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  • Lines of Charm: Brilliant And Irreverent Quotes, Notes, And Anecdotes from Golf's Golden Age Architects
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  • The Art of Golf Design
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    by Michael Miller, Geoff Shackelford
  • Alister MacKenzie's Cypress Point Club
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  • The Golden Age of Golf Design
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    by Geoff Shackelford
  • The Good Doctor Returns: A Novel
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    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
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    Unplayable Lies: (The Only Golf Book You'll Ever Need)
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  • Professional Golf 2015: The Complete Media, Fan and Fantasy Guide
    Professional Golf 2015: The Complete Media, Fan and Fantasy Guide
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  • The Forbidden Game: Golf and the Chinese Dream
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  • Arnie, Seve, and a Fleck of Golf History: Heroes, Underdogs, Courses, and Championships
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  • 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
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  • 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

  • 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
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    Reminiscences Of The Links
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  • Planet Golf USA: The Definitive Reference to Great Golf Courses in America
    Planet Golf USA: The Definitive Reference to Great Golf Courses in America
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  • 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
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Writing And Videos

At Augusta we tried to produced eighteen ideal holes, not copies of classical holes but embodying their best features, with other features suggested by the nature of the terrain. We hope for accomplishments of such unique character that the holes will be looked upon as classics in themselves.  ALISTER MACKENZIE



Explaining The Chase

Jim Peltz in the LA Times explains the NASCAR playoffs. This is interesting in the context of the FedEx Cup. Here they are in year four of the revamped system and it's still having to be explained. And NASCAR's system seems much simpler than the FedEx Cup.


Greetings From Santa Monica

I’ve returned to the Home of the Homeless where, mercifully, I will not (A) won’t have to see another artificially faded Boston Red Sox hat for at least a week, and (B) listen to any more complaints about a centerline bunker.

jacknicklausandmartindavis.JPGHowever I will not ever forget a lovely evening spent listening to Jack Nicklaus tell stories while discussing the impressive new Martin Davis book chronicling his life in the same format as the classic Hogan Mystique and The Greatest of Them All. I did not take notes from Jack's remarkably honest chat, but I'm sure several of those who were scribbling away will recount some of the stories he told. Then again, some of the stories he shared were so revealing that maybe they should not be repeated. That, anyway, is my excuse for not doing a post about it.
As for the Deutsche Bank, it’s always good for to get out to a PGA Tour event and be reminded just how few players have anything interesting to say golf architecture, and more remarkably, how few care.  After Ogilvy/ie, Oberholser, Harrison Frazer (who knew?), Baddelay, Pernice, Browne, Elkington, Woods and a handful of others, most of the field isn't too interested in what went into the major overhaul of the TPC Boston or how it might make their golf more interesting. (Maybe they're just too distracted by the stress of the playoffs. That's it!)
You would think that with so much money at stake there would be a bit more driving range discussion about the many nuances injected into the course, but then again, there is a reason many of these fine young men are good golfers: they don’t think about golf architecture. Which, I suppose, is why I admire the talents of the aforementioned players just that much more. Being so thoughtful and trying to play great golf is not easy.
The writer's reactions should be interesting once play begins and they have a chance to see the design impacting their play. Many should be pleasantly surprised at how many odd little lies and unusual circumstances players will face due to the new bunkering or the new/old style mounding I wrote about earlier in the week or other significant adjustments to the green complexes.
No. 5 (click to enlarge)
A few front nine design highlights to look for during NBC's telecasts...

- New 4th hole that should feature all sorts of birdies and bogies
- The revamped 5th that has become is (good) tough, beautiful par-4
- The new 6th tee out of the chute inspired by the late John Mineck
- The cross bunker on the par-5 7th that has induced entertaining whining because Heaven forbid if someone hits a poor drive they will have to lay up short of it and not have a very good view of the flagstick
- The depth perception altering bunkers at the par-4 9th where they constructed a brand new punchbowl green.

No. 18's centerline bunkering (click to enlarge)
Highlights on the back:

- The par-4 15th rewards players flirting with the fairway bunkers a good view of the hole while blinding those playing safe right
- The new 16th is a dynamite short par-3 with a nasty penalty for bailing out right;
- The 17th should make for great theater with the spectators hovering over the new and deceptive little green
- And the 18th, with it’s bunker strewn landing areas that are causing so much entertaining player whining (those bunkers are where I want to hit it!).

The TPC Boston has the potential to become a lot more interesting if Hanse and Faxon are allowed to tinker over the coming years. Namely, take out the modern mounding and catch basins for starters. They need to immediately dynamite the 2nd, 8th, 12th, 13th, and 18th greens and match them in style and character with their newly constructed putting surfaces.
And most of all, it'll be fun to see fescue grasses age under the incredible eye of superintendent Tom Brodeur. Because do remember as you watch, that these are new bunkers and new grasses, even though much of it looks like it’s been there for 50 years.


Tiger's Press Conference

TigeratDeutsche.jpgTiger's sit down with the scribblers Thursday included all of the right FedEx Cup answers...

Q. What would be meaningful about winning the FedExCup?

TIGER WOODS: Well, any time you win something that's never been done before, it's always meaningful. This is an experiment for the TOUR, and I equated it out there to very similar to what NASCAR went through. No one really understood it until after it happened, and then after a couple years people really got behind it. As we can all see, it's been flourishing.

Q. Several players have said this week, Rich Beem the other day said, let's be honest, without Tiger in the field, the Playoffs -- a Playoff event doesn't really matter. What's your take on the reaction you've received for taking a week off from players, from media, from fans? What's your take on you taking a week off?

TIGER WOODS: As far as the players, I really haven't heard much. I know that a bunch of my buddies were giving me some grief (laughter). But as far as any of the media stuff, I haven't seen it. I've been out on the boat and getting away from it.

Q. What kind of grief?

TIGER WOODS: Any kind of grief imaginable, just like we always do. We do it each and every day.

Q. No details, though?

TIGER WOODS: We just need to find an excuse and we're going to needle each other.

And for today's rally killer, courtesy of a television reporter (like that needed clarification!)...

Q. One of our local sports celebrities Tom Brady just had a baby, and I'm wondering do you have any new dad advice for him?

TIGER WOODS: Well, you don't sleep, that's for sure (laughter). It's fantastic. You hear from every parent who's ever had their first child that it's an experience that you'll never forget. You always want to be there. It's the little things. I've only been a dad for about two months now, but it's just the little things each and every day.

I'm away from home this week, and you miss those things. Granted, when you're at home it drives you crazy at times, especially late nights, 3:00 and 4:00 in the morning gets a little tough. But those times actually you really do sort of miss them, as well.

On the golf course...

Q. Can you talk about coming back here as the defending champion, and also now that you've played a full Pro-Am round, what about the changes on this course? What are your thoughts about that?

TIGER WOODS: Well, every time we've played here, this has been one of the greatest sporting towns you could ever play in front of. These fans, they love their sport, and they've supported this event. I know they've changed the golf course several times, and this time they've really done I think just a heck of a job and made it much more natural to the surroundings.

They made it probably slightly more difficult. The greens are a little faster right now, the fairways are giving it up a little bit, and you're really going to have to make sure you manage your game a little bit.

Before in some of the years we've played, we just had to make a bunch of birdies, just go super-low. It's going to be a little more difficult to do that this year.

On short par-4's, including this week's 4th hole...

Q. Can you talk about drivable par 4s and specifically the 4th hole out here this week?

TIGER WOODS: Yeah, I've always thought that's been a neat attribute to a golf course if you have one par 4 you can drive. But generally if you don't play it well, you're going to probably make bogey or even double. I think that's one of the neat things about having a par 4 like that.

You've got to hit -- you think you ought to just blow it in the bunker up there or whatever, but that's one of the harder bunker shots, too. You've got to make sure you know what you're doing, where the pin is, and it's a little more strategic than you think. It's very similar to No. 10 at Riviera. You think, oh, this is no big deal, driver down there, and up-and-down easy. We see a lot of bogeys for some reason on that hole when guys take a run at it.

And one more...


Q. In follow-up to that question about the 4th hole, how did you play it today and what is the game plan?

TIGER WOODS: Well, I drove it just short of the green probably maybe about two yards short of the bunker. I just hit kind of a flop shot. Pin was right in the middle of the green.

You know, if I hit a really good drive, I might be able to fly it to the front. I've got to really hit a good one. But generally my normal shot is going to be just slightly short of the green. A lot of it just depends on the angles you want. Obviously the green goes basically from back left to front right is the angle. To try to hit the ball to the right you've got to hit it a lot further, which makes it a little more interesting.

It's a very clever hole. You think it's pretty easy, you think you should be able to walk away for the week playing it 3-under par, 2-under par at the worst, but you'll see some bogeys there.


And they say there is no such thing as a dumb question...this isn't even a point misser.


Q. Are you presently designing any golf courses? If yes, where are they; if no, will you do some in the future?

TIGER WOODS: Yeah, one in Dubai and one in Nashville [Asheville]. We have two that we're working on. You know, we're probably going to limit it to that.


Sounds like it's fun to build in Dubai...

Q. I want you to talk about maybe a couple of things that you've learned as you've started these first two projects.

TIGER WOODS: Yeah, there's quite a few headaches that are involved. Just like anything, you're trying to create something from nothing, so there always are going to be some impediments along the way.

For instance, like the Dubai project, we've -- how do you get water that far into the desert? You think, okay, it's pretty easy, build a couple lakes, dump the water in. Well, it's 130 degrees, it's humid, everything is evaporating and all gone. Trying to create and shape the golf course and keep the dirt from blowing away, the wind blows there, too, it's not like it's calm every day, is a challenge. This is something that we didn't really think about at the beginning. We thought, okay, we can get around this, no big deal. All of a sudden it's a reality and it's presenting quite a problem.

On the Westchester television ratings...

Q. Did you get a chance to watch any of last week's at all and did you happen to see what the TV ratings were?

TIGER WOODS: No and then yes. I didn't watch any of it, but I read the paper on Monday.

Q. Were you a little surprised it was as low as it was given kind of the hype and the lead-in?

TIGER WOODS: I was surprised.

This did not exactly put the Hank-Tiger breakup rumors to rest...

Q. You mentioned practice. Over the last couple weeks there have been a couple reports about Hank and you guys' status and how much he's going to be intimately involved. Can you give us your view on how that's going to go going forward?

TIGER WOODS: Well, we're still working together.

Q. Just not as often?

TIGER WOODS: Yeah, definitely not as often. He has some things that he needs to take care of, which is totally understandable, and he really should be there.

And last question on getting a cut of the real estate in his design ventures...

Q. When it comes to your courses and your design and the structure of them, I know they won't all be tied to real estate, but the first couple having the design part and then the real estate part on the back end for years to come, why is that? And can you just talk a little bit about the structure of that? And some other players, Jack has done deals like that that have kind of backfired on the real estate part of it for him. What are your thoughts on having it structured that way, and can you talk a little bit about it?

TIGER WOODS: Yeah, that structure has its faults and can be fallible. But also if you're lucky enough, you can hit the home run, too. So it's a hit-and-miss.

But yeah, you definitely do take a chance when you do that. But that's the whole idea of being around people who are reputable, who understand what they're doing, and who have created projects in the past that have been very successful. And these people are the ones you want to partner up with.

 Like Donald Trump!


Say It Ain't So...

I was walking up to the driving range when a fast moving limo and accompanying Cadillac flew into the TPC Boston entrance circle with two flanking Massachusetts state police cars and one motorcyle officer leading the way (lights flashing of course).

Why, I didn't know the Governor was playing in today's pro-am, that's wonderf...wait, no, no, it can't be.

Look who popped out to march up the clubhouse steps and sign in for his 12:50 tee time...



Deutsche Bank Championship Photo Caption Help

Tootling around the back nine I spotted Sid Wilson shuttling around PGA Tour Commissioner Tim Finchem. Oddly, the Commish never made it by the media center to chat with us scribblers, but he did kindly stop to answer a question from two spectators.

Hmmm...I wonder what were they asking and what was the Commish saying?



The Tiger Ratings Effect

Doug Ferguson details the changes at TPC Boston and also dispels the myth of horses for playoff courses.

Accompanying his piece was an unbylined sidebar not posted on the USA Today's web site noting the 2.1 television rating for the Barclay's. It pointed out that the same week last year featured Tiger winning at Firestone, drawing a 6.6 rating.



Arriving at the press center here on everyone's favorite--pro am day--a father and his son were asking one of the shirt-and-tie clad security folks what hole Tiger was on. Pulling out a pairing sheet he noted that Tiger teed off at 7 a.m., and they take about 10 minutes to play each hole, and....whoa. Try ten minutes to tee off on each hole there ace!


"We'll play the up tees"

Jim McCabe offers an extensive look into the TPC Boston's renovated 4th hole and looks at some of the issues that arose over how the PGA Tour would set up the short two-shotter.


"If I don't know it and I'm involved in the game of golf, how is Mr. Joe Public going to know it?"

JackNicklausDeutscheBank.jpgJack Nicklaus sat down to talk about the President's Cup and as usual, offered his take on several issues along with many more enjoyable anecdotes. The entire session is worth reading, but here are some highlights.

On Rory Sabbatini and Tiger:

Q. You know the background, right?

JACK NICKLAUS: Oh, yeah. How could you miss it (laughter)?
I don't know, a lot of times, too, I'll ask Tiger, and I'm sure that Gary will ask his guys, who would you like to play? In other words, at the matches the last time, I went down and I had -- Phil said, "I'd like to play Cabrera." "Tiger, who would you like to play?" "I don't care, it doesn't make any difference to me." Freddie said, "I'd like to play Vijay." I don't know what Gary's guys did.

Those are the only two that I had a mandate if I could get them. As the selection process goes, I pick a player, Gary matches him, Gary picks a player, I match. So forth and so on, it goes back and forth.
It's like the last two times I captained prior to that, I had -- let's see, I had Tiger in Australia ask me to pick Norman for him. I got him Norman. We were in South Africa, and both Ernie and Tiger would like to play each other, so Gary and I talked and tried to figure out, can we get Tiger and Ernie to play. So that's fine.

So if Gary comes to me and says, Jack, I've got Sabbatini wants to play Tiger and Tiger says he wants to play Sabbatini, then we'll try to make that happen. But if Tiger says I don't care and I've got somebody else -- a lot of guys, they say, I want that guy. I had one guy on the other team I had five of my guys say I'd like to have him. They just want to try to beat him. I'm not going to tell you who that is.

That's sort of the way it works. If it turns out that that's a good match, it's a good match. I think frankly that probably Tiger and Vijay or Tiger and Ernie would be a better TV match, but Sabbatini has had a great year. He's played very, very well. He's had a lot of press.

And on his rivals making comments ala Sabbatini:

Q. How did you handle it? And is this atmosphere a lot different in the sense that everybody seems a little bit more sensitive, so to speak?

JACK NICKLAUS: Well, I don't know. We didn't have that much press. The only time -- I had several times, but the one that I remember a lot was -- I was still an amateur, and I was a defending champion. I had won in '59 and '60 going into St. Louis. Phil Rogers in those days, Phil just (motioning talking with hand), and he was holding court at St. Louis about -- he said, "I see in the brackets here if Nicklaus wins his first few matches, he gets to play me." Like he had a bye the first two rounds.

My dad heard it, and my dad said I heard that in conversation, Phil was really running his mouth. I said, I've got to win my first two matches. I won the first two matches, and we went out and played 12 holes and Phil was one under par and the match was over. I beat him 8 & 7.

It turned out Phil turned out to be one of my best friends. I mean, he's a wonderful guy. But in those guys Phil was just all mouth.

And Rory is a little bit going this way a little bit right now. So I think when you get that kind of a thing, a guy says, "I think I want to take care of that situation." And I think Tiger probably said he wanted to take care of that situation.

Now, did I get a little bit of that as I went along? Yeah. But I didn't pay much attention. When I was a 20-year old kid it got my dander up a little bit. I'm sure Tiger is very used to it, I don't think Tiger paid a whole lot of attention to it. He just paid attention, took care of business and went out and played very, very well, as usual.

Q. But it is an slightly extra incentive do you think?

JACK NICKLAUS: A guy doesn't miss it (smiling). You don't miss that comment. It doesn't pass by the way.

And on the FedEx Cup:

Q. We're in week two of a new playoff system. Just curious to get your take on it. Does it interest you at all?

JACK NICKLAUS: I don't understand it to be very honest with you. Tim told me it was supposed to be good for the game of golf so I went along with him (laughter). I think that the whole objective was to get the guys to play, and the first week Tiger skips. So I didn't understand that at all.

I sort of thought that the system was that when you had the Playoffs that everybody started over. But no, the Playoffs carry on.

Now, I can understand that if they didn't carry on and Tiger decided to play the first week and Phil missed the cut, they're gone.

But I would like to find out what does a guy have to do that's 100th on the Money List or 120th to win the FedExCup? What does he have to do?

Here he tried to be more upbeat about it...

Do I like the idea? Yeah, I think it's great to try to get the guys to play at the end of the year, great to have a season-ending playoff. My bet is that it'll get tweaked after this year. Like every event we have ever had the first year we have it, we'll have tweaks in it, and I think the whole objective was to get the guys to play. That was what it was, beyond the PGA Championship, and to be able to have a season-ending thing.
They end it with the TOUR Championship, so it's going to be the TOUR Championship, but it's how you get to the TOUR Championship and create more interest and so on and so forth. I commend them for that. I wish I understood what it was, and I think you guys fall into the same category trying to understand it, too.

If I were Rich Beem trying to figure out the projected 130, 124, when somebody makes birdie, par, bogey, give me a break. How does he win? I just don't know. I just don't know that. And frankly if I don't know it and I'm involved in the game of golf, how is Mr. Joe Public going to know it? That's the problem.

To get the public interested, they've got to understand what's going on. Very simple when you play a football game and you're in the Playoffs, you're a wildcard team and you're playing the division leader, you win, you go on. You lose, you go home. We don't exactly have that here. So I don't really -- I think they'll tweak it someplace.

And my question...

 Q. Can you talk then in general about kind of the interest in short par 4s we're seeing at a lot of tournament venues and if that's maybe impacting your philosophy at all?

JACK NICKLAUS: My favorite holes are short par 4s. I think they're the most fun to design, and I think they're the most fun to play.

I think if you look at Muirfield Village, I think the players love the 14th hole at Muirfield Village, and that's a nasty little hole. It can be a nice hole, too. I mean, it can be a nasty little hole if you play it wrong. And I'm sure there are some other holes throughout the year on the TOUR that you'll find. Royal Montreal has one hole where we'll play the tee up and the tee back. I don't remember what number it is.

I was up there as I said in June, went around the golf course on a rainy day and we went around as fast as we could go because we were freezing to death. It's totally different than when I played there in the '70s, so I don't remember much about the actual holes.

And a really strange question...

Q. I just wonder if you've seen any of Tiger's designs yet, and if you have seen them what your opinion on them might be?

JACK NICKLAUS: I don't think Tiger has any designs yet.

Q. He has the course in Dubai that --

JACK NICKLAUS: He's got a contract. I don't know that he's got a golf course.

Q. He has laid out some of the holes already for it. I don't know if you've seen them at all?

JACK NICKLAUS: No, I'm not going to Dubai to see his golf course (laughter). He'll go through the same process as the rest of it if he is truly interested in design and learn the business.

And my favorite exchanged, started by Doug Ferguson...

Q. What's the last golf course you did for your ego?

JACK NICKLAUS: For my ego? Oh, gosh. I don't really know, but I would say probably -- I mean, I didn't even do the Bear's Club for my ego. I had a membership there that I thought was going to be a fairly elderly membership. I would have done that course a lot more difficult if it was for my ego. I would have made it a lot stronger and a lot different, but I didn't do that. It's still plenty tough enough.

But for my ego, oh, probably back to -- probably Castle Pines maybe, back in that area, early '80s because Jack Vickers really wanted a very difficult golf course. Jack Vickers keeps changing it and making it tougher. Of course you guys aren't going there anymore, but he'll have events there again. I'd say it's been 25 years since I've really done one for my ego. I've been involved with other people's ego, but that's okay.


Weighing Options On TPC Boston's 4th

As expected, the Hanse-Faxon-Wagner redesign of TPC Boston's 4th hole is generating the most discussion, fueled in part by the possibility that officials may play the 356-yard tee for two rounds. Since that tee was never intended to be used for Deutsche Bank tournament play, it appears the Tour officials have decided to play it at around 300 yards all four days.

Until we see actual tournament play, we won't know which option players will most often chose to take. Just from observing some play on it, the hole looks like a Redan merged with elements of Riviera's 10th. It seems that a few will lay-up with a four or five iron, most will hit three wood at the front opening or into the front bunker, while some will take driver and err on the long side of the green.

A few images, starting with the view from the tee.


And the view from the left center of the fairway...



And the view from the right center, which is the ideal layup angle.


Finally, the rear view which flattens out some of the neat features over the green (fall off, bumps, etc...) that may make the player driving it long think twice. There are some small mounds meant to look like the old style New England bumps that are often found in this area when crews would bury large rocks instead of trying to cart them off property. 


"It appears Miss South Carolina has found work writing ad copy."

Grant Boone weighs in on the FedEx Cup and always provides
I have no idea where PGA TOUR Commissioner Tim Finchem was when he came up with the idea of these playoffs. And despite spending last week in the crapper of public opinion, the Commish still hasn't apologized for foisting this bogusness on an unsuspecting golf world. On the contrary, the TOUR's PR machine keeps pumping out ads like this full-pager in Tuesday's USA Today:

Every drive. Every wood. Every iron. Every bunker. Every chip. Every putt. Every shot counts.

It appears Miss South Carolina has found work writing ad copy. It's repetitive at best, inaccurate at its worst, and repetitive at best. Every shot counts? What, as opposed to regular TOUR events where players buy mulligans before each round?

"Apparently he's a celestial being that you can't touch. That's the way I see it."

RorySabatiniDeutscheBank.jpgLike the motorist who has to slow down for a car crash, I decided to sit in on Rory Sabbatini's meet and fight greet with the scribblers at Wednesday's Deutsche Bank press conference. And he didn't disappoint.

After a pretty rigid, uninspired effort (the course is "fair" and in "great shape"), a question about an incident last week got him going before this question delivered some good old fashioned tension in the room. 

Q. Outspokenness has been a double-edged sword for you, hasn't it?

RORY SABBATINI: No, actually the media has been the double-edged sword in the fact that I'll make a statement and they tend to paraphrase it to their liking and change it. You know, if anybody actually had bothered going back and reading transcripts from previous interviews, they would understand what I said instead of just going with the paraphrasing and following that lead.
You know, I'll say that the media has really put a very bitter taste in my mouth.

Q. Do you suppose that's because of the fact that you speak up or that you speak out on certain topics and no one else really takes a stance publicly on anything, so therefore -- because I haven't disagreed with anything you've said all year. I think you've been right.

RORY SABBATINI: Understand, I'm generalizing. I'm not saying every member of the media.

Q. I know, I don't feel that way.

RORY SABBATINI: The situation is I speak my mind. People always say they want something different; you get me, you get something different, and then they burn you for it. So what do you want, do you want different or do you want the usual fraternal player out here? You guys need to pick and choose what you want. If you want your generic standard answer, hey, I can spend all day long here and talk generic answer with you. But that's not the person I am.

You know, if the situation continues where people continue to burn me and manipulate what I say into what they want to turn it into, I'm just not going to bother talking. That's why, you guys have got to pick and choose what you want.

It's called copy and paste my friend.

Q. Fair enough.

RORY SABBATINI: You make me out to look like the bad guy when I've done nothing but ever actually, in a sense, praised Tiger because I've seen Tiger at his best. I'm the first one to admit, when Tiger is on his game, there's hardly -- I don't know if there is a person that plays on the PGA TOUR or anywhere in the world that can beat him, and I've said that repeatedly.

Q. When you said what you said, he had just blown a three-shot lead with six holes to go at Wachovia. I thought, you know what, he's making a valid point.

RORY SABBATINI: But the thing is people don't see that as a valid point. Apparently he's a celestial being that you can't touch. That's the way I see it.

Well that ought to put things to rest!

Q. If you were Gary Player, who would you pick to take on Tiger at the Presidents Cup in the singles?

RORY SABBATINI: Why not pick me?

Q. I think that's what he's asking you.

RORY SABBATINI: Why not pick me? I would pick myself.

 There's a newsflash.


"Is there another name we could probably call it? Yes."

Jim McCabe looks at the suddenly dirty "playoff" word.  

 "It's not really a good term," said Zach Johnson.

"Is there another name we could probably call it? Yes," said Heath Slocum.

All right then, instead of "playoffs," what should we use? Heads are scratched, laughs are heard, then smiles break out.

"I don't know what you call it," said Charles Howell III.

"I don't know. It's a tough one," said Pampling. "It's a word you've got to use, I think. Obviously, it's not a regular playoff, but it's got to be golf's playoffs, maybe."

Johnson, one of the PGA Tour members who gets involved with company policies, recalled that there was much talk about what to call this series of four tournaments.

"There's not really a good term," said the Masters champ. " 'Playoffs' is the best term you can come up. There really isn't another term that would be sufficient. [But] it's just a word."


Honorary Membership For Wounded Warrior

If only our government treated vets this well...

For Immediate Release


NORTON, MA (August 27, 2007) – As part of the PGA TOUR’s ongoing commitment to support U.S. military men and women and their families, the TOUR will award an honorary TPC Boston membership to Captain Marc Giammatteo at a special ceremony at the Club on Wednesday, August 29 at 5:30 p.m.  Working in collaboration with the Wounded Warrior Project (WWP), the TOUR is providing honorary memberships to special wounded warriors at each of its 17 TPCs across the country.

In addition to receiving the honorary membership, Giammatteo will serve as the TOUR’s special guest during the Deutsche Bank Championship – the second tournament in the PGA TOUR Playoffs for the FedExCup, which is taking place at TPC Boston August 31 – September 3.  PGA TOUR Commissioner Tim Finchem will be on hand to make the presentation to Giammatteo, a West Point graduate who was severely injured during his tour of duty in Iraq in 2004.

“On behalf of the PGA TOUR, we feel privileged to have the opportunity to give back to the brave men and women of our military and their families, who sacrifice so much so that all Americans can enjoy a level of freedom and quality of life unmatched around the world,” said Finchem.


Club Adjustability Rule Change

From the R&A press release on rule changes to accomodate adjustable clubs:

“We believe that the Rule change regarding club adjustability will create opportunities for both manufacturers and golfers alike, without diminishing the challenge of the game,” said David Rickman, R&A Director of Rules and Equipment Standards.

“Top professional golfers have long had the opportunity to have their clubs adjusted or modified quickly and often. This has allowed them to ‘fit’ their clubs to their swings as they wished. By changing the Rules to permit greater club adjustability, all golfers will have the opportunity to enjoy similar fitting benefits” added Rickman.

Yes, the benefits of tour vans will be felt by millions of golfers with this move! 


"Everybody needs to cool their jets and see how it plays out."

As a rule it is tough to take a newspaper seriously when they run headlines like "Big Ten extends it brand with new network," but Michael Hiestand does feature some interesting stuff in his Wednesday column. First, some slightly different (higher!) ratings for The Barclays...

Last week's first-round playoff action — The Barclays on CBS — didn't suggest postseason golf is a gimme putt. Sunday's final round drew a 2.1 overnight — translating to 2.1% of 56 urban TV markets. That's up just 5% from ABC's final round last year, when the event was in June. Saturday's third-round drew a 1.7 rating — even with last year.
And then he talks to Johnny, where the real fun starts.
But lead analyst Johnny Miller suggests, "Everybody needs to cool their jets and see how it plays out. I think it will grow on the public and even on the guys in golf. If the players look excited at the end, people might say it's pretty good."

What an endorsement. Thankfully, Johnny hasn't cooled his jets...

Talk about being cautiously optimistic. Miller says back in his playing prime, he "wouldn't have been thrilled" to play four consecutive late-season events — which this year are followed by NBC's Presidents Cup and, next year, by NBC's Ryder Cup. "The public might not understand, but that's a lot at the end of the year."
So, here's Miller's modest proposal — "which won't make me too popular with the PGA or NBC" — for tweaking the format: Allow players' scores to be counted from just two of the first three playoff tournaments.

And that's why Johnny will never be commissioner.

This is just plain ridiculous.

This year's playoff field will be whittled down to 30 for the fourth and final event, meaning it might not end up that star-studded. Miller has a nit to pick with that: "I don't see why they need to go under 70."

Might not be star-studded? The system makes it nearly impossible for the stars to miss it!


The City That Never Weeps

Thanks to reader Tuco for Mark Cannizzaro's borderline comical rant about Tiger's PR swing through New York city.

Woods' appearance was a cheap shot that ripped through the heart of not only those organizations but the New York area golf fans who bought tickets for last week's tournament expecting to see Woods competing in an event he even did TV ads to promote.

I think New Yorkers need to let this one go because there's no way he's playing the Barclay's next year either. Especially after he saw the greens.


A Few Quick Comments From TPC Boston

greetingsfromboston.jpgThanks to favorable weather and the efforts of superintendent Tom Brodeur, the course is dry and firm with a promising weather forecast.

I toured the course today with Gil Hanse and Brad Faxon, so it was fun not only to hear their insights, but to hear player reactions which included several fine compliments along the lines of "I'm not sure how to play this hole" or "that bunker is right where I want to layup." Of course, the players don't realize they are paying the architects a compliment!

The new fourth is a real standout and I'll post more on that with some photos when I get the chance. Both 16 and 17 could be really fun on television, while the 18th is loaded with trouble but until the original green is blown up, I'm not sure how great it can be.

Most exciting of all is how aged the fescues already look. These images are of 5 month old bunkers. In a few years when the grasses break down and see a little wear and tear, they'll only take on more of an antique flavor.

TPCBoston15bunker.jpg TPCBoston15rightbunker.jpg



Marketing Cash Or Deferred Comp

fedexcuplogo.jpgI had a nice chat with Joe Ogilvie today who takes exception to the criticism of the FedEx Cup's deferred compensation purse structure. I countered that the average fan can follow it more easily with cash on the line, which he understood. But then Joe did some calculating and started dropping figures that sounded something like this from Richard Sandomir's piece in the NY Times while arguing that the deferred compensation will most certainly get the attention of players. From Sandomir's story:

If Woods wins and cashes in at 45, and the $10 million gets an annual return of 8 percent, he would get a $29.4 million parting gift. Mickelson, seven years older, would come away with $18.5 million.
If Vijay Singh, who is No. 6 on the FedEx Cup points list, wins the playoff, then sharply reduces his schedule or retires, he could get his $10 million quickly. He turns 45 in February, one day before Stricker turns 41.

Let’s say a youngster like Hunter Mahan, 25, wins it all. If he collects his deferred prize at 45, and he has received an average return of 8 percent over 20 years, he’ll have $46.6 million in his account. Now let’s let compound interest run wild. If Mahan plays until age 55 and his $10 million earns a smashing 12 percent annual return, he’d have $299.6 million. Such a prospect makes the Champions Tour look like essential estate planning.

So has the Tour made a mistake not better marketing the potential prize take or is simply an impossible concept to market because there are so many variables involved?

While it seems nice that they are "maximizing" the potential take for players due to the wonders of compounding interest, would the FedEx Cup be more fan friendly as a cash bonus pool? And therefore, a more productive exercise for the Tour's sponsors...oh and charity of course.


"I’ve made a pretty good start to this FedEx Cup playoff series, so I really want to push on from here and win one of these things."

Ernie Els pulled out of the Deutsche Bank and apparently his web handlers were last to know...
So, this week we stay on the east coast of the United States, making the short journey from New York to Boston for the Deutsche Bank Championship which starts on Friday – not the usual Thursday start – at TPC Boston. This is an Arnold Palmer-designed golf course and it has a lovely mature, almost traditional feel about it. I like it. I understand they’ve made a few changes since we were last here and I’ve heard nothing but positive feedback. I’ve made a pretty good start to this FedEx Cup playoff series, so I really want to push on from here and win one of these things.

So, yeah, the confidence is growing. My game feels in good shape. That gives me a lot of reasons to be optimistic about this week’s Deutsche Bank.

I’ll write again next Tuesday and tell you all about it.