One must take time to know the Old Course in all its moods. One must study the subtleties of its terrain and its curiously shifting winds. One must find its hidden snares and one must approach it without preconceptions of what a golf course should be. To be down the middle may mean nothing there; that may be quite the wrong place. To be long may mean nothing in less length is shrewdly used. To be able to play a few shots perfectly is not always enough; one must at times have the full repertoire. ROBERT HUNTER
Grant Clark reports that Phil Mickelson had his highest round in 3 years and is on antibiotics after inhaling California's ashen air.
But at least the kids had fun on the Singapore safari.
Sometimes Snap Shots bring you the information you need, without your having to leave the site, while other times it lets you "look ahead," before deciding if you want to follow a link or not.
Should you decide this is not for you, just click the Options icon in the upper right corner of the Snap Shot and opt-out.
Thanks to reader Jeff for this Jeffrey Kelley story on the planned "rebranding" of Natalie Gulbis.
I know I say this a lot, but really, you couldn't make this up...
Natalie Gulbis, the 24-year-old golfer best known -- at least until recently -- for her good looks, will be rebranded by Circle S Studios.
A 2008 calendar and day planner designed by the marketing shop in Old Manchester follows Gulbis' first LPGA Tour title at the Evian Masters in France in June.
The blonde Gulbis has done calendars since 2004. Pictures in her 2005 calendar -- in swimsuits or dresses -- were deemed provocative by the U.S. Golf Association. Though it was criticized for overreacting, the USGA banned the calendar's sale at the U.S. Women's Open.
The 2008 calendar, by contrast, is all golf and pushes Gulbis' game face.
"With the original stuff, she was in a beautiful bathing suit, tights and things and that certainly got the attention of a lot of people," said Circle S President and Managing Partner Susan Hogg. "But we're trying to scoot it more to who she is and where she wants to take [her career and name] . . . and being a role model, specifically to young girls and women in general. That's the brand we're trying to portray."
What a great idea. This is beautiful:
Hogg described the company's work as "a refinement of a truer image of who she is. Sometimes the media can start to control your brand, and we're trying to take control of the brand."
Just put some glasses on her, feature calendar photos of her signing her scorecard or taking a lesson from Butch, and I guarantee you'll have control of the brand as it heads right down the toilet.
Still, it's not as though the tall, blue-green-eyed Gulbis will leave the minds of the males who know her. "They're still beauty shots. She's an attractive, wonderful athlete," Hogg said.
Whew, I was worried.
Ah, more #@&%!#$:
"The calendar is just one element of how you get perceived in the marketplace, so we tried to step back and look holistically in terms of how is she being positioned" in public, Hogg said.
That's why they get the big bucks. Helps pay for the therapy when they decide to look back at their life accomplishments and see quotes printed like that.
The firm, which occupies a converted box warehouse, is putting together "a series of recommendations, a strategic marketing plan" to Gulbis' sports-marketing firm, Octagon, Hogg said. Circle S is considering new merchandise and interactive features on the Web to help cater to the female teenage demographic -- conveying an all-American girl who eats well, exercises and works hard. "That's how you rise to the top, instead of the sex symbol, which is how it started out," Hogg said.
And it isn't doing so bad is she?
Connery, Sherwood Settle Just In Time To Spare All Involved Of Fighting Over Embarrassing Details In Court
Brad Klein of Golfweek details changes in progress at Bethpage Black in advance of the 2009 U.S. Open.
The work at Bethpage-Black is being designed by architect Rees Jones, with construction work carried out in-house and overseen by superintendent Craig Currier. The work, paid for by Bethpage (unlike earlier renovation work there, which was funded by the USGA) is already well underway, with new tees and at least one major bunker in place, and more slated in the next few months.What a great use of state funds!
The par-70 course, which played 7,214 yards in 2002, is being stretched by 250 yards to 7,464 yards. Not coincidentally, the 3.5 percent additional length correlates closely to the 3.2 percent gain in average driving distance on the PGA Tour from 2002 (280 yards) to 2007 (289.2 yards).Does that mean in 2018 they will...ah forget it.
The two biggest changes to Bethpage-Black are taking place on the only two holes that played to an average score of under par during the 2002 U.S. Open. The par-5 13th hole (avg. score in 2002 was 4.941) is being stretched from 554 yards to 605, with a new tee currently under construction adjacent to a new pump station that is being installed. The hole is also slated to get a new fairway bunker that will pinch the driving area from the left.Glad we're correcting those defects!
This was interesting:
During a site inspection by USGA officials to Bethpage on Tuesday, plans were also discussed by which Bethpage-Black would be develop a density of rough that was not quite as thick, lush and punitive as was the case during recent U.S. opens such as at Winged Foot in 2006 or Oakmont in 2007. Mike Davis, USGA senior director of rules and competitions, who was among those at Bethpage-Black this week, said “the goal would be to have rough that’s penal, but playable – not just chopping out, but would leave players with the chance to advance the ball, even if the spin were taken off and it would be difficult to control.”
That model of rough was first developed at Pinehurst No. 2 in 1999 and represents a refinement of the idea that primary rough ought to be simply a punishment. It remains to be seen how such a rough can be achieved on Bethpage’s notoriously dense, heavily fertilized ryegrass, with some Poa annua, bluegrass and fescue. But course officials have plenty of time to figure that out, as well as to complete installation of those new back tees.
Maybe Phil's wrist injury actually did hit home with the USGA and just maybe someone (well, Mike Davis) has the sense to start telling these courses to throttle back with the rough-on-steroids harvesting?
Maybe Phil doesn't need to write that letter of apology to Oakmont, as Tim Rosaforte suggested?
"That was when the "new breed" of business-savvy young pros, including Tiger Woods, began to recognize such moments as the branding opportunities they are..."
Henry Hughes, the PGA Tour's longtime chief of operations, pegs the increase in ritualized hat-doffing on the 18th green to 1998 or 1999. That was when the "new breed" of business-savvy young pros, including Tiger Woods, began to recognize such moments as the branding opportunities they are, and consequently transmitted the hat-doffing bug into the public bloodstream.
The 18th-green rituals on the LPGA Tour, incidentally, are much different. In large part that's because the relationship between hat and hair for women is more complex, which makes simple doffing more difficult. According to Ty Votaw, now an executive vice president at the PGA Tour but formerly the LPGA commissioner and still the husband of LPGA star Sophie Gustafson, the protocols work like this: Players who know and like each other hug, players who know each other but aren't especially fond "air hug," and players who didn't know each other before the round shake hands. Male caddies and players cheek-kiss.
"I look forward to helping unlock the true brand value that is embedded within MacGregor and Greg Norman Collection and to achieving their full potential.”
Look at Greg Norman, new MacGregor board member, giving the Commissioner a serious run in the corporatespeak gibberish divsion:
"The recapitalization positions MacGregor for sustained growth,” said Norman. “This is a very positive step for the company, and I look forward to helping unlock the true brand value that is embedded within MacGregor and Greg Norman Collection and to achieving their full potential.”
The question was raised once before here, but I think that based on the many interesting comments in the post below on Merrill Lynch CEO Stanley O'Neal getting caught playing golf while the company burned, there is an interesting debate here on the positives and negatives of so easily researching handicaps online.
I'd love to hear if you all think this has been a good thing for the game or if incidents like this only do golf harm? After all, as many noted, O'Neal might have been doing some entertaining and who is to say there was much he could do back at the office? But in general, his undoing was in part driven by the image of him out enjoying our beloved sport. And based on the fact he was canned, the imagery is not positive to the outside world.
Anyway, is it a good thing that handicaps are available to see for anyone and everyone in the world?
Or might it be better to only allow access for other registered handicap golfers (if that's even possible)?
About this time, Mr. Cayne began his summertime ritual of taking a helicopter from New York City to Deal, N.J., on Thursdays to make a late-afternoon golf game at the exclusive Hollywood Golf Club, associates say. (He pays for the 17-minute, $1,700 trips himself, one person says.) After spending the night in his vacation home nearby, associates add, Mr. Cayne generally hits the golf course again Friday morning for another 18 holes, followed by 8 a.m. tee-offs on Saturday and Sunday. Friends say that after his Saturday game, he often heads back to his local home for several hours of online poker and bridge and to play with his grandchildren.He played online poker and bridge with his grandchildren? Sorry, my bad.
Samuel Molinaro Jr., Bear's chief operating and financial officer, says, "I've never had a problem reaching him."
In the first week of June, the more leveraged fund told investors who wanted out that it couldn't immediately return their money. Wall Street creditors that had lent the fund money reacted sharply to this news, making margin calls, or requests for additional collateral. One creditor, Merrill Lynch & Co., which was owed $400 million, seized the assets that backed its loan on June 15. Mr. Cayne was on the golf course in New Jersey part of that day, a Friday, having left the office Thursday afternoon, according to a Web site that tracks individuals' golf scores.
Mr. Angelo says Mr. Cayne doesn't carry a cellphone or email device while golfing, in accordance with a policy at the Hollywood club. Mr. Povich says that on Fridays, Mr. Cayne would occasionally use a land line near the course's ninth hole to check in with the office. Associates of Mr. Cayne say top Bear executives often didn't try to contact him between 8 a.m. and 1 p.m. on Fridays, preferring to leave messages with his assistants at Bear to call the office when he was free.
On the subject of Cayne, the New York Post was far more direct, Photoshopping his face over Ty Webb's torso and writing:
According to online postings about his golf game, Cayne was on the course on Thursday, June 14 - the day Bear Stearns reported an embarrassing 10 percent drop in profits. The following Thursday he also was on the links as Wall Street recoiled from moves by other big banks to squeeze Bear Stearns for more money to back up loans to a collapsing hedge fund.
And sure enough, the following day - when Bear Stearns had to put up a stunning bailout pledge of $3.2 billion to rescue its imploding hedge fund - he was back at Hollywood taking his swings.
Still, despite those added hours on the course, his game only got worse. On June 14 he shot a 96; on June 22 a 98. He split the difference with a 97 the next day.
Most institutional investors resisted commenting on Cayne's golf habits while others found they weren't out of line.
"Being a 7-handicap myself, when you go out of the office you're always in contact with what's happening," said one investment firm's CEO. "His scores are so bad, I think he's spending too much time at work," quipped a portfolio chief.
While data for 2007 has yet to be compiled, golf course closures nationwide are expected to outpace openings for the third straight year.
After nearly 20 years of strong growth, the nation’s total number of golf courses topped off in 2004 with 16,057. That represents an increase of 3,211 courses – about 25 percent – in 15 years.
Those 3,211 new courses represent this country’s second “Golf Boom” – the first coming during the 1920s when clubs and balls became affordable for everyone thanks to machinery that allowed for mass production. Previously, clubs were affordable only to “the privileged” because they were made one at a time by skilled craftsmen; while wound balls were being mass-produced, the market was small.
After the number peaked at 16,057, in 2005 the nation’s total golf course supply dwindled by five; last year, that number jumped to 62. Insiders are saying that number may be closer to 80 or more in 2007.
Erik Matuszewski of Bloomberg News reports the "news" that Tiger is in fact so drawn to the area, he's already reviewing floor plans and building a home away from home. I'm sure it wasn't included in his deal. Nope, no way. He just loves the area and all of those other empty neighborhoods that 60 Minutes showed us.
Tiger Woods plans to build a 16,500- square-foot mansion, complete with gym, theater, library and pool, that will overlook the private Al Ruwaya golf course he's designing in Dubai.Uh huh.
Woods, the world's top-ranked golfer, has selected one of the property's 287 home sites, which sell for between $12 million and $23 million, and is reviewing floor plans for his residence.
``He's been very interested in this Arabian concept that we've put to blend with the golf course,'' Abdulla Al Gurg, project manager for the Tiger Woods Dubai development, said today in an interview in New York.
Al Gurg, 27, wouldn't disclose the location of Woods's future home on the 7,800-yard, par-72 course for security reasons. He said it wouldn't be among the biggest in the ``exclusive,'' invitation-only community.
There are 22 planned palaces that will average 33,000 square feet of living space and boast 10 to 12 bedrooms.
Three holes -- the par-3 12th, par-4 17th and par-4 18th -- have been laid out at the Al Ruwaya course, which is scheduled to open in late 2009. Also under construction are the clubhouse and an 80-room boutique hotel. Many of the property's 10,000- square-foot signature luxury villas will be completed by March 2010 and Al Gurg said demand has been high.
``The target market for these villas is not an investor profile,'' Al Gurg said. ``The target market is maybe a secondary homeowner or a trophy real-estate owner -- a person who actually owns a few villas and wants to have a piece of the Tiger Woods Dubai and the first-ever golf course designed by Tiger.''
Meanwhile reader Chip caught this AP piece proclaiming the completion of three holes (on paper?) and Al Gurg has some more to say about Tiger's design.
Tiger Woods has completed the designs for three holes on his first golf course in Dubai, and it doesn't look like he's too concerned about the area's desert terrain.
Woods and his design company are developing a 7,800-yard, par-72 course called Al Ruwaya in Dubailand, the region's largest tourism and leisure project. It's the marquee attraction in a 55-million square-foot development that also will include a hotel, golf academy, community center and luxury homes.
Woods' three completed holes feature lush greenery, including grass and shrubs, and greens well protected by bunkers or water. It's the first glimpse of his course style since he created Tiger Woods Design last year.
"The complexity in those three holes ... has set a different benchmark in the golfing industry," said Abdulla Al Gurg, the project director for The Tiger Woods Dubai.
I do believe those are three holes completed on paper. Not the ground.
Meanwhile, also don’t be surprised if the TPC Champions course, located right next door to the Stadium course at the TPC Scottsdale, shares the venue for the FBR Open starting in 2009.He also drops this item on Michelle Wie, the Sony Open and here recent WD from the Casio which I don't think I've seen elsewhere:
In the past the FBR Open, played in early February, has had to limit its field to 132 players due to frost delays in the mornings and dwindling daylight in the late afternoon.
Utilizing two courses, the first two days, it would enable the TOUR to better handle a 156-man field. The use of the two courses at Torrey Pines is why the field at the Buick Invitational is 156 players.
Under this plan, the weekend rounds for the FBR Open would remain solely at the TPC Scottsdale.
The question of whether Michelle Wie will play in the Sony Open in January is a complicated one and one without an answer at the moment.
Sony Open officials say they will announce their sponsor’s exemptions in November.
Meanwhile, Wie still represents Sony products. But she missed the cut there earlier this year by 14 shots. Casio World Open officials this week basically disinvited Wie to their November event, saying, according to one spokesman, “Basically, we have determined that she cannot play to her full potential because she has yet to recover from hand injuries suffered early in the season.”
STEWART MOORE: Heath and Boo, thank you for spending a few minutes with us in the Children's Miracle Network Classic interview room. You guys are going to be representing the United States in the World Cup November 19th in China. I'm sure the world is awaiting Boo Weekley's arrival in China. Maybe talk about what you guys are going to look forward to and then we'll take some questions.
BOO WEEKLEY: I think it will just be fun just to go over there. I know I've only left the country one time, and that was to go to Scotland, and it will be fun to see what's going on.
Q. You played in Mexico, didn't you?
BOO WEEKLEY: Yeah, Mexico, but --
HEATH SLOCUM: That's still North America.
BOO WEEKLEY: Twice then. Yeah, that's still part of North America. Thanks, Heath.
Q. What do you know about China?
BOO WEEKLEY: It's a long ways away. They got the Great Wall of China.
Or...on playing in the World Cup:
BOO WEEKLEY: I'm excited to go over there, and like Heath said, it's an honor to represent your country. I wouldn't have gone by myself, though; it's not that I didn't want to represent my country, but I ain't into traveling, especially during hunting season.
Q. What season is it?
BOO WEEKLEY: Deer.
Q. It would be deer season if you were at home now?
BOO WEEKLEY: I would have gotten up at 4:30 in the morning, and I'd probably still be in the woods right now.
Preparing for a future as a player architect, no doubt.
Q. How do you get from home to China?
BOO WEEKLEY: The way I got it figured up. We are going to have to fly to Atlanta or Charlotte --
(Cell phone ringing.)
BOO WEEKLEY: Now I got a phone call. How do you turn this thing off --
Q. You can answer it.
BOO WEEKLEY: I think we go to Charlotte or Atlanta, and then somewhere else, and then over.
Q. How long does it take? Did you look?
HEATH SLOCUM: Eighteen hours.
BOO WEEKLEY: I just know --
HEATH SLOCUM: Atlanta to Seoul to Hong Kong, eighteen hours flying time.
Glad it's them and not me!
Though numerous sources acknowledge that the network did not meet its ratings guarantees to advertisers this season, Golf Channel executives said a majority of its current advertisers already have renewed for next year, with several cutting multiyear deals. In the first of a 15-year deal with the PGA Tour, Golf Channel has aired full coverage of 13 official money events, and early-round coverage of 30 official money events.And they're happy in Ponte Vedra. For the most part.
“We will deliver on all, or the majority, of our deals by the end of this year,” said Tom Knapp, Golf Channel’s vice president of strategic partnerships. “The PGA Tour and the Golf Channel is no different than any program on CBS, on NBC; it’s a wide array of deals on different demographics and different terms and conditions.”
For the most part, ad buyers contacted by SportsBusiness Journal said they are not concerned about the network’s ratings shortfall, calling it a common situation among networks, and said they are happy with Golf Channel’s upscale demographics.
But Larry Novenstern, executive vice president for media buying agency Optimedia, cautioned that the ratings shortfall could hurt Golf Channel more than it would bigger, over-the-air broadcasters.
“When you get a contract as big as the PGA [Tour], you have to be careful what you wish for,” he said. “When you’re dealing with [ratings of 0.3 and 0.4], it’s different.”
Though they would not get into specifics, network executives said advertisers are renewing at a brisk pace and paying more than they paid last year.
“Last year (buyers) speculated what they would get,” Knapp said. “This year they know what they’re going to get.” Knapp added that some companies that took a wait-and-see approach this year are signing on for 2008, and the network has had “a lot of success” among nonendemic categories such as financial services, luxury cars, pharmaceuticals, technology and consulting.
“We have some ideas on how the Golf Channel and the networks can probably explain (the FedEx Cup) better next year,” he said. “A little more emphasis on our players and profiling them, I think, is the only thing we would look for them to do in addition next year.”And...
Data provided by Golf Channel shows coverage of events from the season-opener in early January through the Tour Championship in mid-September, which signaled the end of the inaugural FedEx Cup season, delivered 29 percent more 25- to 54-year-old male viewers with income of more than $75,000 than the comparable coverage on USA and ESPN last year, and 21 percent more adult 25-54 viewers in the same income bracket. Comparisons are made on an event-to-event basis.
In each demo, half of the viewers watched the live coverage and half watched the prime-time re-air.
The PGA Tour coverage helped increase year-to-date total viewership on the network by 49 percent over 2006. That includes increases of 44 percent and 42 percent in males 25-54 and adults 25-54, respectively.
Now, I know it's not as big a news item as say, the Srixon buys Cleveland deal or Ernie Els skipping the Volvo for a big payday elsewhere or even the recent rule of golf tweaks, but still, it seems odd that not one major online golf publication or newspaper picked up the story.
So is this a product of bad press release timing by the USGA, or simply a statement about how irrelevant the golf media thinks the organization has become?
I don't know, is it me or does this sound tacky:
For Immediate Publication
THE R&A PUBLISHES REVISIONS TO THE WORLD’S MOST WIDELY READ RULE BOOK AND STRENGTHENS TIES WITH SPONSOR ROLEX
Valderrama, Spain, Wednesday 31 October 2007: The R&A, golf’s world rules and development body and organiser of The Open Championship, today publishes revisions to the world’s most widely read rule book, The Rules of Golf, and extends its sponsorship arrangement with Rolex to 2012.
At least the USGA sends out separate releases for their corporate whoring out. Old chaps, do we have to include it in a Rules of Golf related release?
Golf has 34 playing rules and in 2008, 28 have been amended to a greater or lesser extent. All changes are agreed, jointly, by The R&A and the United States Golf Association, and can be characterised as improving clarity or reducing penalties to ensure that they are proportionate. They are effective from 1 January 2008.
Of the more significant changes, the most likely to be encountered by golfers in regular play are: revised Rule 12-2 allowing a player to lift a ball in a bunker or water hazard for identification purposes. There is a consequential change to Rule 15-3, which introduces a penalty for playing the wrong ball in these circumstances.
This was far more interesting:
Revised Rule 4-1 reduces the penalty for carrying, but not using, a non-conforming club from disqualification to, in stroke play, a penalty of two strokes per hole, with a maximum penalty of four strokes per round. In match play, the state of the match is adjusted by deducting one hole for each hole at which a breach occurred, with a maximum penalty of two holes per round.
Hmmm...interesting timing! Except, no announcment on a U-groove ban?
Let's get to the important stuff: the corporate partner.
Commenting on Rolex support for The Rules of Golf Head of Sponsorship, Jean-Noel Bioul said:
“The support from Rolex of The R&A Rules of Golf fits perfectly into the overall philosophy and the values Rolex is proud to endorse through its portfolio of golf activities. Golf requires precision, skill and pursuit of excellence. These are qualities which Rolex shares and admires.”
Actually, I got an early draft that was later edited. Here's the first version of Jean's quote:
"Golf requires a lot of money, precision, skill and pursuit of excellence. These are qualities which Rolex shares and admires.”
Well, victim might be an inappropriate choice considering the golden parachute awaiting now former Merrill Lynch CEO Stanley O'Neal, but several media outlets have noted that the real kicker in his own meltdown was news that he was playing golf as the sub-prime meltdown kicked in and his company faced staggering losses.