H.S. COLT



Greetings From Pinehurst

greetingsfromnc.jpgGreetings from the home of American golf. I'm informing you of my presence not because you should care, but should this be my final post, you will know where I met my demise. You see, I'm speaking to Golf Digest's annual gathering of panelist's and while Google has mercifully lost some of my more disparaging columns questioning the sanity of the panel or the rationale for such a panel gathering, I know some out there in panelist land never forget.

I'll be sure to let you know if I survive. I'm confident that the requested chicken wire from the Golf Digest audio-visual department should at least shield me from Newcastle's and Becks.

If the sun comes out I might even post some photos, but apparently the forecast is for (much needed) showery weather tomorrow and early Saturday. 


Let's Not Rewrite The Classics Yet

October07.jpgNow posted is my latest Golfdom column on questions about the restoration movement's validity

Also posted is David Frabotta's story on environmentally progressive superintendent Pat Blum's efforts to improve his own course and the Audubon Cooperative Sanctuary Program's requirements.


"They need to start over anyway.”

From Rex Hoggard posting on the Golfweek blog:

Big talk on the practice range here at the Tesoro Club, site of this week’s PGA Tour stop, is on the wild fires that were raging in southern California.

One update late in the afternoon suggested Torrey Pines, site of the annual Buick Invitational and next year’s U.S. Open, is in danger of being scorched. “Good,” snorted one player, among the many who don’t like the changes to the venerable South Course, “they need to start over anyway.”



"In June 2007, Lincoln's only fairway mower broke."

LincolnParkpostcardDan De Vries, Eden Anderson and Richard Harris authored a San Francisco Chronicle op-ed column on the latest at Lincoln Park, where the city and residents are battling over the course's future. I can't imagine why it's in poor shape:

Lincoln Park, the city's oldest and most scenic golf course, is Exhibit "A" for the need to change the public golf course maintenance status quo. Lincoln's fairways are a patchwork of gopher mounds, leaky-sprinkler-fed bogs, and brown patches where the water has been shut off to stop leaks. In June 2007, Lincoln's only fairway mower broke. Instead of repairing or replacing it, the Recreation & Park Department mowed the fairways infrequently all summer with a narrow, slow, trim mower, leaving grass so tall that the fairways became indistinguishable from the roughs. After rain, Lincoln's fairways become waterlogged and inhospitable both to golfers and mowers, due to poor drainage system. The quaint, 1920s clubhouse is dilapidated, its public rooms empty, food service minimal and the bathrooms dank. The pro shop and restaurant have been on a month-to-month lease for more than five years, discouraging the concessionaire from making needed repairs. It is more than coincidence that the number of annual rounds declined from 55,000 in 2002-03 to 35,000 in 2005-06, the last year for which complete figures are available. So far as we are aware, the city has no current cost estimates for the needed infrastructure repairs.
And this was disturbing...
Why is this happening? Between the Recreation and Park Department, the Board of Supervisors, and the Mayor's Office, no clear statement has been made of the city's intentions at Lincoln. But one thing is perfectly clear. Lincoln is extremely valuable property, as it adjoins the exclusive Seacliff neighborhood. When neglected or abused, such property becomes target for developers. And thus civic birthrights are lost. At Lincoln, there is an ironic twist to this old story: a so-called friend of public parks, San Francisco Neighborhood Parks Council, is calling for construction of an "event center" on Lincoln's famous 17th hole. No details have been released, but an "event center" inevitably means building complexes, roads, parking facilities, congestion, noise and traffic. And all of this in the middle of the famous view of the Golden Gate now enjoyed not only by golfers, but also neighbors, strollers, schoolchildren, bikers, motorists, dog-walkers, birders, museum-goers, not to mention visitors from around the world.

A shame the PGA Tour, which is using nearby Harding Park, can't step in and offer the city some assistance. Then again, maybe some of the city don't want any help. The worse it gets, the less it makes and as the columnists note, the more willing people are to accept redevelopment.  


Mickelson Home OK; Entire Family Heads To China On Human Rights Fact Finding Mission

Tim Rosaforte reports the good news and a heartwarming tidbit:

Phil Mickelson's home in Rancho Santa Fe (Calif.) has escaped fire damage, a source told Golf World on Wednesday, but five homes in the same neighborhood, including one across the street, have burned to the ground. Mickelson, whose family evacuated the home Monday, was able to gain access to his property Wednesday, and he's planning to leave Sunday for a two-week trip to Asia, where he's scheduled to play the Singapore Open and HSBC Champions.

Mickelson's family will accompany him; they're planning to turn it into an educational trip with a visit planned to the Great Wall of China, among other historical landmarks.

Oh I smell a children's book in the making. 

Meanwhile Rex Hoggard reports on the fire's impact on others in the golf industry. 


T&L Golf Profile of Rustic Canyon

TLGolfNov2007cover.jpgThomas Dunne profiles Rustic Canyon in the October Travel and Leisure Golf. Warning: I'm quoted extensively.

I've also posted various items related to the course, including before-after photo sequences


PGA Tour Players Find A New Course To Hate

I know you'll be shocked to find out, it's a Palmer. Craig Dolch reports:

Ask any player in the field for this week's inaugural PGA Tour Ginn sur Mer Classic about the Arnold Palmer-designed layout at the Tesoro Club, and you'll get a variety of responses.

Some of which you can even print in a family newspaper.

While unfamiliarity with any course causes consternation among golf professionals, especially when they're trying to keep their jobs, a lot of players don't think the course - unlike the meaning of Tesoro - to be much of a treasure.

One caddy called it a "walk-off" course, predicting at least one player will walk off in the middle of the round this week because of its quirky nature, not to mention long distances between holes that will require numerous shuttles from greens to tees, adding to the time of the round.
Shuttles. In Florida? Nice.
Another player, when asked about what he liked about the course, paused for a few seconds before he smiled and said, "It's got a lovely clubhouse."

To be fair, Palmer was designing this course for high-handicappers who don't come to resorts just for the golf. Moreover, the area has been hit with several storms recently that dumped more than 5 inches of rain, making the fairways soggy and muddy.

"If we hadn't gotten all that rain, it would have been a really good test," said Palm City resident Ken Duke, a Tesoro member who ranks 44th on the PGA Tour's money list. "It's still going to be (a good test), but it would have been a little tougher. I just hope there aren't a lot of negative comments about the golf course because of the long walks. There's nothing you can do about that."
Well, that's not entirely true, but...perhaps it's not just the architecture that's the only issue.
Hitting the fairways won't be easy because they've been narrowed in some spots to 15 yards, flanked by 23/4-inch Bermuda rough, to help put some teeth into the resort course.

15 yards? Take that USGA!

Because of logistical reasons, PGA Tour officials won't use the par-3 sixth hole on the Palmer course, replacing it with the par-4 18th on the adjacent Tom Watson course, making for par-73 layout. Jupiter's Robert Allenby said some other holes don't add up.

"On the 16th hole, I hit a driver that went through the fairway," he said. "So then I hit a 3-wood and that left me with a 3-iron. There's another short hole where you have to hit a driver or a 3-wood just to clear the hazard, then all you have is a wedge going in. It's not your typical course, but I will say this: These greens are the best we've putted on in South Florida this year."

Two-time U.S. Open champion Lee Janzen said he'll rely on an odd combination of clubs this week. "You need to hit your driver and your wedges well," he said. "There's a lot of long holes, as well as quite a few short ones."

Palm Beach Gardens pro Steve Marino was one of the few who wasn't complaining. "I don't know why everyone hates it," he said. "I have no problem with it."

One thing most players agree on is if the winds kick up this weekend, as they're supposed to do, this will not be a course where everyone goes low. Duke was asked to compare the Palmer course to the others used during the Fall Series.

"I think this golf course is five shots harder than any of them, no question," Duke said. "Maybe than some of other courses we play, too."

But no matter what the players say or how much they complain, someone will walk away with the $810,000 first prize this week.

"Everybody is playing the same course," said Johnson Wagner. "It doesn't make any sense to complain about it. Other than it being soggy, the course is in great shape. So just go out and play the course."

Ferguson: Monty Should Not Count On A Captain's Pick

Doug Ferguson reviews the history between lovebirds Faldo and Monty and concludes that if the round Scot wants to play at Valhalla before his self-appointed captaincy in 2010, he better play himself onto the team.

Montgomerie has played in every Ryder Cup since 1991. His 23 1/2 points are second only to Faldo and Bernhard Langer. He has never lost a singles match, and one more singles victory would break the Ryder Cup record he shares with the likes of Faldo, Billy Casper, Arnold Palmer and Sam Snead.

Yet, that won’t assure him a spot on the team, especially not with Faldo as the captain.

They were contemporaries, but rarely rivals. Montgomerie narrowly beat him to capture his first Order of Merit in 1993, but Faldo spent the rest of his decade focusing on the PGA Tour, the toughest tour in golf, where Monty never won.

Their social relationship began to slide in 1999, two weeks before the Ryder Cup. Faldo was at the Canadian Open when he was asked why Montgomerie, who was on his way to a seventh consecutive Order of Merit, had never tried to spend a full season on the PGA Tour.

“I’m surprised he hasn’t thought of doing something different as a challenge,” Faldo said. “But hell, I think he likes to earn his fat checks each week, which is no harm in that, I guess. If you’re motivated by that. A few are. Most of us go for 10 Claret Jugs.”

Montgomerie was hurt. European captain Mark James was so outraged that when Faldo wrote the team a note wishing them well, James tore it up and tossed it in the trash.


One of the most amazing transformations in golf was from Faldo, the prickly superstar with few words and even fewer friends, to Faldo, the golf analyst with a dry wit who can’t stop talking. He probably would host infomercials if Golf Channel would let him.

Being a captain makes him competitive again.

“My days of winning majors have gone, and now this is the biggest project in my golf career right now,” he said. “So yes, it’s very important to me.”

There is an aura about Faldo that appeals to a younger generation — Paul Casey, Nick Dougherty, Luke Donald — who grew up with Faldo as the face of European golf. His contemporaries, such as Torrance and James, have experienced the selfish side of Nasty Nick.

But they won’t be playing for him.

And if Montgomerie doesn’t make the team on his own, he might not be, either.

"They are behaving as they please. Korea has become a chaotic place where violence reigns."

A follow up to the Korea golf tournament uh, riot, from the English edition of The Chosun Ilbo (I type that like I'm a longtime reader...LPGAFan apparently is):

On Sunday, around 500 spectators shouted curses and threw water bottles for about 50 minutes at a golf resort hosting an LPGA tournament in Kyongju. They demanded a refund of their entrance fees and transportation costs after the contest was suspended for a third day because of strong winds. One of the spectators even flashed an obscene hand gesture and verbally threatened a foreign golfer who had come out to sign autographs. Fearing for their safety, the LPGA golfers left the club in a hurry.

Contest officials say they were just following regulations when they delayed and canceled the matches because of sudden showers and lightning storms. The spectators who attend matches also know the rules. Those golfers will talk about the violence displayed by Korean spectators as they travel around the world. This is a tremendous embarrassment.

Both the unionists and the spectators have abandoned their sense of order and dignity. They are behaving as they please. Korea has become a chaotic place where violence reigns.
Whoa there. No, no...they just love their LPGA golf!



Southern California Fires Hitting Golf Community

Brian Hewitt reports that Phil Mickelson and family are among the San Diego area's 250,000 evacuees and that the good folks running next week's Nationwide Tour Championship at Barona Creek are facing several issues, including access to their homes and the course.


"He thought he made a mistake once, but he was mistaken."

faldo_zinger.jpgFrom Monday's Ryder Cup press conference. Yet another reminder how much golf misses the Faldo-Azinger antics.

CAPTAIN PAUL AZINGER: Thank you, Julius, everybody. And thank you everyone.
Richard, don't count yourself out yet. The way Nick's assistants are dropping like flies, you may be in there as a Captain's Assistant. (Laughter).

CAPTAIN NICK FALDO: I'm ready for you. That's what we used to do on ABC.

Sounds like the changes at Valhalla are just splendid... 
Q. Paul, just talk about the course today that you saw and how different it is, and then maybe Nick, also, just how different it is than what it was in 2000.

CAPTAIN PAUL AZINGER: It's quite a bit longer than it was in 2000. I really had forgotten how much undulation there was here. But it's, you know, I think it's going to be a bit hard, the redo of the four greens that they did, the greens don't look anything like the greens that have been here and been in place. They have been made very, very difficult. It's going to be even a challenge on a couple of them to find four pins I think maybe.

But I think it's going to be probably a little more difficult at 7,500 yards. Of course we may not play it at that length. I'm not sure yet. I think I'm going to have a little influence or say-so in the course setup as the home team captain.

So it's going to really depend on the makeup of our team I think as to how long we'll play the golf course. I think Europe's worked a pretty good advantage in their home course setup the last few Ryder Cups, and if we can get any kind of an edge at all, I'll be looking for that; I don't know what it will be.

If that was too subliminal, this should spell it out...

Q. A lot of times we'll hear a hole described as "a great match-play hole." Can each of you talk about what makes a hole a great match-play hole, and specifically, out here, which of these holes do you think are going to be a great match-play hole?

CAPTAIN PAUL AZINGER: I think a great match-play hole, I think when someone says that, I think it's a hole that gives you a lot of options, maybe an aggressive option versus a conservative option where the guy maybe who is leading the match makes a conservative decision and presses a guy's hands who may be behind and have to make an aggressive decision.

I think there's a couple holes like that out here. I think namely the 13th hole, the tee looks like it may be moved up and guys may actually take a crack at that green. That could be an example of what you're talking about.

JULIUS MASON: Nick, thoughts on a good match-play hole?

CAPTAIN NICK FALDO: Well, I agree, it's risk and reward. 13 is one option. But as we discovered today, not too much bail-out area (chuckling). Trees or water, there's your choice.

I can't see a true match-play hole. It's a very good golf course and they are all very good holes, but for me personally I can't see a true match-play hole at the moment.

That's not good. Even Firestone has a few match play holes!

Q. Secondly, there was a lot of talk at Wentworth about how much you had made from Monty about the Seve Trophy. Have you talked to previous captains and do you regret anything you said?

CAPTAIN NICK FALDO: What comments are they?

Q. Just that Monty missed a few meetings --

CAPTAIN NICK FALDO: Sorry, missed that.

Q. Well, the quote was that Monty was a tough one and he was the only one whose emotions you had to deal with.


CAPTAIN PAUL AZINGER: That you called Monty a really bad word or something, (laughter), horse's something -- I don't know. (Laughter).

CAPTAIN NICK FALDO: Are you the same as me? I can't hear the question.

CAPTAIN PAUL AZINGER: Doug, you're a little waffly there.

CAPTAIN NICK FALDO: Yeah, i can't get the question.

CAPTAIN PAUL AZINGER: Ask it again, Doug. I want to hear the answer. (Laughter).

JULIUS MASON: We'll bring Richard back up at this point.

Q. You were quoted in the Times of London as just saying Monty was a difficult one at the Seve Trophy and didn't come to all of the meetings and was the only one whose emotions you had to deal with. Curious if there was any fallout or if you spoke to any previous captains who were critical of you being so open.


CAPTAIN PAUL AZINGER: That was a horrible answer. (Laughter).

Oh and we have a year to go! Here's more...

Q. Have you spoken to anybody yet about replacing Paul McGinley as an assistant captain?


Q. Whoever it might be, do you view their role the same as Paul expressed earlier, that it's not just baby sitting, it's to stop you making mistakes?


CAPTAIN PAUL AZINGER: Keep you from making a mistake, not like baby-sitting.

Q. That's the way Paul expressed it.

CAPTAIN PAUL AZINGER: He thought he made a mistake once, but he was mistaken. (Laughter).

CAPTAIN NICK FALDO: Yeah (dryly) (Laughter) You have to live, you do the best you can. You make your best decisions all the time.


Injured Oberholser Pulls Out Of World Cup; Tour Open To Ideas On A Replacement

...the doomed event can't buy a break. And even worse, now they have to try to find an American to fill in.


PGA Tour Driving Distance Watch, Two Weeks To Go Edition

pgatour.jpgLast time we checked during week 20, the boys were clearly working out less because the PGA Tour driving distance average dropped to a pathetic 284.7 average, nearly 5 yards off last year's final average.

It had nothing to do with the wet and cold encountered early in the year. Nope. No way. 

But I'm glad to report that the cardio work and the flax cream massages helped bump the PGA Tour driving distance average to exactly 290 with two weeks to go. 

Though I must say the boys have lost their strength when it comes to 400-yard+ drives. Only 26 this year, compared to 30 400-yarders or more in 2006. Still time to act though!

As for players averaging over 300 yards, 2006 saw 21 do that while in 2007, a measly 23 are over the 300 average barrier, with four others just on the verge of breaking the 300 barrier.

In a few weeks we'll have the final word on drives over 350 yards, but right now it looks like they are on track to beat last year's total of 2,183

See, the numbers are once again down like USGA President Walter Driver says!

What does all of this mean?

Why, the USGA/R&A inaction has worked. By continuing to study the ball for another year while having machines test grooves using wet newspaper clippings to determine that grooves are in fact the real problem, our governing bodies have fixed the problem that they said did not exist.

With driving distances not leveling off and an 11-yard pick up since 2002 when they said there must not be any "further significant increases", golf courses can keep bearing the brunt of the costs associated with increases that are not happening while the gov bods can keep giving the impression they are acting on behalf of the game.

Meanwhile, the PGA Tour gets to spend a lot of money and annoying time testing for performance enhancing drug use instead. Oh the rest of us will have to go shopping for conforming v-grooved irons and wedges.


Hana Bank Kolon Photo Caption Fun

The Commissioner was present for Suzanne Pettersen's trophy ceremony, most impressive.

Wonder what's going through the mind of the dude on the left.

From The Golf Channel:






Angry Fans Mob LPGA Event Gates...


From the wire, and thanks reader LPGAFan:

Norway's Suzann Pettersen captured the US LPGA Tour's Hana Bank Kolon Championship at three-under par in Gyeongju in South Korea on Sunday.

And it might have been the easiest of the four victories she has had this year. The final round of the 54-hole tournament was cancelled due to strong winds, which the tournament officials said made some greens "unplayable" on the 6,270-yard course at Mauna Ocean & Golf Resort.

Balls would roll off the greens in the gusts, and the final round play was suspended at 9:15 a.m. local time (2345 GMT).

Libba Galloway, deputy commissioner of the US LPGA, told reporters that the tour tried to resume the play at 12:45 p.m. (0245 GMT), but after discussions with officials, players and sponsors, it was best not to continue playing.

An estimated 5,000 fans had gathered at the course, and some had to be restrained from entering the tournament headquarters in protest

Perhaps they heard about the trophy ceremony, where the winner would don one of Natalie Portman's costumes from the Stars Wars saga.



"It also sends the wrong message: that the PGA Tour will kowtow to demands from its star players when they are unhappy."

Gerard Gallagher of the Sports Network pens an interesting commentary on the rumored FedEx Cup tweaks and says the Tour should not back down again to the two stars who wanted a shorter season.

The PGA Tour's top players already do what they want, when they want. To campaign for a break from the five-week schedule -- which Mickelson and others have done openly -- is to say they can't handle playing five straight weeks, even for millions of dollars in a new playoff system fans have embraced. And that's hard to swallow.

It also sends the wrong message: that the PGA Tour will kowtow to demands from its star players when they are unhappy.

Many of the players who make the 30-man field for the Tour Championship will already have a break during the Ryder Cup. And if a player like Mickelson feels he needs a week off, he always has the option of just not playing.

We've already seen him and Woods do that.

By most accounts, the first year of the FedEx Cup playoffs was a success. The PGA Tour even got what it probably wanted most in the end: the best-recognized athlete in the world answering questions about his financial windfall.

Votaw pointed out that 98 percent of the uninjured players who qualified for the playoffs participated in it. The PGA Tour was "very pleased with...the support we received from the players, the competitions themselves and the results we were able to achieve in terms of television ratings, attendance, sponsor activation around the playoffs and media coverage," Votaw wrote.

So if it ain't broke, don't fix it.


A fair point, but I'm going to guess that the week off rumored for 2008 is a one-year exception to deal with the Ryder Cup.  


Shav Glick R.I.P.

The longtime L.A. Times golf writer passed away Saturday. Mike Kupper pens an obituary and former editor Bill Dwyre remembers him fondly.


Reilly Departs SI

I'm not really sure what to make of Rick Reilly darting from SI to ESPN since I wasn't the type to open up the magazine from the back just to read him. And since it had been some time since he'd contributed much to the golf coverage other than columns, I doubt his departure will mean that much to the golf coverage there.

Thanks to reader John for Richard Sandomir's NY Times story on this.


"We want to give them a solid option, where they have a choice and don't have to go to America if they don't want to."

John Huggan turns on his tape recorder and lets George "I'm prone to pissing people off" O'Grady share the European Tour's scheduling philosophy. And there are a few other jabs, including one at the President's Cup.

"We are looking at where we have really good courses, really good climates and a lot of money available," he continues. "Those are the areas we will be focusing on. We will shortly be announcing some of the things we are doing in 2009, at which time it will be obvious where we are headed. We will be looking to create clusters of tournaments that are attractive to the global players. We want to give them a solid option, where they have a choice and don't have to go to America if they don't want to."

While that is as much as O'Grady is prepared to say on the subject at this stage, the smart money is on the Middle East tournaments - those in Abu Dhabi, Qatar and Dubai - moving from their current early-season slots to somewhere near the end. China, too, is sure to figure large in the newly reconfigured European line-up.

"By the end of 2009 the new framework will be well established," reveals O'Grady. "It will be very clear what we are trying to do, although we will still have some work to do. I don't think we will ever have the schedule exactly the way we want it, so it is hard to put a time on how long it will take us to get there. We have to be aware of the whole world."

And on the Cups... 

"The American players are all very committed to the Ryder Cup," contends O'Grady, whose lack of cynicism on this subject is hardly shared by all informed observers. "There is such passion for the event. And the tension on the first tee is comparable to Sunday afternoon at a major championship. When Tiger Woods arrived on the first tee at the K Club last year, he was really tight. That tee-shot he hit into the lake was indicative of that.

"The Presidents Cup is very different. I sat on the first tee there this year and it was all very nice. There was plenty of banter and everyone was friendly. In contrast, you daren't speak on the first tee at the Ryder Cup.

"So I think the players would let the PGA Tour know if they needed a bigger gap between the Fed-Ex Cup and the Ryder Cup. But the Ryder Cup is far more important to me than it is to Tim Finchem. I'm not sure how aggravating he finds it that we are involved in the Ryder Cup and the PGA Tour is not, other than sharing a bit in the television revenue.

"If you take the view that whatever the PGA Tour does regarding the Ryder Cup is for the benefit of its membership, then it is a benevolent dictatorship. I don't think what has been done with the Fed-Ex Cup was done to hurt the Ryder Cup; it is merely a by-product."


"In War's Aftermath, A Game Becomes A Lifeline"

PT-AG697_Golf2_20071019151525.jpgThanks to reader John (as usual) for John Paul Newport's WSJ column on Jim Estes and his efforts to help wounded Iraq vets take up golf.

There's also a podcast where Newport talks about the piece.