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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
  • Professional Golf 2015: The Complete Media, Fan and Fantasy Guide
    Professional Golf 2015: The Complete Media, Fan and Fantasy Guide
    by Daniel Wexler
  • The Golf Book: Twenty Years of the Players, Shots, and Moments That Changed the Game
    The Golf Book: Twenty Years of the Players, Shots, and Moments That Changed the Game
    by Chris Millard
  • The Forbidden Game: Golf and the Chinese Dream
    The Forbidden Game: Golf and the Chinese Dream
    by Dan Washburn
  • The Early Days of Pinehurst
    The Early Days of Pinehurst
    by Chris Buie
  • 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
  • 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

Jimmy Demaret and I had the best sports psychologist in the world. His name was Jack Daniels and he was waiting for us after every round.




"Talking about myself as a brand comes naturally now"

Nick Greenslade in The Observer files a lengthy profile of Nick Faldo (complete with sidebar listing his ex-wives), and focuses on his, gulp, rebranding.

'Talking about myself as a brand comes naturally now,' he says after he has driven me round the circuit at the Brooklands car museum in Surrey, where he is promoting his relationship with Maybach, the luxury-car manufacturer. 'But I had to create the right team first, and that's where Ian came in.' He is talking about Ian Forsyth, his manager. In 2002, Faldo broke with his long-time agent John Simpson. This was used by Faldo's many disparagers as further proof of his inability to maintain relationships.



Warning To Network Executives: Brand Lady To Come Knocking While You're On Vacation

...but at least she's presenting at the time of year when so many executives are vacationing in the Hamptons excited to hear pitches: August. Alan Blondin of The Sun News reports:

Bivens inherited cable contracts with ESPN and Golf Channel, and larger events are on ABC, NBC and CBS. Broadcast times vary greatly.

The tour will begin making presentations to network and cable stations in August. "The most important thing for the LPGA is to have a consistent television schedule," Bivens said. "It's very difficult for our fans to find where we are from week to week."

Since events in international locations aren't generally televised in the U.S., Bivens will try to group those to include dates when the LPGA would normally be dark, such as the weeks of the Masters, U.S. Open and PGA Championship.

That should ensure they'll never make it on American airwaves too. 
The events are important for exposure and lucrative deals with international television stations in which the LPGA is paid for broadcast rights - similar to the PGA Tour TV agreements. Right now the LPGA buys time on ESPN and the three major networks and has to sell commercial spots itself. It has other agreements with the Golf Channel.

Bivens said for 2010 and beyond she'll either seek rights fees or develop an LPGA production company that would buy time and produce the programming itself. "If you have a brand that is still forming like the LPGA, being able to control your production is worth a lot of money," Bivens said.
Wait, the brand is still forming? Well, how is it a brand if it hasn't formed yet?
"Especially in terms of educating the audience as to the personalities behind the athletes. We're a society where fans develop behind personalities."

Ahh...translation: lots of fluff!

But I'm back on this brand formtion stuff. Branding experts, could you tell us how you know a forming brand officially becomes a brand? 


"The USGA should be ashamed of itself for allowing this nonsense to happen despite the evidence of the Andrea Jaegers and Jennifer Capriatis of this world."

The trials and tribulations of Michelle Wie along with the appearance of Alexis Thompson prompted some interesting essays over the weekend.

01lpga.1.600.jpgSteve Elling put together the most powerful and entertaining summary of Michelle Wie's troubles while John Paul Newport weighed the pros and cons of the youth movement in women's golf.

Meanwhile Mark Reason in the Sunday Telegraph came out firing at the USGA, though I'm not entirely sure what he wanted them to do, other than not invited the 12-year-old Thompson into the press center.

The girl is portrayed as a smiling, pigtailed Disney character without a care in the world. Maybe she is or maybe she is a disaster waiting to happen, like so many other American sports-girls who were hot-housed at a ridiculously young age. I am just a year younger than Alexis's father Scott and I too have a daughter - but the thought of her playing in the US Women's Open before she is even a teenager makes me feel physically ill.

Does it sound normal to you when Scott Thompson says things like: "I gotta go tune up my daughter." Or when Alexis says: "I like seeing kids my age coming up to me asking for my autograph. It's really cool."

No it's not. It's absurd. Imagine other girls coming up to your 12-year-old daughter in the playground and asking for her autograph. Only Alexis isn't in a playground, because she's schooled at home. The USGA should be ashamed of itself for allowing this nonsense to happen despite the evidence of the Andrea Jaegers and Jennifer Capriatis of this world.
191269.jpgBut it's worse than that - some USGA officials are even trying to prompt answers out of the girl in order to promote their sport. For pity's sake, isn't there anyone out there who is going to impose a sensible minimum age, like 16, and put an end to these potentially damaging freak shows?
You might have thought that the sad sight of Michelle Wie would alert American officials to their insensitivity. Here is a girl who has been shamelessly marketed and now she is floundering.

Do you all think there should be an age limit for Open qualifyings?


"The national media is a bit jaded because the PGA Tour is doing a big marketing push."

Ed Sherman looks at the FedEx Cup's effect on the Western Open BMW Championship and talks to tournament director John Kaczkowski about criticism of the format.
 "A lot of the criticism is all based on speculation," Kaczkowski said. "The national media is a bit jaded because the PGA Tour is doing a big marketing push. But it has to do a big PR effort to educate the fans. Otherwise, it won't work."

My guess is the fans won't get caught up in the actual points race. The formulas seem confusing, and it is going to be hard to get excited about Woods or Phil Mickelson adding to their retirement accounts.

See how jaded? Sherman couldn't even wait a paragraph or two to drop that uh, speculation.

Van de Velde Pulls Out of Open Championship Qualifying...

...with a serious-sounding stomach ailment.

Perhaps he was dreading fielding hundreds of inane questions about 1999?

Hope he gets well soon.


God Issues Early Demolish Permit For Tiger's Jupiter House


Wie Withdraws Again

Six over through nine holes.

Let's hope she takes the rest of the summer off. Somehow I'm afraid that won't happen.


Monty Fumes For French; Lays Groundwork For 2026 Captaincy

Perhaps sensing that he may be passed up as Ryder Cup captain by more popular anyone with a pulse, Colin Montgomerie lashed out at his fellow Euro Tour mates members for skipping the French Open this week.

Gordon Richardson reports in The Guardian that the merry Scot slyly laid the groundwork for an inevitable showdown with Thomas Levet and Jean Van de Velde over who will be selected to guide the Euros should some wealthy developer come along and blatantly bribe offer to host for a Ryder Cup at France's National Club.

"It's very, very disappointing because this event starts the run up to the Open Championship and it deserves a stronger feel - the National Club is one of the best if not the best we play in Europe and it's certain to stage the Ryder Cup one day.

"There are stadium holes everywhere and a wonderful finish - imagine the carry-ons there would be in match play situations here. Sadly it will probably be 2026 before it can happen, with Sweden and Germany probably coming in first."



"It seems likely an 18-or even 36-hole playoff would have been arranged."

Leonard Shapiro considers whether they would have played a U.S. Open playoff had Tiger tied Cabrera and Elin went into labor the Monday after.

If there had been a playoff, he would have been in Pittsburgh, likely asleep, when the call came. It has always been assumed that if one of the players doesn't show up at the first tee for an Open playoff, no matter the reason, the player who does is declared the champion.

Apparently, that's not necessarily so.

On Wednesday, U.S. Golf Association Executive Director David Fay said it was not that simple, and that the USGA would have faced a dilemma had Woods been unable to play on Monday.

The organization faced the same potential scenario at the U.S. Open in 1999, when Phil Mickelson's wife, Amy, was in the final stages of her pregnancy. She also delivered their child on the Monday after that Open. Mickelson missed a playoff by a shot in a tournament won by Payne Stewart, and like Woods, also had said he would leave the Open at the first indication his wife was ready to deliver.

"I really don't know what we'd do," Fay said. "I'll hide behind the fact that it's a hypothetical. But I suspect that [if their opponent didn't show up] Angel [Cabrera] and Payne [Stewart] probably would have said, 'I'm not going to show up for the playoff either.'
Ouch! I have to stop rolling my eyes when I have my contacts in.

Yes, a man who is trying to win his first major, who has worked most of his life to reach that point, is going to pass up the chance to have the trophy handed to him and accept a postponement so some billionaire with 12 majors can be at the hospital when his wife is screaming untoward things as she delivers their child. Right!

When they ask, that's when Angel says, "no habla English!"

"That would have forced our hand. And I can tell you we would not have said, 'We're not going to have an Open champion this year.' The good news is that it didn't happen. And the most important thing is that Sam Alexis is doing fine."

Oh, nice we're already a first name business with Tiger's daughter!

While neither Fay nor anyone else in the USGA was publicly prepared to say what might have happened, it seems likely an 18- or even 36-hole playoff would have been arranged.

36? Is that a new by-law?  When Tiger or Phil are having a baby, we'll play a special 36-hole made-for-TV playoff at a future date?

I'm sure NBC would love to come back in two weeks and setup their gear again.


Staff Shakeup Fails To Boost USGA Shares

June 28 – United States Golf Association (U$GA) shares fell on news of an organizational shakeup and a less than appealing U.S. Women’s Open leaderboard.

Shares declined $1.82, or 7.5 percent, to $22.37 at 4 p.m. in New York Stock Exchange composite trading, the biggest drop since February when USGA CEO Walter Driver announced a delay in planned staff benefit cuts, breaking an earlier shareholder pledge to trim unnecessary expenses.

Wall Street found little to be enthusiastic about when the Far Hills, New Jersey-based governing body of North American golf said in a statement today that the position of Championship Agronomist would be "eliminated" to help cut 3% of the organization’s 2007 projected $5 million deficit.

Shareholders expected deeper cuts from the 63-year-old Goldman Sachs executive and soon-to-be-retiring USGA President Driver, who was brought in to create a leaner USGA while promising to boost shareholder value.

One analyst, citing a leaderboard topped by Angela Park, In-Bee Park, Jee Young Lee, Karine Icher, Amy Hung, Jiyai Shin, Joo Mi Kim and Shi Hyun Ahn but minus draws like Michelle Wie or Annika Sorrenstam virtually guaranteed weak television ratings for this weekend’s U.S. Open on NBC.

“Who are these people, I mean?” said Chad Upside, a New York-based analyst at Slash & Gouge, who is revising his “dump” rating on USGA stock to “unload as fast as you can.”

“And it doesn’t get much better next week with the Senior Open, hardly a positive cash flow opportunity.

“Simply put, they have taken a bigger hit than we thought they would.”

Upside says resistance from the USGA Board to trim fat off the company bone or to simply eliminate its staff must change “immediately because these rising staff and championship operation costs may not reverse when interest rates come down.''

Despite nearly $300 million in cash reserves, Standard & Poor's Rating Services in London revised its USGA outlook to “yikes” from “eh” and said the governing body has failed to deal with its “restricted capacity to manage through a more testing market environment.” S&P retained the organization’s C+/C-1 counterparty credit ratings.


U.S. Women's Open Photo Caption Fun, Vol. 1




Thompson's Opening Round; Wie's School Dilemma

An AP story details 12-year-old Alexis Thompson's impressive opening 39, shortened to nine holes due to a weather delay.

Meanwhile Steve Elling looks at Michelle Wie's opening round and wonders if Stanford isn't the only school Wie will be attending this fall.

Struggling teen prodigy Michelle Wie still needs to pick her course load for the fall semester at Stanford, where she'll enroll in September and live in the school's freshman dormitory. Her roommate hasn't been determined, either.

In her parallel universe, Wie's professional place of residence, not to mention her running mates, remain in flux, too. Her short-term path might even include a humbling destination alongside the great unwashed of golf: LPGA Qualifying School.

After Thursday's crash in the first round of the U.S. Women's Open, the qualifying route seems like the last path to membership, should Wie elect to pursue an LPGA card for next season. Because, at the rate she's going, she might not make another dime in earnings this year.

Wie shot an 11-over 82 and failed to break par for the 21st professional round in succession, then seemed to be somewhat in denial about what had just taken place. While her ailing left wrist felt better, she hit a meager four fairways and four greens at Pine Needles Lodge, spraying the ball all over the Tar Heel State, which is no way to make a cut at an Open.

"It's very frustrating because I know I played better than this," she said. "It's a very fine line between shooting 69 and shooting what I shot today." 


More On Moraghan

Golfweek's Bradley Klein confirms Chris Lewis's original report on the (cash strapped?!) USGA "eliminating" Tim Moraghan's "championship agronomist" position and includes the USGA memo.

Golfweek reached Moraghan via cell phone Thursday morning, but Moraghan said he was not able to comment on the story. USGA executive director David Fay sent an internal memo to USGA employees Thursday afternoon confirming Moraghan's departure at the end of this month. (see below)

Moraghan last worked the U.S. Open at Oakmont (Pa.) Country Club two weeks ago, and would normally have been working at Pine Needles Resort for this week’s U.S. Women’s Open. USGA Green section staff agronomists have been recruited to provide coverage both for this week’s U.S. Women’s Open and next week’s U.S. Senior Open at Whistling Straits in Kohler, Wis.

Mike Davis, the USGA’s senior director, rules and competitions, declined to comment.

To: USGA Staff
From: David Fay
Date: June 28, 2007
Subject: Tim Moraghan’s Departure

Tim is departing the USGA at the end of the month. We thank Tim for his many years of service as the USGA’s Director, Championship Agronomy and wish him the best going forward.

For the last few years, our Regional Agronomists have served as the Championship Agronomists for our Amateur-only championships. We are extending this well-received practice to our three Open championships (Open, Women’s Open, and Senior Open) effective immediately.

cc: USGA Executive Committee
Steve Elling also reports on the move and suggests that USGA President Walter Driver was very much behind the firing.
 The friction between Moraghan and Driver apparently dates to the U.S. Open debacle at Shinnecock in 2004, when the seventh green became so dry and hard, players could not keep their golf balls on the putting surface. According to the USGA source, Driver, who was chairman of the championship committee that set up the course that year, placed much of the blame on Moraghan.

"He was looking for a scapegoat," the source said.

Various news outlets have been seeking comment from Moraghan this week, but he's so far remained mum. As for Driver, a high-powered attorney from Atlanta who is a member at three clubs that don't allow female members, the Moraghan scenario is the latest in a string of issues that have all but crushed morale among staffers at USGA headquarters in New Jersey.

Citing the organization's projected annual deficit, Driver earlier had pared back the USGA employee benefit plan and trimmed a college tuition program for the children of staffers.

David Fay, the executive director of the USGA, said Wednesday that Moraghan has not been fired, remains an employee of the USGA and is still the organization's championship agronomist. How long that seemingly semantic distinction holds true, however, is another issue.

That's our David! 


Wie's 82

It pains me to read this and think of the damage she's doing mentally by playing right now. Assuming of course that her 82 was influenced by the wrist issues...

On Thursday she never drove the ball beyond the 250 yard mark, hit only four fairways in 14 attempts and 4 greens in 18 in regulation and was clearly light years away from the teenage prodigy who finished third in the US Open not so long ago.

The question being asked now, though, is whether her problems are physical or mental and whether she is suffering some form of burnout after getting too much too soon, including millions of Dollars in endorsements.


Tiger's Fitness Regimen

You know I was feeling good about that extra five minutes I put in on the stairmaster yesterday until I read this unbylined AP story previewing an upcoming Men's Fitness story revealing Tiger Woods' workout regimine with trainer Keith Kleven.

The routine is built around stretching up to 40 minutes before each session, core exercises, endurance runs of 7 miles and speed runs of 3 miles, along with weight training. But while Woods is competitive on the golf course, he said he doesn't have an ego in the weight room.

"I've never, ever hurt myself lifting," Woods said. "I hear people say, 'I hurt this' or "I hurt that.' I don't even know what that feels like. I've been sore, but I've always been able to function and do whatever I wanted to. ... Some people let their ego get in the way. You have to listen to your inner self. Your body knows when it can be pushed and when you just need to back off a little bit."

Woods opts for high repetitions and smaller weights, although Kleven said he is "off the charts" with how much he can lift.

"His endurance and strength allows us to do more reps at high levels than normally seen in a golfer," Kleven said, without disclosing specific weights. "His resistance for high reps is extremely high."


The Old Man And The Tee

Golf.jpgThanks to reader Kevin for this Josh Sens profile of Sandy Tatum in San Francisco Magazine, which gets into the politics behind the Harding Park redo as well as the chances of a Sharp Park restoration. A few highlights, though the entire piece is worth your time:

This vision has made Tatum a contentious figure. Some have hailed him as a selfless champion of public good. “The guy gets such a bad rap,” says Tom Hsieh, a San Francisco political consultant who leases Gleneagles from the city and operates the nine-hole course. “He could be out enjoying himself at Cypress Point. Instead, he’s totally committed to doing what he thinks is right for the city.” But Matt Smith, a columnist with the SF Weekly, has cast Tatum as a kind of robber baron, out to pluck from city coffers to provide for fat-cat friends. In this portrayal, golf takes shape as a hobby restricted to the upper crust, unworthy of extensive public investment, and Tatum as an enemy of the Everyman. Suspicion of Tatum is shared, though for different reasons, by some hard-core local golfers, who cherish outings on their low-priced munis, regardless of the shoddy conditions, and don’t see the need for manicured fairways if it means coughing up more green.
The political consensus is that the status quo isn’t working. But what, exactly, should be done? Whether or not Tatum has the right answers for San Francisco—the Board of Supervisors and the Recreation and Parks commissioners will decide that—he remains the only party to put forth a detailed plan.

“In the case of Harding,” Tatum says, “I didn’t see any way of salvaging the place other than the way that was ultimately taken. It’s a San Francisco asset, and something needed to be done. I can certainly understand the frustrations. But if it could have been done differently—and in a realistic fashion—boy, I wish someone had been there at the time to tell me.”

Now, with Sharp and Lincoln deteriorating, the city is again at a crossroads, and Tatum has again weighed in. His suggestion, which echoes the findings of a 179-page report by the National Golf Foundation (a study paid for with private donations raised by Tatum), is that the city lease its courses to a nonprofit organization. The nonprofit (and Tatum has established just such an organization for this purpose), in turn, would hire private companies to make improvements (new drainage systems, say) and run the courses day to day. It’s an arrangement not unlike the one the city has with the San Francisco Zoo. If such steps aren’t taken, the report concludes, the rising debt and declining conditions of the munis will at some point in the unspecified future cause both Lincoln and Sharp to simply fade away. The city’s own analysis, presented to supervisors in April, confirms that the courses will run deeper in the red if nothing is done.

Trump National Running Horse Closer To Reality; PGA Tour Execs Huddle For New Excuses To Avoid Fresno

Golfweek's Scott Hamilton reports that The Donald signed a letter of intent to acquire bankrupt Running Horse, confirming that he is willing to buy into even the most desolate markets just to be tied to a possible PGA Tour event.

Al Berryman, an attorney for the Fresno-based law firm of Baker, Manock and Jensen that represents Trump, said June 27 the terms of the deal are for Trump to pay $25 million in advance, plus an additional $15 million from future profits. Berryman said a purchase and sale agreement is being drawn up, with a July 2 completion deadline. After a final agreement is reached, Running Horse’s attorneys will schedule a hearing in front of a federal bankruptcy judge to have it approved.

Trump told Golfweek June 14 that he had increased his initial offer to purchase the troubled golf and residential development through U.S. bankruptcy court from $10 million to $25 million, with his primary goal being a PGA Tour stop as soon as 2008. But Mick Evans, who purchased the 420-acre property earlier this year from original developer Tom O’Meara, turned down Trump’s offer late last week. Negotiations resumed, however, resulting in Wednesday’s accord.


The property was to be the site of a PGA Tour event this October. But those plans faltered when work on Running Horse was halted last year because of financial problems, as well as the inability to land a title sponsor for the event. Evans filed bankruptcy in April, with the project’s debt totaling an estimated $65 million. To compound matters, it was revealed last month that the club didn’t even own enough land to finish the Jack Nicklaus-designed course, of which only two holes and the driving range have been completed.

Does this mean The Donald will get to work with Jack Gary Jackie Steve the son-in-law?

Cohen indicated Wednesday that Trump wanted to make it difficult for the Tour to say no to his hosting an event.

“Mr. Trump’s goal is to move this project as quickly as possible so as not to interfere with the Tour’s plan,” Cohen said.

“He’s a man with a vision right now. He’s already in his mind mapped the course for PGA Tour standards. He’s calculated property locations, the clubhouse, the cart paths, you name it. He’s already calculated what he anticipates the final project to look like, and what he’s doing now is executing on it.”

How can you argue with that kind of vision? A man calculating cart path locations. Such vision.


"It's insulating to women that Mac O'Grady would say that."

According to several scribblers present at the U.S. Open press conferences, golf legend Arnold Palmer called beloved USGA President Walter Driver, "John Driver," but the ASAP folks, feering the wrath the God, cleaned up the transcript.

Unfortunately, it appears Executive Director David Fay, despite pulling in well over $500,000 a year, doesn't carry the same weight. Or he just wasn't making a whole lot of sense during Wednesday's USGA press conference at Pine Needles.

 Q. You spoke of this course being 200 yards longer than the last two Opens and lengthening the second hole because they're hitting longer. I'm going to ask you what I've asked a couple of other girls, Mac O'Grady made this statement, "What Michelle Wie is doing is not humanly possible, it's technologically possible because the ball goes too straight, they go too far."  Could you address how the women are hitting because of equipment or is that a problem or what?

DAVID FAY: I think it's insulating to women that Mac O'Grady would say that. Why wouldn't they hit it longer? As Mike said, everyone else does. These are very talented athletes. Is he going to say that about Laura Davies? Is he going to say that about Annika? This is a reflection of the talent that you see out there.
Insulating? No room in the Women's Open budget for transcript mop up?

You know, this seems like a good time to announce that reader Paul has nominated Fay for this site's list of folks who have spoken out about distance advances. Granted, it was back in 2003 before he started clinging to this grooves nonsense to save his job, but nonetheless Mr. Fay at one time thought it was the golf ball going longer, and not all of this wonderful athleticism:
I’m one of those who believes the ball is going farther. Only someone who is deaf, dumb and blind would say otherwise.



Lewis: Changes At USGA

Chris Lewis reports that Tim Moraghan is not working this week at the USGA Championship Agronomist and that he is departing after 20 years due to unspecified issues related to U.S. Open conditions.


"It's the U.S. Freaking Open and I'm not going to miss it for anything"

img10237850.jpgSteve Elling files the most entertaining report on Michelle Wie from Pine Needles:

Tuesday on the practice range at the U.S. Women's Open, Michelle Wie bashed away on the range under the watchful eye, and occasionally flippant tongue, of longtime swing coach David Leadbetter. As they left to play nine holes of practice, a local photographer approached and asked Leadbetter for his name. You know, for identification purposes in a newspaper photo caption.

As the Wie entourage piled into their electric carts and headed toward the 10th tee at Pine Needles Lodge, the lanky Leadbetter turned his head and deadpanned, "Butch Harmon."

What's more, he then repeated the answer as it was dutifully jotted down. Which is where the multiple-choice portion of today's fare comes in, since his smirking response probably means that:

A. Things are so bad in the Wie camp that the noted swing guru no longer wants to be associated with the struggling, 17-year-old prodigy;
B. Butch Harmon got a lot taller, skinnier, grew more hair and developed a foreign accent overnight;
C. The perceived pressure in the Wie camp of late has been so overstated, it's become laughable.

Somewhat surprisingly, given the avalanche of bad publicity Wie has endured over the past year, the answer appears to be C. By most folks' way of reckoning, the strain and suffering should have grown to insufferably high levels, considering her series of athletic and public-relations disasters of the past few months.

But teenagers are nothing if not malleable, right? The million-dollar baby continues to trundle along like a movie-star engenue, blissfully tuning out the bad karma, criticism and sniper fire as though nothing meaningful has happened.

In the eye of Hurricane Michelle, the wind never really blows.

"The worst feeling in life is when no one has any expectations of you," Wie said breezily Tuesday, "when no one expects you to do great things."

This just can't be good... 

Wie said her wrist -- which she says was fractured in a jogging fall over the winter -- is still far from 100 percent, but that she needs to play to regain the lost strength and flexibility, which is the proverbial Catch-22 if ever there was one. Wie has lost distance and remains tentative about over-taxing the injury, claiming she will only hit her driver a few times this week. But after four months on the shelf earlier this year, sitting out this week was not an option.

"It's the U.S. Freaking Open and I'm not going to miss it for anything," she said, drawing laughs.