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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
  • 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
  • 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 pseudo-golf architect will have the faint glimmerings of an idea and will try to catch it with numerous bunkers; whereas the true artist will place just one bunker upon the sore spot and it is done. Such a bunker is the Road bunker in the face of the seventeenth green at St. Andrews. To have placed such a bunker required rare imagination and audacity.



Kikuyu At Torrey Pines

Over the last few days, I have heard Tilghman, McCord, Kostis, Baker-Finch and Faldo all note that the kikuyu will "take over" this summer at Torrey Pines and create much heartier rough. Several have noted it will be an entirely different course.

Apparently the memo didn't reach our friends in the broadcast booths, but the Torrey Pines roughs were overseeded with rye this fall and rye grass will be the predominant grass at this year's U.S. Open, contrary to what they are proclaiming hourly on the broadcasts.

Yes, kikuyu is out there and it will be most noticeable in the fairways this June (which would also contradict a lot of the talk about how fast the fairways will be since kikuyu is spongy). However, the combination of rye grass being the one thing in the world that stifles kikuyu and the cool climate at Torrey Pines means it will be a blend of grass, with rye grass dominating the roughs. (A good thing by the way. Kikuyu is silly as a rough.)

Here's what Mike Davis had to say about it in a recent piece by Brian Hewitt:

Kikuyu grass is very ‘grabby.’ And as a result, said Davis who was at Riviera in 1998, “it made the players, at times, look almost stupid around the greens. That blade of grass at that time of year is just too strong.”
The greenside roughs at Torrey Pines are also primarily kikuyu. But Davis says the plan is to overseed and create a friendlier blend of ryegrass and kikuyu to give the players a fighting chance around the greens.
Greenside kikuyu at the Buick Invitational, played at Torrey Pines this week and at the Northern Trust Open, played at Riviera next month, isn’t healthy enough in winter to present the kinds of problems it does later in the year.

"You may recall that the Tour had proposed terminating our Agreement in its entirety."

Not much news here except that it seems the Tour has the option to return twice and it could be any combination of 2010, 2011 or 2012.Westchesterletter2012.jpg



Weinman: Tour and Barclay's Back In The Saddle Again...Sort Of

Sam Weinman reports that the PGA Tour will be returning to Westchester CC at some point, just not 2008, and the Commissioner will be apologizing for those letters that got out and where they never really meant what they said.  Oh, and here's $1.1 million for your troubles...this year.

Even better we now have a definition for accelerating the rotation


“Which one would I rather play? The old South. Now? The new North.”

So much for the South Course growing on players. Rex Hoggard reports on the Golfweek blog:

Wandered out on the North Course this afternoon. Not to see Tiger Woods inch his way closer to No. 6 on the SoCal coast, but to get one final look at the venerable North.

Come June when the golf world descends on Torrey Pines for the U.S. Open the South Course will be cast under a microscope while the North will just be cast under. The North – one of the most scenic and enjoyable munis anywhere – will become the home to corporate villages, media tents, driving ranges and infrastructure during the national championship.

Here’s the rub. Ask a local to pick their Torrey Pines favorite and many will say the North Course. A few years back Southern Cal native Charley Hoffman summed it for many. “Which one would I rather play? The old South (before the 2001 redesign). Now? The new North.” 



"It's very simple, play better"

Considering his frustration with slow play, it's not a surprise that Tiger is a fan of the new cut policy, as Steve Elling reports on his blog:

In fact, in 2002, 85 players made the cut at the Buick Invitational and eventual winner Jose Maria Olazabal, who advanced on the number, caught fire with rounds of 67-65 on the weekend. However, it should be noted that in 2002, Olazabal was eight shots back in a more tightly packed field, versus the 13-stroke margin the guys who were bumped on Friday would have faced.

Tiger Woods, who is leading the tournament by four shots at 12 under, hardly provided a sympathetic shoulder.

"It's very simple, play better," Woods said. "If you hit the shots that you want to hit and hit them properly, then you won't have to worry about that."

Of course, Woods almost never misses cuts.

Added Woods: "I think what I've tried to talk to some of the guys and with the commissioner is that maybe the fields might be too big when you have daylight savings, because, obviously, we're trying to get the round finished.

"And we weren't finishing the top players weren't finishing on time, guys were finishing Saturday mornings or Friday mornings, their rounds, just because it was too slow. If you had any kind of fog delay, rain delay, guys aren't finishing, a frost delay in Phoenix, things like that happen."


Kevin Who?**

I know I should know all about Kevin Streelman, currently in second at the Buick Invitational behind Tiger, but I don't. Thankfully, Matt Paulson at Brener-Zwikel passed this along:

Before graduating from Q-School this year, Kevin Streelman, who is in second right now at the PGA TOUR's Buick Invitational, earned one of his biggest single-event paychecks ever in last year’s The Ultimate Game, a unique event co-created by former Falcons quarterback Steve Bartkowski where players compete for a purse composed wholly of their own entry fees.
In last year’s event, Streelman won both his matches to make the 12-man final, earning $25,000 in the process, a huge chunk for a mini-touring pro in one event. And this was eight months ago. This week, Streelman could take home nearly $1 million.
In the final, he shot 69-70 to finish in fourth place. A class act, despite not winning anything additional in the final, Streelman was awarded another $25,000 by his sponsorship group for his effort and conduct throughout tournament week, a gesture that brought him to tears.



Dissecting The Match

gwar01_080125thematchcover.jpgBo Links looks at how factual Mark Frost's The Match is while also sharing some fun tidbits on a rematch of sorts that took place a week after the original.


"They gave me hours on my Marquis Jet Card, they even threw a party in New York.”

25golf190.1.jpgSallie Brady pens a New York Times "Escapes" piece on the burgeoning market for homes in various Latin countries. Included are a couple of fun anecdotes and even more reminders at how poor most of us are:

On Anguilla, Mr. Kanavos has developed the island’s first golf course, designed by Greg Norman, in the Baccarat Hotels and Residences at Temenos, a 115-villa project with a spa and a David Bouley restaurant. Eager to appeal to high-end buyers, Mr. Kanavos successfully lobbied the government to extend the airport runway to accommodate private jets.

“I’ve been to almost every Caribbean island and this was Shangri-La” said Kenny Bergstol, 48, a New City, N.Y.,-based developer of golf courses and real estate, who bought a three-bedroom villa at Temenos, where furnished villas are priced from $1.4 million to $13.2 million. “While my home is being built, they’re letting me and my family stay at the resort for a week a year, they gave me hours on my Marquis Jet Card, they even threw a party in New York.”

And this ought to bring great joy to the branding team in Ponte Vedra: 
“I had thought about buying a piece of property and putting a hacienda up on it, but there are issues in Mexico,” said Larry Harvey, 43, a wealth consultant in The Woodlands, Tex., who recently bought a two-bedroom town house at the Viceroy Mayakobá, part of a new 1,600-acre golf community along the Riviera Maya, 42 miles south of Cancún, that Viceroy is developing around a Greg Norman championship course with the Rosewood, Fairmont and Banyan Tree resort developers.

Mr. Harvey was referring to a Mexican law that puts limits on foreigners who seek to buy near the coast. Mexico employs a system that allows a Mexican bank to act as a trustee on behalf of a purchaser of this restricted land.

“I had stayed at the Viceroy Santa Monica and liked it,” said Mr. Harvey, noting the California hotel’s designer, Kelly Wearstler, is also designing the Mexico property. "I have four boys who are learning how to play golf, and my wife, Mari, and I like the fact that the FedEx Cup is here in February. We’ll be able to rent” Mr. Harvey said.

The FedEx Cup is coming! The FedEx Cup is coming! 


Back In Black!

Ryan Herrington reports that after two years of losses, the United States Golf Association is profitable again.

The report shows that the USGA and USGA Foundation had a net income of $1.21 million on revenues of nearly $137 million for the year ending Nov. 30, 2007. Net assets at year's end were $253.3 million.

The 2007 figure is modest compared to the USGA's reported net income $8.4 million in 2002, $4.4 million in 2004 and $2.3 million in 2005. However, a year ago, the governing body had a deficit of $6.12 million on revenue of $126.6 million, so things are moving in a positive direction.

Analysts reacted differently to the news.

Terry Tasselloafer at Gorge, Selle and Hatchet and author of the golf stock newsletter Give The Doglegs A Bone, has upgraded USGA stock from "dump it" to "eh" thanks to a positive outlook for 2008, which includes major profits at the U.S. Open thanks to a lopsided lease agreement with the City of San Diego.

"They really did a nice job ensuring the profit is privatized and the risk was spread evenly among all public agencies down there," Tasselloafer said. "Plus I love all of the initiatives geared toward the 18-34 year olds. It's shows they are looking out for the needs of their most important constituency: advertisers."

However, Steve Acluistic of Hunkerdown and Goldbricker has downgraded USGA stock to "unload faster than Blockbuster" on the lower than expected net income. He says rising fuel costs combined with the USGA's private jet use mean flat net income for several years.

"And until they can get David Fay's bloated salary off the books, I'm afraid the stock price is going to be flat," said Acluistic, who won't issue a positive evaluation "until we see naming rights sold on championships to boost revenues."


Tiger and Rory Not Making Eye Contact As Valentine's Day Approaches

Bob Harig at has all the juicy details:

Tiger Woods made his 2008 debut at Torrey Pines, predictably shooting up the leaderboard at a place where he has won the Buick Invitational five times, including three in a row.

And there alongside him in third place, two shots behind tournament leader Troy Matteson, is Tiger's 2007 punching bag, Rory Sabbatini. Safe to say, they didn't exchange New Year's greetings when they passed each other in the Buick media center.

In fact, they didn't even acknowledge one another.

Their relationship is as frosty as the temperature, which caused a run on scarves, mittens and sweaters. It didn't keep Woods from picking up where he left off 130 days ago, when he put the finishing touches on an outstanding 2007 season by winning the Tour Championship and the inaugural FedEx Cup.

Sounds like I left San Diego a day too early: 
Players such as Fred Couples and Mark Calcavecchia were not kind, with Couples saying, "It's just not right," and Calcavecchia adding, "Rory is Rory." Woods was none too pleased, either. "I'd like to try and get to the bottom of it when we're done here," Woods said on Dec. 16. "And we'll see what happens."

Apparently, Woods never got to the bottom of it.

"I haven't talked to him about any of it," Woods said Thursday, just minutes after walking past Sabbatini without saying a word, without making eye contact. "It is what it is."

Couples was among those who suggested that Sabbatini donate his $170,000 to the Tiger Woods Foundation, but on Wednesday Sabbatini visited a nearby naval base, where he gave the money to the United Through Reading Foundation. The organization provides a video program for military personnel to keep in touch with their families.

"It's unfortunately one of those things that we seem to forget about and we take for granted out here on the tour," Sabbatini said. "And we were just fortunate that we were able to contribute to it."

When asked if he donated the winnings from Woods' event, Sabbatini said: "That is what the situation was. Unfortunately, the media took a lot of criticism towards me after the event, and in that situation I was there, I was tired, and we thought about it and we thought we'd put it to some good use."

So does this mean if the media hadn't ragged all over Rory, that he wouldn't have made the donation? 


Rory Decides To Donate Target Winnings; Chooses Ultra Low-Profile Setting To Break The News...

...the Thursday Sprint Post-Game following round 1 of Buick Invitational play. Surely seen by hundreds, I was half asleep and only heard Kraig Kann noting that Rory Sabbatini was not seeking a high profile outlet for the vital announcement (and he found it!) that yes, after much painstaking deliberation and vigorous pleading from his agent, he was donating the $170,000 last place winnings from the Target World Challenge which he left so abruptly.

Apparently the full interview and in-depth profile of Rory will be airing this weekend on Golf Channel. Set your TiVos! 


Watch Kelly Tilghman Mime Her Apology

Today's technical snafu ought to really help relations between The Golf Channel and CBS, who was handling the production of TGC's opening round Buick Invitational telecast...



"The unwanted Golf Channel sideshow also shortchanged Buick, which paid $7 million to puts its name on the tournament."

Steve Elling prepares us for Kelly Tilghman's return on today's Buick telecast, and includes a couple of excellent points:

As Tilghman returns from a two-week, in-house suspension, the Golf Channel discussed making her available to media this week to address her misstep. But network officials instead declared her off-limits, a spokesman said, leaving Woods to deal with the fallout alone.
I did think she would have wisely just walked in the press room and started picking up some homework, allowing for a quiet return alongside her media peers. Instead she was probably locked up in some hotel room eating room service and practicing her apology speech.
The unwanted Golf Channel sideshow also shortchanged Buick, which paid $7 million to puts its name on the tournament. At the Golf Channel, poor judgment has been compounded by poor leadership.
And he's not done... 
Woods, meanwhile, is getting hammered for not being Martin Luther King in spiked shoes. Last week, Pulitzer Prize-winning columnist Leonard Pitts wrote, "One has to wonder what it would take to get a rise out of this guy: burning crosses on his front lawn?"

Rob Parker of the Detroit News, appearing on ESPN, insisted that Woods "has a responsibility to respond to this."

Parker added: "Tiger Woods would rather be a pitchman than a man."

Woods, who has never been particularly political about anything, said he does plenty on the cultural front with his foundation, to which he has donated millions. Monday, which coincidentally marked the MLK holiday, he announced a new program to inspire kids to reach for their dreams.

Randell Mell also publishes a nice rant about some of the silly things asked of Tiger. 


Rotation Acceleration

Sam Weiman has a different take on the Commissioner's description of the Westchester situation.


Cut Rule: Don't Forget The Fans In This

In reading John Hawkins' latest Bitter Golfer column, he continues the trend of ripping the players for whining about the new cut rule that reduces the number of weekend players at PGA Tour events. I joined in that ripping myself because the boys are slow and not particularly bright for not reading the documentation provided by the PGA Tour brass.

While the entire episode seems to speak to the insular world of pro golf and the folks who cover it, there also seems to be a disregard for the fan. I've contended to any poor soul who would listen that the rule needs to be amended for the fans. Picture the fan coming out early on Saturday after a long work week. He has pin-pointed an early group to follow so that he can see a favorite player up close, or simply enjoy a more intimate fan experience. He should not be stripped of that pleasure.

It would seem that the entire episode would be easily solved by Jeff Sluman's retro suggestion of a Saturday cut. Frankly I'm surprised it hasn't picked up more steam.


Greetings From San Diego, Vol. 3

sandiegogreetingsfrom.jpgWednesday was an educational day at Torrey Pines...

-I learned that if you want to see the briefest, slightly deranged stare from Commissioner Finchem, just have a cell phone go off during his press conference! Twice during his chat today it happened and both times myself and a couple of other scribblers noticed his little inner cell phone demon rearing its ugly head. You had to be watching closely, no easy feat when he's rambling on.

-I learned that by studying the third green on the South Course (pictured), one can induce nausea. Or sea sickness? Or Reesphobia? Either way, after about 10 minutes of staring at this disaster, I can only surmise that the shapers were looking at the wrong set of plans or perhaps had them upside down. The green would be fun to play to  oh, from about 150 yards off the back edge or maybe 150 to the right. And then there's that artistic front bunker...Torrey3green.jpg

-I learned a prime new buzzword and because I'm a kind soul, I am going to share it with you so that you too can roll your eyes. While trying to kill some time to avoid rush hour traffic, I attended a meet-and-greet with the folks from CDW, the PGA Tour's new technology partner. There, the marketing dude gave a talk about the usual stuff. You know, the general obsession with reaching the youth demo. And Ty, if you think I'm exaggerating the Tour's youth obsession again, I simply ask you this: could I make up the buzzword that was dropped?  Ready? Millennials.

From Wikipedia:

The terms Millennials and Internet generation ("iGen") are attempts to give the Gen Y cohort more independent names that are tied with key events and cultural trends that are strongly associated with the generation.

Don't you ever say this blog is not educational. 



Get Out Your USGA BusinessSpeak Bingo Board

gwar01_080125usgarev.jpgGolf World's Ryan Herrington previews the USGA Annual Meeting and considers the state of the organization.

Reading the quotes you'd think these guys were talking to a CNBC reporter about delayering offline incentivization streams.

"We've created a more fluid, efficient structure," says Pete Bevacqua, six months on the job in the newly created post of chief business officer, reporting directly to executive director David Fay. Responsible for all commercial endeavors -- broadcasting, marketing, members, new media and communications, among others -- Bevacqua says his charge is to make sure the various departments do a better job of working congruently. "My goal is to allow us to make more informed decisions because we'll have a better idea how [initiatives are] going to affect the various departments, and perhaps quicker decisions."

Indeed, a common refrain among USGA brass on both the volunteer and staff sides is the need to work at an "accelerated rate of business," a perceived weakness (not to mention an example of MBA-speak heard now within the association). "This is all very energizing, stimulating and exciting," says Fay of the new people/organization in place, noting his own commitment remains strong. "It will be rewarding for the USGA."

Easy for him to say, he still has a job! A highly paid one at that.

Another potential point of contention is a plan to offer online a revised version of the USGA members newsletter, one tangible benefit given to individuals who financially support the USGA. Bevacqua said no final decision has been made, but the association reportedly could stop printing the newsletter this spring. Still, there are reasons to believe the USGA is moving in a positive direction. In the annual report to be released in Houston, the association will report net income in fiscal 2007 of $1.21 million on revenues of nearly $137 million, a noteworthy improvement from a $6.13 million deficit in 2006.

Poor newsletter. It never had a chance.  And guess what, there's a rebranding on the way:

Brought aboard in December, Wightman, who spent five years as publisher of Golf magazine, will present a communications plan to the Executive Committee next week, one that details ways to enhance and improve the USGA brand and de-mystify the association. It's an endeavor Fay and Bevacqua contend will be key to future growth.

De-mystify the USGA. Now there's an undertaking. 


"Critics say the USGA, after clamping down on technological advances and proposing a roll back on grooves, is trying to placate equipment makers..."

shafts.jpgGolfweek's Adam Schupak looks at the adjustable club movement and writes:

Yet other equipment company executives liken the USGA’s action to opening Pandora’s box. They argue the USGA simply relaxed an existing rule on adjustability (moveable weights, for example, previously were allowed) which won’t appreciably affect the way the game is played.

Critics say the USGA, after clamping down on technological advances and proposing a roll back on grooves, is trying to placate equipment makers with its version of Innovation 2.0 – a metaphorical invitation for new design ideas that is suspiciously light on true innovation.

“This is the USGA’s strategy for how it can be perceived as allowing innovation into the game,” says John K. Solheim, Ping’s vice president of research and development.

Furthermore, industry critics say the USGA didn’t think through the long-term ramifications its decision might have on the business of selling clubs.

Though it is difficult to imagine off-the-rack clubs disappearing completely, adjustability at least opens the door to such a possibility. That prospect, no matter how unlikely, radically could alter the practices of clubmakers, component suppliers and retailers. Which has everyone scrambling for a crystal ball, hoping to capitalize on the situation – or at the very least protect their vested interests.
The story also includes a video worth watching, including comments from Dick Rugge.



Watch Stevie Go Ballistic!

Check out this YouTube video of Tiger Woods caddie Stevie Williams, winner of the 2003 Nikon Hurling championship and the 2006 9-Iron Dropping Open, go balistic after crashing his race car.

Take Him Out In A Back Alley And Wash His Mouth Out With Soap!

Thanks to reader Kevin for this YouTube epic, Mark Rolfing's priceless (it was the Mastercard Championship after all) faux pas: