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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
  • 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

It must be remembered that the great majority of golfers are aiming to reduce their previous best performance by five strokes if possible, first, last and all the time, and if any one of them arrives at the home teeing ground with this possibility in reach, he is not caring two hoots whether he is driving off from nearby an ancient oak of majestic size and form or a dead sassafras. If his round ends happily it is one beautiful course. Such is human nature. A.W. TILLINGHAST



"A couple of readers said courses should charge extra for playing from the back tees."

Thanks to reader John for John Paul Newport's WSJ follow up column on the joys of not playing too far back.

One of modern golf's fundamental problems, according to Bill Amick, a Florida-based golf-course architect who has thought much about this issue, is that many of its traditions were established in a far less egalitarian era, and the glamour of the sport continues to revolve around elite players. Developers believe, probably with justification, that only "championship" courses in excess of 7,000 yards long will receive enough notoriety, such as rankings on the prestigious top-course lists published by golf magazines, to successfully anchor a new high-end housing community or to be a draw at a big-time resort.

'I can confirm that I have never had a client ask for a shorter course, even when it was abundantly clear it would be more appropriate," emailed David Leininger, who worked for many years in golf-course development.

Owners and operators also got a lot of heat for being so ineffective in directing players to the appropriate tees. But readers had plenty of suggestions, ranging from the eminently practical (posting signs at the first tee suggesting which tees were appropriate for which handicap levels) to the European (putting out only one set of playable men's tees each day, as many courses in Scotland do) to de-genderizing tees by eliminating red markers, the customary color for women's tees.

A couple of readers said courses should charge extra for playing from the back tees. Frank Thomas, the former U.S. Golf Association technical director, says -- in all seriousness -- that courses should give free postround beer to foursomes willing to play from up front. "They might end up selling more beer in the end, and probably [would] be able to squeeze in a few more foursomes per day, because of faster play," he said.



"Best hole in the world"

The Cumulative ShotLink Scatter Chart For No. 10 (click to enlarge)
I made a point to spend as much time as possible watching Northern Trust Open play on Riviera's 10th, and while I'm sure most of you have moved on to the match play, I thought I'd share a few observations from the week while I'm away this weekend and posting infrequently. Here goes...

Why Not Lay Up? That's the question I kept asking all week as guys fumbled their way to pars, bogies and the occasional double, even though laying up left will rarely result in worse than par.  Check out the ShotLink scatter chart (above) for the week and the clusters speak for themselves. A new high of 72% went for the green, up 10% from last year and up about 40% from three years ago. Yes, that's fun to watch but it does mean some risk/reward temptation has been eliminated by the lack of distance regulation by the governing bodies. And yet...

The green continues to baffle.  In 2007, just 62% of the plays here resulted in a green hit in regulation, about 20% lower than on most PGA Tour par-4s of comparable distance. The number was 60% in 2008 and the scoring average has remained steady at about 3.8 and change. 

It's the grooves. Even with the green firm and fast, I saw way too many guys lay up down the right and hold the front portion of the green with ease, Jeff Quinney's amazing second shot Saturday being the most prominent example. But I believe the grooves have a greater impact by compelling guys to drive the green (or past it), knowing they can mop up with a flop wedge shot. 230136-1357882-thumbnail.jpg
Many players opt to lay up where Steve Flesch did even though it's a harrowing shot...change those grooves! (click to enlarge)

72%. Is it a bad thing that more guys than ever go for No. 10 without contemplating a lay up? Yes and no. I would love to see more guys face an internal debate over the lay-up option instead of the decision being between 3-wood and driver. The hole was drivable in Bobby Jones's day (pre-kikuyu), so it's an important part of the design. Either way, it's such a joy watching the world's best get into so much trouble driving it all over the place and doing absolutely mindless things!

Addicting. Mid-morning Friday I was heading back to the press room when I stopped in to watch a group come through. It turned into five groups and a chance to watch the action with the AP's Doug Ferguson. He made the interesting point that other than 12 at Augusta and maybe 16 at TPC Sawgrass, Riviera's 10th is the only hole where players all seem to watch what the group behind them is doing as they walk off the 11th tee. And as a spectator, it's astonishing what you see with each group. They really need a grandstand here and round-the-clock video coverage on It's that interesting.

Rise to prominence. Ferguson asked me while we were standing there why the 10th had risen to prominence in the last few years. Obviously I would have referred him to my recent Golf World article if we had web access on the spot, but more than that I pointed out that it wasn't very driveable until recent years, except by the bombers. I would also say that the final piece to the puzzle in No. 10's resurrection has been the removal of the coral tree grove that surrounded the green until the late 90s. They have left the green more exposed, only adding to the drama and fear factor.

When I was standing with Ferguson, the pairing that included Joe Ogilvie and Davis Love came through. Ogilvie drove it in the front left bunker, hit it into the back bunker and made par en route to a missed cut. As he was walking off the green, within earshot of us, Ogilvie shook his head and muttered, "best hole in the world."


Close Encounter of the Congressional Kind?

Thanks tor reader Ari for the Leonard Shapiro Washington Post story on Congressional agreeing to host the 2009 AT&T National.

Congressional also is the site for the 2011 U.S. Open, and club and USGA officials plan a major restoration of the club's greens to make them suitable for Open play. The project will begin after Woods's tournament in 2009 and is expected to be completed by the spring of 2010.

The club plans to use the proceeds from the 2009 AT&T event to help pay for the restoration, estimated to cost about $2.5 million. The Tiger Woods Foundation also has pledged $500,000 toward the green restoration project.

Isn't that cutting it a bit close to the U.S. Open? Considering the problems they had with the greens last time, I'm amazed the USGA would sign off on such a short window between seeding greens and the tournament.


The Boo Files: "I'm like, 'Pick it up?' Honestly, I didn't know"

Steve Elling on Boo Weekley apparently not understanding that you can give putts in match play. Here's the transcript if you don't believe him, or just take Elling's word for it:

Still country to the core, the pride of the rural Florida Panhandle showed up this week having not played in a match-play event as an amateur 12 years ago, which was somewhat embarrassingly reinforced on the first hole of his opening match on Tuesday.

Germany's Martin Kaymer lagged the ball to within a few inches of the hole, and Weekly didn't concede the putt. Several awkward moments passed.

"It wasn't probably eight or nine inches from the hole, and I'm sitting there and I'm putting my ball down, and he's looking at me and I'm looking at him, like, 'Are you going to tap it in?'" Weekley recalled with a laugh.

Weekley's caddie finally told Kaymer to pick it up.

"I'm like, 'Pick it up?' Honestly, I didn't know," Weekley said. "So that's how that started out."
Mark Lamport-Stokes also included this bit from Boo in his story:
"The man that was walking with us was like: 'I'm going to be walking with you today'. And I was like: 'Good, I can ask you if I have a problem?'

"This match play is different, very different," he said. "I kind of like that stroke play better myself."

John Garrity reports that Monty didn't understand the first tee Boos for Boo. Really!

Helen Ross previews Friday's matches, including Boo's head-to-head with Woody Austin. Now that should be fun! 


“We developed a bias towards action rather than a preference for smoothness"

driver.jpgBradley Klein scores an exclusive "exit interview of sorts" with outgoing USGA President Walter Driver.

His agenda and its implementation, not surprisingly, created a feeling of mistrust, even veiled hostility, among many USGA employees. Driver, too, acknowledges the perceived heavy-handedness on his part and by the Executive Committee but offers no apologies.

“We developed a bias towards action rather than a preference for smoothness,” he says.

I'm sure there are people who understand what that means. I'm not one of them.
Golfweek: During your tenure as USGA president, you oversaw considerable change, including corporate sponsorships with American Express and Lexus. Why the need for so much change?

WD: In the area of structuring what I’ll loosely call the business side of the USGA, what we found was a lack of coordination. In some cases, for example, where we’d like to find a relationship with someone on the Internet side, we found that our broadcast contracts had been negotiated without properly considering the impact of the Internet and were at cross purposes with what we were trying to do. Those things just had not been properly coordinated, there were too many silos functioning and we needed to have coordination among the areas of activity that had been lacking.

I've always believed wholeheartedly that silo coordination was vital.
Golfweek: Your attempt at cost cutting through proposed benefits reductions led to considerable discontent among longtime USGA staffers. What went wrong?

WD: No one at the USGA could remember the last time there was a thorough review of compensation and benefits. It had been at least 18 years, and so we hired two consultants who gave us recommendations about how the overall compensation benefits rewards program was, in their words, “not functioning.” And so we reacted to their expert recommendations and adopted some of their recommendations and not others. But all the Executive Committee did was hire an expert to tell us how to do it.

That's right, it was all their doing!

I didn’t come here with that in mind at all.

We looked at three legs of the compensation stool – benefits, salaries and bonuses.

Uh, I'm sorry to interrupt. But doesn't a stool need four legs? Continue...

Benefits were relatively high, salaries were medium and there was a lack of correlation between performance and rewards. We finished the benefits part first and presented it. It surprised me how it blew up. In retrospect, we should have waited to present the entire package.

Oh I'm sure that would have changed everything!

Golfweek: What stands out among your more than 10 years of volunteer service to the USGA?
WD: Hearing about springlike effect in the fall of 1997, and then learning that 6 million of the approved drivers had already been sold. . . .

Standing with Phil Mickelson on the first tee at Bethpage during the 2002 U.S. Open as the crowd sang ‘Happy birthday’ to Phil. . . .

That's a fond memory?

Meeting with Arnold Palmer in Latrobe (Pa.) to discuss his lending his name to the USGA Center for Golf History, and then being invited to stay for lunch, play a round of golf with him, have drinks afterwards, then dinner and staying overnight at his house and then flying him down at lavish expense to give my introductory speech at the annual meeting.

Wait, that last part was me, sorry!

On Sunday morning of the 2004 Open at Shinnecock Hills, getting a call from Mike Davis: ‘I’m at the seventh hole. I think we have a problem. You better get out here.’ Then (Driver) having to call starter Ron Read at the first tee and telling him, ‘We need to stop the U.S. Open.’"

 That's more like it. That is the Walter we want to remember! 


Golfdom Stuff

GF0208+Cover_14180.jpgThe Feburary issue of Golfdom is up online and my now-not-so-timely column related to the Golf Industry Show is posted.

I also believe I never linked my January column on the wonders, joys and pure bliss of club committee life.


"More Americans Are Giving Up Golf"

Paul Vitello in the New York Times tries to figure out why people are playing less. This from the National Golf Foundation fella intrigued me:

“The man in the street will tell you that golf is booming because he sees Tiger Woods on TV,” Mr. Kass said. “But we track the reality. The reality is, while we haven’t exactly tanked, the numbers have been disappointing for some time.”

Surveys sponsored by the foundation have asked players what keeps them away. “The answer is usually economic,” Mr. Kass said. “No time. Two jobs. Real wages not going up. Pensions going away. Corporate cutbacks in country club memberships — all that doom and gloom stuff.”

At the meeting here, there was a consensus that changing family dynamics have had a profound effect on the sport.

“Years ago, men thought nothing of spending the whole day playing golf — maybe Saturday and Sunday both,” said Mr. Rocchio, the public relations consultant, who is also the New York regional director of the National Golf Course Owners Association. “Today, he is driving his kids to their soccer games. Maybe he’s playing a round early in the morning. But he has to get back home in time for lunch.”

Mr. Hurney, the real estate developer, chimed in, “Which is why if we don’t repackage our facilities to a more family orientation, we’re dead.”

Oddly, no one mentioned pending groove regulation or a ball rollback as likely dangers lurking around the corner. 


“They could lose $5 million forever and it wouldn’t matter"

usga.jpgAdam Schupak authors the lead piece in Golfweek's USGA package. Several items stand out in his look at the USGA's new business model.

It signed its first two partners – American Express and Lexus – and expects to finalize two more deals shortly. But the USGA is proceeding cautiously to ensure its commercial ventures don’t undermine the integrity of its tournaments and mission.

Industry observers describe the changes under way as part of an inevitable evolution. Sports and sponsorship, they say, go together like red meat and red wine.

“If the pope hires IMG to be his marketing guy, the USGA can certainly get in the modern era,” says Mark Mulvoy, former managing editor of Sports Illustrated and a member of the USGA’s Communications Committee from 2000 to 2006. “It’s late coming to the table. Now it’s a question of what do you have first, the shrimp or the salad?”

Shrimp or salad? Ask the Pope! Because you know, he's always right.

For many years, the USGA’s goal was to grow reserves equivalent to one year’s operating expenses in the event of some unforeseen occurrence, what Fay termed the proverbial “rainy day.’’ The USGA has far exceeded that numerical target.  

“They could lose $5 million forever and it wouldn’t matter,” says Frank Hannigan, a USGA staff member from 1961 to 1989 and executive director the final eight years of his tenure.

While that may be true, the USGA develops its multiyear budget under the premise it will not count on its reserves to cover operating losses. Says Fay: “Use of the ‘endowment’ will only be used for material special projects.”

Hmmm..define special projects...

Fay contends it would be “borderline reckless” for the USGA not to consider other revenue sources that fit within “what we think the USGA is.” So in 2006, the Executive Committee hired McKinsey & Co., a management consulting firm, to look at the USGA’s business model. How much of its blueprint the USGA is following is unclear.

“Sometimes the best thing they do is confirm what you were thinking of doing all along,” Fay says.

So, we have Walter Driver saying that the consultants are the ones to blame for the staff benefit cuts that have ripped the hearts out of the staff, and we have David Fay saying it's good to have someone confirm what you were thinking of doing all along. Hmmm...who to believe?

Thirty years later, the theme of the USGA’s commercialization has surfaced again. It is considered the principal reason why Campbell has withdrawn from what was such a big part of his life.

“Imagine driving Bill Campbell away,” Hannigan says. “That says it all.”

Campbell politely declines to speak of his case of déjà vu, except to say that the beauty of the USGA’s structure is that every two years the leadership of the Executive Committee changes. “You just have to wait long enough,” he says.

There's a ringing endorsement for Walter.

But by then it may be too late.

“We’re beyond the crossroad,” Bevacqua, the chief business officer, says. “Crossroads necessarily means there is some wavering and decisions to be made in which direction you want to head in, and we’ve made it. And we’re all going down the same road.

“My goal is that people will look back five to 10 years at this time and say, ‘That was really a time of transformation. They became modern without losing their identity. They did it in a tasteful way. They never lost their core mission, yet they became a 21st-century organization that is healthy and set up to survive well into the future.’"

You won't survive if you don't stick up for the game, fellas. 


"I still get a kick out of somebody wanting this old man to come and develop a golf course"

225996-1.jpgGreg Hansen reports on Jack Nicklaus's site visit to, gulp, The Ritz Carlton Golf Club's Tortolita Course, host of next year's WGC Match Play.

For the last act in his wonderful life, Nicklaus has become the Tiger Woods of golf course design. He retains such clout that when an entourage of six SUVs drove down a dirt road Tuesday afternoon, kicking up dust near the 17th green of the Ritz-Carlton's Tortolita Course, PGA Tour commissioner Tim Finchem was in the group awaiting Nicklaus' arrival.
Why does the image of that scene make me laugh? And Jack probably enjoyed it too.
"I still get a kick out of somebody wanting this old man to come and develop a golf course,'' Nicklaus said in his typical self-effacing style. "It's a legacy from my standpoint, something that will be here long after my life and my golf game.''

It's ironic that the man who played in just one Tucson Open (1963) in his superb career is involved in preserving Southern Arizona's place on the PGA Tour.

Ironic, absurd, take your pick. 


"Sedgefield has a great deal of Wyndham Championship history"

Forest Oaks has been dropped as host of the Wyndham Championship effective immediately and in its place is Donald Ross's Sedgefield which hosted the Greater Greensboro as recently as 1976. That didn't stop this quote from being issued...

"Sedgefield has a great deal of Wyndham Championship history," Sedgefield Country Club president Joe Depasquale said. "It makes so much sense for the tournament to come home to Sedgefield, and we are delighted to have it back. We understand the value this tournament represents for the entire Piedmont Triad, and we plan to do whatever is necessary to be good stewards of this important event. We are very proud of the facilities at Sedgefield, and we look forward to providing a first-class venue for the Wyndham Championship."

Don't people do a disservice to the current sponsor by forcing them in like that? Just as it was absurd to say that the Riviera first hosted the Northern Trust Open in 1929? 


Sergio Goes With Two Putters; Champions Tour Just Twenty Two Years Away

Steve Elling reports on Sergio's latest attempt to improve his putting.
For the headshrinkers, the psychological merits of such a decision can be bandied about, of course. On the positive front, if he putts poorly, he has a fallback plan. But mentally, failing to commit to a putter might subconsciously undermine the whole endeavor.

"I'm sure it's a deal where he has something he can go to if he's having a problem," said Vijay Singh, who often has switched between belly and short putters, but never in the same round. "I'm sure it's a confidence thing."

The Fijian also added that even when his putting was at its worst, he never considered such a drastic plan.

"I did make a decision early on and I went with it for pretty much the whole round," Garcia said. "But then I started not feeling quite as comfortable. I hit a couple not very good putts. So I decided to go with the safe route the last couple of holes."

The short and long of it: Garcia missed a six-footer for par on the 14th to lose the hole, but made a clinching eight-footer for birdie on the 16th to cement the match.

"It felt really good on the putting green," Garcia said of the shorter option. "But it's different, the putting green is, than when you're out there on the heat of battle and the pressure is on. So I wanted to take just like, you can call it a safety net, just in case I didn't feel quite as comfortable."

Do the guys with white ambulances, padded cells and strait-jackets use nets to catch the crazies?

Rumpled Is In...

gwar01_080222castle1718.jpg...Ron Whitten says so and lists some of the better examples of old-looking, manufactured-but-natural designs. I'm not sure about a couple of the inclusions, but love to see this kind of attention paid to the movement.


2007 USGA Book Award Winner

BookAwardWinner1.jpgCongratulations to Kevin Cook for winning the 2007 Herbert Warren Wind Award for Tommy's Honor.


Hogan, Shmogan?

In his latest Antiseptic Golfer column, John Hawkins already shows signs of running out of topics to rant about by picking on Ben Hogan and the people who respect his accomplishments. 

Anyone who wins six major championships after getting pummeled by a Greyhound bus deserves a ton of credit, but Hogan just passed 28 tons on the slobber scale, which exceeds the legal limit for a guy who couldn't make a four-footer and lost to Jack Fleck in a U.S. Open playoff. I'm thinking the crusty, old Texan himself would have objected to such an overdose of fawning.


"I'm sure they're thrilled in China"

WGCNEC05logo.gifDoug Ferguson considers the state of the World Golf Championships and it isn't pretty.
The longer the "World" Golf Championships are anchored in America, the more they look like any other tournament. As more PGA Tour events keep raising their standards, the more they rival WGC events that were meant to be special.

"I don't see them moving forward," Adam Scott said, an opinion shared by many of his peers. "It's not different for the money.

"They're not playing them on great golf courses. It's just another event. They've lost some of the lustre they once had."

How could he say that about The Gallery or Mount Juliet Conrad or Valderama or The Grove or Bellerive or Capital City Club?
"It would be great if, like their name, they actually were held around the world," Lee Westwood said. "It's a disgrace.

"You might as well call them the World Golf Championships of America. They're just like any regular U.S. tour event. It's a good way for getting players to come to the states more regularly. But they're not World Golf Championships."

Doug's being charitable here...
The WGCs lost their momentum the first time all three were held in the United States, in 2003, particularly an atrocious site north of Atlanta that delivered all the excitement of an NFL preseason game. A rotation that once featured Spain, Ireland and Australia now has settled into Arizona, Miami and Ohio.

There is a practical side to this. The corporate sponsor footing the bill gets more value from the U.S. market. TV money comes from America, and ratings shrink when a tournament is held five times zone away, if not more.

"While it's called an international golf series, it probably hasn't represented that in terms of venues," said Gary Beckner, a senior marketing director for Accenture. "But for the most part, the players have been truly international."

Accenture suffered when Match Play went to Australia in 2001. It was held a week after the Christmas holidays, and some two dozen players didn't bother going.

"The contiguous U.S. works well for us," Beckner said.

Finchem will argue that the "world" component of this series comes from the players in the field and television beaming their birdies and bogeys into homes of golf fans around the globe.

"I'm sure they're thrilled in China," Westwood said.


They Penalize Slow Play On The LPGA Tour!

hawaii802170370AR.jpgIf I wasn't out at Riviera watching PGA Tour pros take their sweet time I would have caught Bill Kwon's excellent summary of Angela Park's expensive two-shot penalty last week at Turtle Bay.

Park was only one stroke behind winner Annika Sorenstam at one time, but a triple-bogey 7 at 10 gave her a final-round 69 — 209 and a tie for fifth with Japan's Momoko Ueda. They finished one shot behind Russy Gulyanamitta, Laura Diaz and Jane Park, who shared second at 208.

So instead of getting $100,458 for being second alone, Park got $40,872.
Let the whining begin...
"I didn't think it was fair at all," said Park, the only one in her threesome to be penalized after being put on the clock at the 10th tee.

"It was kinda really unfair for penalizing me on that one hole when I was playing quick throughout the whole day," she said.
Uh huh... 
"It's especially unfair for the last four, five groups of the day. I've seen many, many occasions last year when the last group was a hole behind, but I respected that because they're trying to play to win. When he (rules official Doug Brecht) came up to me and penalized me, I was like, you know where I am on this leaderboard? You have any idea?

"I have nothing against him, I have nothing mean to say about him. He said he was going by the rules, which I understand, which is his job. But then I told him, if it was Paula (Creamer), if it was Annika, would you have penalized them? He didn't say anything. I was crying my eyes out, I couldn't help it. It was an embarrassing thing to say, but I was almost bawling.


"I told him, well, that's for TV isn't it? It would have looked bad for you on TV if you penalized Paula or Annika. He didn't say anything. I was, like, I would have respect (for) you if you would have penalized them, too. Then I would have been OK, that's fine. That's your job. I respect you for that. But he didn't say anything.

"I was, like, you know, that's just not fair. That's how life is and I've just got to move on from it."

Brecht told Park on the 10th tee that she was on the clock. "She violated our pace-of-play policy and was penalized two shots," he said.

As for Park asking if he would do the same to Creamer and Sorenstam in that same situation, Brecht said, "She never asked me that question. If she did, I didn't hear her ask me that question."

Brent Kelly offers this primer on the LPGA's policy and also this comparison with the PGA Tour's policy.


Getting Ready For Wacky Wednesday...

WGCNEC05logo.gif...or whatever they want to call day one of the match play. You could read Tiger's interview transcript, but why when Steve Elling captures the lone highlight in a blog post?

Helen Ross and the gang at have the best capsules on the first 32 matches. Rob Matre does it too, with cooler imagery.

And if you want to see why writers are bitter and players grumpy this week, check out Daniel Wexler's weekly preview where you can link to the aerial photo. Study the artistry of those long walks from tee to green and be thankful you are not there.

"The trends that are showing up in Western Pennsylvania are also happening nationally, especially with clubs with lower budgets."

Thanks to reader Kevin for catching Gerry Dulac's look at the trend of Western Pennsylvania clubs going public.

"It's all about finances," said Jeff Rivard, executive director of the Western Pennsylvania Golf Association, which lists 60 private clubs and 60 public courses among its membership. "The members can't afford to foot the bill anymore and some members who have deep-enough pockets have stepped in and bought the club. The trends that are showing up in Western Pennsylvania are also happening nationally, especially with clubs with lower budgets."



"The crowd isn't the problem. It's the media that tries to get out on the golf course"

0218golfcov-autosized258.jpgAn unbylined Tucson Citizen story reports that Tiger Woods played a practice round Monday and noted this about his security.

According to one of those assigned to keep the peace during the tournament this week, Tiger has extra security.

"Some you can see, some you can't," said escort Russ Perlich.

Tournament organizers assigned extra escorts, too, but the crowds usually maintain their distance, Perlich said.

"The crowd isn't the problem. It's the media that tries to get out on the golf course," he said.
Since when has there ever been a problem with too much media on a golf course? Particularly one that no one likes to walk, much less visit.

Finchem Declares Rap Music Interesting; Rebranding Hits Snag When Talk Turns To Value Modules

I get a medal don't I for sitting through alll of Tim Finchem's "roundtable" with Rosaforte, Dorman and Lerner?

roundtable_450.jpgYou may recall that what started out as an attempt to soften Finchem's image turned into a dress alike contest (Dorman was DQ'd for the khaki and Rosaforte for that bluebloodish navy under-mock), turned into an over-40 softball session covering Finchem's childhood, golf game and musical interests.

Everything was fine until Lerner asked something serious. Finchem forgot he was on television instead of in a sponsor's meeting.

To save you the trouble of sitting through the entire thing, here's a transcript. And no, I did not make this up... 

In the marketplace there are three value streams that flow to a title sponsor. One is the value, what we call the branding exercise, which is the entitlement to the tournament. The value of the commercial inventory that's presented to that sponsor. And half of that inventory is rolled into other tournaments. You may and probably do see Sony advertising at Buick and San Diego. That's the value of the package, the television platform. That's why when we put an event on like a World Golf Championship it raises the value of the overall platform. It's not just that week.
The second value stream is business to business out here on the property. Week in and week out that value is significant and unique in many ways. There's hardly anything else that compares to a business to business experience than a pro am experience  on the PGA Tour for a business enterprise. You just can't name it. You can give men or women tickets to sporting events, or to go see a show and it doesn't compare to this out there.
The third thing is that companies can align themselves with charitable causes which impact what we call the qualitative brand impact or the qualitative nature of their brand. And more and more companies are paying attention to that in today's world. They want to be associated with a sport like this and they want to be associated with the charitable benefits that are generated.
The companies that take advantage of all three of those streams, and you need to take advantage of all them. You have to have good creative in your advertising, you have to be smart on how you use the business to business and you have to work hard on the PR value of the charitable, they're with us a long time. If you have a company that comes in and just wants to put their name on a tournament and run some ads, they're not around very long. Or just wants to get a lot out of the pro-am not thinking about how to use the creative to reach our demographic, which is the most powerful demographic in all of sport, they're not going to be around. The ones that take advantage of all three are going to be around. To your example, Sony has worked hard to take advantage of all three and they get real value at the price point that they're at. If they didn't, given the energy that these companies put into evaluating expenditures, if they didn't, we wouldn't be making these transactions.

There was also a mention of value modulations later on, in case that was on your bingo buzzword board. 

080214finchem_gwindex.jpgRosaforte wrote about the cuts discussion portion at

Finchem had the numbers to back this up in an interview he did on Golf Channel, citing an average of 12 times a year when the players who survived the cut totaled in the mid-eighties, and it took five hours and 20 minutes to complete a round. What sent this to the Policy Board for a vote last November was that it happened twice late in the Fall Series.

"It's not the way we want to present the product," Finchem said.


As for the player who matters most, you can see why Tiger Woods would not want to see the rule changed back. Since he's regularly in one of the last three groups on the weekend, he's one of the guys caught waiting on tee boxes. And it's not fair to the golf viewer when the network signs off for contractual reasons, sometimes with the leader on the course. But what is fair to a guy like Jay Williamson, who was only four strokes out of the top-10 when he was sent home early at the Buick Invitational?

So is he product too?