Latest From GolfDigest.com
Twitter
Feedblitz
To Get GeoffShackelford.com Posts Delivered To Your Inbox Enter Email Address Below:


Powered by FeedBlitz
Books
  • 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

On two-shot holes it is highly desirable in many cases to compel the player to place his tee shot so that his shot to the green may be clear, and if not properly placed, the shot to the green may to some extent be blind.  DONALD ROSS


    

Tuesday
Jan152008

Deeply Bronzed, Incredibly Well Rested and Never More Ready To Anchor Even The Grey Goose 19th Hole, Cellini Returns

Bad news for Big Break fans though: it's too late for The Golf Channel's Vince Cellini to regain his spot hosting whatever numbingly painful season they're in now.

Tuesday
Jan152008

"The B.C. Open. The International. The Kemper Open. All three were tournaments that didn't fit into Woods' schedule. All three have since disappeared from the schedule."

Started the day of with a nice warm chuckle courtesy of Doug Ferguson AP's Jeff Gold quoting Ty Votaw on the Westchester situation:

A tour spokesman insisted Monday a final decision had not been made.

``I would say that no decision has been made to terminate our agreement with Westchester,'' tour spokesman Ty Votaw said, adding talks with Westchester are continuing. ``Those discussions may or may not result in a joint decision to keep The Barclays at Westchester.''

Reports that the 2008 edition would be moved to Ridgewood were ``premature,'' Votaw said.

Premature to about 40 people in Ponte Vedra!

Meanwhile Sam Weinman is full of great points in this post-mortem on the prematurely reporting:
The B.C. Open. The International. The Kemper Open. All three were tournaments that didn't fit into Woods' schedule. All three have since disappeared from the schedule.

"This is a factor with a lot of tour events. They all want him as a competitor because he brings crowds, he brings attention, and he obviously brings ratings," said Neal Pilson, a Chappaqua resident and former president of CBS Sports who now has a private consulting business. "Tiger has a greater singular influence on golf than anyone in the era of television, and that includes Jack Nicklaus or Tom Watson or Greg Norman. He's a phenomenon unto himself."

Granted, The Barclays scenario would not be one of a tournament disbanding, but a tournament simply looking to relocate from its longtime home. For the people who have long considered this tournament their own, though, it might as well be the same thing.

What's interesting to note is that if The Barclays remained in its customary June spot either before or after the U.S. Open, much of this would have been avoided. There still might not be any Woods, but the set-up time in the quiet spring months wouldn't be such a point of contention.

Throw in the problems with the Western and now this, and it really is remarkable how much turmoil these little playoffs have created...off the course.

Tuesday
Jan152008

"Rev. Al has more juice than Tiger Woods"

Loved this perspective from Alan Shipnuck's Hot List, which shows just how absurd our little world can be sometimes:
2. Al Sharpton. One of the lessons from the Kelly Tilghman situation is that Rev. Al has more juice than Tiger Woods, who seemed to have saved his friend until the Golf Channel brass caved within minutes of Sharpton entering the fray.
Monday
Jan142008

Letter To Ridgewood Members...

...with phone numbers deleted to protect the innocent.

Considering the tour's efforts at Westchester to improve the corporate tent situation, this letter leaves me with the impression that the tent stuff was just a stalling tactic. Not that there's anything wrong with that...well, you be the judge.

Subject: 2008 Barclays

January 14, 2008

Dear Fellow Member,

This letter was scheduled to go to you sometime during the 4th week of January, but events of the past few days have caused us to send it now. The purpose of this communication was to have been to announce that our club had reached an agreement with the PGA Tour to host the 2008 Barclays Classic, the first leg of the FedEx Cup playoff. Word of our discussions with the PGA Tour was leaked to Golf World and perhaps other media. A story appeared on the Golf World website last Friday and on the Golf Channel on Saturday. Neither we nor the Tour had a hand in the leak. We do not yet have a final Agreement. However, we expect that it will be finalized and signed in the near future. Following is some information regarding the event that I am confident you will find exciting.

“Guess Who’s Coming to Ridgewood” was the headline on the MGA Magazine cover in 1990 when the “Big 4” of golf were about to compete in the 1990 US Senior Open at RCC. Now again we can ask the same question. Except that this time it refers to the best professional golfers in the world, who will be coming to our Club to compete in the Barclays Classic which will be held from August 18th to the 24th.

As many of you know, over the years our Club has hosted a number of important golf tournaments, including the 1935 Ryder Cup matches, the 1974 US Amateur, the 1990 Senior US Open and the 2001 Senior PGA Championship. Late last summer, the PGA Tour asked the Board if it would consider hosting the 2008 Barclays Classic. After holding PGA tournament events at the Westchester Country Club for some 40 years, including the 2007 Barclays, the Tour wanted to make a change in the venue.

At first, we were skeptical. Would our great Tillinghast course stand up to the test? Could we pull it all together in less than a year? Could we handle the crowds if Woods and Michelson both played and were paired in the final group on a sunny Sunday afternoon? Would the disruption to our member’s enjoyment of their club be worth the money? However, when all the facts came together, it became readily apparent that given the nature of the event and the immediate and residual benefit that could accrue to our club, it was an offer that we should not refuse. And so, after several negotiating sessions with the TOUR and three special meetings of the Board, where the upside and downside considerations of hosting the event were debated, the Board voted overwhelmingly to accept the Tour proposal, subject to a formal Agreement. This is where we stand today. Once we do have an executed Agreement, the news will be posted on our website and we’ll get the word out to you as quickly as we can.

Let me summarize what this event will mean to our Club and our members. First, the Barclays will be played over a special Championship course described on the attached. At par 71 and stretching 7,304 yards, the layout should provide a good and fair test for the golfers.

For a 30 day period preceding the event, play will be limited to members only and cart use will be restricted on the Championship course to rope designated paths. From the 16th to the 24th of August, the golf course will be closed to member play. The practice range will be closed from August 17th thru the 24th. Regular member play will resume on August 26th. Special member events over the Championship course are being planned and more information will be forthcoming.

The set-up of tents and sky-box pavilions will take about 6 weeks prior to the event but this construction will largely be limited to the perimeter of the five finishing holes and care will be taken to minimize the imposition on the play of members and guests. No construction will take place during special event days like the Club Championship, Clambake, etc.

For the tournament, our members will be able to purchase a special Ticket Package to watch play during the tournament week. Arrangements for ticket holders will be made to provide parking in a designated VIP area and access to the Champions Bar and Grille and Patio which will be designated for members only use.

And finally, the club will benefit financially. The package, although not overly generous, is acceptable. We have a minimum financial guarantee and a cap on our out-of pocket expenses that will ensure a reasonable profit. In addition, there is significant upside profit potential that is largely dependent on hospitality sales and attendance. One of the special things that the Tour does is to donate profits from their events to charity. Such is the case with the Barclays where an expected $850,000 will be donated, with a minimum of $350,000 of that total going to local charities to be selected jointly by RCC and the Tour.

The PGA Tour is not the same organization as the PGA of America that ran the 2001 PGA Senior Championship. The Tour runs a number of important PGA events and has a full-time staff of professionals dedicated for this purpose. Among this staff are the individuals who have conducted the past events at Westchester CC and they will be responsible for the bulk of the work related to putting on the Barclays. Therefore, we are confident that we will see an outstanding, well organized event that will showcase our great Ridgewood Country Club. Members who wish to volunteer their services during this event will be given a priority.

Our club will likely be in the national golf spotlight for a time after the Tour issues its press release and the news becomes more wide spread, and we should be prepared. I will be acting as the spokesman for our club for any information about our club or the club’s hosting this event. Inquiries by any media should be directed to me so that we can provide a concise and uniform response.

We will keep you posted on news and information and on the progress of the preparations for the event but I know that there will still be many questions. Please feel free to direct your questions to me or any member of our Board of Directors.

Sincerely,
Alex Khowaylo
President

 

Monday
Jan142008

"We did not have the kind of success that we expected given that we were elevating The Barclay's to a Play off event."

In the letters covering the demise of Westchester CC as a PGA Tour venue, you will note that Ed Moorhouse expresses his concern about the corporate hospitality potential. Below is the Tour's letter to the club dated just over a month ago laying out the new parameters expected by the Tour.

It's interesting that in such a short time Ponte Vedra determined that the newly outlined specs were not going to be met by the club, and voila, they were off. Or was this just a clever, lawyerly way of getting out of the deal in a quest to leave a course that Tiger Woods won't play at (and one that was a giant headache for the Tour)?

WestchesterLetterPGATourgeorge 

WestchesterLetterPGATourtents
 

Monday
Jan142008

"We made substantial changes at Classic Club which are hard to see, but we are up to close to $500,000 in changes."

bildeLarry Bohannan documents the Bob Hope rotation woes.

"The frustration was the focus when we talked to many of the designers who came in to bid on the design, we wanted a PGA-qualified golf course," Adolph said. "And when it was done, it was not PGA-qualified. That was frustrating."
You are writing that down right? A PGA-qualified course. Let me know if you are aware of what that means.
The city received explanations and even a letter of apology from Palmer Course Design.

"We apologize for the way things came out," said Erik Larsen, lead designer at SilverRock, in the June, 2005 letter to the city. "The bottom line is that I think this golf course is terrific and with a year of changes, we'll have one of the most striking courses in the valley."

The changes began when the council approved $1.4 million in work in the summer of 2005 after flooding and erosion problems from uncharacteristic heavy rains earlier in the year. That money went toward improved drainage on the course, additional landscaping, installation of a drainage pipe to divert flood waters along Avenue 52 and additional workers.

Another $600,000 was approved in August 2006 for decomposed granite to cover and stabilize 40 acres of desert, a specific request by the tour. As recently as last month, the council approved $80,000 to repair wind damage to bunkers and downed trees.

"It just seems every time the council meets, they are voting more money for that golf course," said Steve Simpson, 53 and a part-time La Quinta resident. "I know the golf tournament is a big deal, but is it worth what the city is spending?"
This was interesting...
John Foster, a member of the executive board of the Hope tournament, says the added expenditures at SilverRock are typical of PGA Tour venues. An example is the work done at the tournament-owned Classic Club in Thousand Palms since last year's Hope event.

"We made substantial changes at Classic Club which are hard to see, but we are up to close to $500,000 in changes," Foster said. "A lot of times people don't hear about it because they are private venues. It's not very unusual, but people may not know how much that goes on. The golf course developers know."

Yes, the golf course developers who build lousy courses. 
With potentially more changes and additional costs still in the course's future, Adolph prefers to think about how the course can put forward a good impression of the city for the players, the gallery and the viewers across the nation.

"I hope so. The beauty of the area is going to be something that, in most cases, people don't see on their television sets," Adolph said. "I hope so."

There's always hope! 

Monday
Jan142008

"There's no way that rule should be in effect.”

 I suspect we'll hear more in Doug Ferguson's weekly notes column on the "Rule 78" disaster, but in the meantime he documents this ridiculous example related to Kenneth Ferrie, while over at Golfbrief a staff report quotes Paul Azinger and Tom Lehman as suggesting the rule has Ryder Cup implications, among other problems.

“I think the Tour should change the rule immediately,” said Azinger, who with the PGA of America changed the automatic selection process for the U.S. Ryder Cup team to an earnings basis and has seen the new cut rule compromise that system. “This has an impact on the Ryder Cup and an impact on the FedEx Cup. They’re going to pay you not to play … I think that’s awful.”

Said Lehman: “I would think that Paul was not happy to see this. It will affect the Ryder Cup. Overall, I think it’s simply unfortunate is the best way I can say it. I understand why they chose to do it, but I’ve never been a promoter of doing something because it’s easier. Let’s not err on the side of convenience. We should be maximizing a player’s ability to make a living and move up in the game.

“I think this looks bad, and we should find a way to change it. There are ways of getting things done with a vote of the players. There’s a way to make it happen. Things can be changed.”

And this was fun...
Jerry Kelly, a new member of the Player Advisory Council, said Saturday that he’s been hearing from a lot of players at the Sony Open.

“Every single person I talked to wondered who voted for it and how it got passed. I knew it was coming,” Kelly said. “I totally disagree with (the new rule). There's a bunch of guys in there who said this is terrible.”

On Saturday afternoon, Kelly was the first player who signed his name to a crude, makeshift petition hanging on the bulletin board in the lockerroom that asked the simple question at the top: ARE YOU IN FAVOR OF THE CURRENT CUT POLICY? The unidentified player who posted it, using the reverse side of a paper placemat from the club, left 42 lines in the “no” column and 22 in the “yes,” anticipating a certain outcome. At day’s end not one player had put his name in the second row.

Kelly wouldn’t say who posted it, but he was with that person when it was created.

“I signed my name and said, go ahead, write it up. I would be happy to be the first one, if that breaks the ice, I'm on the PAC, whatever, that's fine.”

He added that the rule, “should be repealed by the first meeting. Let’s change the rule. They made the rule, you can change the rule … bottom line. There's no way that rule should be in effect.”

 

Monday
Jan142008

More Groove Follow Up

Lost in my heckling of Barbaric and Gamy's heckling of Jim Achenbach over his U-groove column (still not online), I may have noted that GolfDigest's intrepid bloggers failed to note the R&A's possible role in slowing down the groove rule change, but Ryan Ballengee is above all the frey in parsing Jim Vernon's words more closely.

But the column made it a definitive--that the decision had already been made to implement a rule of some sort. Again, when posed to Vernon, he said, "There has been no prognosis made on when a decision will be made and there has been no prognosis on what that decision may or may not be." In plainspeak, not only hasn't a decision on timing been made, but there hasn't been a decision at all.

What does this mean? Is there new research to indicate that the proposed rule change is a bad decision? Would testing compliance on Tour be next to impossible? Might they be considering doing something to the ball instead (and kick Titleist in the pants while they're down from the Callaway lawsuit)?

I think we need some answers.

It does seem that in just a few months we have gone from a foregone conclusion on a U-groove ban or modification, to a much less certain outcome.  

Monday
Jan142008

Daly To Get First Lesson From Butch; Countdown To Break-Up Begins

Tim Rosaforte has the news. Oh to be a fly in Butch's indoor teaching center...

Here's the best part:

Daly has no sponsor on his shirt and no exempt status.

Uh, that would be plural Tim. No sponsors.

He also said he has avoided alcohol for a week and didn't visit any casinos during his Vegas stay.

Of course he was only there for a few hours!

"Times are tough," he said. "Only one guy could get me there, and that's Butchie."
Monday
Jan142008

Ridgewood Photo Tour

Thanks to reader/blogger Rob for the heads up on Ridgewood's excellent web site and course photo tour.

Sunday
Jan132008

"There has been no prognosis made on when a decision will be made and there has been no prognosis on what that decision may or may not be."

Belt and Girdle over at GolfDigest.com make a big fuss out of noting that Jim Achenbach's latest Golfweek column on pending groove rule changes (not posted online) is essentially wrong.

Here's what they say. Girdle Gouge writes:

The story seems to suggest that a final decision on the matter is imminent, alluding to a conversation with USGA President nominee Jim Vernon. The word "soon" was even used. That news struck me as odd as the two of us have regularly checked in with Dick Rugge, USGA Senior Technical Director, and have tried to keep up to date on the USGA's many ongoing research efforts during the grooves rule proposal's "notice and comment" period. As best I can tell, "soon" was not a word in any of our conversations. But I'll check my notes. … Yup, "soon" is still not in there.

And from Belt Bomb...

Dick Rugge who told us nothing much had changed since our last conversation. That efforts were still ongoing and, in fact, more research was being done. Well my friend, if more research is being done on the topic then "soon" doesn’t really seem possible, now does it? Next call, Jim Vernon, a man whom I looking forward to getting to know better. Vernon told us the following: That the Equipment Standards Committee is getting together at the USGA annual meeting in Houston on Feb. 8. The R&A is having their meeting after that date and that no decision on grooves would be made until after the USGA and R&A met again to discuss to the matter. At the very earliest that is more than a month from now. OK, so maybe a month or so might qualify as "soon." But the column made it a definitive--that the decision had already been made to implement a rule of some sort.

Now, what is lame about the post is not that they are pointing out that Achenbach has it wrong, but instead, in a petty quest to make him look bad, they are completely ignoring the real story they are breaking (but apparently don't know it): that nothing is imminent the groove issue, something widely figured to be in place starting in 2009.

How did it go from being a imminent to this:

Again, when posed to Vernon, he said, "There has been no prognosis made on when a decision will be made and there has been no prognosis on what that decision may or may not be." In plainspeak, not only hasn't a decision on timing been made, but there hasn't been a decision at all. As such, how can a reporter say that not only will your grooves be changing, but a decision will come "soon."

It seems more and more obvious by the day that the R&A has gotten cold feet on this. Isn't that the real story here boys?

And considering that B&G wrote this in February of 2007...

Still, several industry sources contacted by Golf World believe the ruling is coming sooner rather than later. 

...it might be wise to lay off Achenbach's use of the word soon. 

Sunday
Jan132008

"It is sad that the PGA Tour chose to act like this toward a 40-year partner. It is unbecoming and dishonors our great sport."

John Hawkins first reported that the PGA Tour might be terminating its agreement with Westchester CC immediately and moving to Ridgewood in New Jersey. Courtesy of a reader, we have exclusive confirmation in the below posted letters from Ed Moorhouse to the club, and the club president Phillip Halpern's frank letter to the membership. 

WestchesterLetterPGATour1

WestchesterLetterPGATour2

WestchesterLetter1 WestchesterLetterPage2

Saturday
Jan122008

"You mean black people are watching the Golf Channel?"

Four minutes into Bill Maher's monologue, he took on the Kelly Tilghman episode. If you don't want to go through the first four minutes, here's the joke:

And of course Al Sharpton got involved. I was shocked. And he said this was offensive to all black people. You mean black people are watching the Golf Channel?


Saturday
Jan122008

“A non-playing cut I don't think is going to help the tour"

I interviewed Davis Love about a month ago for a story I'm working on and the chat started with him venting  his outrage over the PGA Tour's new (and incredibly lame) cut system. No longer a member of the policy board, Love essentially warned that it was a huge mistake.

Well the first week saw many players not aware of the rule (their fault!) but more importantly, big fan draws in John Daly and Angel Cabrera making the cut only to find themselves on the cutting room floor. And it's already generating plenty of discussion.

Based on the initial coverage we're seeing the beginning of a huge black eye for the current Player Advisory Council, the Policy Board and PGA Tour executive branch. And a quick remedy is apparently not possible.

Of course, I blame it all on the ball! But that's a post for another day.

First, the controversy. Ferd Lewis explains and issues the first negative view of the new cut rule:

It says that although the top 70 finishers — and ties — make the overall cut, should that number include more than 78 professionals, the field will be sliced to the nearest figure to 70 (in the case of Sony 69), plus amateurs.

The rule was announced Nov. 12, according to a PGA Tour spokesman, but somehow went unnoticed by some golfers. Or, perhaps, they thought it was a bad joke. It is, of course, but that hasn't kept it from being adopted and implemented, aimed at reducing weekend fields, speeding play and allowing more rhythm for championship play. In this case, it has certainly done that, effectively chopping nine twosomes from this tournament. But that's not all.

Doug Ferguson noted this from Daly in his Friday game story:

“I don't understand the rule. I think it's crazy. It's a stupid rule, I'm sorry,” Daly told the Golf Channel. “I grinded my butt off to shoot even. Then I find out on 18 you may not be playing. I just wish we would have known.”

Brandt Snedeker was another guy who didn't read the memo.

He finished at even-par 140, went into the scoring trailer and was told that 1 under likely would be the playing cut, and even par would make the cut. He didn't know the difference, and wasn't pleased when he found out after a call to a tour official in Florida.

“A non-playing cut I don't think is going to help the tour,” he said. “You lose that chance.”

That chance refers to players like Brad Faxon, Chris Couch and Jose Maria Olazabal, all of whom have made the cut on the number over the years and went on to win the tournament.
But with weekend fields reaching the upper 80s, leading to five-hour rounds starting on both tees, the Players Advisory Council recommended a change in the cut policy. The board, after twice tabling the proposal, approved it November.

GolfBrief.com posted a staff report with these additional player comments:

“I never knew that rule,” Vijay Singh said. “I don’t know why the ever made that rule. I mean it’s (70 and ties) has been around forever, there must be some Tour official that doesn’t like staying here late. We’re all here to make a living. And I think it’s a terrible rule.”

There's a great way to bond with the guys making your tee times, pairings and issuing you rulings!

“Makes no sense,” said Jeff Sluman, one of two Champions Tour players in the field, after missing the cut at 7-over 147. “We have had too many guys winning the tournament making the cut on the nose. I suggested a long time ago to play them all on Saturday and make the cut on Sunday if you had over 78. Make a 60 cut. So if a guy doesn’t play very good on Saturday, he probably doesn’t want to start at 7:15.”

Sluman believes that the rule will be reviewed this year and Steve Flesch, newly elected to the 15-member Player Advisory Council, agrees that it needs a second look, though nothing can be done until the 2009 season if a change is forthcoming.

“I think it stinks,” Jim Furyk said. “I’m not a big fan of it I don’t understand why we’re doing it and I much like a hard number the reason I say that is I think one week you could finish tied for 63 and you could be playing and the next week you could finish tied for 63 and you can’t, you’re not going to be playing. You don’t have an opportunity. And I just couldn’t disagree with that more."
Friday
Jan112008

Golf Announcers Come Clean: We Say Stupid Things All The Time!

Yahoo's Steve Eubanks quotes some of the biggest names in the television business who weigh in on Kelly's Tilghman's behalf. In other words, Kostis and Clampett aren't quoted.

Loved this from Bob Murphy:

Bob Murphy, NBC: "I don't know her that well, but I watched the replay of what she said, and it is really, really nitty-picking to try to knock her out of the seat for something like that. My goodness, Johnny Miller might say three or four as good as that every day. We all try to be funny, and sometimes it doesn't work. That is what this was. To try to make something more out of it is just wrong."

He's right, let's talk more about these three or four good ones Johnny says a day! Does Bob know something about Johnny that we viewers don't know? 

 

Friday
Jan112008

Well Reasoned Perspectives On Tilghman

Now that the initial reactions are in, there are a couple of pieces worth reading that have taken more into account with regard to Kelly Tilghman's unfortunate comment and her future with The Golf Channel.

Steve Elling writes at CBSSports.com:

Sure, her comedy-challenged, dunderheaded, racist statement about stopping the world's No. 1 player by lynching him in a back alley was hurtful to African-Americans and offensive to many other hues. Yet without getting too deep into details, rest assured that Tilghman has personally felt the sting of discrimination in her career many times, and knows what it's like to be on the receiving end, too.

So, for those trying to look into her heart to see whether it's filled with sunshine or darkness, those demanding that she be ceremoniously canned for a statement that was blurted out in an unscripted exchange on live TV, take a step back for a moment and walk a mile in her spikes.

It was awful, yeah. But unforgivable?

And Cameron Morfit at golf.com makes this excellent point.

Why is Woods the only arbiter here? He hasn't exactly been a paragon of political correctness himself, having been quoted telling racial and lesbian jokes in GQ magazine in 1997. (He later claimed the jokes were off the record; writer Charles Pierce disagreed.)

Something still feels wrong here. Golf Channel's punishment of its anchor ought to reflect the feelings of its viewers and of sports fans everywhere more than what Tiger thinks. That's the way it works in television — the audience is the thing.

Friday
Jan112008

"I've been surprised at the level of contempt"

Lorne Rubenstein sat in on a Stack and Tilt clinic with Mike Plummer and Andy Plummer and relays his observations.
Meanwhile, some teachers and players have been critical of stack and tilt. Well-known instructor Jim McLean points to photographs of Nicklaus that he says refute the impression that he didn't shift his weight during his backswing. Six-time major champion Nick Faldo works for The Golf Channel and was critical during the Mercedes telecast.

"I've been surprised at the level of contempt," Plummer said.
Some of the complaints came in this Golf Digest piece. And here is the answer why there has been so much contempt:
But students have been doing well. Weir has been working with Plummer and Bennett for more than a year. Aaron Baddeley has won twice since beginning to work with the twosome. Plummer and Bennett are in demand from professionals and amateurs alike, and believe their critics wouldn't be so harsh if they understood their ideas. Their database includes more than a million swing photos.

"Just to be clear, though," Plummer said, "we're not doing this because Nicklaus and Ben Hogan did it. They're examples of what we're saying."

Thursday
Jan102008

"Faldo’s remark prompted Tilghman to glibly raise the verbal ante to a level that would make anyone shudder..."

The paper of record's Richard Sandomir weighs in on the Kelly Tilghman episode and lumps her in with Jimmy the Greek and Ben Wright in TV-screw up lore.

This was interesting:  

No one knows what triggers sportscasters or public figures to say what they shouldn’t say to large audiences, and one can only speculate as to their intent. Experience seems to shield most of them from making dreadful, career-altering mistakes, but it did not prevent George Allen, the former United States senator from Virginia, from labeling an American of Indian descent, then working for his opponent, a “macaca” during his failed re-election campaign in 2006.

Working live isn’t easy. There is a tendency to make mistakes and strain for creativity when simplicity will do. Tilghman and Faldo were wrapping up Day 2 of the tournament when they were discussing how young golfers could challenge Woods’s primacy, and Faldo said they should “gang up” on him “for a while.”

Faldo’s remark prompted Tilghman to glibly raise the verbal ante to a level that would make anyone shudder and wonder, What would make her say that? or, What else is in her oratorical toolbox? Sadly, her remark made her and Faldo giggle.
Key word here: glibly.

Kelly Tilghman is good at a lot of things. She's a strong reporter, has a great ability to recall past anecdotes and she clearly has a passion for the game. Glib is not one of her strong suits, yet all of today's anchors seem to feel the need to do the Sportscenter thing. (Or perhaps they are told this is how you have to announce in today's world.)

 
So once again I ask, isn't her lynching comment a product of the type of announcing asked for today, all while trying to provide such a humorous edge over an excessive number of hours?

Thursday
Jan102008

Clemens Would Rather Testify Before Congress Than Play The Classic Club; Now Has No Excuses

Can you blame him? Of course, now that the hearings have been pushed back, will he re-enter and subject himself to The Classic Club?

Thursday
Jan102008

"So, to Sabbatini I say this: Take two dictionaries and call me in the morning."

jan10_sabbatini_299x305.jpgSI's John Garrity offers a witty take on Rory Sabbatini and his brief press Q&A after a round 1 66 at the Sony Open.