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It's a boring course. You can fall asleep on it because you're always hitting the same kind of shots--woods or long irons.  JACK NICKLAUS on Firestone



The Future of Bandon

Peter Sleeth offers the most in depth look I've read into Mike Keiser's future plans for Bandon.

The Chicago greeting card magnate who turned a stretch of isolated coastal dunes into one of the most highly rated golf complexes in the world has been quietly buying up nearly 1,000 more acres of land on the Southern Oregon coast, according to land records in Curry and Coos counties.

Michael Keiser also has taken the unusual step of helping finance a proposed 90-foot dam just two miles outside this coastal town -- an attempt to help local cranberry farmers flood their bogs, which will provide more capacity to an expanding Bandon and, potentially, to water new golf courses.


Keiser said last week that he is considering building at least one more golf course on his property south of Bandon -- in addition to the four, 18-hole courses he owns north of the city. Further, another golf course owned by a Eugene couple is under construction south of Bandon.

The rest of Keiser's land, including more than 300 acres on the Pistol River in Curry County, will mostly be used as conservation areas to preserve the beauty of the south Coast, he said. The multiple purchases range from 10 acres to 235 acres in Coos County, and are primarily farms.

The news of another golf course brings mixed feelings to local residents. With another course south of town, Bandon could easily become a new golf destination, "probably like no other place in the nation, or the world," Winkel said.


Keiser said he bought into a 15 percent share of the Johnson Creek dam out of both altruism and investment savvy. The cranberry farmers who first conceived the dam were short of the expected $9 million to $12 million the dam would cost.

"Water's the new resource everybody wants," Keiser said.

The story goes on to talk about some local opposition to the dam.

"This is yet another example of continued evolution of the USGA’s business model."

Mercifully, the USGA only posted an excerpt from Walter Driver's shareholders annual meeting address.

Now, I'm not making this up (Honestly, check the link, if nothing else to see the bizarre underlining of certain key words):

We intend to (1) improve the platform of the USGA so that the USGA is organized to meet present and future golf and economic challenges and (2) build the best staff and volunteer team. We believe you will see the USGA is getting better at everything it does. You will see more evolution to meet current needs.
Classic empty corporatespeak. Fine, I'm sure the groupthinkers in attendance ate it up. 
We have recently announced corporate partnerships with American Express and Lexus. The corporate partners program will allow the USGA to reach more golfers and educate them on our programs and initiatives. This will strengthen the USGA Members program as part of the golf community and improve our communication with the golfing population.

Translation: since we dropped Golf Journal and started that tacky newsletter, our membership numbers are plummeting and we had to sell out so we could pad the numbers. 

Both companies share many of our values, beliefs and high standards.

I bet those companies hope they don't shre the USGA's values, at least, not with the USGA that lost $6.1 million last year.  

With American Express, the USGA can help AMEX add value to millions of cardholders while allowing the USGA the opportunity to educate them about our Association and its programs. Lexus will become the official car of the U.S. Open, U.S. Women’s Open, U.S. Senior Open and U.S. Amateur, alleviating a huge operational issue of our needing 10,000-12,000 "car nights" throughout championship season. These partnerships will benefit both partners and, ultimately, golfers as well.


Okay, I repeat, I am NOT making this up:

We are also exploring new ways to use the Internet and better communicate to USGA members, volunteers, players, fans and the golf community. Golf has become increasingly global. In 2006, the U.S. Open television broadcast was seen in excess of 150 nations. received 117 million page views and provided streaming video during the week of the championship. The ideas are unlimited and very exciting – the harder part will be prioritization and implementation. This is yet another example of continued evolution of the USGA’s business model.

Yep, he just said business model. This business just spent $30 million more than it did last year running the U.S. Open and is bleeding red. What a model!

Oh, and I know, you were thinking this was a non-profit, not a business. Get with it people!

You may ask "why are we doing this?" And the answer is Built to Last.

Built to Last is the leading business management "bible" and has been on the New York Times Best Seller list for years.

Yes the USGA, once run by volunteer captains of law, business and medicine now has a President citing a New York Times bestseller as the organization's guiding source of light!

The keys to building a lasting, effective institution include:

# Preserve the core and change the process – Absolute dedication to the game but keep up with distribution and media challenges and equipment technology

Answer: sell out to a foreign auto maker, start a boring blog and ban those pesky U-grooves!

# Big, audacious goals – best championships in golf, superior volunteers, great player experience, make the game more affordable and accessible

Yeah, those are pretty audacious goals for an organization that has trouble keeping those pesky mowers from undertaking middle of the night green rollings.

# Cult-like cultures – boy, have we got that!

Wait, did Walter just crack a joke that was actually funny? Well, he is an outgoing president.

# Try a lot of things and keep what works – this is what we are doing, open-minded, determined to constantly improve

Boy this is some book! Whoa, try a lot of things and keep what works. Why didn't I think of that?!

And you say you don't learn things on this blog? 


"Money was not the big motive for Tiger"

Yes and if you believe that, I have some land in Dubai for a golf...oh wait. Wrong joke.

Anyway, John Garrity offers a few gems in a Dubai-filed column. Writing about Al Ruwaya, home to the first Tiger Woods design... 
The golf course deal had been in the works for a couple of years, and local sources say that Sheikh Mohammed had to fend off a strong bid from Chinese interests, who were equally determined to land Tiger's first course design. ("Money was not the big motive for Tiger," says businessman and seven-time UAE golf champion Ismail Sharif. "There were other countries that would offer one more zero to get him.")
I guess I would tell myself that too if I was writing a check for $45 million.
Woods was coy when asked if he planned to spend much of his week in the desert, stepping off yardages and planting little red flags. ("I'll probably go out to the site and take a look.") His nascent design team, however, met with the Tatweer staff and got the ball rolling. Tiger's man on the ground was his childhood friend and high school teammate, Bryon Bell, who caddied for Woods on occasion before going to work at the Tiger Woods Foundation. Bell will reportedly manage Tiger Woods Design from an office in Orlando, Fla.

"Sadly, he doesn't pay much attention to that, and never has."

In his Scotland on Sunday column, John Huggan lets Greg Norman rant about the usual stuff. I still enjoy reading it even if he's made many of these points before. Well, he's taken it up a notch on the topic of his good buddy, Tim Finchem.

"I can't fault Finchem in some respects," said the two-times Open champion in Dubai. "You have to say he has done a good job in getting prize- money up in America, so that players from all over the world are going there to play. But when you are the leader of the free world, as the United States is, you have responsibilities beyond that. President Bush has global responsibilities on his shoulders, whether he likes it or not, because of the power of the position he is in. It is the same for Finchem.
Ouch, a Bush-Finchem analogy. Has Greg turned on 43 too?
"He has a responsibility not to forget the rest of the world. He must support the likes of the European Tour, the Australian Tour and the South African Tour. Which has not been happening. Finchem has to be aware that every decision he makes has an impact around the world. Sadly, he doesn't pay much attention to that, and never has."
Now now, he $ee$ great potential in China!
On the subject of the world No.1, Norman is just one of a growing number of informed observers despairing of the fact that, Woods and one or two others apart, the sharp end of the professional game is populated by an ever-growing number of golfing robots devoted to hitting basically the same shot, time after tedious time.

"Because I grew up in an era when we could manoeuvre the ball maybe 60 feet in the air either way, I wonder at the game today," he sighed. "You don't see that any more. There were a lot of shot-makers in my day. And now, even though the very best players still come through, technology has bunched the players up. Tiger, of course, is the exception that proves the rule.

"I see so many players making a lot of prize-money without ever winning a tournament. In my day, you could make the cut, and still not win any money. You had to play hard to get anywhere. I realise people don't like hearing the old war stories about what we went through, but the powers that be in golf - the USGA, the R&A and the PGA Tour - should put some restrictions on the equipment used by the best players in the world."
They should, but that would require an ounce of integrity!
"I would rule the golf ball back to 1996 specifications, number one," he declared. "It's a crying shame that so many of the world's great courses have been lengthened by 400-500 yards for one week a year. The cost of that is just ridiculous, especially when you multiply it 30 or 40 times. That money could be better spent elsewhere. Golf is too expensive, and getting more expensive.

"I look at the Open at St Andrews two years ago. There were four tees there not even on the golf course. And I think of golf courses like Merion or Inverness. There is a long list: Royal Melbourne and Royal Sydney in Australia. The men who designed those great courses must be rolling over in their graves. I know I would be, in their position."



USGA Clears Monday of Women's Open For Most Important People: AmEx and Lexus Customers?

The USGA reduces the U.S. Women's Open playoff from an 18-holer on Monday to 3-holes at the completion of play Sunday.

"This makes sense for the players, fans, volunteers, vendors, the general media and our broadcast partners regarding the Women’s Open," said USGA President Walter Driver. "And if you use the Marquis Jet Card like I do, you know how difficult it can be to book time on a Sunday night only to have to reschedule it."

Oops, don't know how the second part of that quote got in there!

Seriously, will Monday's now be Lexus and AmEx outting days (well...that is, after the Executive Committee has played)?

Ah the cost of corporate partnership: priceless.  


Tiger at Riviera?

My interest in Tiger Woods playing at Riviera is purely selfish (it's pretty boring without him!).

Over at, the boys are debating their usual FACT or FICTION topics and they all say he's going to play.

Obviously, they don't remember that Tiger got caught in two hours of about the most hideous Friday afternoon traffic I've ever seen while battling the flu and Stevie's brilliant decision to leave the umbrella in the locker with a slim rain chance.

But in this suck up piece, Tim Rosaforte starts laying out all of the excuses for why Tiger's not playing, most of which the scribblers in San Diego were fed last week in the pre-planning for a likely no-show at Riviera.

Right now Tiger's playing with a three-club wind at his back -- but to quote Bob Seger, it's all about deadlines and commitments. After the Desert Classic, he's hanging around to check out his $25 million golf course project, and then jetting back to a short week in California after flying back through 12 time zones. What to leave in, what to leave out?

Hmmm, I don't know, the ones that don't pay big appearance fees?

Of course, while we're doing the whole Seger Against the Wind metaphor...

And I found myself alone
Surrounded by strangers I thought were my friends
Found myself further and further from my home and I
Guess I lost my way
There were oh so many roads
I was livin to run and runnin to live
Never worried about payin or even how much I owe

Okay, well maybe not the part about how much he owes.


Warning: USGA Annual Meeting Blog

It's always scary when the USGA dares to be hip, which is why a click on the USGA Annual Meeting blog link is taken at your own risk.

To spice up USGA spinman Marty Parkes's posts, I first tried to plug his eloquence into the Ali G Tranzlata.

da usga is organized dig a lot of non-profit organitazions. dat is, it is an association of a crew of people and/or facilities involved in a particular industry or business. in our case, da usga is legally an organitazion of memba golf courses. dey come in all shapes and sizes: some is wealthy and private, udders is public and poa.

Ah, but why resort to that when the humor is found in plain old English? 

The USGA is organized like a lot of non-profit organizations. That is, it is an association of a bunch of people and/or facilities involved in a particular industry or business. In our case, the USGA is legally an organization of member golf courses. They come in all shapes and sizes: some are wealthy and private, others are public and poor.

Most are poor because they've spent so much money making changes to accomodate technology we failed to regulate.

Oh wait, how did that last sentence get in there?

We have nearly 10,000 such member facilities that legally comprise the Association. Each one of them – regardless of whether they are public or private; nine or 18 or 36 or 54 holes; or a driving range or “short course” where you can take lessons and hit balls -- receives a ballot each year that they can cast toward the election of USGA officers for the next calendar year. Many courses receive this ballot, fill it out, and mail it back. Representatives from each facility can also attend the Annual Meeting, if they so choose. Our courses also receive a copy of the Association’s Annual Report at the meeting or in the mail afterwards.

This situation isn’t much different than what you see in the private or corporate world. Most companies have stockholders. These shareholders receive an annual report each year along with a ballot to cast concerning the election of members of the board of directors as well as other governance issues that may be out there (such as whether to merge with another company). Shareholders can choose whether or not to attend the meeting, who to vote for, and express their opinions about the general state of things.

Oh I see. We're like corporate people, you know?

So this means any USGA member or media member can come to the meeting, right?

Most of the folks who attend our Annual Meeting come from member facilities located near the site of the meeting (San Francisco in this case). Certain USGA staffers like me attend, as do many USGA committee volunteers. We invite certain members of the media (especially local ones) to come. Officials from many state and regional golf associations (again mostly local ones) come as well. And, by the way, the folks who attend are one and the same with our invited list of guests. We have few, if any, gatecrashers…

Oh, so really you make sure to only invite likeminded shareholders and the media you invite? Huh. 

The Annual Meeting is held on a Saturday each year. Its main purpose is for election of incoming members of our Executive Committee (better known as XC around Golf House). This XC has the final say on all USGA matters, great and small. During the meeting, we also recognize those who are retiring from the Committee and thank them for all their hard work and sacrifice of time and money. This year, for example, we have three people retiring from the XC and three new folks joining.

The retiring members had trouble getting along with the president and disagreed with him on many points, which, as in the corporate world, is strongly discouraged.

There I go again! 

This is humorous, and like the rest of the blog, was not intended to be:

In the interests of full disclosure, I should mention that most staffers and several volunteers arrive a few days before Saturday. We are sequestered in various committee meetings during those days, conducting discussions and deciding upon policy for the future.

Why would that be a full disclosure deal? Here I thought he was going to mention that they arrive early to analyze the halfway house burger at Olympic Club or sample those cookies laid out in the San Francisco Golf Club locker room. 

Several years ago, my boss and our executive director, David Fay, asked me to take the minutes of our XC meetings. That is, to be blunt, hardly a coveted post at the USGA. To my utter amazement, I retain this duty to this day. I’m not sure whether it’s because I’ve done a good job or David just can’t find anyone else that he feels deserving of being saddled with this task. He once told me, in fact, that even if I leave the Association, I will still be required to return to take XC minutes.

Hahahahahaha. That jokester! 

Since the curtain is about to rise on our Annual Meeting tomorrow, I will wrap it up for today. I will drop back for a few minutes late tomorrow night after our meeting held in the City by the Bay…

Wow, can't wait. Maybe a Gavin Newsom post might liven up this affair?  Oops, bad pun, I'm sorry. 


Not Available In Stores!

Catching up here a bit, so forgive this being a few days late but reader John sent this WSJ story on the Orlimar infomercial scam success.

For starters, the storyline tends to be very simple and repetitive because viewers can't be expected to start watching from the beginning or sit through an entire spot. Mr. Bernhard focuses on thorough, frequent product demonstrations that solve some sort of problem.

At a minimum, he advises, there should be at least three "calls to action," industry lingo for getting customers up off the couch to order the product. Credit-card orders, rather than cash-on-delivery, are imperative to cash flow, Mr. Bernhard adds, noting that it is a selling bonus if customers hear they can't get the product anywhere else -- the classic "not available in any store" line. "That's maybe a cliché, but it's very important," he says. "You want to have a product that's specially-devised for television."

What is more, customer testimonials -- even ones by vaguely recognizable names -- paired with a charismatic host can add an extra punch.

For instance, Richard Karn, the next-door neighbor Al from the situation comedy "Home Improvement," is currently hosting a successful infomercial selling a collapsible ladder by Wing Enterprises, a small company based in Springville, Utah. Chuck Norris hawking the Total Gym exercise machine is another popular product.

For his part, Mr. Ortiz, 54, has been through building a brand -- and selling it in front of the camera -- before. As a teenager, he helped develop his father's company, Orlimar (a compilation of letters from his family's last name and two of their first partners). The business, based in northern California, didn't take off until the late 1990s when Mr. Ortiz developed the TriMetal Fairway Wood.

To advertise the club, now well-received by professionals and civilians, Orlimar executives designed the company's first infomercial.

They spent about $200,000 to create a 30-minute infomercial and around $150,000 in January 1998 for the first month of air time on the Golf Channel. Simultaneously, they conducted a limited print-advertising campaign. Up against industry giants Callaway and Titleist, the company couldn't interest retailers.

The return on the infomercial investment was visible from the start, Mr. Ortiz says. On a microlevel, he could see that the time sales orders were placed over the Internet or telephone coincided with the time the infomercial aired. The company reinvested their earnings of $300,000 from the first month to buy air time for another 30 days.

Before long, the company was spending upward of $1 million a month. Sales exploded as a result of the infomercial -- rising to $105 million in 1999 from $1 million in 1997. In all, Orlimar spent about $12 million on air time, and customers began seeking out the club at retail outlets, prompting chains to place large orders.



Greater Greensboro Course?

Thanks to reader Paul for this Robert Bell story on the likelihood that Forest Oaks is doomed as a PGA Tour venue. Bet they're glad they've poured all of that money into modernizing the design for PGA Tour play!

 Officials are hoping a move to Sedgefield will build on the momentum from this year's new date on the PGA Tour.

Well, until they realize that "new date" isn't so hot. Well, unless you are interested in the race to make it into the top 144. That Kevin Na-Todd Hamilton points shootout will be their immediate friends and family.

Despite improvements to Forest Oaks, including a $3.5 million renovation to the course just four years ago, Wyndham officials said last year they were exploring moving the tournament to a course closer to downtown Greensboro and Winston-Salem.

Sources said the biggest worries — parking and space for tents and bleachers around Sedgefield's tight course — can be worked out. Patrons could park at Grandover Resorts and take a shuttle to the course. Corporate tents — which generate most of a tournament's revenue — would be smaller, but Sedgefield's Tudor clubhouse also could be used.

Another plus: Sedgefield is in the midst of a $2.7 million renovation of its Donald Ross-designed course that should be complete by this spring.

Well at least they might be moving to a Ross course! 


PGA Tour Pro Picks

In case you have run out of inspiration and were looking for Super Bowl betting advice, reader Phil noticed these brilliant insights from the PGA Tour's finest.


Taking On Nantz

Salon's Slate's Robert Weintraub on Jim Nantz:

Nantz is probably best known for his golf work. That's fitting, for no one projects an image of country-club piety and blandness quite like him. While technically sound, he is one of the few in the business capable of turning a rousing AFC championship game into a round at Torrey Pines.



Month In Review: January 2007

WeekInReview2.jpgBecause of time constraints (not because I don't love your comments), I've made the missing-in-action week in review a month in review this January. But since I don't have a logo for it and because I hope to get back to doing the week in review, you get the old logo. (I know, questionable brand platforming practices at work here.)

And because I'll be out all day Thursday, I figured this was a good time to look back at a busy month. All of the posts from the month can be found here should you be feeling the need to get goose bumps all over again.

That reminds me, the month did include two exclusives: an IM exchange between Tiger and Tim Finchem along with another IM chat between Tim and LPGA Commish Carolyn Bivens.

The most volatile subject of the month was the continued questioning of the FedEx Cup.

Hawkeye: The whole idea of starting off scratch after a long season makes the long season pointless, so that would be the worst idea of them all. The term "playoffs" is a misnomer, anyway, golf is not played in a cup format other than in match-play.

Jamie: Finchem has been saying since late 05 that this cup race would "Incentivize" the best players in the game to play against each other more often. mercedes and tour championship were skipped last year by El Tigre and Philly Shank, and so we return this year only to witness the same "Incentivizing" taking place. just a thought, if Finchem and the after 5:00 o'clock brainstorming VP's marketed and promoted players in the top 50 like Kevin Sutherland with the same intensity as the promotion of the Fed Up Cup Finchem wouldn't have had to dream up this FECES nonsence.

Russel: Playoffs are based on a regular season, how can you have a points race for a stupid cup when not every PGA Tour member will play in 50% of whats known as the regular season. With 36 events before the Playoffs, how many events will the 60 members of Q-School and Nationwide Grads actually be able to play in?

RHW: Why is it that I envision this FedEx Cup as a total disaster with the same outcome as moving the Senior Tour broadcasts to MSNBC? Points, no points, next we'll be hearing about the 10,000 point deduction from Rory Sabatini's total for storming off the 17th green.

Then there was The Golf Channel's GOLF CHANNEL'S coverage of the first three events.

RM: All this build up and then we get Mike Ritz all over the season opener Golf Central. How is that guy on TV?

Scott: Hate to admit it, but ever since I got a TiVo box last Christmas, I now know that "golf coverage" is really an endless stream of commercials, interspersed with shots of leaderboards or leaderboard graphics, "analysts" pontificating about shots, an occasional cutaway to "the amazing sand save" shot as referred to in those PlayGolfAmerica commercials, several PlayGolfAmerica commercials, people sinking two foot tap-in putts followed by their scorecard, and then the gratuitous "bumper shot" of the out of focus flower/tree/cactus/waterfall, depending on the locale...
I LOVE playing golf, but watching it in real-time is a TOTAL waste of time - thanks to DVR technology, I can compress a three hour golf telecast into about 20 minutes...

Yeah but Scott, you're missing out on the storylines!

F.X.: I agree about the boring coverage and the necessity of TiVO/DVR. You have to ask what the Tour(s) and the Golf Channel does well -- not much IMHO. The problem is the marketing types drive the presentation of the events, and by and large the golf they play is not community or club golf, but resort/business entertainment golf.

chico: Why is every tournament a "Championship"?,- as in "Vijay is 4 under for the championship". Can't we save that for the majors? The word "tournament" should be good enough for these average outings.

CT Golfer: Journalism will be less of a factor on TGC as the year goes along and their shows become more of a PR vehicle for Ponte Vedra.

JohnV: It is nice to see 4+ hours of Saturday coverage, some coverage of guys who might not be in the last 2 groups (we'll see how they do on that when Tiger is in the hunt), no coming on late because a college basketball game ran late due to the incessant fouls and timeouts called by the coach whose team was down 10 with 1 minute to play, and no leaving early because "our time window has run out".

Jeremy Rudock: Faldo desperately needs a foil in the booth with him. He was at his best when Azinger was there to prod him along.

LD: Nick Faldo is a very clever and entertaining guy, and the producers just need to work with things for a while and find the right combination to showcase his talents. I am sure that in time the Golf Channel's PGA coverage will be as good as anything we've seen in golf TV.

Ardmore Ari: The majority of PGA Tour golf on TV is so boring to watch b/c of the mold with which PGA Tour golfbots are cut from today. I am not interested in the tour b/c I don't feel anything about its players. The best part about golf in the 60's thru the mid 90's was the colorful characters that played the game. They got us to feel something tangible so that when we watched them on TV there was something enjoyable to take away from sitting in front of it for four hours at at time like you do football today?

Doug: Until the popular culture pendulum swings back to where class and sportsmanship is appreciated and valued, I wouldn't hold your breath waiting for the ratings to swing up appreciably...

Lloyd Cole after the "standing ovation" by Tilghman and Faldo for Tadd Fujikawa: Agreed the kid's performance was great, and yes I was watching. I do think TGC have proven they are right up there with the Networks in their unashamed sentimentality - 'This kid's been fighting all his life' etc. So TGC has a standing O, ABC would have filmed a weepy reeactment of the first 6 months.

BNW: No close ups, no HD, no fun to watch. This isn't three steps backwards for televised PGA Tour golf, it's more like 20.

On the circulation numbers at Golf Magazine...

jneu: Golf Magazine has done a remarkable job of turning itself into Golf Tips Illustrated. It's lost nearly any writer worth reading (and good luck finding who's written each article, since the credits are generally presented in type the size of photo credits), and has never met a technology it didn't slurp over. As for why you (and I) pay for it, it's because we don't much mind writing an annual $12 check, and we give the magazine about as much thought in a year as we do the three triple-lattes we could buy for the same money (though the lattes would be more stimulating).

ReverendTMac: It's not the GM numbers that concern me - as someone who works in the industry, it's the 20/20 numbers. I'm a recent grad of a PGM program, and all we got beat into our heads is how rosy the future looks for the golf industry and how many people are starting to golf...and nobody wants to talk about the fact that as many folks are getting out of the game as there are coming in. The numbers are flat, they've been flat for seven years (just like the article says), and I don't see anything on the horizon that'll stop the bleeding.

On Peter Dawson and his claims that "We now see balls spinning more from 2in or 3in rough than they do when hit from the fairway."

John G:  I would believe that spin rates from 2-3" rough could be similar, but not quite as good as from a normal fairway lie. But BETTER spin rates from rough than from a nice tightly mown fairway?? C'mon. I'm not THAT gullible. These guys are desperate to say anything to distract from the real issues.

ken-one-putt: The correct question is whyinhell are they talking about making millions of dollars worth of clubs nonconforming when they admit that the grooves don't help anyone but the elite player? I play by the rules, and I play in lots of tournaments, so almost all of the wedges I like would be banned, as would the irons I currently play, and they've admitted I gain no advantage from them. Yes, that makes me unhappy.

On Hank Haney's comments about courses getting tougher and well, he was all over the map, I can't summarize what he said.

Pete the Luddite: Testing has consistently shown (even on the U$GA papers) that players with the higher swing speeds are those who benefit most from the hot ball. There is a hinge point on the curve measuring swing speed vs. benefit in distance. Below that point, there is not a substantial benefit. So, slower swingers do not receive a benefit, while the faster ones receive a huge benefit that gets them much further off the tee. Ramp back the ball speed and you will simply make the benefit for distance less when you look past that hinge point on the swing speed curve.

R. Thompson: Forget about ball manufacturers suing, it's these obosolete courses that should be breathing down the USGA'S neck. Not to mention the slow play associated with 6.5 hr rounds sucking less room on the tee time sheet, which leads to less rounds being played. If there's Bifurcation taking place in the game it's between the Country Clubs and the daily fees courses.

On the Canadian Open impending demise...

Ian Andrew: The RCGA rellies on the revenue from the Canadian Open to the tune of 2 to 2.5 million to conduct its other programs. The sponsorship is part of the renenue stream - costs the sponsoring company around 6 million. You do the math, if they can't get this done soon, they will have to tighten their belts quick. The Candian Open, and all its history, is on death's door and very few people in the PGA Tour care.

On the Bob Hope Classic's demise...

Chuck: You guys are being too hard on Finchem. I think he's being genuine when he talks about "giving the fan a better experience" at places like the Classic Club. I saw the fan. He was standing to the left of the 14th fairway on Sunday. He had on a light blue windbreaker and hat a navy woolen cap pulled down low. In future years, they might have many more, perhaps dozens, of other "fans." Commissioner, I knew the fan. I spectated with the fan. Commissioner, you're no fan...
01.25.2007 | Unregistered CommenterChuck

On the NGF's new advocacy of course "culling"...

Four-putt: In the late 1980s, the National Golf Foundation stated the Chicago area needed to build 200 brand-new courses by 2000 to meet the growing demand. We built about 110 -- which is about 20 too many. I used to get upset when a course was sold and converted for other uses. Not any more, though. It's part of the food chain. We need to close about 15-20 more (of over 370 in the market) right away to ease the stresses.

And finally, on news of the USGA-Lexus presenting sponsor deal:

BNW: They had to do something like this with a lot of people denouncing their USGA memberships whilst taking up NASCAR and professional poker as new hobbies. Self preservation Geoff, that's what the USGA is all about in the 21st century.

Bill: I find it odd that the UNITED STATES GOLF ASSOCIATION can't find a way to select a UNITED STATES car company as it's automotive partner.


ESPN and Tennis Channel

I wonder if this could happen with ESPN and The Golf Channel for say, the Mercedes or Players Championships...

ESPN and The Tennis Channel will share U.S. cable TV and multimedia rights for the French Open and Australian Open through 2011 under an agreement announced Tuesday.

In August, The Tennis Channel bought the U.S. cable TV rights to the French Open previously held by ESPN. With the new deal, The Tennis Channel will air more than 100 hours of the clay-court Grand Slam, while ESPN2 will have 55 hours.

Beginning with the 2008 Australian Open, ESPN2 will continue as the main network from Melbourne; it's aired more than 120 hours of the tournament in recent years. The Tennis Channel will now be able to show up to 100 hours of that tournament when ESPN2 is not on the air.


More Points In Panama

Doug Ferguson points out another wacky world ranking thingy in this week's notes column:

In the PGA Tour's attempt to validate the Nationwide Tour as something more than a minor league, consider the disbursement of world ranking points Sunday. Miguel Carballo won the Nationwide event in Panama and received more ranking points than Andrew Buckle received for his tie for fourth at the Buick Invitational.

I'd try to figure this out, but I lost interest in the world ranking years ago. 


Despite G5 Jet Lag Concerns, Tiger Commits To Dubai...

...for four of the next five years.

Huh, he can't decide on playing Riviera in two weeks, but he can commit to Dubai four of the next five? 

We really need to work on the timing of these announcments. This is about as bad as the design business announcement right after skipping the Tour Championship. 


Grass Ceiling

SI's Jeff Silverman writes about, Candice Combs, the superintendent of Torrey's South course, and other Woman-American golf course superintendents.


Renovating Southland

Jim Valli details what appears to be a promising Scott Macpherson-Greg Turner collaboration in New Zealand.

The PGA Tour Wives 1 Cent Sale

Scottsdale is rolling out the red carpet for the PGA Tour player wives this week! 

Thanks to reader Sean for the heads up on the 1 cent sale!




HSBC Pulls Out of World Match Play

Thanks to reader Tuco for this...

Jan. 30 (Bloomberg) -- HSBC Holdings Plc, Europe's biggest- bank by market value, will end its sponsorship of golf's World Match Play Championship five years early to concentrate on the European Tour's Champions tournament in China.    

HSBC in 2003 signed a 10-year accord for the 16-player World Match Play at Wentworth, southwest of London, two years before it began to back the Champions tournament in Shanghai. International Management Group, the sports agency founded by Mark McCormack, will seek a new sponsor for next season's 45th edition.

"The World Match Play has taught us a lot about golf and led to the success of the HSBC Champions in Asia,'' the bank said in an e-mailed statement today. The Champions ``has grown faster than we could have hoped and means that now is the right time to make this decision.''

HSBC has struggled to attract top players to Wentworth even after increasing the first prize to 1 million pounds ($1.97 million), the biggest winner's check in the game until this year's FedEx Cup final on the U.S. PGA Tour. Players including Tiger Woods, Phil Mickelson and Jim Furyk have regularly shunned the event, limiting the appeal of the contest.


It's A Mitzvah!

The San Diego Union Tribune's Tod Leonard was subjected to that modern newspaper advertising guru's idea of extending the brand: an online chat.

It did allow him to answer a question I had posed on the site last week:

The Buick Invitational will be played as usual in 2008. The original plan was to play the final two rounds on the North Course, but when the City Council rejected the idea of a redesign, the Century Club asked the USGA for permission to use the South for the weekend, and the USGA agreed.

The chat also provided Leonard a chance to bond with his readers, and to teach someone like yours truly who has been known to use the same word that got Leonard in trouble.

donstone(Q) Do you have any idea what the offensive word "schmuck" means that you used so inappropriately in your column today??

TodLeonard(A) My tells me that it means "obnoxious or contemptible person." Apparently, it's also yiddish for penis, although I certainly did not know that. As is fairly clear in the story, I used it because it rhymed with luck. My apologies if you were offended, and I'll reconsider the next time I think about using it.

L'Chaim to life!