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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
Classics
  • 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

I attribute the insane arrogance of the later Roman emperors almost entirely to the fact that, never having played golf, they never knew that strange chastening humility which is engendered by a topped chip-shot. If Cleopatra had been outed in the First Round of the Ladies’ Singles, we should have heard a lot less of her proud imperiousness.
P.G. WODEHOUSE


    

Tuesday
Jan292008

"Finchem reportedly responded with a blistering e-mail in return, but Ogilvie wasn't fazed."

gwar04_080201pgapolicy.jpgIn the lastest Golf World, Tim Rosaforte offers an informative look at the PGA Tour Policy Board structure. Several items caught my eye, starting with this from Stewart Cink on the new cut rule:

"The rule was passed to make a better tour," says Cink. "We knew it was going to ruffle some feathers, and obviously we've been called some horrendous names since Hawaii, but we believe it was a good decision. If we get to the end of the year and players are still making noise, we can always change it back. There are no egos involved. It was a business decision that [the board] made. We're standing by it."

Now for the fun inside the beltway stuff on Richard Ferris, who seems to have sat on just about every board in golf:

Ferris' boardroom skills were tested almost immediately during a player meeting in San Antonio in 1993 when two-thirds of the players signed a petition calling for a meeting to discuss hiring its own representative to oversee the player directors, in effect creating another layer of government and potentially weakening the policy board. To stave off the revolt, Ferris called a PAC meeting two hours before the player meeting and the issue never made it beyond that room. By getting the PAC behind him, Ferris was able to diffuse the player movement. "They just divide and conquer," says a tour player who attended the meeting. The following year Beman announced his retirement as commissioner and Ferris headed the search committee that ultimately elevated Finchem from deputy commissioner.

Because the independent directors make up the search committee, the players had little say in Finchem's appointment. Nor were they consulted in March 2006 when Finchem was granted a six-year contract extension. (The independent directors also make up the compensation committee, which determines Finchem's salary.)

Isn't that nice!

And finally my favorite anecdote, which has me tapping my sources for a copy of the correspondence from Finchem to Joe Ogilvie referenced below. After setting Ogilvie up as a potential commissioner some day, Rosaforte writes:

Recently Ogilvie made headlines by lambasting Finchem and the tour's brass for not bothering to show up at the season-opening Mercedes-Benz Championship in Hawaii. Finchem reportedly responded with a blistering e-mail in return, but Ogilvie wasn't fazed. "I have tremendous respect for Tim," Ogilvie says. "I think he's extremely smart. I think he has done a very, very good job. But we're at a point with the tour in the last 10 years -- pretty much since Tiger came on board -- where we've grown so much that the old way of doing things is no longer valid. But it takes a different mentality to get away from the old and change."

Hmmm...wonder what he's getting at? Thoughts?

Tuesday
Jan292008

"Tiger isn't the TV draw he used to be."

Chris Lewis offers up an interesting analysis of television viewership numbers for the last three Buick's won by Tiger Woods.

Tuesday
Jan292008

"If you want to see how utterly silly the PGA Tour's new policy of "made cut, did not finish" is..."

As silly as the player complaining is over not knowing about the new cut rule caused by slow play, the big picture view says it still is cheating fans and could be solved with a Saturday cut, as Larry Bohannan writes.

If you want to see how utterly silly the PGA Tour's new policy of "made cut, did not finish" is, look no further than the story of Justin Leonard at the Buick Invitational over the weekend.

Leonard struggled in the first two rounds of the tournament at Torrey Pines in San Diego, making the cut at even-par 144, 12 shots behind Tiger Woods. But he was one shot from the 19 golfers who tied and made the cut but weren't allowed to play on the weekend.

Leonard then put together a strong weekend with rounds of 65 and 72 and moved up from a tie for 48th to fifth. He earned 3,450 FedEx Cup points and a check for $208,000.

But if Leonard had missed a single putt in those first two rounds, the chance for those points and that money would have been denied to him by a rule change that just seems unreasonable at best, short-sighted at worst.

 

Tuesday
Jan292008

"Obviously, it was a blowout, but it will still end up being one of the highest-rated tour events on a Sunday."

Reader Al wonders what to make of the lower Buick ratings spin by CBS, and I would have to agree that it doesn't make much sense. Someone help us please...

In the first network golf coverage of the year, CBS got a 4.6 overnight rating from Sunday's final round at Torrey Pines, where Woods led by as many as 11 shots before winning by eight for his fourth consecutive Buick Invitational title.

It was golf's highest rating since the PGA Championship last August, but still down 18 percent from the Buick Invitational a year ago, when Woods held off Charles Howell III over the final holes to win by two. The final round last year drew a 5.6 overnight rating.

The overnight rating for Saturday was 3.2, up 28 percent from the third round last year.

"We were up Saturday," said Rob Correia, senior vice president of programming for CBS. "Obviously, it was a blowout, but it will still end up being one of the highest-rated tour events on a Sunday. We have no complaints."

Is that all time? Or a Sunday in January 2008? 

Tuesday
Jan292008

"So long as he has incentive, he isn't likely to throttle back, consciously or subconsciously."

I vowed not to read another "can he win the Grand Slam" column until we're at least within throwing distance of the first major, but I thought John Strege raised an interesting point:

Winning is never tedious, but what of the effort required to do it consistently and dominantly over an extended period? Woods played the South Course at Torrey Pines in the summer of 1993 and finished fourth in the Junior World Championship. Another lackluster performance in a junior event later that summer convinced his father, Earl, that he was bored with junior golf, that winning had become mundane. He never played another junior tournament.

Woods is dominating professional golf as though it were junior golf, once more a man among boys. His victory in the Buick was the 62nd of his career, tying Arnold Palmer for fourth on the all-time list. It was his third straight PGA Tour win, dating to the end of last season.

At 32 and with a growing family, it's fair to ask how long he can retain the focus and dedication necessary to dominate a sport that with few exceptions has effectively repelled efforts at dominance.

It's fair to ask, but the answer is obvious. Junior golf gave way to amateur and college golf, which gave way to PGA Tour golf, which is giving way to history. So long as he has incentive, he isn't likely to throttle back, consciously or subconsciously.


Monday
Jan282008

"There is no doubt that getting a good drive away with a modern driver is easier than it was with an older driver. That’s a fact."

Reader GuttaPercha raises a great point on the post parsing Peter Dawson's comments to John Huggan.

I am confused.

"...there is no doubt that getting a good drive away with a modern driver is easier than it was with an older driver. That’s a fact."

If that's so, how come every second sentence I read is saying that pros don't have to be accurate any more (better grooves, lack of strategic challenge in course set up, penal rough anyway, etc)? Just bomb and gouge, etc.

If it's easier to hit a modern driver, but at the same time we're seeing lesser percentages of fairways hit (or whatever the best indicator is), then what is going on?

So far, the various papers and administrator comments on the impact of U-grooves have ignored any significant discussion of fairway widths as possibly impacting driving accuracy. I suppose it does get in the way of the USGA/R&A's argument, but as GuttaPercha notes, the governing bod's might want to resist the temptation to suggest the modern driver is having the most significant impact on skill or distance, and then lamenting the decline in driving accuracy.

Monday
Jan282008

Northern Trust Tweaks

I know most of you don't care, but since it's my hometown event I have to say this press release is actually quite exciting for those of us who have viewed the L.A. Open as a mini-major just lying in wait, hoping to be given the extra care it deserves to become one of the elite golf tournaments of the year.

It sure sounds like the PGA Tour is nudging them in the right direction. Even better, I hear the Junior Chamber of Commerce isn't pleased, which definitely means Northern Trust is asking them to step it up a notch.

Before you go commenting, I'm not referring to the new trophy by Tiffany or the Michael Douglas and Friends B-lister strokefest on February 10th. Nor am I saying they are reinventing the wheel here, but it's nice to see attempts to round out the package:

"In planning for this year's inaugural Northern Trust Open, we looked at how we could improve the experience for everyone involved, from the players and their families to tournament viewers worldwide," said Frederick H. Waddell, president and chief executive officer of Northern Trust Corporation.

This year's Northern Trust Open is projected to raise $2.5 million to support charities in Southern California, an increase of more than 30 percent from last year's event. To further align the event with the Los Angeles community, the tournament will include new celebrity and media components. The Michael Douglas and Friends Celebrity Golf outing will be held at Riviera Country Club on February 10, and GOLF CHANNEL will broadcast live the entire tournament week from a custom-built on-site studio.
Let's hope that's more successful than this disaster from last year.
Players will share a larger, $6.2 million purse and will enjoy smaller Pro-Am teams, and fans around the world will be able to use the new interactive Web site (http://www.northerntrustopen.com) to check the leaderboard and talk with others online about the tournament -- 24 hours a day.

"We look forward to working with the Los Angeles Junior Chamber of Commerce and the PGA TOUR to expand on what is already a world-class event," Waddell explains. "We are committed to improving the tournament each year, shining the spotlight on this historic event, establishing Southern California as the destination for the TOUR's global spectators and increasing the amount we give back to the community."

"We are very pleased about Northern Trust's plans to elevate the profile of this tournament, which has such a wonderful history on the PGA TOUR," said PGA TOUR Commissioner Tim Finchem. "Northern Trust understands the importance of a title sponsor becoming fully engaged with all aspects of the tournament in order to maximize the overall experience. We are very excited about the future of the Northern Trust Open."
Monday
Jan282008

"He's like Randy Moss"

In the latest installment of John Hawkins' Agnostic Golfer column, he buries this lede on John Daly:

I called several tournament heads last week to get a read on whether Daly's ability to sell tickets is worth the headache he has become. Kennerly didn't return my phone call, but others were quick to reply, and there remains little doubt that Long John Seismograph moves the needle more than a hundred John Sendens. "It's a pretty easy decision for us," says Clair Peterson, who runs the John Deere Classic and already has extended Daly an offer to join the field in July.

"He's like Randy Moss," says another. "He's a freak, he can be a huge burden, but in terms of what he brings you, it's a very unique dynamic. The NASCAR crowd, whatever you want to call it, is why 80 to 90 percent of the events will give him an exemption if he's anywhere near the top 100."

Or 531st, which is where Daly currently resides in the World Ranking, as if the NASCAR gang really gives a Hooters how well their man has been playing or whether he'll ever contend again on the weekend. The recent face-saving contest between PGA Tour brass and Westchester CC reminds us that every sputtering, non-Tiger event is a possible endangered species. Perhaps 15 to 18 tournaments are in excellent health; the rest lack significance or sound economics.

Make that two buried ledes: First is that tournament directors still want John Daly, and two, that the non-Tiger events are so desperate they will actually take someone totally unreliable and clearly melting down.  

Monday
Jan282008

"We're really good for selling real estate"

Thanks to reader Hugh for this Martin Blake story on Karrie Webb cutting back on her schedule, with this nugget:

The good news for Golf Australia, which is bringing the national women's Open to Kingston Heath for the first time, is that Webb has had an eight-week break at home in Queensland and feels fresh. Retirement is not on the doorstep quite yet, and she will start a short-priced favourite in this week's tournament.

Venturing out to the course for her first practice session yesterday, it occurred to Webb that many people in golf have no clue how good Melbourne's sandbelt is. The LPGA plays three-quarters of its tournaments on dreadful, new courses.

"We're really good for selling real estate," Webb said. "We go to a lot of courses that are new developments. Obviously, it costs money for tournaments to go to golf courses. Newer golf courses will waive the fee or even pay us to go there because they're trying to sell houses. They can say, 'The LPGA plays here'."

 

Sunday
Jan272008

Dawson Speaks! 2008 Edition

Dawson52695878.jpgUnlike Mike Aitken's insight-light Scotsman piece, John Huggan manages to squeeze some nuggets out of the R&A's Peter Dawson.

Naturally, the R&A head man is best on the subject of rangefinders:

“It’s very difficult to come up with a logical reason why, if a caddie can give you a yardage, or a book can give you a yardage, or a sprinkler head can give you a yardage, anyone needs that same number produced electronically. It could happen, of course, that players will end up doing all of the above. But my personal fear is that this is the first step towards the vision that every golfer should have a machine that can tell them wind speed, wind direction, the yardage and which club to use. The other end of that scale is that you pay golf the old way, with none of that sort of help.

Here's the best part:

“So where should the line be drawn? You could argue that the line should say ‘no such devices,’ but here it is has been drawn at ‘one such device.’ There are some arguments that it will speed up play, but I find it hard to believe that a device that zones in on the flagstick can do that when you have to wait for the flag to be replaced in order to use it.”

How can you argue with that? That's right, the USGA will.

On groove rule change timing:

"Right now, we remain in discussion with the USGA and would expect an announcement fairly soon.

This is very encouraging:

“Our motivation has never been to make rough more meaningful; we want to make driving accuracy more meaningful. It should matter that you hit the fairway, at least to a reasonable extent. That there should be no correlation between driving accuracy and success cannot be right. Which doesn’t mean that we want to see every fairway lined with rough. I’m not sticking up for rough. “There is also a bit of an issue with little shots from rough around the greens. Again, the combination of modern balls and modern grooves seems to produce too much of ‘bite’ on the ball when it lands. Especially when you combine that with the loft on the clubs. With a lot of loft on the club, you can hit the ball harder than you used to, even on a very short shot.

“Something is going to happen with the grooves and there may even be more action. At the Orlando show I saw a wedge that had over 70-degrees of loft. That has to be a concern.”

I don't get why loft should ever be regulated? If someone can use a spatula like that, let 'em!

This was a nice product of my interview with Pete Dye for Links:

On course architect Pete Dye’s recent comment on the USGA (“They’ve escalated the cost of maintenance. They’ve slowed down play. And they’ve completely lost control of the equipment. Outside of that, they’ve done a pretty good job.”)

“No comment. You’re not sucking me into that! You’re not going to get me to comment on Pete Dye’s designs. If he wants to comment on us, he can carry on.”

Well that's not much fun Peter.

And because it's a Peter Dawson interview, that means most of the great stuff is wiped out by absurd statements. On distance advances:

“We have the problem surrounded. Driving distances have stablised. In the last five years there haven’t been any technological innovations that have increased how far the ball goes. So the heat is coming out of the subject to a degree. But we remain committed to action should any further increases occur.

“Which is not to say that we are happy about where we are. But the game is certainly not in crisis over this issue. I’m not sure the argument that the game at the top level is less interesting to watch is any function of hitting distance. And I include in my counter argument this theory that the ball does not move sideways as much as it used to.

The game is not in crisis. Okay let's see here.

Thousands of courses are facing safety issues and are spending money to lengthen, the world's number one player says if it's up to him, they'd play balata and persimmon, ratings stink, pace of play has never been slower with bottlenecks caused by more reachable par-5s and par-4s, the R&A and USGA are considering an unprecedented rollback in equipment is being considered to help offset the problem, players are now going to be tested for drugs because distance has become so vital to success, and finally several great layouts are in danger of no longer being viable major sites, destroying one golf's unique connection to its origins.

But most of all, the technology boom has not grown the game. Some could argue that the side effects of the techology race are driving participation down.

When does it become defined as a crisis?

“If we have our robot hit shots with old balls and new balls and set the dial to hook or slice, then the results are identical. Except with the driver. The modern driver head is what prevents the ball from bending. It has nothing to do with the golf ball. The irons still bend the ball just as much.
“As Walter Driver of the USGA said to me recently, ‘everyone is entitled to their own opinions about distance and technology, but they are not entitled to their own facts.’

Oh good one Walter! Aren't you the one who said distance advances were 75% athleticism? How did you come up with that, uh, fact?

“The driver is very different. The way the head deforms at impact takes out sidespin. You can hit straight pulls or pushes. But slicing and hooking is more difficult.

“So there is no doubt that getting a good drive away with a modern driver is easier than it was with an older driver. That’s a fact. But is it too easy? I think there is merit to the argument that it is easier to get round in 66 than it used to be, but it is not easier to win a golf tournament. There are so many other factors involved in winning. In fact, you can easily argue that finishing first has never been harder."

Yeah, because of Tiger!

Sunday
Jan272008

"I'm actually concerned more the other way, that the course will be too hard"

Steve Elling gets some of Mike Davis's thoughts on Torrey Pines after the Buick and before June's U.S. Open:
"I'm actually concerned more the other way, that the course will be too hard," Davis said.

Yet like most of us, weathermen excepted, Davis doesn't offer 100-percent surety about anything, especially when it comes to Woods, who won his sixth Buick title on Sunday.

"Unless I am totally missing something," said Davis, an amiable guy who doesn't take himself too seriously, "I don't think 20 under is possible even with the best four rounds he can play."

Even the USGA guys aren't brazen enough to say "never." Realistically, it would require a transcendent performance for Woods to finish the Open at 10-under, given how firm the greens will be relative to this week and that par will be shaved by a shot to 71.

And this was a perspective I haven't heard...
Though Davis is certain the course will present a far more daunting challenge in the dry summer months, he had to concede that the story at Torrey will likely be Woods, just because he likes the sightlines.

"If you look at it, all of the holes are pretty much straightaway," Davis observed, quite rightly. "He can hit the driver and won't have to worry about angles or shaping the ball so much. He can hammer away."

Be it a ball-peen or a sledgehammer, the tools don't seem to matter much at the moment. He's equally comfortable with using either brute strength or finesse and the results have been the same.

Sunday
Jan272008

“You ought to have to listen to your feet and adjust to the conditions"

Lorne Rubenstein catches up with past USGA president Bill Williams...
“The USGA wishes to test players' course management, nerves and heart, and not just their mechanical skills,” Williams said.

Along those lines, he favours varied conditions within a course. Why not, for instance, have sand of different consistency in some bunkers?

“You ought to have to listen to your feet and adjust to the conditions,” Williams said. “There ought to be some bunkers where the player worries about it.”


Sunday
Jan272008

"I think after what the USGA probably witnessed on 18 yesterday, that ball staying up, that will be shaved."

Tiger18SatBeck_600x400.jpgTiger's post Buick final round chat with the media guys and gals who had to brave holes in the tent top (my condolences)...

Q. Freddie said you just screwed the U.S. Open up for everybody. Are you sorry about that?

TIGER WOODS: Well, I only did it on one hole. I think after what the USGA probably witnessed on 18 yesterday, that ball staying up, that will be shaved. Just like Augusta, you see Freddie's ball stayed up, next year it's all shaved.

Actually, before anyone goes scribbling about that, the plan was to shave the lake before today.

And this is downright funny...

Q. What about LA?
TIGER WOODS: What about it?

Q. Any thoughts yet, yes or no if you're in yet?
TIGER WOODS: I don't know.

Give it up! He's not coming back. Paraphrasing Taupin, I think it's going to be a long, long time. 

Saturday
Jan262008

"Bettering the field average by almost 10 feet"

From Alex Turnbull, the PGA Tour's ShotLink guru, after Tiger's bogey-free 66 at Torrey Pines:

Leading the field in greens in regulation this week, Tiger was very accurate today with his irons. Hitting 17 of 18 greens in regulation today, he averaged 26 feet 3 inches from the hole on all approach shots bettering the field average by almost 10 feet (Rd 3 average: 35 feet 0 inches).

Saturday
Jan262008

"That the tour is looking into Daly's week at the Hope is a good sign."

Thanks to reader Taylor for noticing Larry Bohannan's story on John Daly's "lost weekend" in the desert, which raises some tough questions about Daly's future both in this game and sadly, on this planet.

And he seems to be losing whatever battle he's putting up against his excesses. Alcohol, food, cigarettes and partying are all evident. Maggie Downs, a Desert Sun reporter who doesn't really know all the back story on John, just what she was seeing last week as she covered the Hope's celebrity parties, reported on her blog that Daly told her to write that he wasn't drinking at one party as he was knocking back a shot of something alcoholic.

Let's just say I trust Maggie to tell the facts more than I'd trust Daly right now.

This goes well beyond the idea that Daly pulled out of a tournament. This is about a life that many observers believe is in danger. A 41-year-old, 300-pound man who drinks and smokes and eats to excess is in danger of a massive heart attack or stroke.

Forget that he is one of the most physically talented players in the world, when he's focused and wants to play. This is a man who seems unable to control his worst characteristics. Those who have known Daly and have been around him believe he is headed down the road to a sad end.

For all the hushed whispers and huddled meetings about Daly by PGA Tour officials in the last week, the tour might not be able to do much for Daly, because he doesn't really work for the tour. Tour players are independent contractors.

That the tour is looking into Daly's week at the Hope is a good sign.

Saturday
Jan262008

“Some reporters suggested that the movement of The Barclays was due to our view that Westchester Country Club was substandard."

PGA Tour Commissioner Tim Finchem is quoted by Sam Weinman as making an interesting statement in his apology letter to the folks at Westchester CC:

“Some reporters suggested that the movement of The Barclays was due to our view that Westchester Country Club was substandard. Nothing could be further from the truth,” Finchem wrote. “We have great respect for Westchester Country Club—your course, your membership and your great tradition. Our players enjoy playing there. We at the PGA Tour regret any offense created by these misplaced media comments and are sorry for the impressions these comments caused. Our return to your club at least one more time indicates our view that it is a world class facility.”

Now why would the dirty, nasty, grubby media get that idea? Could it be that Ed Moorhouse wrote:

"While we believe we all attempted to make The Barclays work at Westchester in late August, I believe it simply is not possible to stage a tournament at the level we need to stage this event, satisfy the needs and requirements of our players and accommodate the needs of the Westchester membership during that time of year."
No, it's those pesky reporters!

Saturday
Jan262008

Kikuyu At Torrey Pines

Over the last few days, I have heard Tilghman, McCord, Kostis, Baker-Finch and Faldo all note that the kikuyu will "take over" this summer at Torrey Pines and create much heartier rough. Several have noted it will be an entirely different course.

Apparently the memo didn't reach our friends in the broadcast booths, but the Torrey Pines roughs were overseeded with rye this fall and rye grass will be the predominant grass at this year's U.S. Open, contrary to what they are proclaiming hourly on the broadcasts.

Yes, kikuyu is out there and it will be most noticeable in the fairways this June (which would also contradict a lot of the talk about how fast the fairways will be since kikuyu is spongy). However, the combination of rye grass being the one thing in the world that stifles kikuyu and the cool climate at Torrey Pines means it will be a blend of grass, with rye grass dominating the roughs. (A good thing by the way. Kikuyu is silly as a rough.)

Here's what Mike Davis had to say about it in a recent piece by Brian Hewitt:

Kikuyu grass is very ‘grabby.’ And as a result, said Davis who was at Riviera in 1998, “it made the players, at times, look almost stupid around the greens. That blade of grass at that time of year is just too strong.”
 
The greenside roughs at Torrey Pines are also primarily kikuyu. But Davis says the plan is to overseed and create a friendlier blend of ryegrass and kikuyu to give the players a fighting chance around the greens.
 
Greenside kikuyu at the Buick Invitational, played at Torrey Pines this week and at the Northern Trust Open, played at Riviera next month, isn’t healthy enough in winter to present the kinds of problems it does later in the year.
Saturday
Jan262008

"You may recall that the Tour had proposed terminating our Agreement in its entirety."

Not much news here except that it seems the Tour has the option to return twice and it could be any combination of 2010, 2011 or 2012.Westchesterletter2012.jpg


 


Saturday
Jan262008

Weinman: Tour and Barclay's Back In The Saddle Again...Sort Of

Sam Weinman reports that the PGA Tour will be returning to Westchester CC at some point, just not 2008, and the Commissioner will be apologizing for those letters that got out and where they never really meant what they said.  Oh, and here's $1.1 million for your troubles...this year.

Even better we now have a definition for accelerating the rotation

Friday
Jan252008

“Which one would I rather play? The old South. Now? The new North.”

So much for the South Course growing on players. Rex Hoggard reports on the Golfweek blog:

Wandered out on the North Course this afternoon. Not to see Tiger Woods inch his way closer to No. 6 on the SoCal coast, but to get one final look at the venerable North.

Come June when the golf world descends on Torrey Pines for the U.S. Open the South Course will be cast under a microscope while the North will just be cast under. The North – one of the most scenic and enjoyable munis anywhere – will become the home to corporate villages, media tents, driving ranges and infrastructure during the national championship.

Here’s the rub. Ask a local to pick their Torrey Pines favorite and many will say the North Course. A few years back Southern Cal native Charley Hoffman summed it for many. “Which one would I rather play? The old South (before the 2001 redesign). Now? The new North.”