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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

The medium of the artist is paint, and he becomes its master; but the medium of the golf architect is the surface of the earth over which the forces of Nature alone are master. Therefore, in the prosecution of his designs, if the architect correctly uses the forces of nature to express them and thus succeeds in hiding his hand, then, only, has he created that illusion which can still all criticism.
MAX BEHR


    

Sunday
Sep022007

"I've got to slow things down."

Tad Reeve and Aaron Barber play Hazeltine with retro club and Reeve reports on the round.

Normally, I'd hit a 3-wood off the tee at No. 10. That's a metal 3-wood. This time, I needed all the distance I could get, so I pulled out the driver. You see that little wooden club head behind the ball, and you can't help but think of all the things that could go wrong. It felt clunky. Naturally, I hooked it deep into the woods, but that isn't unusual for me on that hole. Only this time, I was a good 50 yards shorter than normal, about 175 yards out.

Normally, Aaron would hit an 18-degree hybrid here. Instead, he pulled out the driver, too. He was uncomfortable, too, saying it felt heavier than his driver. His shot flared to the right and settled into the edge of the rough 235 yards away, quite a dropoff from the 277 yards he averaged with his driver on the front nine.

"Oh, geez, that's the swing I make with my regular driver," Aaron said after making contact. "I've got to slow things down."

After that, he did. He adjusted quickly. Each of his next three drives went more than 250 yards, and he averaged 244 for the nine holes. But more importantly, he adapted to the nuances of the old clubs.

"All through the back nine," he said, "I only thought about scoring and not about how the shot looked."

He hit the set of Wilson Staff irons as well as the Titleist DCI 962 irons he normally plays with. He lost maybe five yards in distance with each club, but he is used to hitting pro-style irons that have smaller sweet spots, which elite golfers like because of added control and feel. He was quick to admit that he was hitting pretty well that day, and on a day when he didn't feel so much in the groove, the results wouldn't have been so ... well ... groovy.

He had a couple of three-putts on the back nine, caused by poor lag putting, but he didn't feel overly hamstrung by the old-style putter. It reminded him of the putters he had as a kid. And, to be fair, Aaron Barber is good. You don't get to the level he reached without talent.

"Guys who play for a living," he says, "have to adapt real quick."

There was also a video that accompanied the piece online...

 

Sunday
Sep022007

Deutsche Monday

Doug Ferguson on what figures to be an exciting Monday in Boston. I wonder if Phil is going to get some chuckles watching Tiger do whatever it is that Butch told him to watch for?
Sunday
Sep022007

"Beyond comprehension"

Catching up on some other non-PGA Tour stories, I see where a nice little spat is developing in Europe over the consistent selection of dreadful Ryder Cup venues. Darren Clarke spoke up and Mike Aitken reports:

DARREN Clarke, a Ryder Cup regular since 1997, completed his first round on the PGA Centenary course at Gleneagles and admitted it was "beyond his comprehension" why Europe's Ryder Cup committee had chosen to stage the match here against the USA in 2014.

After carding 73, level par, in the first round of the Johnnie Walker yesterday, Clarke described the Jack Nicklaus lay-out as an American style course not up to the standard of championship venues widely available in Scotland.

He said: "I think it is unbelievable they [the Ryder Cup committee] have chosen this course to stage the 2014 match. There's only been one Ryder Cup in Scotland, in 1973 [at Muirfield], and then they choose a course like this one. There are even two better ones here at Gleneagles. Scotland is the home of golf and we should not be playing on an American-style course; it's beyond my comprehension."

Clarke was not against Gleneagles as a venue for the match, if it was played over the adjacent Kings course, which has staged European Tour events, or even the short Queens course.

"Gleneagles is a wonderful venue but this is the wrong course," Clarke insisted.

Muirfield, Turnberry, Loch Lomond and Carnoustie were the other Scottish bidders. But Diageo, the owners of Gleneagles, succeeded because they made the best commercial offer with a venue deemed the most appropriate to host a modern Ryder Cup.

The next day Aitken wheeled out some poor chap (Sandy Jones?) to defend the selection, who made sure to note that the course is difficult, therefore it must be good!

"Even when Bells sponsored the Scottish Open on the King's, there was talk someone might shoot 59 there," added Jones. "The truth is the King's and the Queen's are just not big enough to accommodate today's players. To suggest the Ryder Cup should be played there isn't helpful. If we're going to have a debate about the course, let's have a sensible one."

A sensible one eh? Well then that calls for Monty's take!

But Colin Montgomerie, chairman of the Johnnie Walker championship committee, said: "Gleneagles will be a fantastic venue.

"As far as the staging of the match in Perthshire is concerned, I have no concerns whatsoever."

Spoken like someone who really wants to be captain in 2014.

Jones also stressed the important role Gleneagles had played in the history of the match, hosting the first unofficial contest against the USA in 1921 even before the hotel was built.

Colin Montgomerie also rallied to the defence of Gleneagles and insisted the PGA Centenary course was at least as good if not better than most of the venues chosen to host the Ryder Cup on this side of the Atlantic over the past 25 years.

Asked to comment in his capacity as chairman of the Johnnie Walker championship committee about the suitability of Gleneagles as hosts of the 2014 Ryder Cup match, Montgomerie said: "People are entitled to their opinion, but I feel the course would stand up to any Ryder Cup venue."

"Gleneagles is at least on a par with any of those venues if not an awful lot better than some."

Well and it is such elite company: K Club, Belfry, Celtic Manor. The architectural marvels of our time.

Sunday
Sep022007

"I felt comfortable in the standings to take the week off"

Scott Michaux, writing in the Augusta Chronicle on the lure of college football.

Just how enticing is the lure of college football? Consider that one of the legitimate contenders for the PGA Tour's $10 million playoff all but forfeited his chance to win the grand prize by skipping this week's event in Boston to be in Sanford Stadium on Saturday.

Scott Verplank said he had a harder time convincing his wife to let him come to Athens with fellow OSU luxury box owner Tway than he did to take the week off. Standing 15th in golf's new playoffs points system, he was one of the few considered a viable contender to win the overall FedEx Cup and the richest paycheck in sports history. But the Cowboys were playing the No. 13 Dawgs between the hedges.

"I felt comfortable in the standings to take the week off," Verplank said.

Boy, when the PGA Tour adopted its new schedule to avoid conflicts with football season, here's betting the commissioner didn't have this in mind.

But that says something about the attraction of football on a Saturday. It's irresistible to fans and players alike.

Scott had a slightly different rationale earlier in the week.

Saturday
Sep012007

"I'd pay $15 to play El Dump-o-rama down the street with the bowl-shaped greens and the bunkers that haven't been raked in four years. Absolutely. That's fun. That's fun golf."

A fun item from Doug Ferguson's Deutsche Bank second round notes column

Rich Beem lives the good life on the PGA Tour, playing the best courses with the best players, taking part in pro-ams with the rich and famous. But he still enjoys going back to his roots - a municipal golf course, a few beers, lots of laughs.

Beem was having lunch with his caddie, Billy Heim, on Monday in Rhode Island when he mentioned he was going to play golf and the waitress recommended a course in Providence called Triggs, an old Donald Ross design.

"I played with two police officers from Rhode Island," Beem said. "They had their day off. They finished playing golf, but I don't know how. They were really enjoying their day off."

This wasn't the first time Beem has gone from TPCs to municipal tracks. He was asked if he would pay $400 to play Pebble Beach.

"Oh, God, no," Beem said. "But I'd pay $15 to play El Dump-o-rama down the street with the bowl-shaped greens and the bunkers that haven't been raked in four years. Absolutely. That's fun. That's fun golf. We play these beautiful courses all the time, but what's wrong with going out and playing fun golf now and then, shooting whatever, play in your bare feet."

Heim is more than just a caddie. He lost in the final match of the 1987 U.S. Junior Amateur to Brett Quigley, who happened to play with Beem the first two rounds of the Deutsche Bank Championship.

How does a former PGA champion wind up on a municipal golf course?

"I'm just another guy who took a day off of a work and went to go play golf," he said. "Is that so bad?"

Saturday
Sep012007

"But he [Harmon] told me a couple of things he [Woods] likes to do, and I was watching for it, and I chuckled throughout the round when I'd pick up on it."

Steve Elling files an entertaining report on Saturday's much-improved performance (19-under-par!!) from the Tiger-Phil-Vijay pairing.

It was gang engorgement, a feeding frenzy. Mickelson, ever the smirking wise guy, suggested that Woods might have been motivated to pick up his pace after Lefty started a torrid run in the middle of the round, when he played an eight-hole stretch in a blistering 7 under.

"I think Tiger got a little upset there when I got on that streak because he started out 6 under in his next six holes," Mickelson said, his math exactly right.

Oh that's good, but here's the buried lede:

Mickelson enjoyed the two days in the premier trio so much he wants more of the same in Monday's final round. Butch Harmon, his swing coach and Woods' former teacher, gave Mickelson some insider information on things to watch when playing with Woods. Mickelson declined to provide specifics, but it must have something to do with Woods' mannerisms or peccadilloes.

Maybe Woods has been demystified a bit.

"In the past I haven't really played that well with Tiger, per se," Mickelson said. "But he [Harmon] told me a couple of things he [Woods] likes to do, and I was watching for it, and I chuckled throughout the round when I'd pick up on it."

Mickelson stubbornly wouldn't offer more, other than Harmon's insight seemed to work.

"It's really helped because I find myself chuckling at it now and played much more relaxed and had a good time today," Mickelson said.

I think that pretty much eliminates any hope of a Butch-Tiger reunion.

A few other nuggets from Mickelson's press conference:

PHIL MICKELSON: Yeah, figuring out how the slopes on the greens are going to take it. I love the design and I love the setup. I love the way the greens are, around the greens, the way the rough is where you can actually play shots, and I think that I'm going to plan on making this a permanent stop. This is the first time I've been here, and I can't believe I haven't been here earlier. This is a wonderful tournament for us.

Guess Phil likes fescue rough.

And on the FedEx Cup...

Q. When you first heard about the FedExCup, what was your sense then, and has it changed at all since you've started to play in it?

PHIL MICKELSON: I'm not sure. I mean, I think that I won't have a good comment for you on the FedExCup for a couple years. I think that I've got to give it a fair chance to play out and see how the individual events go and see how the overall chase for the Cup goes. The first year we're going to need to do a few tweaks, you can tell, and I'm curious to see how next year's scheduling is going to be.

There's a lot of little areas in there that are critical I think in the first couple years on whether it makes it or not.

I guess he hasn't heard that the schedule is set for next year.

This is funny and it leads into the stuff Elling quotes above...

Q. At a normal TOUR event you three guys wouldn't play together. Would it be good to do this more often?

PHIL MICKELSON: Well, I think it would. I mean, I think it would. Certainly the last three years this random computer pairings has randomly had us on opposite tee times every day for three years (laughter).

Q. Funny how that works out.

PHIL MICKELSON: Yeah, anyway, but I enjoy it. This was actually a really interesting day because I've been working with Butch Harmon, as you know, and in the past I haven't really played that well with Tiger per se. But he told me a couple things that he likes to do, and I kind of was watching for it, and I chuckled throughout the round when I'd pick up on it. And it was just -- I think that working with Butch has really helped me understand how to get my best golf when I play in the same group as Tiger, and I'm hoping I have a chance to do that on Monday.

Q. Anything you can tell us, the things you look for?

PHIL MICKELSON: Oh, no, I'm not about to tell you. I'm not even going to go there. But just a couple things that have been very interesting, and certainly the stories have been great (laughter). But just a few things to watch for. And it's really helped because I find myself chuckling at it now and played much more relaxed and had a good time today.

Q. Kind of demystified the guy for you?

PHIL MICKELSON: I wouldn't say that. That's all I'd really care to go for. I'm sharing with you a little piece and you keep asking for more.

Q. Are you hoping you guys get paired together again next week?

PHIL MICKELSON: Absolutely. I'd like to play well tomorrow and I'd like him to play well tomorrow, so hopefully we both have a chance on Monday and maybe get paired together. That would be fun.


Saturday
Sep012007

"You might think making the same nine-hole loop time after time would grow tedious, but nothing could be further from the truth."

PT-AG320_Golf1_20070831182126.jpgJohn Paul Newport celebrates the beauties of nine-hole rounds with his Saturday WSJ column. And yes, I supplied the image of Marion's 9th that accompanies the piece.

As always, thanks to reader John for sending the link.

Saturday
Sep012007

"One week into the much belly-ached FedEx Cup "Playoffs," the howls from the golf scribes can be heard from here to Madagascar."

The Commissioner has mentioned the many positive fan and blog entries commenting on the FedEx Cup, though I don't know if I've found one yet. Here's one he probably won't like because like others, it points out that the season-long points race has made a mess of things. However, FedEx wouldn't have anything to do with it if the "race" was not being mentioned each week.

Saturday
Sep012007

Diaz On Nicklaus

Jaime Diaz blogs about some of Jack Nicklaus's candid stories told during this week's session to publicize the amazing new Martin Davis book.

Saturday
Sep012007

"I don't have much good to say about 18"

230136-993204-thumbnail.jpg
View of No. 18's bunkering (click to enlarge)
You throw a bunker in the center of the fairway and our boys can't deal with it! And people wonder why we get slaughtered in the Ryder Cup.

From Jim McCabe's Boston Globe round one notes column:

The pot bunker that's been added into the middle of the layup area at the par-5 18th offers a quaint look. The only thing is, does it come into play? "It definitely did for me," said Kuchar, who only drove it 240 yards and was left with about 290 yards. For sure, Kuchar had to consider the deep pot bunker on his layup, but he executed it perfectly. "I don't have much good to say about 18," he said. . . Tim Herron told Gil Hanse, who led the redesign efforts, that he didn't like the pot bunker. It was right where he would want to lay it up, Herron told Hanse, who nodded and replied that's why it was put there, to force guys to be precise with their second shots . . .

FYI, the sprinkler head on the back side of the bunker, closest to the green, is 95 to the center of the green. The nearest head short of the bunker is marked 117. Yes, they might have to hit an easy pitching wedge instead of a full SW.

Oh, and there's a good 15 paces of fairway on either side of this little bunker.

What a menace to society!

At least Rocco, who actually gives this stuff serious consideration, likes what he sees.

As for the overall changes to TPC Boston, Rocco Mediate is a big fan. "Fax did a great job," said Mediate, a reference to PGA Tour colleague Brad Faxon, who consulted with Hanse on the redesign. "Then again, I knew he would. He's old-school, so he wasn't going to force some new-fandangled goofy stuff."

Friday
Aug312007

I Wonder If...

TPCBoston4rearview.jpg...the brand platforming experts down in Ponte Vedra will note TPC Boston 4th hole's impact on day one Deutsche Bank play. Tiger Woods's double bogey 6 and Phil Mickelson's eagle 2 were run on sports highlight shows across the country.

I did notice that TGC/NBC showed it quite a bit more than any other front nine hole.

Here's what first round leader Camillo Villegas said about the hole:

Q. You talked about the new hole at No. 4. Can you give me your general impressions of that hole beyond the birdie?

CAMILO VILLEGAS: Tricky one. It's a tricky one. There's obviously -- the green just goes away. I think we should play that hole from the front tee all week, just because from the back tee it's a little too funky. You're going to be hitting maybe a 5-wood into a very narrow space, and it's going to be hard to even hold the green from 100 yards, and then if you hit driver and you get it up there where you have 50 yards, you can be in the middle of the fairway and I don't think you're going to be able to hold the green.

It's a tricky one. It's a good hole from the front, I believe, and I'm just trying to get it over that green somehow and just chip it back up. 

Here's what Tiger said about his surprising double...

 

Q. Can you talk about the 4th hole?

TIGER WOODS: Yeah, the 4th hole I was telling Stevie, we've got to be committed to hitting the ball right of the green. I could hit the ball 50 yards right of the green. I was just trying to hit the ball right, right, right, and I just pulled it about five yards left of the flag. I was in the bunker, the only place you can't be.

Q. We couldn't see it from where we were standing. What were you trying to do with that shot?

TIGER WOODS: I was just trying to keep the ball on the green. Trying to keep it on the green.

Q. Runs away from you?

TIGER WOODS: Yeah, big-time. I wasn't even trying to get cute with it. I said, well, if I make a mistake, make this mistake long, hit the ball over the green, chip back and try and make par that way. It just came out soft and buried under the lip.

 Q. Still in the sand?

TIGER WOODS: It was actually underneath the lip, so I couldn't get it out. 

 

And here's what Mike Weir said after his 65:

Q. So you liked everything?

MIKE WEIR: I liked everything, yeah (laughter).

I heard that No. 4, that that was kind of a narrow tee shot and a big -- I like the drivable par 4s because you miss it in the wrong spot with these firm, fast greens, and you're going to be struggling for par. Good risk-reward hole.

Q. As an example, and I could ask this of someone who had an eight-foot eagle putt, where could you miss it where you do get in some deep doo-doo?

MIKE WEIR: Left. I played with J.J. and he hit it left, and he had to hit it just right to get it barely on the green, and he hit a good shot and it rolled all the way down the hill and he had to make a really good up-and-down for par. That's a really good hole. If you miss it in the wrong spot, even though he was in the fairway you don't have much. Even if you miss it right, you can pitch it up the green. 

Friday
Aug312007

He Would Have Moved To 4th! On Friday!

Mark Rolfing, trying a wee bit hard to push the FedEx Cup,  alerted us that the playoffs are so volatile that had Camillo Villegas made his birdie putt on No. 16 to get to -7 and take the FIRST ROUND lead, Camillo would have moved to 4th in the projected FedEx Cup standings.

Friday
Aug312007

Explaining The Chase

Jim Peltz in the LA Times explains the NASCAR playoffs. This is interesting in the context of the FedEx Cup. Here they are in year four of the revamped system and it's still having to be explained. And NASCAR's system seems much simpler than the FedEx Cup.

Thursday
Aug302007

Greetings From Santa Monica

I’ve returned to the Home of the Homeless where, mercifully, I will not (A) won’t have to see another artificially faded Boston Red Sox hat for at least a week, and (B) listen to any more complaints about a centerline bunker.

jacknicklausandmartindavis.JPGHowever I will not ever forget a lovely evening spent listening to Jack Nicklaus tell stories while discussing the impressive new Martin Davis book chronicling his life in the same format as the classic Hogan Mystique and The Greatest of Them All. I did not take notes from Jack's remarkably honest chat, but I'm sure several of those who were scribbling away will recount some of the stories he told. Then again, some of the stories he shared were so revealing that maybe they should not be repeated. That, anyway, is my excuse for not doing a post about it.
 
As for the Deutsche Bank, it’s always good for to get out to a PGA Tour event and be reminded just how few players have anything interesting to say golf architecture, and more remarkably, how few care.  After Ogilvy/ie, Oberholser, Harrison Frazer (who knew?), Baddelay, Pernice, Browne, Elkington, Woods and a handful of others, most of the field isn't too interested in what went into the major overhaul of the TPC Boston or how it might make their golf more interesting. (Maybe they're just too distracted by the stress of the playoffs. That's it!)
 
You would think that with so much money at stake there would be a bit more driving range discussion about the many nuances injected into the course, but then again, there is a reason many of these fine young men are good golfers: they don’t think about golf architecture. Which, I suppose, is why I admire the talents of the aforementioned players just that much more. Being so thoughtful and trying to play great golf is not easy.
 
The writer's reactions should be interesting once play begins and they have a chance to see the design impacting their play. Many should be pleasantly surprised at how many odd little lies and unusual circumstances players will face due to the new bunkering or the new/old style mounding I wrote about earlier in the week or other significant adjustments to the green complexes.
 
230136-1004711-thumbnail.jpg
No. 5 (click to enlarge)
A few front nine design highlights to look for during NBC's telecasts...

- New 4th hole that should feature all sorts of birdies and bogies
- The revamped 5th that has become is (good) tough, beautiful par-4
- The new 6th tee out of the chute inspired by the late John Mineck
- The cross bunker on the par-5 7th that has induced entertaining whining because Heaven forbid if someone hits a poor drive they will have to lay up short of it and not have a very good view of the flagstick
- The depth perception altering bunkers at the par-4 9th where they constructed a brand new punchbowl green.

230136-993204-thumbnail.jpg
No. 18's centerline bunkering (click to enlarge)
Highlights on the back:

- The par-4 15th rewards players flirting with the fairway bunkers a good view of the hole while blinding those playing safe right
- The new 16th is a dynamite short par-3 with a nasty penalty for bailing out right;
- The 17th should make for great theater with the spectators hovering over the new and deceptive little green
- And the 18th, with it’s bunker strewn landing areas that are causing so much entertaining player whining (those bunkers are where I want to hit it!).

The TPC Boston has the potential to become a lot more interesting if Hanse and Faxon are allowed to tinker over the coming years. Namely, take out the modern mounding and catch basins for starters. They need to immediately dynamite the 2nd, 8th, 12th, 13th, and 18th greens and match them in style and character with their newly constructed putting surfaces.
 
And most of all, it'll be fun to see fescue grasses age under the incredible eye of superintendent Tom Brodeur. Because do remember as you watch, that these are new bunkers and new grasses, even though much of it looks like it’s been there for 50 years.

Thursday
Aug302007

Tiger's Press Conference

TigeratDeutsche.jpgTiger's sit down with the scribblers Thursday included all of the right FedEx Cup answers...

Q. What would be meaningful about winning the FedExCup?

TIGER WOODS: Well, any time you win something that's never been done before, it's always meaningful. This is an experiment for the TOUR, and I equated it out there to very similar to what NASCAR went through. No one really understood it until after it happened, and then after a couple years people really got behind it. As we can all see, it's been flourishing.

Q. Several players have said this week, Rich Beem the other day said, let's be honest, without Tiger in the field, the Playoffs -- a Playoff event doesn't really matter. What's your take on the reaction you've received for taking a week off from players, from media, from fans? What's your take on you taking a week off?

TIGER WOODS: As far as the players, I really haven't heard much. I know that a bunch of my buddies were giving me some grief (laughter). But as far as any of the media stuff, I haven't seen it. I've been out on the boat and getting away from it.

Q. What kind of grief?

TIGER WOODS: Any kind of grief imaginable, just like we always do. We do it each and every day.

Q. No details, though?

TIGER WOODS: We just need to find an excuse and we're going to needle each other.

And for today's rally killer, courtesy of a television reporter (like that needed clarification!)...

Q. One of our local sports celebrities Tom Brady just had a baby, and I'm wondering do you have any new dad advice for him?

TIGER WOODS: Well, you don't sleep, that's for sure (laughter). It's fantastic. You hear from every parent who's ever had their first child that it's an experience that you'll never forget. You always want to be there. It's the little things. I've only been a dad for about two months now, but it's just the little things each and every day.

I'm away from home this week, and you miss those things. Granted, when you're at home it drives you crazy at times, especially late nights, 3:00 and 4:00 in the morning gets a little tough. But those times actually you really do sort of miss them, as well.

On the golf course...

Q. Can you talk about coming back here as the defending champion, and also now that you've played a full Pro-Am round, what about the changes on this course? What are your thoughts about that?

TIGER WOODS: Well, every time we've played here, this has been one of the greatest sporting towns you could ever play in front of. These fans, they love their sport, and they've supported this event. I know they've changed the golf course several times, and this time they've really done I think just a heck of a job and made it much more natural to the surroundings.

They made it probably slightly more difficult. The greens are a little faster right now, the fairways are giving it up a little bit, and you're really going to have to make sure you manage your game a little bit.

Before in some of the years we've played, we just had to make a bunch of birdies, just go super-low. It's going to be a little more difficult to do that this year.

On short par-4's, including this week's 4th hole...

Q. Can you talk about drivable par 4s and specifically the 4th hole out here this week?

TIGER WOODS: Yeah, I've always thought that's been a neat attribute to a golf course if you have one par 4 you can drive. But generally if you don't play it well, you're going to probably make bogey or even double. I think that's one of the neat things about having a par 4 like that.

You've got to hit -- you think you ought to just blow it in the bunker up there or whatever, but that's one of the harder bunker shots, too. You've got to make sure you know what you're doing, where the pin is, and it's a little more strategic than you think. It's very similar to No. 10 at Riviera. You think, oh, this is no big deal, driver down there, and up-and-down easy. We see a lot of bogeys for some reason on that hole when guys take a run at it.

And one more...

 

Q. In follow-up to that question about the 4th hole, how did you play it today and what is the game plan?

TIGER WOODS: Well, I drove it just short of the green probably maybe about two yards short of the bunker. I just hit kind of a flop shot. Pin was right in the middle of the green.

You know, if I hit a really good drive, I might be able to fly it to the front. I've got to really hit a good one. But generally my normal shot is going to be just slightly short of the green. A lot of it just depends on the angles you want. Obviously the green goes basically from back left to front right is the angle. To try to hit the ball to the right you've got to hit it a lot further, which makes it a little more interesting.

It's a very clever hole. You think it's pretty easy, you think you should be able to walk away for the week playing it 3-under par, 2-under par at the worst, but you'll see some bogeys there.

 

And they say there is no such thing as a dumb question...this isn't even a point misser.

 

Q. Are you presently designing any golf courses? If yes, where are they; if no, will you do some in the future?

TIGER WOODS: Yeah, one in Dubai and one in Nashville [Asheville]. We have two that we're working on. You know, we're probably going to limit it to that.

 

Sounds like it's fun to build in Dubai...

Q. I want you to talk about maybe a couple of things that you've learned as you've started these first two projects.

TIGER WOODS: Yeah, there's quite a few headaches that are involved. Just like anything, you're trying to create something from nothing, so there always are going to be some impediments along the way.

For instance, like the Dubai project, we've -- how do you get water that far into the desert? You think, okay, it's pretty easy, build a couple lakes, dump the water in. Well, it's 130 degrees, it's humid, everything is evaporating and all gone. Trying to create and shape the golf course and keep the dirt from blowing away, the wind blows there, too, it's not like it's calm every day, is a challenge. This is something that we didn't really think about at the beginning. We thought, okay, we can get around this, no big deal. All of a sudden it's a reality and it's presenting quite a problem.

On the Westchester television ratings...

Q. Did you get a chance to watch any of last week's at all and did you happen to see what the TV ratings were?

TIGER WOODS: No and then yes. I didn't watch any of it, but I read the paper on Monday.

Q. Were you a little surprised it was as low as it was given kind of the hype and the lead-in?

TIGER WOODS: I was surprised.

This did not exactly put the Hank-Tiger breakup rumors to rest...

Q. You mentioned practice. Over the last couple weeks there have been a couple reports about Hank and you guys' status and how much he's going to be intimately involved. Can you give us your view on how that's going to go going forward?

TIGER WOODS: Well, we're still working together.

Q. Just not as often?

TIGER WOODS: Yeah, definitely not as often. He has some things that he needs to take care of, which is totally understandable, and he really should be there.

And last question on getting a cut of the real estate in his design ventures...

Q. When it comes to your courses and your design and the structure of them, I know they won't all be tied to real estate, but the first couple having the design part and then the real estate part on the back end for years to come, why is that? And can you just talk a little bit about the structure of that? And some other players, Jack has done deals like that that have kind of backfired on the real estate part of it for him. What are your thoughts on having it structured that way, and can you talk a little bit about it?

TIGER WOODS: Yeah, that structure has its faults and can be fallible. But also if you're lucky enough, you can hit the home run, too. So it's a hit-and-miss.

But yeah, you definitely do take a chance when you do that. But that's the whole idea of being around people who are reputable, who understand what they're doing, and who have created projects in the past that have been very successful. And these people are the ones you want to partner up with.

 Like Donald Trump!

Thursday
Aug302007

Say It Ain't So...

I was walking up to the driving range when a fast moving limo and accompanying Cadillac flew into the TPC Boston entrance circle with two flanking Massachusetts state police cars and one motorcyle officer leading the way (lights flashing of course).

Why, I didn't know the Governor was playing in today's pro-am, that's wonderf...wait, no, no, it can't be.

Look who popped out to march up the clubhouse steps and sign in for his 12:50 tee time...

TrumpatTPCBoston.jpg 

Thursday
Aug302007

Deutsche Bank Championship Photo Caption Help

Tootling around the back nine I spotted Sid Wilson shuttling around PGA Tour Commissioner Tim Finchem. Oddly, the Commish never made it by the media center to chat with us scribblers, but he did kindly stop to answer a question from two spectators.

Hmmm...I wonder what were they asking and what was the Commish saying?

finchemandslugger.jpg 

Thursday
Aug302007

The Tiger Ratings Effect

Doug Ferguson details the changes at TPC Boston and also dispels the myth of horses for playoff courses.

Accompanying his piece was an unbylined sidebar not posted on the USA Today's web site noting the 2.1 television rating for the Barclay's. It pointed out that the same week last year featured Tiger winning at Firestone, drawing a 6.6 rating.

Thursday
Aug302007

Overheard

Arriving at the press center here on everyone's favorite--pro am day--a father and his son were asking one of the shirt-and-tie clad security folks what hole Tiger was on. Pulling out a pairing sheet he noted that Tiger teed off at 7 a.m., and they take about 10 minutes to play each hole, and....whoa. Try ten minutes to tee off on each hole there ace!

Thursday
Aug302007

"We'll play the up tees"

Jim McCabe offers an extensive look into the TPC Boston's renovated 4th hole and looks at some of the issues that arose over how the PGA Tour would set up the short two-shotter.