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  • Lines of Charm: Brilliant And Irreverent Quotes, Notes, And Anecdotes from Golf's Golden Age Architects
    Lines of Charm: Brilliant And Irreverent Quotes, Notes, And Anecdotes from Golf's Golden Age Architects
  • The Future of Golf: How Golf Lost Its Way and How to Get It Back
    The Future of Golf: How Golf Lost Its Way and How to Get It Back
    by Geoff Shackelford
  • Grounds for Golf: The History and Fundamentals of Golf Course Design
    Grounds for Golf: The History and Fundamentals of Golf Course Design
    by Geoff Shackelford
  • The Art of Golf Design
    The Art of Golf Design
    by Michael Miller, Geoff Shackelford
  • Alister MacKenzie's Cypress Point Club
    Alister MacKenzie's Cypress Point Club
    by Geoff Shackelford
  • The Golden Age of Golf Design
    The Golden Age of Golf Design
    by Geoff Shackelford
  • The Good Doctor Returns: A Novel
    The Good Doctor Returns: A Novel
    by Geoff Shackelford
  • Masters of the Links: Essays on the Art of Golf and Course Design
    Masters of the Links: Essays on the Art of Golf and Course Design
  • The Captain: George C. Thomas Jr. and His Golf Architecture
    The Captain: George C. Thomas Jr. and His Golf Architecture
    by Geoff Shackelford
Current Reading
  • Men in Green
    Men in Green
    by Michael Bamberger
  • Unplayable Lies: (The Only Golf Book You'll Ever Need)
    Unplayable Lies: (The Only Golf Book You'll Ever Need)
    by Dan Jenkins
  • Professional Golf 2015: The Complete Media, Fan and Fantasy Guide
    Professional Golf 2015: The Complete Media, Fan and Fantasy Guide
    by Daniel Wexler
  • The Forbidden Game: Golf and the Chinese Dream
    The Forbidden Game: Golf and the Chinese Dream
    by Dan Washburn
  • Arnie, Seve, and a Fleck of Golf History: Heroes, Underdogs, Courses, and Championships
    Arnie, Seve, and a Fleck of Golf History: Heroes, Underdogs, Courses, and Championships
    by Bill Fields
  • 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
  • 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

  • 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

I am no lover of the habit of giving names to holes, but the trees and shrubs which give identity to the holes at Augusta are real enough: flowering peach, magnolia--the drive is alive with them, too; yellow jasmine, Carolina cherry, camellia--never was the iron gauntlet of challenge more skillfully concealed in velvet. BOBBY JONES



Monty Weeps As Hecklers Move On To Rory Sabbatini

From Doug Ferguson's story, after Tiger slaughtered Sabbatini for the second time this year:

Sabbatini took five to reach the green and made double bogey, and as he walked toward the 10th tee, a spectator said: "Hey, Rory, still think Tiger is beatable?"

Sabbatini turned and glared. He barked at a police officer and demanded — with an obscenity thrown in — that the fan be taken "out of here."
Ahhh, he can dish it and he may continue to!
Asked if he would temper his comments in the future, Sabbatini looked indignant.

"Why?" he said. "I hope I inspire him and play well enough that I can give him a good challenge."

Meanwhile, check out this exchange after the round:
 Q. The guy on the 9th hole, I guess you pointed him out and they led him off, was that just -- he didn't seem to be that -- he didn't curse or anything.
RORY SABBATINI: Well, you know, the situation is we're out here to do our job. Let us do our job. You know, even on 18 there, the guys being very insulting towards Kenny Perry's first putt. Have a little bit of decorum and a little bit of class out there. That's the way it's supposed to be. But I guess a few too many beers were talking.

Q. What do you think of Tiger's game now?
RORY SABBATINI: Today he played significantly better than he did in the final round at Wachovia. He struck the ball better. He made all the shots he needed to. You know, he was definitely playing a lot better golf today than five, six weeks ago, whatever that was.

Q. Did you wear the belt with the skull for inspiration for yourself?
RORY SABBATINI: No, just like the belt.

Q. It's pretty cool.

Could we ask our questions in the form of a question instead of gushing praise for skull cap belt buckles? 


Tiger Goes Entire Press Conference Without Celebrating Firestone's It's-All-Right-In-Front-Of-You Architectural Brilliance

Though I do understand he dropped his favorite design compliment in a rare post-victory gabfest with his most beloved on-course annoyance, Peter Kostis. Actually, his post round Q&A with the assembled inkslingers featured several entertaining exchanges.

Meanwhile, what is missing from AP's Doug Ferguson's game story here:

Woods earned $1.35 million for his 58th career victory. Since the start of the 2005 season, Woods has not gone more than five starts on the PGA Tour without winning.
And, and, and? The points Doug? Sheesh. The playoffs? Hello?



Sergio and Shark Win Award Before Course Opens!

How I love Dubai, they're doling out development awards and the thing isn't even built yet!

Jumeirah Golf Estates, the exclusive villa project in the heart of New Dubai has netted the prestigious CNBC Arabian Property Awards 2007, in the Best Golf Development category. The award will be given away at a gala dinner at the Madinat Jumeirah in Dubai on Tuesday, October 23, 2007.  

Entries for the award were judged by a highly-distinguished panel of professionals, chaired by Eric Pickles, British Shadow Secretary of State. Jumeirah Golf Estates is owned and maintained by Istithmar PJSC, the real estate investment unit of Dubai World. David Spencer, chief executive of Jumeirah Golf Estates, said of the forthcoming award: “It’s always fantastic to be recognised by the best in the industry.  At Jumeirah Golf Estates we’re aiming to create the best golf development in the region and one of the best in the world.  Today’s announcement shows that we’re on the right track.

Jumeirah Golf Estates brings together the world’s leading golfing and course design superstars to create Dubai’s premier residential golfing community.  Greg Norman, Vijay Singh, Sergio Garcia and the father of modern golf course design, Pete Dye, are working on creating one of the world’s most distinctive golf developments. The 4 courses; Fire, Earth, Water, & Wind; pay tribute to the power of nature, each employing the distinctive characteristics of its own surroundings to deliver a unique challenge.  They will be surrounded by the most desirable residential communities in Dubai, with luxury homes with beautiful space both inside and out.


Take that Tiger! 


Women's Open Championship Round 3 Clippings

198060.jpgJohn Huggan files the Scotsman game story on Lorena Ochoa's six stroke lead:
Round in level par 73 - more than five shots better than the average score on a day when only three competitors broke par and 26 shot in the 80s - the Mexican played the world's most famous links in just the sort of canny way that would surely have pleased the great names of the past.
And this is fun about amateur Sally Watson...
"I had, like, 41 putts out there today," she whined, in the sort of mid-Atlantic accent teenagers unfortunately tend to pick up after only a few months stateside. "The greens were, like, so slow after the rain and I had, like, so many tricky putts. In the end I like found it hard to, like, trust myself. It was just so, like, windy out there."

There are no prizes for guessing which word this very self-assured young lady most needs to eliminate from her vocabulary. Unless she wants to be 'like Lorena,' of course.

Ron Sirak on the blog says that it's pretty amazing Women's British Open play could not find enough daylight in the first week of August to finish the opening rounds. He also notes that Michelle Wie has lost another caddy. She has now officially run twice as many loopers as Spinal Tap went through drummers.

Huggan Scoop: Crenshaw Regrets Brookline 17th Green Antics!

...and next week, John Huggan learns from Roberto De Vicenzo that regrets signing an incorrect card at the 1968 Masters!

Sheesh, now I know why Ben has avoided the Senior Open Championship!

Seriously, once we cleared up the earth shattering revelations from three Ryder Cup's ago, Huggan got Crenshaw to say some interesting things about the state of the game, technology, the PGA Tour and Augusta.

"What mystifies Bill and myself is seeing courses being built that hardly anyone can play properly," he observes. "We want our courses to be enjoyable for as many people as possible. We would not know how to set up a course for a high-end tournament. That would just mystify me. If you do that, how can you reach anyone else?

"In America the set-ups are becoming unbelievable. They are trying to stay ahead of technology, and sometimes that doesn't produce enjoyable golf. The danger is that the PGA Tour can become stylised a little bit. They are just so difficult week to week.

"The road we are on is a dangerous one. It's one thing to build five different tee boxes, but somewhere along the line you lose the feel of the hole, and what makes it interesting. You compromise the hole. If you don't go straight back and start changing angles, things get a bit off.

"We are trying - and failing - to come up with interesting ways to combat how far the ball goes. You put obstacles out there at certain distances, and players just fly them. I don't know what you do. We try to make doable holes. I like players to shoot really good scores. That's fine with me."

How Crenshaw would definitely not go about tackling the technology issue is by the mindless growing of long grass, which is how the green jackets at Augusta National have chosen to 'protect' their course.

"I heard this a long time ago, although I'm not sure who said it first: 'Interest supersedes length.' If a course is not interesting and you don't bring people back, what is the point? I look at the way Augusta was set up this year, and everyone was forced to play more defensive golf, no question about it. There's now a limit to what the top players will try there.

"To an extent, I can understand what is being done. I'm not saying all of it should be thrown away. There is no question the course needed to be lengthened. But I've never really agreed with the growing of the rough. That is so entirely different from the way it used to play.

"To get players to try shots they maybe shouldn't try was what used to set Augusta apart. Now it's different. A lot of the places I used to aim for off the tee are now in the rough. Those spots used to open up angles to the pins. But now the course is more prescribed. All the shots are decided for us.

"That's not what [Bobby] Jones and [Alister] Mackenzie intended. They wanted it to be reminiscent of St Andrews. To open up those angles, you had choices to make. And to have choices, you need width. There's no choice when the fairway is narrow. I can't believe some of the set-ups on the PGA Tour. Everything is so narrow."

Still, one thing too much rough and longer holes cannot affect is the famed Crenshaw putting stroke. Into his 50s, he has retained the silky touch that carried him to those two Masters titles - most of it anyway. Only last month he was runner-up at the US Senior Open.

"I don't putt quite as well as I used to. I have days where I feel just a little tentative. At my age I sometimes lack the authority you need to putt well. I hit a lot of nice putts that have about a foot less speed on them. That often makes the difference between making and missing."

Has He Always Used A Ping Grip?

You know how much attention I pay to what's in everyone's bag, so am I the last person on the planet to know that Tiger uses a Ping putter grip? Or is this something new?

From's third round photos taken at Firestone:



Women's Open Championship Round 2 Clippings

197711.jpgMike Aitken reports on Scotland's Catriona Matthew moving into contention and offers this:

Twice a winner in St Andrews of the St Rule Trophy in 1993 and 1994, Matthew found the memories of those experiences flooding back. "Although it's been a while, it surprised me how quickly I remembered things about where to go and where to miss it," she said.
And on the pace of play...
Pace of play was brisker yesterday and not before time. Six players had to come back to the links at 6.30am to finish their opening rounds. Although no golfer was fined for slow play on Thursday when some took six and a half hours, the Ladies Golf Union, the organisation which runs the event, expressed concern the slowcoaches were damaging the image of the game with their dilatory approach.

With a preponderance of double greens, blind shots and breezy conditions, the Old Course is regarded as the slowest venue on the men's championship rota. Even so, Susan Simpson, the tournament director, conceded: "Six and a half hours for a game of golf is not OK, whether it's women or men, amateur or professional.

That's just not something we would wish to have. For us, anything over five hours is unacceptable."

John Huggan shares a few incredible slow play anecdotes on the Golf For Women blog. On the same site, Dave Allen reports on Michelle Wie's second round 80.197722.jpg


Huggan also wonders why the entry fee is less than a round of golf over the Old Course.


Tiger Spared Of Future Fake Impromptu AmEx-USGA Outings

tiger.jpgYes, I know dark days ahead here. How to cope with the news that there will be no more Tiger Woods led American Express ads like the Caddyshack spot, just those embarrassing spots where he calls OnStar to unlock one of those ugly Buicks.

But mercifully for Tiger, no more of those outings where he has to interrupt his major championship preparation to plug AmEx and the USGA.

But much better was the spin by Amex suit Rich Lehrfeld buried in this AP piece (presumably by Doug Ferguson), who was explaining the decision to sign with the PGA of America while dumping Woods.

"He brought a lot of value to Amex. He's an incredible athlete with an incredible work ethic, and that runs well with what our brand is all about," Lehrfeld said.

And here I thought the brand was about justifying how us suckers pay an annual fee all to get a discount at Kinko's?  

"Sometimes strategies change. We wanted to move our dollars to build a broader base of consumer experiences."

Ah, right. That clears it up.

"It was a good 10-year run," Mark Steinberg, his agent at IMG, said Friday while following Woods at Firestone. He said Woods and American Express mutually agreed not to negotiate another contract.

"I know that sounds like a cop-out," Steinberg said. "But this was one of those deals that had run its course. If they wanted to be more consumer-driver, that might require more of Tiger's time. And it still might not hit the right demographics for them. We talked about doing something smaller, but why downsize?"

That's right baby, Tiger doesn't take pay cuts. And he can't get cardholders Ryder Cup tickets either. Sounds like a win-win! 


"Why is it that tournament organizers insist on reducing every player to the same hack-out when they miss a fairway? I don't get it. I bet the spectators are bored watching everyone do the same thing."

I know it was like, soooo last week, but remember this is my personal clipping archive and I had to grab these comments from Golf World writer John Huggan's Senior Open Championship game story:

Actually, Watson isn't quite right there. On a Muirfield all but covered in long grass -- "It is worse than Carnoustie in 1999," he had said earlier in the week -- there were plenty of other nasty spots he could have found on that 18th hole. The level and extent of the rough, in fact, had come in for almost unanimous criticism over the four days of an event that will shift to Royal Troon next year under new sponsorship, MasterCard replacing Aberdeen Asset Management.

"It's serious -- six inches of rough under two foot of hay fescue," shuddered senior debutant Nick Faldo before shooting an eight-over-par 292 that left him eight shots adrift of Watson in a tie for 14th place. "Very severe and very narrow."

Others were less circumspect in their opinion of a course set up that some felt was more difficult than that at Carnoustie one week previously. Former Open champion Sandy Lyle, a spectator at Muirfield, was just one calling the length of the rough "ridiculous."

"It misses the point of links golf, which is to create a variety of shots and allow players to hit recovery shots if they are good enough," said the 1985 Open champion, who turns 50 next February. "Why is it that tournament organizers insist on reducing every player to the same hack-out when they miss a fairway? I don't get it. I bet the spectators are bored watching everyone do the same thing."
If there was any doubt the people running the game have no golfing souls, this should do it:
Lyle wasn't alone, either. Many players shared his bemusement at the level of point-missing achieved by tournament organizers who had ignored a request from the Muirfield greenstaff to cut the rough as much as two months before the event. "There was no decision to make," insisted championship committee chairman, and Muirfield member, Alistair Low. "The wet summer produced the rough we have this week, and the course would be this way whether we had a tournament on or not."

But, of course, they did have an event to run, one that sadly lost some of its luster for most of the field.

"I think if you go [in]to the rough, you are dead," said a prescient Eduardo Romero of Argentina, who finished T-4 despite hacking his way to a double bogey at the 71st hole. "Just play sand wedge and lob wedge and put the ball in the fairway and try to make bogey, that's all. It is more severe than Carnoustie because it is so wet and very thick."



Women's Open Round 1 Clippings

197460.jpgMike Aitken looks at Lorena Ochoa's course record 67 and notes this about the par-5 Road hole, which really speaks to how much it changes the feel of the Old Course (because I couldn't get a good shot of it off of TNT, I will spare you my rant about the conversion to a three-shotter despite the sliver of fairway offered for the lay up...pitiful):
Her drive from the 17th tee soared into the puffy clouds scattered across the St Andrews skyline on a piercing trajectory. Erring left on the conservative side in light rough, she narrowly avoided the Road Hole bunker with a 5-iron which swung away from the trap and onto the green.

Playing as a par 5 for the women, one of the strongest par 4s in golf struggled to hold its own yesterday. Like a heavyweight boxer unable to defend body punches, the Road Hole surrendered a barrage of birdies and eagles. With an average score of 4.5 against the par of 5, the 17th found itself filling the unusual role of soft touch at St Andrews.

Ron Sirak says don't expect another round like it and offers other various observations from round 1, including the British press falling hard for the Tiger-gives-Annika-his-yardage-book story and Michelle Wie's improved play.

Alena Bubniak at Golf For Women shares a nice day one list of links, while John Huggan puts the notion of women in the R&A clubhouse into perspective.
But let's get real people. The headline on this story should read, "R&A behave like normal people shock." While their gesture is to be welcomed in this, the early part of the 21st century, it is hardly earth shattering. No, they didn't have to do it; but yes, they should have done it decades ago.

Part of the reason why the R&A has been enjoying such acclaim this week is that so many people — particularly those from the United States — are unaware of the fact that the Old Course is a public facility, open to all golfers of whatever gender, colour or creed. The R&A does not therefore own golf's most famous course; it belongs to the people of St. Andrews. And the R&A is only one of many golf clubs who have the right to play over the hallowed links; another, the St. Rule club that makes its home on the right side of the 18th fairway, is, in fact, open only to women. Which makes it no better — or worse — than the R&A in my book.

Anyway, let's keep this whole clubhouse thing in perspective. While it has a certain symbolic significance, in the broad scheme of things nothing has changed. Next week women will again be barred from entering. Next week women will gain be barred from viewing the captain's balls in the trophy room. And next week, Laura Davies would be forced to change her shoes in the car park rather than choosing to do so as she is this week.

As Laura put it, "Why would I go somewhere I'm not welcome?"

Why indeed?

Digest College Golf Guide

raar01_collegeguide.jpgGolf Digest has posted their annual college golf guide and man are they getting serious about this.  My alma mater did wonderfully, so I love the new tabulation system.

Remarkably, they didn't hold Ken Starr or Mel Gibson's Malibu shenanigans against us!

And I really love the west coast bias. Nice to see for a change.

You can go to the men's and women's lists compiled by Brett Avery here.


"I question the clarity of the format for the public."

fedexcuplogo.jpgThey fine players for questioning things don't they?

Well Dan Hinxman quotes a few players who aren't too keen on the FedEx Cup.

"I don't think anybody's talked about it," defending Reno-Tahoe Open champion Will MacKenzie said Wednesday, on the eve of the ninth annual RTO at Montreux Golf & Country Club. "I don't think anybody really cares too much about it."

And from Lucas Glover:

From a player's standpoint -- and I use this phrase a lot -- it's still the same game. There are just some added statistics to keep your eye on and play for. But really, from a player's standpoint, I don't think we've noticed it.

"I can't speak for the public, but I know a lot of people have asked me a lot of questions about it, so I question the clarity of the format for the public."

And this conjures up some funny images:

"I get a text message (from the tour) Sunday night after I played telling me how many points I got, and that's as much as I look at it," Glover said. "I always know where I stand because this time of year you have to because you want to play in those events leading up to Atlanta. But up until two or three weeks ago, I never looked at it."

Meanwhile Hank Gola of the New York Daily News quotes a skeptical Vijay Singh:

"I don't think it's a great idea to start everyone off that close," Singh said at the Barclays Media Day via conference call from Akron, Ohio. "A guy can play 18, 20 events all year and then play their heart out, and at the end of the day lead the FedEx Cup and be in the lead 100 points or 1,000 points ahead of the next guy. That's pretty unfair, but that's the way they've done it. Most of the guys were talking about that part."

The top 144 players on the season-long points list will make the Barclays field. The first 120 on the points list advance the following week to the Deutsche Bank Championship in Boston.

Players needn't enter each of the events but the odds of winning the $1.26 million as the overall points winner are diminished if they don't. Therefore, there's an excellent chance that Woods will return to Westchester for the first time since 2003, when he tied for 13th.

"Getting used to it is a problem right now, is an issue right now with most of the players," Singh said.


The Dangers of Drug Testing?

Two trusted readers responded in emails to my post a few weeks back asking about the "risks" of drug testing. They said that false-positives or positive results for substances prescribed by a doctor were the danger of drug testing in golf.  I respect their opinions and agree that it is risk #1, what I never quite understand is why the policies in place seem to fail to take into account the athlete's current medical care situation.

Possible case in point, from reader Hawkeye:

Italian golfer Alessandro Pissilli has been suspended after failing a drug test, the Italian Olympic Committee said Wednesday.

Pissilli, who plays on the Italian pro tour, tested positive for the banned diuretic Finasteride at the Omnium National Championship on June 29.

Pissilli has been suspended by the Italian Golf Federation and could face a two-year ban if found guilty of a doping violation.

His local golf club in Florence released a statement later Wednesday, defending him and saying that he had informed authorities at the time of the test that he had taken the drug for almost two years to treat a prostate problem.

And here's where the false-positive debate has merit:

Finasteride is also used to treat hair loss but can mask steroid use, and has been at the center of several recent doping cases.

Yikes, talk about a potential nightmare for the Champions Tour! Sorry...

American skeleton slider Zach Lund missed the 2006 Turin Olympics because of a one-year doping suspension triggered by his use of the drug. He was later cleared of wrongdoing by the Court of Arbitration for Sport.

I know there is much more here than meets the eye, but it just seems odd that so many of these cases come up where an athlete was taking something for a legitimate reason and yet somehow that was not clarified or dealt with privately before a publicly embarrassing test result and suspension.


The Annuity: FedEx Cup Killer?

fedexcuplogo.jpgIt's long been rumored that Tiger Woods was strongly opposed to the $10 million annuity that will be given to the FedEx Cup winner. And as the exchange in yesterday's press conference revealed, he still is not a fan.

Naturally, some used this as a chance to suggest Tiger just wanted the cash, but more likely he's coming at this as a  fan and realizes that on Sunday of FedEx Cup weekend, the winner will not be asked how it feels to win $10 million or what he's going to do with the $10 million. Because he's not getting $10 million!

The winner won't see this money until he's 65, so there really isn't much to talk about.

And isn't that the point of the playoffs? To give everyone something to talk about? Even a $5 million or $4 million payday would have generated buzz. Shoot, $2 million would. But an annuity is not the stuff of water cooler conversation.

So two questions: Is this a deal killer for you as a fan? And to the financial gurus out there, approximately how much does the PGA Tour have to deposit annually to get that annuity up to $10 million by the time the player reaches 65? 


“This is why NASCAR sells. Apparently we need altercation in the game. We need people slugging it out on the golf course to boost ratings.”

Jeff Rude looks at the bizarre caddy-player spat between Jay Williamson and Mike Mollet that apparently is the subject of much conjecture:
What they disagree on is what ignited the explosion. Williamson said Mollet lost his cool first and embarrassed him with too much emotional talk and Williamson reacted. Mollet said Williamson lost his cool first and embarrassed him with too much emotional talk and Mollet reacted.

Williamson said the caddie kept yelling at him loudly, calling him a “whiner” among other personal insults, and used the F-word. Mollet said he got riled because Williamson directed the F-word and A-word toward him after the bad chip and while disagreeiing about the wind direction. Williamson said he can’t recall swearing.

Jim Rome, the radio mouth, mistakenly called this spat over wind direction the golf story of the year. He apparently didn’t watch the British Open or Big Break VII. But behind the Tour scenes, on ranges and putting greens and in locker rooms, this may have the legs of a caterpillar. It has become enough of a humorous talking point that Camp Ponte Vedra has tried to put a gag order on both combatants because it feels the incident is detracting from this week’s tournaments.

Maybe the Tour is wrongheaded about this. Think stock car battles and hockey fights. Williamson has.

“I can’t believe how this story keeps going,” Williamson, playoff runner-up at the recent Travelers Championship, said on Wednesday. “This is why NASCAR sells. Apparently we need altercation in the game. We need people slugging it out on the golf course to boost ratings.”


Mr. Galyean gets to have it both ways, it would seem.

As much as I enjoyed Gary Galyean's shredding of the USGA's arrogant leadership, I should have known based on his past blatherings and by the unusually hostile tone that it really wasn't worth the paper it was printed on.

Reader Geoff C urged us all to check out the free January download of Galyean's $88 travel newsletter, which, according to its host site: not for everyone. Seventy-two per cent of our subscribers are the leaders of their respective firms, play 69 rounds per yearoff a handicap of 9.7, and have a net worth of $4.2 million.

Oy vey.

In the first item from the January 2007 leaflet, Galyean absolutely trashes the character of former Executive Director Frank Hannigan for one of his commentaries posted on this website. Galyean does not say where the column appeared but still lifts lengthy excerpts from it. And as a lawyer and rules official, he calls himself a stickler for the rules. Of course this was back when he was drinking the USGA Kool-Aid and wouldn't dare hint that he reads this website!

So here's what he says about Hannigan's criticism of the USGA's Lexus and American Express corporate sponsorship deals:

It is not that we always disagree with Frank Hannigan; it is rather than his point of view has become so tiresomely, predictably anti-USGA. It is as if his absence from the seat of power, 28 years at the USGA, six of those as executive director, effervesces at regular intervals with a need to be contrary.

Effervesces! Tell me you read that without laughing out loud.

He has written various columns in the interim of our commenting on his comments, but we rise again to the bait after reading his thoughts on the recent arrangement between the USGA and American Express. In his argument, which has its moments, he generally argues that such a deal sells the soul of the organization and that it's not worth the price. Perhaps, but which way does he want it? Professionals or amateurs? Professional rules officials and amateur officers running the association without professional/commercial liaisons; or some other inconsistent variation? When Mr. Hannigan gets on his not very high horse, the gait seems to be that his against something that the USGA is doing.

Huh, now didn't Mr. Galyean just get on his very high horse and rather inconsistently blast the same thing that Hannigan was criticizing?

It would be too much to characterize Mr. Hannigan's remarks as perfidious. He does seem to have the best intentions for the golf association. It would be inaccurate to describe these predictable tirades as enigmatic. Betrayal of the class interest that produced the invitation to the podium he speaks from seems to be the compelling motivation. He reveres the USGA not despite its fallacies but because of them, and because they can and he can't...not like he used to anyway.

Wow, powerful stuff for those who actually know what the hell that means!

Now the windbag is really wound up...

We have grown tired...

Yes, the entire newsletter is written as "we." That's how Rees Jones knows that more than one person likes his courses. Anyway, you were saying, we have grown tired...

of the duplicity in his deriding the power and wealth of the association that ordained him with those same rewards. Whether blabbering or pontificating from the booth or the blog, his comments are always validated early on with the identification of his USGA service. Mr Hannigan gets to have it both ways, it would seem.

Duplicity? Blabbering and pontificating you say? Right, that's when we were part of the Groupthink? Probably should have penned that a tad differently on the off chance you lost your committee assignments and decided to get all cranky about it, eh?

Occasionally, sir, give us something positive from the heart so that when the call comes, "Have you seen what Hannigan wrote about fill-in-the-blank?" we might be more welcoming and less suspicious of your predictable point of view. Cynic to cynic, that is.

Note: The writer serves as a volunteer on the USGA Communications Committee, the Mid-Amateur Championship Committee, and as an amateur Rules official.

Uh, not a rules official anymore. And I wonder if his recent "retirement" might have tainted his views just a tad?

Apologizing to the gentleman from Saugerties, New York would be too much to ask. After all, if he doesn't have the integrity to even cite his sources in a newsletter, an apology to Frank Hannigan would force Galyean to look within. And those who pen such hypocritical musings don't like to do that.


Choi Vows To Give FedEx Cup Grand Prize To Charity If Anyone Can Explain The Point Permutations

Actually, Doug Ferguson reports, Choi just wants to win and give the $10 million annuity to charity. Pretty nice. Except, it doesn't work that way. Tiger Woods explains, and it doesn't sound like he's a big fan of the setup:

Q. Yesterday K.J. Choi said if he won the FedExCup he would donate the entire $10 million to charity. Just wondering if you had a reaction.
TIGER WOODS: Well, you don't get the $10 million. You know that, right (laughter)?

Q. You don't?
TIGER WOODS: No, it goes right into your retirement account, so he may want to donate but he can't until he actually retires.

Q. So when he's 65?
TIGER WOODS: Then he can donate it, yes.

Q. How much do you think that takes away from the prize, if you will?
TIGER WOODS: I think it does a little bit, because you're actually not really playing for the $10 million. I may be dead by the time my retirement fund comes around for me to be able to utilize it.

Q. Did you have any input on that?
TIGER WOODS: Yeah, I think we all did, but it just didn't turn out that way. 

You know, the first question with a $10 million prize would be, "what are you going to do with the money?" But they really won't be able to ask that of the champion will they?  


“Wait, No. 17 is a par 5?”

old_17b.jpgThis popped up a few months ago but Golfweek's Beth Ann Baldry brings up the sore subject of the absurd and insulting decision to play the Road Hole as a par-5 for the Women's Open Championship. 

Susan Simpson, director of championships for the Ladies Golf Union, said the powers that be bantered around a bit on making the decision. Moving to a forward tee was not an option since they wanted to preserve the unique feature of driving over a building attached to the Old Course Hotel (optimum aiming target is the letter of your choice on the “Old Course Hotel” sign).

In the end, Simpson said the decision to bump it up to a par 5 was made because officials were more concerned about the degree of skill required for the second shot rather than the distance.

In other words, the women can’t handle it.

Suzann Pettersen disagrees.

“Why wouldn’t we be able to play it as a par 4?” she asks. “We’re good enough.”

Pettersen hit 4-iron into the green Wednesday but hit wedge into it downwind the day before. Even Mi Hyun Kim, one of the shortest players on tour, hit 7-wood to the back of the green.

Kim dropped a few balls on the road and experimented hitting different shots. Her caddie said the locals suggest using a hybrid or a putter. Kim tried to metal wood but preferred her wedge.

Plenty of players will be looking to find the front right portion of the green, clear of any danger and hope for a two-putt. Others will try and go long left – anything past the pot bunker – if the pin is toward that side of the green (which it will be on several days).

Why mess with over the green like Tom Watson in 1984, who hit 2-iron and and landed against the stone wall? (Former LPGA commissioner Ty Votaw hit one off the wall in today’s pro-am round and nearly made it on the green.) Why risk dumping it into to the Road Hole bunker like David Duval in 2000 and walking off with an eight?

Lorena Ochoa plans to play it safe, hitting 3-wood off the tee and then aiming front right. Her caddie, Dave Brooker, feels the hole loses some of its drama as a par 5. He joked with Ochoa that every time she makes a five on the 17th she’s really making bogey. Count him as a traditionalist.

Annika Sorenstam’s caddie, Terry McNamara, feels the same way.

“I think par 73 doesn’t sound right,” McNamara said. “Let it be 72 and whatever you get (on No. 17) you get.”


"When everything's said and done we'll lose $3 million. It's a concern."

John Strege files a fascinating (and sad) Canadian Open game story in this week's Golf World, though I could swear only part of it made it online and I read some other interesting stuff in the print version about the slugs who used the chartered flight provided by the tournament, but skipped out on playing. Anyway:
Two of the preeminent stars in golf gave the top of the leaderboard a sheen that belied the troubles lurking beneath the surface. For the second straight year, the Canadian Open was played without a title sponsor. "When everything's said and done," tournament director Bill Paul said, "we'll lose $3 million. It's a concern."

This, too, was the first year of a six-year contract for the tournament to be played in this dubious place in the schedule. It will dramatically hinder its ability to secure a field worthy of a national championship that began in 1904 and counts among its winners Walter Hagen, Sam Snead, Byron Nelson, Arnold Palmer, Lee Trevino and Tiger Woods, an event Furyk said once "probably had a feeling about it that it was the fifth major." Tournament management even chartered a plane to ferry players from Scotland to Canada, as an inducement to British Open participants who might have been balking at playing the Canadian Open because of the logistics. Among the 18 players who accepted the offer was Furyk, who was coming anyway.

Mickelson Committed To Not Answering Anymore Questions About Playing All Four Playoff Events

Sam Weinman reports that Phil has signed up to play at Westchester, making it possible he'll play all four playoff events and more importantly, to stop the inkslingers from those repeated questions about his FedEx Cup playoff plans.

Tiger has taken the same wise route, noting his "intent" to play all four events.