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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
  • Professional Golf 2015: The Complete Media, Fan and Fantasy Guide
    Professional Golf 2015: The Complete Media, Fan and Fantasy Guide
    by Daniel Wexler
  • The Golf Book: Twenty Years of the Players, Shots, and Moments That Changed the Game
    The Golf Book: Twenty Years of the Players, Shots, and Moments That Changed the Game
    by Chris Millard
  • The Forbidden Game: Golf and the Chinese Dream
    The Forbidden Game: Golf and the Chinese Dream
    by Dan Washburn
  • The Early Days of Pinehurst
    The Early Days of Pinehurst
    by Chris Buie
  • 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
  • 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 first two or three years I played in the Doral I actually thought it was named for a cigarette or a flower you put on a wreath. Of course I eventually found out the name came from humans. It came from Al Kaskel, who built the resort, and his wife, Doris. I guess Al Kaskel could have called it Aldor, but putting his wife's name first obviously made it sound better, and may have prevented an argument at home.  DAN JENKINS as Bobby Joe Grooves



Sergio Confident He Can Improve on '99 Carnoustie Performance

Just in case you forgot how silly a test Carnoustie was, John Huggan reminds us of this:

Perhaps the biggest irony of Garcia's disastrous two days at the '99 Open - he followed the 89 with an 83 - was that he arrived having just shot 62 at Loch Lomond in the Scottish Open. For a 19-year old with the game seemingly at his mercy, the world was a wonderful place.


Good News! Monty Putting Design Career On Hold To Keep Playing

Yes, he's depriving us of several signature designs, but the game will survive (I hope). From an unbylined Daily Mirror piece where he talks mostly about his divorce and health problems:

"Some people might say: 'You've done well but give it a break and do something else'," he said. "I've got the golf course design company and other bits and bobs away from golf.But golf is who I am. It totally defines me. I still love the competition and I love winning. Don't tell the sponsors but they don't have to pay me because winning means more.



What's Going On With Carnoustie's Third?

(click to enlarge)
I opened up Golf World's foldout map of Carnoustie (not posted online), only to find this comment from Brett Avery surprising:

The most significant changes, though, are at No. 3, which becomes a more pronounced dogleg right. One of Carnousties's trademarks, a bunker in the center of the fairway, was replaced by an island smothered by rough. But also pinching in the rough on both sides of the fairway, the R&A greatly restricts options off the tee; the impulse is to play over the island, which brings Jockie's Burn into play through the fairway. Driving the green requires crossing the burn as it curls in front of the putting surface. Although the burn should be dry during the Open, challenging it probably isn't worth the potential penalties considering the green's existing contours. 

I recall this being a wonderful hole, particularly as it appeared from the tee (though my memory is awful!).

Has anyone seen this R&A imposed design change?

Reducing options and a grassy mound in the center of the fairway do not exactly sound like the stuff of great design. 

You can launch the official Open Championship site's course tour (where the drawing above was taken from) here



"Mis-hits with his current equipment meant off-line landings of 5-10 yards; with the old clubs, as much as 50 yards off-line."

Steve DiMeglio of the USA Today got Brandt Snedeker to play a retro set of golf clubs with the help of Bridgestone and Taylor Made, presumably to tell us how lucky we are while they're in the world. Snedeker's assessments are particularly interesting in this lengthy piece.

Snedeker arrived at this approach as a test subject for USA TODAY. The 6-1, 190-pound former Vanderbilt All-American enthusiastically agreed to play a round of golf with a set of previous-generation clubs.

Obviously figuring his round would be made more difficult, Snedeker was nonetheless surprised how drastically golf had changed in just a matter of years.

"I don't know how to explain the sound" at impact with the old clubs and ball, he says. "It feels like the ball is getting stuck on the clubface. The old ball feels so soft, like a marshmallow."

His oversized metal woods, perimeter-weighted irons and state-of-the-art shafts and golf balls were pitted against woods actually made of wood; heavy, steel shafts and diminutive irons that were far less forgiving than today's advanced sets and balls last seen 20-25 years ago. Snedeker last hit a wood driver when he was 8 and then only in goofing with his dad's set.

The test came just hours after Snedeker secured his future by cashing in for $182,000 for his 12th-place tie at The Players Championship in May to earn his 2008 card.

Snedeker stepped back in time here by the Atlantic Ocean at the par-72, 6,687-yard Plantation Course where LPGA Hall of Famer Louise Suggs and PGA Tour star Davis Love III honed their games.

On a traditional course that unfolds among oak and cedar trees 300 to 500 years old and presents wide fairways and relatively flat greens, Snedeker experienced the game of golf as played by his predecessors.

Snedeker appreciated as he never did how good it feels to play with the modern ball — featuring titanium compounds, hybrid materials, softer shells and a more pressurized core — and his TaylorMade r7 driver. That club features moveable weights, inverted cone technology to promote higher ball velocity and an exotic shaft that matches the swing weight, flex point and kick point he prefers.
And thankfully, it helped him score! 
With his technology-driven equipment, much of it devised by those with aerospace and defense industry backgrounds, Snedeker shot 3-over 75 in 15-25 mph winds — five shots better than when he pulled out the older counterparts used by previous generations.


Only a red-hot 1988 putter kept matters so close. With the old flat stick, Snedeker made birdies from 3, 4, 25 and 30 feet and holed many par-saving putts of 4-8 feet. With his up-to-date putter he made three birdies but had two three-putts and just missed on five other putts for birdie.

The rest of the round, however, was marked by a one-club difference in length between the old and new irons.

There was a 25-30 yard difference between drivers, 40-50 yards when he mis-hit the old driver. Mis-hits with his current equipment meant off-line landings of 5-10 yards; with the old clubs, as much as 50 yards off-line.

So glad we're going to get those grooves regulated.

"I truly appreciate growing up in the generation that I did," Snedeker says, "because I don't think I would have grown up to be a pro golfer if I had to have played with the old stuff. It is so much different, so much tougher."

That's why Snedeker was so thankful the 80-year-old seaside layout he played isn't bursting with forced carries over water, 15-foot-deep bunkers and large mounds on the greens. Only seven holes bring water into play; his slightest mis-hits on three involving water resulted in two double bogeys and a bogey.

"On the toughest new courses, where you have to fly the ball 200 yards over water or unplayable areas, I might not break 90, 100 with the old equipment," he says.

"But the great equalizer is putting. That's what makes golf so great. Even if I was using 1960s equipment, if I'm putting great that day, I could still spank the best equipment in the world. If I don't make putts, I get killed."

This was nice to read:

"It makes me really appreciate the guys that came before me," Snedeker says of hitting the old clubs. "The way Bobby Jones played golf, Jack Nicklaus, Arnold Palmer, Ben Hogan, Lee Trevino, Johnny Miller. Those guys were phenomenal.

"They had to be unbelievable ball strikers to hit the ball straight and as solid as they did."

Fast forward...

Just as shocking was the once top-of-the-line Rextar golf ball, which featured rubber-like balata-tree material that created a soft cover and yielded more spin. Conducting his own experiment, Snedeker hit one of the Rextar balls with his new sand wedge and shredded the cover of the ball.

"If we had (the new) golf ball in my day," Trevino says, "the best of us would have hit it 300 yards and Jack Nicklaus would have hit it 360."

Don't forget those workout programs Lee!

On the first nine holes using the persimmon driver and the older ball, Snedeker could find the fairway just two of nine times. Each of his drives were low-flying projectiles that snapped to the left and went 200-220 yards — into high rough and behind trees.

On the first hole, he had 188 yards to the pin after his drive with the wood ended near a tree. With his contemporary TaylorMade r7 driver, he had 128 yards from the middle of the fairway to the pin.

On the par-4, 445-yard ninth, he had 200 yards to the pin after his drive with the wood ended up in rough; he had 144 yards from the middle of the fairway after using his modern driver.

"I'm seeing parts of this golf course I've never seen before," Snedeker said on the 12th hole. "I'm trying everything to keep the old driver on this planet."

He finally ditched his normal swing with the old driver and tried something that was supposed to produce a slight fade. By the time he reached the tee on the par-4, 409-yard 13th, he was pleading to the golf gods to find a fairway. He figured he needed a slice-swing to make it go straight.

"The biggest difference is the new ball doesn't curve as much anymore," Snedeker says. "It was a more precise game back then. The ball was spinning so much more, and it was so much harder to control vs. today's golf ball. The ball wanted to curve 20, 30, 40 yards.

Damn ball! How dare it not do what you pray for it to do!

"That's why you see guys hit the ball so much farther now, because we can go at it so much harder than they were able to do so back then. Back in the '60s and '70s and '80s, you couldn't go at it full bore because you could literally hit it 30, 40 yards off line.

"Every pro on the Tour, the biggest fear is hitting a low draw or snap hook," Snedeker adds. "Now the equipment is set up today where the ball won't spin enough to hit that draw. I have no fear. I really saw that today."

Progress baby!

The irons Snedeker used in this experiment were certainly some old fuddy-duddies.

"The old irons take a much steeper divot. Today's irons are built with so much more bounce, which allows you to sweep the ball off the ground," Snedeker says. "I was taking huge divots today with the old stuff, and when you take steep divots, it affects your speed and affects the way the club works with the ball.

"The players in the past had to have great tempo to control the ball back then. It was a lot of fun to draw the ball 30 yards into a pin or cut the ball 30 yards into a pin. It proves the old guys were so much better course managers. They had to think their way around the golf course so much more because of the way the ball moved.

"You had to know every trouble spot," he says, "because the slightest mis-hit, you were in big trouble."

But at least he knows who signs his checks...

As Snedeker signed his scorecard, he had little trouble recalling every shot. He smiled at some of the recollections.

"Technology certainly makes the game easier for everyone to play, and that's great for golf," he says. "It makes the game easier for the pros to play. But don't think it's easy out there for us. The courses are getting longer and longer, the bunkers deeper, the rough deeper, the greens faster.

"Golf has always been a great game. Today it's still a great game, too, with all the new technology. I can't wait to see what comes next."

Green Section Opportunity

I penned a short Golfdom commentary on the USGA folding the Championship Agronomist position and what it might mean for the Green Section.


Kids Turning Pro

bildeWith the news that 16-year-old Tadd Fujikawa is turning pro, as well as this interesting Mike Sorensen Deseret Morning News piece on Utah's Finau brothers taking the plunge (thanks to reader Warren), I continue to wonder what it is beyond the obvious lure of money that is encouraging kids to make a decision that so rarely ends well.

Is it the success of Morgan Pressel and Paula Creamer?

Does technology allow them to play a certain game that 16-year-olds weren't capable of just a few years ago?

Is it mostly that the people around them hoping to cash in? 

Or is it the rule change that allows juniors and amateurs to receive free equipment?

I've had several college coaches tell me hair-raising stories about club company reps and how pervasive their role is in amateur golf. Since amateurs have become eligible to receive free equipment, we have seen an unusual number of top juniors skip college to cash in, with few success stories.

Does anyone else see the correlation, or is this simply a matter of golf catching up with other big time sports?


Golf Channel Demo's Skewing Just A Tad High

From Thomas Bonk's LA Times golf column:

Further proof that you can't stop getting older: According to the latest statistics, the average age of a daytime Golf Channel viewer is 62. That's up from 58 in the last sampled period, according to Magna Global's "Median Age Report."

"How can you not look at scores?"

Doug Ferguson looks at this year's "rigorous" majors and wonders what exactly that means. This part was particularly fun:

Jim Hyler, head of the championship committee at the USGA, preached all week at Oakmont that the mission was to create a "rigorous test" at the U.S. Open, but he offered a peculiar defense when 35 players failed to break 80 in the second round, and someone suggested the USGA again had gone over the top.

"The players' scores mean nothing to us," he said. "Absolutely nothing."

But if that's the case, how does he know the test has been rigorous?

"We're not performing in front of judges," Justin Leonard said. "They don't rate every shot. How can you not look at scores?"

Oh Justin, really, they aren't fixated on par. They only break out the '96 Chateau Lafite Rothschild if the winning score is +8 or higher. Special occasions only.
The Royal & Ancient paid more attention to the players' reactions than their scores, and chief executive Peter Dawson conceded that Carnoustie was too extreme in 1999. Asked if the R&A regretted how the course was set up, he replied, "I think so."

"To be honest, we regard player reaction as very important," Dawson said. "The reaction there was clearly more negative than we would liked to have seen."

What to expect this time?

"We are not seeking carnage," Dawson said. "We're seeking an arena where the players can display their skills to the best effect."

As usually, the R&A's head man had to offset his sound thinking with the ridiculous:

"The key part of the game of golf is to have an element of unfairness and to be able to handle it when it happens to you," Dawson said. "If everything was totally fair, it would be dull."

You see Peter, that's Mother Nature's job, perhaps with the occasional assist from a funny bounce. The bad breaks from silly fairway contours, knee high rough and bad hole locations? That's a different deal. It's called contrived. And usually the people doing the contriving are the same ones who obsess about how winning scores might reflet on themselves.  


"The set-up was unfair and ridiculous."

Just in case the media starts buying into John Philp's revisionist history (see the July Golf Digest, link not available), Tiger Woods sets the record straight on Carnoustie in 1999, writing:

Although I tied for seventh, it was probably the hardest British Open course I have ever played -- even harder than Muirfield. The set-up was unfair and ridiculous. I remember stepping off the fairway at No. 6 and it was nine yards wide in the lay up area. That's not much room when you have to hit a 4-iron in that space. It's still a great course, but I hope the R&A has learned a lesson.
And this was interesting... 

I will say this: the British Open Championship is my favorite major. My first was at St. Andrews so it doesn't get much better than that. I just love the history, tradition and atmosphere. You need patience and imagination to play well, plus the fans are great.


Tiger Unveils Sneak Peak of al Ruwaya For Those Of Us Who Hope To Never Get There

Here's a link to the printer friendly version, which is minus an interesting look sketch that I was unable to zoom in on or copy over (Tiger has a shrewd website builder!).

A couple of weeks ago, we broke ground on my first golf course design project, Al Ruwaya, at The Tiger Woods Dubai. Although I couldn't be there, I was thrilled. I can't wait to see my designs take shape in the Dubai desert.
There's something you don't hear everyday. A player architect admitting he was not there for the groundbreaking and expressing eagerness to see a design take shape in the Dubai desert.

Fast forward...
We used length, width, topography, wind direction, hazard placement, and greens contouring to create unique, individual holes that test not only the physical but the mental game as well. We're getting close to completing the final designs, but in the meantime, I wanted to share holes 12, 17 and 18 since they showcase the unique, strategic experience I've designed for Al Ruwaya.

Hole 12 is our shortest par 3 at 181 yards, but it is very interesting. Visually it's very dramatic due to the elevations and vegetation, but it's also very strategic. It plays over a 30-foot depression of native grasslands and shrubbery to a somewhat crowned green. 
I'm sorry, did I miss something? Is it already built? They are amazingly fast over there! 
At 341 yards, hole 17 is a short par 4 that will have a big impact on the finish of the round. It plays slightly uphill but downwind, and presents several strategic choices off the tee.  A longer hitter can challenge the fairway bunker and possibly drive the left side of the green. Long drives drifting right, however, could find the deep greenside bunkers or the large depression short right of the green. Shorter hitters may choose to lay-up off the tee but will want to favor the left side of the short landing area to preserve the best angle into the left-to-right green. This is a great drivable risk/reward hole that provides an opportunity for birdie or eagle heading into 18.  Smart decisions and proper execution will be rewarded, but it will be hard to save par if you make an error.

You know, I hate to be skeptical but uh, how does he know all of this already if they haven't built it yet?


"Inside The Truck" Aims To Establish New Lowpoint In History of Televised

Ah, the media covering itself. And sending out a press release to tell us all about. Precious isn't it?

It's official. Non-Tiger events have become so boring that they have to resort to this...


Network’s Golf Coverage To Give Viewers Simultaneous Coverage of John Deere Classic with Live Behind the Scenes View of Production while Broadcasting Action on Course Saturday, July 14

Have you ever wondered just what it is like to try and cover over 100 golfers as they line up tee shots, chip shots and putts all at once while a director screams obscenity laced tirades into the announcer's headsets?

Oops, how did that last part get in there?!

In a rare look at how golf is produced, CBS Sports will give viewers a different perspective to its golf coverage by taking viewers behind the scenes at the JOHN DEERE CLASSIC with simultaneous coverage of the action occurring on the course, as well as “Inside the Truck.”

CBS Sports’ golf team led by Coordinating Producer Lance Barrow and Director Steve Milton will show the frenetic pace of broadcasting a PGA TOUR event by giving viewers a seat right next to them, their assorted caffeine-laced snacks and their team inside the broadcast truck at the JOHN DEERE CLASSIC at the TPC Deer Run in Silvis, Ill. during the Network’s third-round coverage on Saturday, July 14 (3:00-6:00 PM, ET). Viewers will be taken “Inside the Truck” between 4:00-5:00 PM, ET of CBS Sports’ third-round coverage. Because Barrow might actually eat four entire fried chickens as the round progresses, viewer discretion is advised.

Oops, I did it again! 

Live audio and camera coverage from the truck will air simultaneously in a box on the television screen, along with the coverage of the golfers on the course. Viewers will experience what CBS Sports’ announce team of Bill Macatee and Peter Oosterhuis in the 18th tower, Ian Baker-Finch on the 17th, Gary McCord on the 16th and Bobby Clampett on the course reporting, hear in their headsets as Barrow and his team produce and direct the Network’s coverage. Announcer Peter Kostis was given the week off to spare the viewing audience of Barrow's constant hand-holding and ego stroking.

Dangit, I just can't resist. I'll stop now. 


Day Becomes Youngest Winner Of Non-PGA Tour PGA Tour-Sponsored Event

In all the euphoria over Monty's win last weekend, a reader noted that I failed to highlight the non-history making moment when the PGA Tour noted that Jason Day became the youngest player to win a "Tour-sponsored" event.

Chalk up another victory for an Australian on the Nationwide Tour, with 19-year-old Jason Day making history on Sunday by becoming the youngest player to win a PGA TOUR-sponsored event.

Okay fine...until this...

Day, at 19 years, seven months and 26 days, surpasses the previous youngest players to win on the two Tours -- including Johnny McDermott's (19 years, 10 months) win at the 1911 U.S. Open and James Oh's (21 years, 5 months and 27 days) victory at the 2003 Mark Christopher Charity Classic.

"To win at the age of 19 is a great accomplishment," said Day, who is also the Tour's youngest player. "This goes down in history. It is a great achievement to be the Tour's youngest winner."

Yes, that's right, we're retoractively lumping his win in with a U.S. Open win that wasn't even "Tour-sponsored" with the Nationwide Tour.

The guys are good!


Bubba Debuts $14.98 Collection; Awaits Hackel's Review

Golf Digest's Jeff Patterson posts about the debut of Bubba Watson's "Steve and Barry's" line of shirts. You may recall that it's the same chain doing $15 basketball shoes with Stephon Marbury and other surprising hip looking stuff.

The collared shirts, rainshirts, pants, shorts and hats, which make up the 30 items bubbagolf offers, feature mostly pastel colors, the kind Watson likes. He has worn his brand of clothing since the beginning of the year and has had remarkable success -- four top-5 finishes (including a T-5 at the U.S. Open) and a PGA Tour-leading 315.3 yards off the tee.

"I chose which colors I liked, which designs I liked, which stripe patterns, how many buttons I wanted," Watson said. "Down to every last stitch, I played a part in everything. Picking the tags, everything."

Who knew he was so demanding?
Watson is still amazed he was picked to head the golf clothing line.

"Anybody that has their name on a clothing line, it's a special thing," he said. "That really blew me out of the water that they'd want to come to me, a guy who is practically a rookie on tour, so I said, 'Heck, yeah. I'll do it in a heartbeat.' "

Providing quality clothes for a low price is something that's close to Watson's heart. Growing up, he wasn't able to afford an extravagant golf wardrobe.

"My mom had a regular job to make more money and my dad worked at a construction site for 32 years to make sure that I could have everything, like newer clothes for golf tournaments so I didn't have to wear the same outfits every week," said Watson.

Somehow I don't see Marty Hackel featuring one of these shirts for a Golf Digest Index fashion spread.



Open Qualifying... about to begin. Alistair Taits previews the four qualifiers.


"The First Tee or some other charity should own the U.S. Open."

I think Joe Ogilvie needs to stop drinking that special fruit punch they're serving him at PGA Tour Policy Board meetings. In a USA Today Q&A with Jerry Potter:

On the U.S. Golf Association …

"It shouldn't own golf tournaments, especially at the professional level. It should worry about the rules of golf. It has lost total concept of what it's about. The PGA of America is the backbone of golf. Their pros teach the game. The PGA Tour pros are the ones the fans are following. The First Tee or some other charity should own the U.S. Open."

Hey, and maybe PGA Tour Championship Management can manage of course.

On the PGA Tour …

"It's the face of the game, but we don't get credit for what we do. The NFL gets recognition for the United Way, but we gave over $100 million to charity this year. (Fans don't) know the difference between the PGA Tour and the PGA of America."

And sometimes certain really prominent newspapers and magazines don't either!

On the equipment controversy …

"You don't need bifurcation of the rules because the average player needs to play the same equipment we play. If they (USGA) change the grooves, we'll have to wait and see what the effects are. They say it won't affect the average amateur, but should they make rules based on what the best players in the world can do? … The USGA worries too much about 200 guys in the world and how they play golf. We're supposed to be the best at what we do."

Now wait Joe. The average player needs to play the same equipment you play? And why is that? Do they get the same benefits you do? Come on!

On drug testing in golf …

"I don't think you need it. Golfers have always called penalties on themselves, and using steroids is cheating. The penalty for cheating is so severe you would be dead. The Tour would suspend you for life, and no company would want to sponsor you."

The Commissioner could not have said it better himself. 


Lawrie Snubbed Sponsor's Invite; Playing Better Simply Not An Option

For all the grief we Americans get for being overly sentimental, it's fun to read this Derek Lawrenson penned sob story of poor Paul Lawrie, the last European to win a major, crying in Monty-like fashion about not being granted a sponsor's invite to the Scottish Open pro am* on the eve of his triumphant return to Carnoustie.

Mike Aitken weighed in with a decidedly less hysterical version of the same story. 


Castle Stuart Bunkers

They've posted another "making of" video on YouTube...we finally get to see more of what's going on over there!


Who Is The Next USGA President?

One of the first ominous signs--well, after the 2004 Shinnecock debacle--that things were going to be different under USGA president Walter Driver came when it was announced June 29, 2005 that he had been nominated as the next president. That was a whopping 7 months before he would take office.

The move effectively rendered then-president Fred Ridley a lame duck and was widely considered to be unprecedented by USGA insiders.

In light of recent events indicating that the embittered Driver is going out with a flourish by taking down as many staff members as possible while leaving no positive mark on the game or the USGA, the nominating committee needs to make it known who will be replacing Driver.

Either of the two candidates in line to replace Driver--believed to be vice presidents Jim Vernon and Jim Hyler--will mark a huge improvement for the organization. (Actually, Dick Cheney would be a step up at this point!)

Vernon's nomination would mark a welcome change and provide some hope to both staff and the golf community that the USGA is attempting to move in a more positive direction. Vernon's interest and knowledge on equipment issues will be especially important with the grooves debate heating up and the ball study soon entering, gulp, year six.

So nominating committee, who will it be? 


Skill and Southern Hills

From Doug Ferguson's AP notes column:

“I don’t mind Mother Nature slapping us around as long as they understand skill is the thing that wins tournaments, not luck.” -Stuart Appleby, on the setups at major championships

Having just toured Southern Hills on a delightful day in Tulsa (really!), I can say that it would be nice if Mother Nature cooperated by not dropping so much water on the course. Due to a number of circumstances (which I'll be writing about for a publication in advance of the PGA), Southern Hills really has a chance to shine this year...if it would stop raining! 


Caddying Column Genre Hits New Low

No golf writer's career is complete without a Plimpton School of Participatory Journalism degree-earning column on caddying. But Rob Oller may have hit rock bottom with the proverbial caddying-for-someone-famous piece on his day looping for the man who holds a Masters in caddying columns, Rick Reilly.

It turns out Reilly, who served as celebrity keynote speaker at a tournament dinner Sunday night, needed a caddie. I needed a column. Two plus two equals Fore!