Apparently they wanted to wait until everyone had completely forgotten what a great event it once was to restore the format that only launched the Senior Tour. Bill Fields reports the news.
Seriously, how could it possibly take so long?
St. Andrews? I feel like I’m back visiting an old grandmother. She’s crotchety and eccentric but also elegant. Anyone who doesn’t fall in love with her has no imagination.
Apparently they wanted to wait until everyone had completely forgotten what a great event it once was to restore the format that only launched the Senior Tour. Bill Fields reports the news.
Seriously, how could it possibly take so long?
Another USGA-related beauty from Golfweek's Forecaddie:
The Man Out Front was hanging around the Bada Bing in "Joisey" a few weeks back when he ran into an intriguing "meeting" at Trump National Golf Club in Bedminster; U.S. Golf Association president Walter Driver, incoming prez Jim Vernon, director of competitions Mike Davis and, later, the USGA's new chief business officer, Peter Bevacqua, were busy touring the place in carts with The Donald himself.
The Forecaddie has heard rumblings that Trump actually has considered leaving the golf course in his will to the USGA (with money set aside for operations) in exchange for a commitment to stage a U.S. Open there in his lifetime.
So gang, if you are the USGA, would you take such an offer?
And are they really strange bedfellows at this point?
His massive pool was adjacent to the house and the shark logo shone through from under the water.
Thanks to reader Hugh for this book excerpt from Dion's Kipping's Caddie To The Stars, Hanging with Norman, Baddeley, Tiger and the Gang.
Pete McDaniel at Golf Digest has the fifth round hits and misses, setting up the storylines for Monday's final round. And of course you can monitor the final day at the PGA Tour's official site.
Thanks to reader Mark for pointing out the tantrum by architect John Darby over a tee move forward and a subsequent course record at the New Zealand Open. Michael Donaldson wrote:
The hole, which is guarded by water and has a green that slopes away from a hill protecting one side of it, delivered some huge scores on Thursday after only 31% of the field hit the green with their tee shot and the average score was 3.6.And the painful takeaway quote from Darby:
It was just as tough on Friday with only a third of the field able to stop the ball on the green, although putting was slightly easier and the field averaged 3.3 shots.
Yesterday, officials reduced the length of the hole from 167m to 152m and moved the tee slightly to the left where the green was more visible rather than being partially obscured.
As a result, more than 70% of the players hit the green and the scoring average came right down to 3.0.
Fowler shot a 10-under par 62, including a par three at the 16th hole.
"It's a great shame it can't be a course record because some of the holes were played off the women's tees, not the championship tees," Darby told the Sunday Star-Times.
"We designed the whole hole to be played, not part of it. That green is entirely appropriate from that [167m] tee."
The PGA disputed that claim, saying the course record would stand as it was common practice to move tees and pin placements throughout a tournament.
"We designed this course in the tradition of great opens and great links courses, to be played to par off the championship tees. That's where the course should be heading, not to provide 15-under."Meanwhile, if you didn't catch John Huggan's column on Donald Trump, he wrote about Darby's design as precisely what the world needs less of and noted this about the "controversy."
Just the other day, in fact, a young Australian professional, Michael Sim, called Darby on his design of the par-3 16th hole at the Hills when they played together in the New Zealand Open's pro-am. So perplexed was Sim - coincidentally, he was born in Aberdeen - by the position and angle of the green relative to the tee, that he spent at least ten minutes debating both with an increasingly-harassed Darby. The conversation did not go well, apparently.
All Darby had to offer was that he had tried to create a "defensive hole" between two birdie chances. For "defensive", by the way, read "stupid". Last Thursday, the field averaged 3.6, and at one point in the afternoon only one golfer out of 21 managed to hit the green.
Here's what I find most interesting about this little saga: that Darby takes it personally when someone goes low on his course.
And that is the essential difference between an architect creating something fun and interesting, versus something utterly boring.
The architects interested in strategy do not want to put golfers on the defensive. They want to encourage risk taking with reward for those taking a chance.
The architects interested in protecting par, protecting their ego and in general preventing great players from occasionally making a birdie, can easily accomplish their goal if they so choose. However it sure is boring to watch and most certainly boring to play.
It occurred to me in reading John Paul Newport's WSJ column summarizing the latest on drug testing in golf that the people who touted the sport's nobility really sound more and more absurd as you hear doctor's quoted about the potential benefits of performance enhancing drugs.
'Clearly a golfer doesn't want to develop the physique of a Division I linebacker. That would be detrimental," Dr. Yesalis says. "But a 170-pound player could use low doses of steroids or a testosterone cream to help him add 15 pounds of lean, flexible muscle to his body. Please tell me how that wouldn't help him to hit the ball farther."I found this surprising. So much for my argument about testing to protect the children. Sort of:
In such low doses, Dr. Yesalis said, steroids would have negligible if any effect on a golfer's ability to concentrate or stay calm -- another contention frequently made by those who argue that golf and doping are inherently incompatible.
Nor would they necessarily be detrimental to the golfer's long-term health. Synthetic hormones like human growth hormone, or HGH, which also would be banned under the Tour's testing protocols, are routinely prescribed by doctors for middle-age people looking to build or retain strength.And...
For golfers, one of the prime benefits of low-dose steroids or HGH would be to let them practice longer. Long sessions at the range produce microtears in the body's tissues. Especially as players get older, slow recovery from these sessions is an obstacle to performance. Banned drugs could speed up the recuperation.
The tradition of golfers playing by the rules and even calling penalties on themselves is undoubtedly one of the game's grandest and most admirable attributes. But given the increasing sophistication of every other aspect of player performance these days, from advanced physical and mental-game training to precise, technology-aided club fitting, how long can it be before at least a few players give in to the temptation of better living through chemistry? If they haven't already.
It warms my heart to learn that our friends Down Under are getting to experience the profound announcing insights of Bobby Clampett on the Sun City coverage. From reader Mike, two Clampett gems:
"I love the strategy on this hole. The fairway is only 17 yards wide."
Either hit the fairway, or do not the fairway. Such strategy! That's really something to be tout.
But my favorite:
"Designing courses is like duck's soup.It's a piece of cake if you've got a great piece of property."
Yes, that's so...not true. But don't let that discourage you Bobby from continuing to say what's on your mind.
His presence is movie-of-the-week fare, probably best suited for the Hallmark or Disney channels. It's inspiration, perspiration and dedication rolled into one 5-foot-8, 160-pound package. Muthiya might be short on golf experience compared to many of his silver-spoon, coached and coddled American peers, but he's wise beyond his 24 years.
"I think he is more prepared than a lot of these guys, to be honest," said Glen Millican, Muthiya's college coach at New Mexico. "He's always had to figure everything out on his own.
"He showed up here with a golf bag and a duffel bag filled with his clothes, and that's it. But he was in our top 5 by the end of the year and he did it on his own."
No knock on Woods, who grew up in a middle-class neighborhood in suburban Southern California, but his tale doesn't hold a candle compared to Muthiya's personal perseverance. For perspective, consider some of the particulars about Zambia, a country of 11 million residents that, until 1964, was under British rule and known as Northern Rhodesia.
Granted, his gumbas would now be 59-year-old Scottish women, but either way, it looks like it's getting ugly in Aberdeen. Thanks to reader Alan for this Katrine Bussey story.
A councillor who voted against US tycoon Donald Trump's plans to build a £1 billion golf resort in Scotland claimed yesterday she had been assaulted after opposing the project.
Debra Storr said a woman came to her house outside the village of Balmedie, Aberdeenshire, this morning and pushed her.
The alleged incident happened the day after councillors narrowly rejected Mr Trump's proposals.
Grampian Police confirmed they were making inquiries into an incident at a house in the Balmedie area.
Ms Storr, a Liberal Democrat councillor for Ellon and District, said: "I heard a banging on the door and when I opened it there was a woman standing there who proceeded to hurl abuse at me, obscenities regarding the Trump application.
"She was very angry it had been refused and continued hurling abuse at me.
"I asked her who she was and if she would moderate her language. She told me who she was, but she did not moderate her language. She continued hurling abuse at me and then she stepped across the door, put her hands on me and pushed me."
A spokesman for Grampian Police said: "We can confirm that a 59-year-old female has been interviewed and charged in connection with a minor disturbance."
Meanwhile John Huggan just killed any chance of being the next architect The Donald fires after this Scotland on Sunday column celebrating the demise of Trump's project.
Step aside Seve. Move over Tiger. Take a seat Monty. I'm done with all of you. Your times have been and gone, as have your posters on my bedroom wall. This morning I have a new golfing hero to admire. Three days ago, one Martin Ford, chairman of Aberdeenshire Council, used his casting vote to throw out plans for what US entrepreneur Donald "My mother comes from Stornoway" Trump boasted would be the "best golf course in the world" on a spectacular and - thankfully - ecologically-important stretch of dunes land north of Aberdeen.
Mister Ford, I salute you.
Call me cynical, but this whole Trump thing rang alarm bells right from day one. I mean, consider the source. Anything emanating from that large hole below Trump's nose - let's not even get into that
Golfweek's Beth Ann Baldry documents the perils of brand licensing, in this case the LPGA International hosting this week's LPGA Q-School. Baldry's tales remind me of playing in some really bad city amateur tournaments. Thanks to reader Bill for this.
Amie Cochran was sitting in the snackshop having a bowl of chili following her first round and immediately sat this reporter down to rattle off a list of complaints. Cochran arrived in Daytona earlier than most and estimates she’s spent $400 tuning up for the event.$10 for a sandwich, but it's for a good cause.
And speaking of lunch, Cochran paid $3 for the iced tea she was sipping. On Wednesday, players were shocked to find a shoddy menu taped over the top of the existing one in the heavily-trafficked snack bar. The “Q-School Menu” featured $3 sodas and $10 sandwiches, served with chips and a drink.
Lorraine Vosmik, director of club operations, said the limited menu was being offered in an attempt to expedite service. When asked why the prices rivaled Disney, Vosmik said they hadn’t changed. A soda, however, normally goes for $2.50.
“We included tax and a tip,” she said. “And we didn’t want to deal with change.”
Except they forgot to note that on the new menu and left the tip jar on the counter. A small salad every other week of the year costs $5.50. This week, $7. And the service? There is none.
“No one’s been nice at this course,” Cochran said matter-of-factly. “Is unaccommodating a word?”
Why yes, Aimee, it is. In fact, it’s the perfect word to describe how players felt later that afternoon when they learned the range closed at 4 p.m., an hour and a half before daylight ends. Attendants walked up and down the range warning players that the range would close in 30 minutes.
“I was appalled,” said Bader, who was on the range with Bartholomew working out the kinks of an opening 4-over 76.
Hey, what's your beef? It's only a tournament that effects lives. Who gave you the impression it was important?
Hafeman said that in order for the range to be picked and the balls cleaned in time for a 6:30 a.m. start, it must close at 4 p.m. The hours, however, were extended to 4:30 p.m. Thursday after the round was delayed due to fog.
“How about a continuous picker this week?” asked Bader, pointing to an empty picker sitting by a tree near the range. Sounds like a reasonable suggestion.
If all this sounds rather petty, consider this: It cost non-members $5,000 to play here this week if they played both qualifiers, $4,000 if they played in one. Members payed $2,500.
But you can bet the LPGA operations people are on top of...well, not really.
Libba Galloway, the LPGA’s deputy commissioner, didn’t want to comment on the frustration of players until she’d spoken with them herself. There’s been a huge turnover at LPGA International in the last year since the former director of golf, Nancy Henderson, left to work for the tour. Even tour employees have felt the sting of its new management in recent months.
It makes sense for the LPGA to host its qualifying school here every year, but if they can’t accommodate the players or make them feel welcome, perhaps it’s time to find a new venue.
The slogan at LPGA International is “Come play where the pros play.” But as one tour caddie wrote in his blog, a more accurate description might be “Come play where the pros pay.”
That's the cheesey real estate write up for Greg Norman's $65 million home.
I don't know about you, but I really appreciate the mortgage calculator that let me figure out my payments.
Here's what they suggest:
Down Payment :
$265,527.00 per month
Total Monthly Payment:
$265,527.00 (with maintenance & taxes)
Here's the write-up, thanks to reader Kevin for who was hunting for a third home in Hobe Sound. It sounds like "such a cool hang":
As the wrought-iron gate glides open, a striking drive lined with majestic Florida palms draws your eye to this elegant home you will want to call your own. Welcome to Tranquility, a peaceful eight-acre estate with more than 16,000 square feet of air-conditioned space on Jupiter Island in Hobe Sound, Florida. The main house overlooks the Intracoastal Waterway with 370 feet of waterfront, and a 140-foot dock that can accommodate a large yacht with a lift for a smaller vessel. A formal living and dining room flows to the Florida room, family room, wine room, library and den. The house dates to 1902, with its original cellar – including climate-controlled storage for 2,500 bottles – and all its charm intact. The flooring is vintage Dade County pine. Beautifully renovated in 1985, with additions in 1995 and library overlooking the Intracoastal added in 1999, main house now features a combined media room/game room and a gourmet kitchen with appliances by Wolf, Miele, Traulsen, Subzero and Bosch. The property includes 172 feet of glorious private oceanfront. Two-bedroom, two-bath guesthouse on the shores of the Atlantic features living room, dining room, kitchen, gas fireplace, oak beams and hardwood floors. An open porch offers panoramic ocean views and lets you see where Bill Clinton, uh, fell and hurt his knee.
Oops, don't know how that last part got in there.
Grill house with adjacent tennis court and 50-foot pool is an idyllic setting for outdoor entertaining with rotisserie, full sink, dishwasher, icemaker, microwave, television and surround sound stereo. Estate includes a total of nine bedrooms, 11 full baths and three half baths in six structures. Coach house includes a four-car garage down, with three bedrooms, two baths, kitchen, and living room up. Carriage house includes a six-car garage down, with gym, bath and steam room, reception area, boardroom, and two offices up. Boat shed will hold seven vehicles, or any combination of car and boat. There is garage space for 17 cars in all. It is aptly named Tranquility, but it is unequivocally paradise found.
Thankfully I only have 16 cars, so it's going to work.
Tim Rosaforte catches up with Don McGuire, ousted as head of Golf Channel programming and development.
Industry sources have indicated that Thompson hopes to create new programming and may be looking to hire an executive with experience in that area. In other words, developing more shows like The Big Break that can draw ratings during the hours when The Golf Channel is not broadcasting its 15-year investment potentially worth several billion dollars. "The diamond in our jewelry was the PGA Tour," McGuire said. "That was 100 percent of our focus in 2007. That was the mandate from the top down."
Judging by this, things are looking good for the reality show I've been hoping to pitch TGC: a group of hot models and even hotter Big Break rejects are asked to run a Nationwide Tour day care center to find out who will be the last to break into tears. The winner gets to babysit the Mickelson children during next spring's educational trip to Dubai. Thoughts?
Steve Elling wonders if UNLV junior Seung-su Han, who has made it through three stages of Q-School to reach the finals, is beginning a wave of college golfers entering and potentially leaving school early if they qualify.
"I think you might see more and more guys with the financial resources take a run at it," said [Dwayne] Knight, whose team is ranked No. 33 nationally by Golfweek. "But if you don't allow them to chase their dream, you'll never get the top players, like Adam Scott."
Scott, a fixture in the top 10 of the world rankings, played briefly at UNLV before turning pro. As with Duke and North Carolina basketball, college golf could increasingly become a sport in which programs sign blue-chip players in hopes of keeping them in school for a mere year or two. If college coaches balk, turning pro out of high school will continue to gain popularity. To wit, Kevin Na, Sean O'Hair and Ty Tryon all turned pro before they graduated from high school and eventually made the PGA Tour, skipping college altogether.
Bailing on college in mid-semester isn't an academic ideal, but without getting preachy, many top players look at college as a means to an end, anyway. So let's not wax nostalgic about motives. Golf was lucky to have lasted this long with only minimal professional temptation.
"Rarely does anybody in any walk of life have the chance to fulfill a lifelong dream," Knight said. "In the end, you have got to support the dream."
Preferring to keep the matter a public spectacle, Monty penned a Telegraph column where he not only stirs the pot, but also reveals how to gain 20 yards without lifting a weight or injecting your rump with steroids. Hint: buy Yonex!
First, here's where he makes clear that Nick Faldo's Christmas card has not arrived yet...in the lead to the column no less:
Since Marc Warren and I won the World Cup for Scotland at the weekend, I've had one or two people ask whether Nick Faldo would have been taking note of what happened in China. As next year's Ryder Cup captain, he would almost certainly have been looking at the progress of all of the European players, especially since this was a team tournament. I know that if I was the captain, I would have been riveted by events at Mission Hills.And what better way to make that clear to Nick than in a widely read newspaper column!
As is well known, Nick and I had a difference of opinion as to whether I was a good team member in the Seve Trophy a couple of months ago. When people pitched in to say what I would have said myself - that my commitment in a team situation has never been less than 100 per cent - I was able to stay out of things to a degree.
We haven't been in touch since but I really don't think that matters. We have known each other for years and have a lot of shared history and I am confident that both of us can move on from here without anything being said.
On the three days we played with South Africa, there were occasions when Retief Goosen, who is one of our longer hitters, was looking at me in mingled astonishment and disbelief.
You know, I could touch that one, but I won't. Not when you get insights like this.
He was staggered that I was not just up with him off the tee but often hitting the shorter iron into the green. In the last round, for example, I hit a six-iron more than 200 yards to pave the way for the eagle at the 15th which put us ahead of the Americans for the first time.
I'm not about to pretend that it's all down to the work I've been doing in the gym.
The truth is that it's due to the 2008 version of my Yonex clubs. Both with the woods and the irons I'm getting an extra 20 yards.
Wow, check the grooves on those babies!
It really is exciting to be adding yards rather than subtracting them at my age.
So very, very exciting.
Thanks to all the readers who sent the story of Donald Trump's planned Scottish course getting shot down by the Aberdeenshire Council. Here's the unbylined Guardian story, but this Louise Hosie and Matt Dickinson story for the Scottish Press Association was the most detailed, but I can't find it online to link.
The casting vote on whether to reject or defer the decision was made by committee chairman Martin Ford after a 7-7 deadlock.
Mr Ford warned members it would be a “grotesque mistake” to grant the application without any negotiation and voted to reject the application.
Shell-shocked George Sorial, Mr Trump’s right-hand man who was in Aberdeen for the meeting, spoke of his disappointment, also warning that the decision sent out a “devastating” message against doing business in north-east Scotland.
He said: “Obviously we are very disappointed.
“It is our position that the council has failed to adequately represent the voice and opinion of the people of Aberdeen and the shire who are ultimately the losers here.”
Mr Sorial added of the decision: “I think it sends out a devastating message that if you want to do big business don’t do it in the north-east of Scotland.”
Mr Trump’s team could now appeal to Scottish ministers, with the prospect of a lengthy public inquiry over the development a possibility.
Mr Sorial said they were “not sure” if they would make an appeal.
“I think we have been very frank all along – we do have options elsewhere in the UK and we will sit down now and look at that,” he said.
“We haven’t made a formal decision yet.”
This might explain what kind of people you're dealing with on the council:
Passionate arguments for and against the resort were heard during the meeting at the council headquarters in Aberdeen. Councillor Albert Howie said the chance for Aberdeenshire to have an international complex of this kind was an opportunity not to be missed.
“A golf course is a beautiful thing. They are an improvement to what, to me, is wasteland.
Beautiful dunes a wasteland? Obviously he hasn't been to Las Vegas.
But Councillor Alastair Ross said the council must play “hardball” with the Trump Organisation and refuse the application.“It is an economic investment – it is property speculation,” he said.“We are open for business but we have to do business that is good for Aberdeenshire – not at any price.”
His views were echoed by Councillor Debra Storr.“This is a very strange development, very outwith the ethos of the north-east of Scotland,” she said.“I have no faith in the application.
Larry Bohannan talks to Rees Jones about all things Rees. On Torrey Pines:
Not everyone is going to like the course. The ones who don't play as well won't like it as much," Jones said. "I think in the case of Torrey Pines, the players are going to be enthralled by it."This next part really speaks to why we need drug testing since we know this is all thanks to the extra lifting:
Specifically, Jones said the players should like the Open greens at Torrey Pines far more than the Opens in recent years.
"(Torrey Pines) doesn't have the pitch to the greens like Oakmont did (this year)," Jones said. "So if you get above the hole you really get a chance to make the putt a little bit more."
Jones said in his research and work on renovating the courses for Opens and PGA Championships, his understanding grows of how good top professional players have become.I found this odd:
"We did Congressional over for 1997 (the Open), and now we are having to add a lot of tees for 2011," Jones said. "Atlanta Athletic Club, we did for the 2001 PGA. For 2011 we had to push the bunkers out, re-bunker the course and add length."
Jones says statistics back up the need for stretching golf courses out for major championships.
"From the 1997 Open (at Congressional) to the 2005 Booz Allen Classic, when you used the Shot Link (measuring system), the players hit it 49 yards longer over that period," Jones said. "In championship golf, we had to upgrade the golf course. We just took Oakland Hills back 350 yards. And now it is a challenge for these guys."
Scores are almost guaranteed to be more under par at Torrey Pines than at other recent Open courses, but for a reason Jones himself discounts.
"They are going to play it a par-71 at Torrey. The last couple of years it has been a par-70," Jones said.
Now, according to my PGA Tour media guide, they've always played Torrey at par-72. Eh, minor details!
"So it will be a chance to be more under par, which doesn't mean much.
"Still, the greens at Torrey are challenging. There can be this little terrace in the back that can be hard to access because they spin the ball so much."
Having the high-profile nickname of the Open Doctor and having his work critiqued and criticized by the game's best players isn't a burden, Jones believes.
"It's very beneficial. I've got three of the next four Opens, I've got three of the next four PGAs," Jones said. "The scrutiny of the golfing world is intense. If you do a good job, you get a lot of credit."
I have really enjoyed the intelligent discussion on slow play under the Links Magazine column by George Peper and was prepared to try and continue the discussion by looking harder at the USGA Pace of Play policy to see how it could be, ugh, "tweaked' to work for the PGA Tour.
But really, how can you even have a slow play debate when you see video such as this one, shot at Lakeside during Golf Digest's recent celebrity get together.
Warning, this uncomforable watch. I clocked it at 18 seconds of his waggles and hitches.