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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

In June of 1956 Wentworth hosted the Canada Cup (now the World Cup). Professional pairs from twenty-eight countries competed. Sam Snead and Ben Hogan were heavily favored to win. On the flight to London, Hogan, who had never played in England whose painstaking preparation for important competitions is legendary, took advantage of the long hours aloft to ask his partner to brief him on Wentworth's West Course. For a considerable time Snead silently weighed Hogan's request, giving him the clear impression that he was about to present a thorough analysis of the course. Finally he turned to Ben and said, "It's a sonofabitch."  JAMES FINEGAN


    

Tuesday
Oct022007

"Consistent with last year, several trees were removed."

Who says Tom Fazio can't do a little restoration?

Why, he's taking out trees at Augusta! 

Granted, he planted them, but still...progress toward total de-Hootification:

October 2, 2007
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Billy Payne, Chairman of Augusta National Golf Club and the Masters Tournament, announced today changes to four holes, Nos. 1, 7, 9 and 11, for the 2008 Masters. In addition, other modifications were made on the grounds.

"Refinements to the golf course and grounds have been made almost every year since the Tournament's inception and this year was no exception," Payne said. "Overall, we are happy with the golf course. We think last year's exceptionally high scores were an anomaly due to the frigid, windy weather."

The changes for the 2008 Masters are:

Hole No. 1: Ten yards were added to the front of the Masters tee providing more flexibility in the event of a strong northwest wind. Back of the tee was reduced to ease patron movement. Masters scorecard remains 455 yards.

Hole No. 7: Green was changed for agronomic reasons and approximately six feet added to the left of the green allowing the possibility of 2-3 additional pin placements.

Didn't they just do No. 7 recently? Refresh my memory.

Hole No. 9: Green was changed for agronomic reasons and right pin placement softened on first and middle plateaus.

Hole No. 11: Consistent with last year, several trees were removed.

Whoa Nellie. It's because you recognize how ridiculous they look right?

The result allows for enhanced patron viewing.

Hey, whatever floats your boat. Just get 'em outta there!

Additional work throughout the course included construction of a new patron viewing area on the hillside at No. 16, further work on the new practice facility that will open in 2010, adding and extending azalea beds to increase course color and replacing grass with pine straw between Nos. 15 and 17 (pine straw was also added to the left of No. 15).

Well, 11 is a start but it sure would be nice if a tornado blew through 15/17 too.

The hillside seating area is located to the left of the pond at No. 16 and will provide viewing for over 2,000 patrons. Holes that can be viewed from this location include No. 6 green, the second shot and every putt at No. 15, the green complex at No. 16 and the tee shot and second shot at No. 17.

Easy access can be gained to this area from a newly renovated back entrance. From there, patrons can travel to No. 16 hillside, No. 5 fairway or to holes Nos. 13, 14 and Amen Corner. "We are very excited about these significant improvements for our patrons, and hope that we have made an already special experience even better," said Payne.

Now, about that slippery-when-it's-wet second cut? I think it needs to go for patron safety? Not yet?


Tuesday
Oct022007

Bridgestone and Acushnet Settle; World Peace Next?

Susan Decker of Bloomberg reports what sounds like a victory of sorts for Bridgestone:
Acushnet, which makes the Titleist and Pinnacle golf balls, will pay unspecified royalties to Bridgestone, and the companies agreed to cross-license other patents, the companies said in separate statements. The agreement doesn't cover a related suit pending in Japan.

Bridgestone Sports, based in Tokyo, and its Bridgestone Golf unit sued Acushnet in 2005 in federal court in Wilmington, Delaware. The company's patented technology relates to ways of making balls so they fly farther, spin better and last longer. One patent is designed to increase a ball's distance when struck by a No. 5 iron or sand wedge.

``We are very pleased to have reached a settlement agreement with Acushnet and to bring the U.S. litigation to an end,'' Bridgestone Sports President Hisashi Kawano said in that company's statement. ``This agreement demonstrates the value of our technology and our intellectual property.''

Acushnet Golf, based in Fairhaven, Massachusetts, confirmed reaching a settlement. ``Acushnet considers this matter to be closed and will have no further comment,'' the company said in a statement. Fortune Brands, based in Deerfield, Illinois, also makes Jim Beam bourbon and Moen faucets.

Monday
Oct012007

"Why are so many players lifting weights if strength doesn't help?"

eqar01_golftechsteroids.jpgIf you've followed the steroid story in golf, you know that most players and certain administrators believed there was no problem and no benefit in using performance enhancing drugs. Others have said that may be true and everyone may be clean, but how can you know without testing? Still another school has said there is evidence that certain drugs or steroids could be beneficial, and if nothing else, a policy should be in place.

And then there are blowhards like me who have found the "we play golf, therefore we are honest" response downright offensive. Especially considering that we've seen a big jump in distance in recent years that most of golf's administrators attributed to increased athleticism. Yet somehow with those dubious claims, we are to expect today's youth to sit idly by and just work hard in the gym?

So if nothing else, you test, for the children!

Yet no matter where you stand, I think it would be hard to come away from reading Matthew Rudy's piece in the October Golf Digest, still insisting that beta blockers can't possibly work or that designer steroids will not help a golfer. Yes, it's clear Rudy has a bias: he talked to many people and heard an overwhelming consensus, then reported it.

I highly recommend reading the story, but because this is my clipping archive and you never know when Golf Digest's archives will vanish overnight, here are some of the highlights along with clips from Dr. Grant Liu's excellent guest sidebar on antidepressants.

But a wide cross section of scientific experts, trainers and instructors say [Gary] Player is neither crazy nor wrong. Many of them not only believe performance-enhancing drugs would significantly help golfers, but that far more than the approximately 10 pros Player estimated to be taking drugs are using them to recover from injuries quickly and hit the ball longer.

How many more? As many as half of the top 100 players in the world, according to one prominent trainer.

Even if the true number is closer to zero than 50, it's clear that the idea of professional golf not needing to worry about steroids is as outdated as the notion that golfers aren't athletes. "The reality is that the public is slowly coming to the view that performance-enhancing substances are prolific in sports," says PGA Tour Commissioner Tim Finchem, who is expected to announce a set of anti-doping rules for the tour later this year. "Whether we have an issue or not doesn't matter if people think we have one."

And this on the specifics, which will help those players who immediately shrug off the steroid concept thinking that today's designer drugs are only designed to make you bigger.

It's easy to lump steroids into one general "they make you more muscular" category, but different performance-enhancing drugs produce dramatically different effects. Drugs that athletes would use for help fall into four main categories: anabolic steroids, synthetic hormones, beta-blockers and stimulants.

Anabolic steroids like synthetic testosterone are the workhorses of the performance-enhancing drug world. "When you put your body under constant physical stress, it releases substances called corticosteroids," says Dr. Charles Yesalis, author of Anabolic Steroids in Sport and Exercise. "They're the most powerful anti-inflammatories in history. But corticosteroids break down muscle tissues as they work."

Anabolic steroids block the muscles from being broken down, allowing an athlete to train longer, recover faster from that training and build more muscle mass. For a golfer, that means being able to hit more practice balls -- and do it more often.

Powerful injected anabolics like stanzolol and deca-durabolin can produce body builder-type gains when taken in conjuction with an aggressive workout regimen. Testosterone creams that are spread on the body before a workout help generate smaller amounts of lean muscle.

Hormone drugs like HGH and EPO have had a central role in the ongoing controversy in baseball. HGH is synthetic human-growth hormone -- the substance responsible for bone growth and tissue health -- and it is commonly prescribed for its anti-aging effects. EPO is the synthetic form of a natural substance in the body, erythropoietin, that promotes red blood-cell production and increases the cells' ability to carry more oxygen -- both of which give an athlete more endurance.

Fast forward to this, along the same lines...

Some drug experts, trainers and other teachers call the idea that a golfer wouldn't benefit from getting stronger naïve. "Tell me a sport where a good big man doesn't beat a good little man," says Yesalis, who has researched steroid use in sports for almost 30 years. "Why are so many players lifting weights if strength doesn't help? Tiger Woods started training seriously when he came out on tour, and he's put on 15 to 20 pounds of muscle. I don't hear anybody saying getting stronger hasn't helped him."

Dr. Jim Suttie, former PGA Teacher of the Year, gives a qualified endorsement of that view: "There's no doubt steroids build muscle and increase strength," says Suttie, who holds a Ph.D. in biomechanics. "Bigger muscles mean more explosive core strength, more explosive hip strength, more arm strength." Suttie believes players taking steroids would be able to hit the ball longer -- provided they didn't get too bulky and lose flexibility.

The first piece of any golf doping regimen involves ambitious weight training and cardio work. Anabolic steroids have no effect on a player who isn't adding muscle by working out.

Hey maybe all the guys were working out to keep up with their...oh just kidding.

The chemical component most commonly mentioned by trainers and experts interviewed for this story was a 5 percent testosterone cream, applied just before each workout. A week's supply of that cream would cost approximately $40. "That level of steroid would have minimal side effects," says Yesalis. "Certainly nothing that would prevent a golfer from being able to concentrate on the course. At least five different studies have shown that doses far, far larger than this cause no psychological response."

Experts estimate a player could generate 10 percent more clubhead speed using testosterone cream in addition to working out. That translates into roughly 30 more yards of carry for a tour player swinging at 110 miles per hour with a driver. Managed with expert supervision, a player could get the benefits from that relatively small amount of testosterone without even triggering a positive result on a drug test.

"The best players aren't going to be testing positive for steroids," says Randy Myers, who trains more than a dozen tour players. "Small doses of impact drugs -- HGH, things like that -- that's what the modern athlete is doing. It's barely testable, and it doesn't bulk you up. It builds explosive muscle, which is what all golfers want."

Doubters, doesn't that pretty much say it all?

Doctors routinely prescribe HGH to middle-age men to help fight muscle loss and increase suppleness -- two things that would obviously help a player prolong a competitive career. HGH is widely available on the Internet illegally without a prescription, or an athlete could visit an anti-aging clinic, where a physician-supervised HGH and nutrition regimen can run more than $15,000 a year. "You've got a small window of opportunity in sports, and players are threatened with the loss of millions of dollars if they don't perform," says Yesalis. "You don't think that would tempt somebody to go to the 'dark side,' so to speak? As competitive as golf is, people are going to be doing this just to keep their job."

Myers says he believes no more than a handful of tour players are using performance-enhancing drugs, but that group includes players who could be doing so unknowingly. "There are trainers out there that nobody knows anything about," says Myers, who has trained tour players since 1989. "There's a lot of money at stake, and players pay bonuses to trainers, teachers and psychologists for things like major championships and money-list finish. There's a lot of pressure on trainers, for sure, to not just show results, but show them fast."

Accompanying the piece was this sidebar from the University of Pennsylvania's Dr. Grant Liu who breaks down what today's "mind enhancers" can do.

A class of drugs called "mind enhancers" poses a greater potential for abuse in golf than do steroids. Mind enhancers, such as antidepressants and anti-anxiety agents, are legitimate drugs with medical uses, but their effects make up a veritable wish list for the ambitious golfer. They can increase focus, dampen emotional extremes and reduce anxiety. Plus, they're more available than steroids, and there's less of a stigma associated with taking them.

BETA-BLOCKERS / example: Inderal / These blood-pressure medications are sometimes used by performers to deal with stage fright. The golf application would be to battle nerves or the yips. These drugs have been studied in Post-traumatic Stress Disorder, and could help golfers get over a crushing loss.

Oh but Nick Price, like, 15 years ago used them and he said they didn't help, so forget it!

AMPHETAMINES / example: Adderall / This group of stimulants promotes alertness and focus and is commonly prescribed to treat Attention Deficit Disorder. They're often used illegally by students taking the SATs or final exams. The golf goal could be better concentration during a round.

ANTIDEPRESSANTS AND MOOD DRUGS / example: Prozac /These mood elevators and stabilizers combat stress and depression and help people control emotions. Think of the golfer who dramatizes mistakes, like the missed three-footer.

No, not us golfers.

BENZODIAZEPINES / example: Valium / This class of anti-anxiety drugs is prescribed to treat phobias, such as fear of crowds or closed spaces. In golf, fear of on-course situations or consequences can be crippling. Imagine a Ryder Cup rookie needing to take the edge off on the first tee.

And this definitely says it all...

Would golfers really take these drugs? Consider that many people today use medications to enhance their appearance, performance or lifestyle. For example, Viagra, indicated for erectile dysfunction, is used by 20-somethings to increase sexual prowess. Botox, a drug for neurological disorders, is commonly injected to smooth wrinkles.
Monday
Oct012007

"The Ryder Cup has been captains coming up and saying, ‘You’re playing with him and he’s playing with him.'"

Doug Ferguson on Ryder Cup Captain Paul Azinger reaching out to Jack Nicklaus...

What the Presidents Cup inspired Azinger to do was call Nicklaus — and that’s never a bad idea no matter what the subject, unless it’s the golf ball — along with Tiger Woods, Phil Mickelson, Jim Furyk, David Toms and Stewart Cink.

Low blow Doug! Low blow.

Those five have played on each of the last two Presidents Cup and Ryder Cup teams.
“I want input from the guys who played on both teams,” he said. “I’d rather know from them, rather than blurt out what I like. And I’d like to spend some time on the phone with Nicklaus and get a feel for what he was thinking and doing. And if there’s a glaring difference, then I’d like to try to duplicate what he did.”

Nicklaus wants it to be fun, but isn’t it always fun when you’re winning?

Captain Jack also has reduced the science of pairings to an art form by letting the players decide. He pulled his master list out of his pocket Saturday morning, and next to each player was three or four names. Nicklaus couldn’t accommodate everyone, but he was close.

“The thing that I’ve noticed between the Ryder Cup and here is Jack is very much, ‘Guys, do what you want to do, have a great time. Tell me who you want to play with,’ ” Scott Verplank said. “The Ryder Cup has been captains coming up and saying, ‘You’re playing with him and he’s playing with him.’ I don’t know if that makes a difference.”
Monday
Oct012007

Multiple Mid-Am Medalists

Ron Balicki reports from Bandon Dunes on the chosen, uh, six...

Monday
Oct012007

"From Day One, Bivens moved fast to reshape the LPGA. She replaced the exiting staffers with a team heavy on marketers and intellectual-property lawyers"

0926_bivens.jpgNow I'm sure that the LPGA Carolyn Bivens inherited was far from perfect and that as with any organization, some change was necessary. But if you believe BusinessWeek (and that's hard to do considering how they pandered to ranking partner ESPN), you would be under the impression that the LPGA Tour was a complete and utter disaster and that her initiatives have completely turned things around.

Is it me or does Dean Foust's breathless piece reads a bit too much like an official LPGA press release:

If you think the inauspicious start chastened Bivens, think again. The LPGA chief makes no apologies for rattling cages at the 58-year-old tour, telling more than one interviewer: "I didn't take the job to be voted Miss Congeniality." She sees her game-changing overhaul as crucial to making sure the players reap their fair share of the spoils from the growing fan interest in the LPGA. "There were a number of people invested in maintaining the status quo," says Bivens. "It would have been criminal not to change the business model. The value of the LPGA had changed exponentially, and the contracting and the fees hadn't caught up to that."

Ah the value. Of course.

The tour Bivens inherited was far from healthy. Since 2001, the number of tournaments had shrunk from 40 to 35, and interest among TV networks was so limited that the LPGA not only didn't receive rights fees but had to buy air time to broadcast. The tour couldn't even afford to provide health care or retirement plans to its players.

And that has changed?

Perhaps more important, the LPGA didn't control any of the tournaments on its calendar. That left it vulnerable to the whims of tournament operators. For example, in 2006, CBS decided to move the final rounds of the McDonald's LPGA Championship to early afternoon—a time slot that was clearly unpalatable to the tour. NBC was willing to air the tournament in a better slot for $1.5 million. But the tournament's owner opted for The Golf Channel, which cost much less—about $300,000—but could deliver only a quarter of the NBC audience.

From Day One, Bivens moved fast to reshape the LPGA. She replaced the exiting staffers with a team heavy on marketers and intellectual-property lawyers who could help strike better deals with sponsors, licensees, and networks. For players, she hired a "branding coach" to help enhance their marketability. What's more, Bivens gradually hiked the sanctioning fees charged to the tournament owners to $100,000, from the $10,000 or so many had paid—a fee that wasn't enough to cover the cost of setting up the course and providing weekend child care for players. That triggered a backlash among tournament operators, but many players backed Bivens. "In the past I think our leadership was in a position of wanting to please too much. She wanted to do things differently," says tour veteran Wendy Ward.

I always forget that all change is progress! Stupid me.

This was also curious, since the ADT started under the prior regime:

To that end, she has already gained control of the season-ending ADT Championship held in mid-November in West Palm Beach, which pays two-thirds of its $1.55 million purse to the winner (winners usually get 15% of the purse). That disproportionate payout upset some older tour players, but their complaints have fallen on deaf ears. One more reason Carolyn Bivens won't be winning that congeniality award anytime soon.
Monday
Oct012007

Internationals Want Aid From Flies To Capture Prez Cup

From an unbylined story in the Sydney Morning Herald:

The International players sometimes wondered if they were really playing a home game in the past four days at Royal Montreal, near the US border. The galleries cheered for Americans Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson sometimes with greater fervour than the Internationals.

If the competition returns to somewhere close to the US, watch out for a mutiny.

"I think South Africa and Australia would be the best place," said International Vijay Singh.

The US Tour selected Canada for this year's event because of its proximity to the US, making it an easy trip for the American players, and the time zone suited US television.

But Scott and his teammates want the Americans on the other side of the world, where the heat, flies, jetlag and all of those other intangibles will come into play.

The Internationals started yesterday's singles needing to win 10 of 12 matches to pull off an unlikely victory. They did win seven matches, but the US prevailed 19½ to 14½ overall.

The four Australians were generally disappointing. Geoff Ogilvy and Stuart Appleby finished with two wins and three losses, while Adam Scott had one win, three losses and one tie. Nick O'Hern posted one win and four defeats.

Monday
Oct012007

Yet Another Senior Major

Don Markus writes about yet another Champions Tour major--the Constellation Energy Senior Players Championship--kicking off this week at the venerable Baltimore Country Club, profiling Keith Foster and his work to bring the course up-to-date for today's old geezers. Thanks to reader John for this.

On restoration:

"You're really riding the edge," Foster said of restoring a golf course. "If you do too much, everyone knows, and if you don't do enough, everyone still talks about it."

Club general manager Michael Stott said the principal idea behind the multimillion-dollar restoration, the cost of which was shared by the club and the PGA Tour, was to make the Five Farms course "relevant again" in terms of modern technology. It appears that Foster accomplished that goal.

While most of the players have yet to test their skills on the course, which has a major golf history dating to the 1928 PGA Championship, the early reviews have applauded Foster's work. It has been ranked as highly as the No. 1 course in Maryland by Golfweek, and No. 83 in the country by Golf Magazine.

Sunday
Sep302007

Weir Wins! Salt Lake City Ticker Tape Parade Next?

presidents%20cup.jpgI tell you, the President's Cup tension was just too much for me to take. Especially since it was clear and 78 with 2 mph winds out of the east and the forecasted gusts to 3 mph never materializing here in the community recognized around the world as the home of the homeless.

But from what I saw fast forwarding on TiVo, the Villages ads were almost as spontaneous as the NBC announce team's  surprise when Woody Austin pulled out the snorkeling gear on 14. Amazing how the cameraman knew to stay on him! And the guys in the replay truck were ready with the clip of Woody's lake dive! Those guys are good!

Here's the AP (Doug Ferguson?) game story focusing largely on Mike Weir and his win over Tiger. No mention of possible celebratory events in his home state of Utah. PGATour.com's

PGATour.com's Melanie Hauser says Weir's win makes him a "national hero" and that fans got to see "the moment of a lifetime." In the same piece, Gary Player is quoted stating that this win might turn Weir's life around. Like it was so bad before!

sept30_woodyaustin_600x493.jpgSI's Michael Bamberger writes that Rory Sabbatini and Woody Austin became team players this week. Hopefully they'll go back to being themselves next week. Gary Van Sickle looks at Austin's quickly expanding infamy.

Golf World's Jim Moriarty offers a few behind the scenes observations while Ron Sirak tries to understand why the American's can win the President's Cup but not the Ryder Cup.

The circumstances that built the intensity of the Ryder Cup were real. It is a feeling that cannot be manufactured. Though it goes pretty much unacknowledged by both sides, the U.S. teams goes into the Ryder Cup knowing how Europe feels. That builds the intensity of the event. What Europe does well is embrace that intensity while the Americans -- burdened by their better resumes -- feel the pressure of being the team that is supposed to win but just can't seem to get the job done.

The Presidents Cup was created in 1994 because of the power shift in the game to the Pacific Rim. Greg Norman, Ernie Els, Jumbo Ozaki, Steve Elkington and others were just too good to be left out of such compelling team competitions. 

Well...now...there were some financial considerations, too. Charitable ones of course.

Sunday
Sep302007

LPGA Tour Creates Another On-The-Fly-Exemption

You gotta love the Wild West of tournament operations, better known as LPGA Tour headquarters:

Annika Sorenstam will get another crack at the Samsung World Championship, but only because the tournament changed its criteria to allow an exemption for an active member of the Hall of Fame.

Sorenstam is a five-time winner at Samsung, a limited field of 20 players held at Bighorn Golf Club in Palm Desert, Calif on Oct. 11-14.

But she would not have been eligible this year under the previous guidelines that award spots to the defending champion, the four major champions of the year, the leader of the Ladies European Tour money list, with the rest of the field coming from the LPGA Tour money list.

Sorenstam is having one of the worst seasons of her career, missing nearly two months in the spring because of neck and back injuries. The 10-time major champion is 30th on the LPGA Tour money list and has gone more than a full year without winning.

In an effort to upgrade the event, tournament organizers decided to eliminate a criteria that has not been used in nine years - the option to offer an exemption to the U.S. Women's Amateur champion - and replace it with a spot for an active Hall of Famer.

Now that we know Michelle Wie's never going to win that or join the IMG roster of product! And as the story notes, this isn't the first time a new exemption was created to circumvent the previously announced setup.
The tournament created a sponsor's exemption for Michelle Wie in 2004, and the teenager from Hawaii made her professional debut at Big Horn in 2005. Wie also played last year and finished 17th, and she accepted another sponsor's exemption in March.
Sunday
Sep302007

Presidents Cup Photo Caption Fun, Vol. 3

From golf.com:

sept30_tigerbush_600x428.jpg 

Sunday
Sep302007

"If you run around thinking you can beat this guy, he's going to keep knocking you down."

John Huggan talked to Thomas Bjorn about his desire to be chairman of the European Tour tournament committee, and he offered this interesting bit of wisdom:
"I always compare the PGA Tour with Tiger," he muses. "The second you realise he is what he is, that's the time you can start competing with him. If you run around thinking you can beat this guy, he's going to keep knocking you down. And it's the same with the PGA Tour. If the European Tour thinks it can be as big and powerful as they are, then it isn't ever going to happen. But if we accept that they are there and that they do what they do, then we can start managing our own affairs to the best of our ability."
Saturday
Sep292007

Praise The Lords: Player and Nicklaus Arrange Much Desired Weir-Tiger Pairing

presidents%20cup.jpgSince, after all, the matches are pretty much done. Sheesh, Jimmy Roberts tried to get golf's version of Norman Vincent Peale to offer encouraging words, and even the sunny Gary Player couldn't muster up much with a camera in his face or in a post round chat with the assembled inkslingers.

"It's not over," International captain Gary Player said. "But things don't look too good. The egg is not sunny-side up."

Meanwhile, if you are touched by the historic insignificance of the Weir-Tiger singles pairing, you can read all about how it came to fruition.

Here are the other pairings

Saturday
Sep292007

Presidents Cup Photo Caption Fun, Vol. 2

From golf.com:

sept29_philwoody_600x399.jpg 

Saturday
Sep292007

Seve Having A Blast Captaining; Wants To Do It Again At An Event That Draws A Gallery

_40826174_seve_owen300.jpgHe's older, wiser, grayer, paler but nonetheless able to Captain at a team tournament where people show up. Yet how can he be considered when he still won'tfess up to his hand in the single worst pre-tournament renovation and setup in golf history: Valderamma's 17th.

Paul Forsyth reports:

The man who led them to victory at Valderrama in 1997 has been having such a ball at the Seve Trophy, where his European team lead Great Britain & Ireland 9½-8½, that he fancies himself to succeed Nick Faldo at Celtic Manor in 2010. “I was thinking about it out on the course,” he says. “I was having such a good time. If the players want me, I would be happy to do it again.”

Ballesteros, who retired from competitive golf earlier this year, has relished his captain’s role at the Heritage, careering his buggy over the humps and hollows of County Laois, dishing out legs of Iberian ham to anyone with an appetite, and adopting the hands-on approach for which he was famous at Valderrama. The man who said he would never return to the Ryder Cup is having second thoughts. “In life, you say certain things and then change your mind.

Everybody does that. I have no doubts that I would be a better captain now, although it would be difficult because I won. I have learnt a lot of things. I know how to treat players, how to make the team play together, how to keep everybody happy. I have a very good relationship with the players,” he said.

Maybe, but his relationship with the European Tour is so uneasy that he will have a hard job persuading them this event deserves to keep its slot on the schedule, never mind that he should be installed as their next Ryder Cup captain. Yesterday’s marginal increase in crowds at least ensured there were more bodies behind the ropes than there were inside them.

Friday
Sep282007

"Captain Jack is already calling him Jacques."

sept28_austin_600x438.jpgGolf World's Jim Moriarty says Woody Austin better learn to deal with YouTube fame and teammate ribbing after his day two Presidents Cup dive (still not posted on YouTube, a full 8 hours after).

And, of course, what can you say about Woody Austin, having set the world butterfly record in the lake on the 14th hole and then birdieing three of the last four holes to gain a halve? Maybe they should add the dunking stool to the team room. The Christmas list is no doubt already being compiled on the U.S. team bus for their Rookie of the Year. Flippers and mask. Wet suit. Spear gun. Styrofoam noodles. Life vest. A professional will often try a risky play from a hazard but rarely do they wind up fully submerged. Captain Jack is already calling him Jacques.

At least Woody will never again have to look at the video clip of him beating himself over the head with his putter at Hilton Head. They've got something much, much better now.

"Put the two together," said his playing partner David Toms, "and you'd be, 'What's this guy all about?' But, I'll tell you what, he's a heckuva golfer."

Meanwhile, at least golf.com has the sequence from Getty Images' Timothy Clary, including the shot seen above.

Friday
Sep282007

Warren Survives Bout With Chandelier

Mark Garrod reports another lively story for the beleaguered Seve Trophy correspondents.
Scottish golfer Marc Warren was back playing at the Seve Trophy in Ireland today after what was literally a shattering experience at the team hotel.

Practising his swing in his room after losing his opening match with Colin Montgomerie, last season's European Tour Rookie of the Year smashed a chandelier above him.

The glass showering down on him cut his head, both arms and, most worrying of all, caused a nasty deep gash across his stomach requiring a trip to hospital.

Sounds like he was lucky to not lose his who-ha.
"It was about a centimetre wide and looked about a centimetre deep," said Warren. "I looked in the mirror and I was covered in blood.

"I rang Bradley Dredge because I was supposed to be having dinner with him, then Monty came along and (captain) Nick Faldo called.

"A car took me to hospital, although the driver stalled three times, and I had butterfly stitches in my cuts and had it dressed and covered."

Returning to the hotel around 10pm, Warren found he had fused the lights and so had to pack his things in the dark before being transferred to another room.

Unsure how sore he would be on waking up this morning, the 26-year-old was relieved to discover he was not too bad and even began with two birdies against French pair Raphael Jacquelin and Gregory Havret.

However, after five holes mostly played in rain and in front of another tiny crowd, Warren and Montgomerie were two down.

Before teeing off, Warren was even able to joke about what he called "an adventurous evening", saying: "I was using a five-iron - it should have been a six because I would have missed it."

Thursday
Sep272007

"The atmosphere was limited"

Lawrence Donegan writes about the galleries--can you call 250 a gallery!?--present for day one of the Seve Trophy.

Europe took a one-point lead over a team from Great Britain and Ireland after day one of the Seve Trophy but in the battle for the hearts and minds of the Irish public between the Royal & Ancient game and the national ploughing championships, it was a complete walkover.

The result: golf - approximately 250 paying customers wandering forlornly around the vast expanse of the Heritage resort; ploughing - 80,000 crammed into the Annaharvey Farm, 20 miles away, for one of Ireland's great cultural events.

"The atmosphere was limited," said Colin Montgomerie after he and his partner, Marc Warren, lost 3&1 in the opening fourball of the day to Europe's Peter Hanson and Robert Karlsson - a match that attracted around two dozen spectators as it headed off into the back nine. "The ploughing championships need to finish, and the sooner that happens the better. The farmers need to bring their wellies and get over here because the quality of golf is excellent."

Leaving aside the stereotyping of farmers and their footwear, the Scotsman had an excellent point.

The Principal also shares a story of getting to watch great golf with unobstructed views.  

Thursday
Sep272007

Thomson Makes Case For Norman; Finchem's Heart Warmed

From Doug Ferguson's story on Royal Melbourne landing the 2011 Presidents Cup:

Five-time British Open champion Peter Thomson, captain of that International team who famously introduced the American team at opening ceremonies as “the greatest collection of golfers in the world,” said he was not interested in returning as captain.

“I’m a has-been and I’m happy to be that, instead of a could-have-been,” Thomson said.

But he said he would favor Greg Norman leading the International team, especially with the matches being held in Australia. Norman, perhaps the most popular golfer to emerge from Down Under, played on that ‘98 and lost a singles match against Tiger Woods.

Norman and Finchem have been at odds for much of the last decade, however, and it was not clear if he would be interested.

“I hope one day he will be captain,” Thomson said. “He was a giant figure in the game for so long, I think it’s appropriate that if he wants to be, he should be captain of this team.”

Thursday
Sep272007

“Captain Nicklaus was right."

Doug Ferguson on the most "poignant" moment of the U.S. domination on day one of the President's Cup, when Captain Jack Nicklaus intervened:

Despite a leaderboard covered with American red numbers, perhaps the most poignant moment of a gray afternoon was Nicklaus instructing Phil Mickelson and Woody Austin to concede a 3½-foot par putt on the 18th hole that assured Mike Weir of Canada and his International team its only point of the opening session.

In a tense battle with only six holes halved, the match was all square going to the 18th when both sides missed the green. Mickelson blasted out to 12 feet, while Weir chipped to 3½ feet above the hole. Austin made the par putt, and before Vijay Singh spot his ball, the match was conceded.

“Captain Nicklaus was right. It was the right thing to do,” Mickelson said.

And he followed up, saying, "If it was anyone other than Vijay, I would have thought to do the same thing myself." 

Steve Elling breaks down the conceded putt and Nicklaus's reasoning. (Warning for those who should not be rolling their eyes: it was for Canada and Mike Weir).