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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
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  • 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
  • His Ownself: A Semi-Memoir
    His Ownself: A Semi-Memoir
    by Dan Jenkins
  • Professional Golf 2014: The Complete Media, Fan and Fantasy Guide
    Professional Golf 2014: The Complete Media, Fan and Fantasy Guide
    by Daniel Wexler
Classics
  • Golf Architecture in America: Its Strategy and Construction
    Golf Architecture in America: Its Strategy and Construction
    by Geo. C. Thomas
  • The Course Beautiful : A Collection of Original Articles and Photographs on Golf Course Design
    The Course Beautiful : A Collection of Original Articles and Photographs on Golf Course Design
    Treewolf Prod
  • Reminiscences Of The Links
    Reminiscences Of The Links
    by Albert Warren Tillinghast, Richard C. Wolffe, Robert S. Trebus, Stuart F. Wolffe
  • Gleanings from the Wayside
    Gleanings from the Wayside
    by Albert Warren Tillinghast
  • Planet Golf USA: The Definitive Reference to Great Golf Courses in America
    Planet Golf USA: The Definitive Reference to Great Golf Courses in America
    by Darius Oliver
  • Planet Golf: The Definitive Reference to Great Golf Courses Outside the United States of America
    Planet Golf: The Definitive Reference to Great Golf Courses Outside the United States of America
    by Darius Oliver
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No matter with what heights he is faced or with what winds assailed, the sportsman in battling with nature makes no complaint. But immediately he is faced with problems of human origin, he feels justified, if he finds them too difficult, in turning upon their creator with murder in his heart.  MAX BEHR


    

Saturday
Jan062007

PGA Tour: Partial Golf Channel Owner?

Thanks to reader Noonan for noticing Len Shapiro's Washington Post piece on Nick Faldo, which included this curious mention...

Sadly, ABC and its corporate cousin ESPN, are now essentially out of the golf business, save for their contract to keep the British Open (with Faldo in the booth, by the way). Instead of having many of its regular season events covered Thursday and Friday on the so-called sports leader, ESPN (or previous partner USA Network), the suits at PGA Tour headquarters in their 2006 round of TV negotiations decided they'd rather have all early round tournament coverage on The Golf Channel, which the tour partially owns.

I know there have been other mentions of the PGA Tour owning The Golf Channel GOLF CHANNEL, but has this ever been confirmed by the Tour, or one of the policy board members? Wait, why would the policy board know anything. Silly me!

Saturday
Jan062007

Toms Blog

If Ambien is just not cutting it for you, the PGA Tour is now offering player "blogs" to cure your sleeping problems.

Check out David Toms thoughts on answering his cell vs. reading text messages in the comfort of his Ritz Carlton suite.

Spellbinding stuff I tell you.

Thanks to reader John for this little bit of web magic. 

Friday
Jan052007

Trump Card II

Looks like The Donald's recent attempt at salvaging his Scotland project didn't scare anyone, so he's trying it again.

Thursday
Jan042007

History In The Making!

I sat through as little of The Golf Channel's GOLF CHANNEL's opening day coverage as I could. Not that it was bad from a technical point of view or that the announcing was lousy. In fact, the production values seemed fairly solid. The hole diagrams they employed are better than anything the networks do.

No, it was the relentlessness with which the TGC GC and the PGA Tour branding the FedEx Cup as something historic that had me pawing around for the remote.

But, such embarrassingly relentless promotion and staged history ops do have their moments.

After finishing out his opening round, all 10 of us viewers had to hear how K.J. Choi would be signing his ball and would become the first player to drop his autographed pellet into the Tiffany-designed FedEx Cup, which would then receive all of the first round signed balls from the likes of Will Mackenzie and Brett Wetterich, before being flown back to the World Golf Hall of Fame where legions will stroll by in awe.

Well, after Kelly Tilghman's breathless setup of this momentus occassion, K.J. is standing there inscribing that first all important entry into Cup history as a photographer documents the moment. And then out of nowhere, Adam Scott quietly puts the history in perspective by quickly dropping his ball in the cup like a marshall placing a Snickers wrapper in a trash bin.

Goose bumps here in Santa Monica, I tell you.

Thursday
Jan042007

"Big Five" No More

SI's Alan Shipnuck comes out firing with several stellar zingers in his 2007 preview, starting with this reminder of yesteryear's desperation-for-stars media coverage:

5. Will any golf writer be able to use the term "Big Five" without breaking into hysterical laughter?

It's gonna be tough. Vijay Singh, Ernie Els and Retief Goosen combined to win one Tour event in '06. Singh is approaching the precipice of the mid-40s, when performance drops off dramatically. Goosen has never been the same players since his final round self-immolation at the 2005 U.S. Open. The guy to watch is Els.

His season-ending victory in South Africa was a huge boost to his fragile psyche. Afterward, Easy even had some fighting words for Tiger, as Els said his goal is to reach No. 1 in the World Ranking. I'm not convinced he believes he can do it, but it at least sounded good. A return to Oakmont, where he broke through with his first major championship at the '94 Open, should inspire Els to reassert himself as one of the game's elite players. It's about time.

I did catch Alex Micelli wondering how it is that Goosen remains in the world top 10 despite a pretty lousy year in 2006. But why would I want to start a world rankings debate? It's not that slow of a week. 

Thursday
Jan042007

Helen Penick, RIP

I didn't see this anywhere else, but Kevin Robbins has news of Helen Penick's passing. She was one classy lady who played a major part in her husband's success.

Thursday
Jan042007

Ogilvy on Kapalua

I was wondering if they had remedied the odd situation at Kapalua from last year where the greens were bricks and everything else was soft. In his Wednesday sit down with the assembled Hawaiian shirt clad scribblers, Geoff Ogilvy answered that question and talked about the course.

Q. This is your second tour of the golf course. Do you notice any difference from last year to this year, any subtle changes?

GEOFF OGILVY: The greens are softer this year. Last year, they were -- I'm the biggest advocate in the world for firm greens but the trouble with last year, the greens were firm and the fairways were soft. So you land them short and stop, and you land it long, it went over the back, wicked. This year, it's all the same, it just all soft, which is fine. I like it firm, but it's been raining a lot and it's the rainy side of the island and it's never going to be rock hard.
It's much more playable this year in that respect. The greens are fantastic compared to the ones that were here two years ago.

Q. Do you like this place? Do you like the way this is set up?

GEOFF OGILVY: I think this is a fantastic golf course on a very extreme piece of land. It's on the edge of a piece -- it's really close to being a piece of land that you maybe shouldn't have a golf course on. They did such a good job. Everyone hits fairways all day and you hit a lot of shots because the greens are big. I think it's a good golf course; I enjoy it. How could you not enjoy looking at the views? They are awesome. They were smart in the way they did it. It could have been a complete nightmare if it was narrow with long carries, but how they made it, they were smart about it.

Thursday
Jan042007

Golf Made Easy

Thanks to reader Noonan for emailing this classic golf tip.
Wednesday
Jan032007

Rackham Will Not Be Developed

What is left of a Donald Ross design and one nifty clubhouse at Rackham appears to be safe as the developer has shelved its plans for the historic layout.

Wednesday
Jan032007

As The Woods Camp Requested...

File this Tim Rosaforte paragraph in the buried-lead file. He's writing about Tiger not appearing at Kapalua:

In truth, this could have been averted. Had the Target World Challenge been scheduled the week after Thanksgiving, as the Woods Camp requested, instead of two weeks from Christmas, it would have given Tiger almost a month of downtime before getting back to business at Kapalua. Instead, The Target was given Dec. 14-17, and Mercedes/Kapalua takes the hit.

Hmmmm...do we have a Commissioner-Tiger spat in the making here?

Wednesday
Jan032007

Elling On TGC's New Look

Wait, I meant GOLF CHANNEL, not TGC or even GC. My apologies to the brand.

Anyway, Steve Elling shares a few eye opening numbers in looking at The Golf...dammit, there I go again...in looking at GOLF CHANNEL's...wait, is the apostrophe s in caps too? Ah whatever. Here's what he wrote.

The undisputed heavyweight king of cable sports, ESPN is carried in 92 million homes while the Golf Channel logs in at 75 million. However, those numbers don't represent much other than unfulfilled potential if nobody is watching.

According to Nielsen Media Research, the average number of people who watched the Golf Channel at any moment in a 24-hour broadcast day during the 2006 fall season was a minuscule 44,000 people -- the approximate population of Titusville -- or 1.1 million fewer people below ESPN's average in the same time frame.

Actually, more stunning was this chart buried at the end of his piece...

Network     Sport     Avg. viewers
ESPN    Multiple    1,153,000
ESPN2    Multiple    324,000
NFL Network    Pro football    119,000
Speed Channel    Auto racing    117,000
Versus    Pro hockey    75,000
ESPN Classic    Sports history    66,000
ESPN News    Sports news    62,000
Golf Channel    Golf coverage    44,000

That's right, more people are watching ESPN News and ESPN Classic and bloody hockey on the network formerly known as Outdoor Life.

This also was a surprise....

Industry observers anticipated sweeping personnel changes when the contract was announced, but the staffing has mostly been handled in-house. McGuire estimated that the company only added a half-dozen employees to its overall payroll, bringing the total to around 385, but some of the names were crucial additions. Leading the way was the addition of six-time major champion Nick Faldo, who after two well received years at ESPN/ABC, will serve as lead analyst.

Only six new staffers? 

Whoa. 

Wednesday
Jan032007

Every Tour Event With Or Without Tiger Begins Here

I guess the art department didn't get the news about Tiger's extended vacation...

golfchannel.jpg 


 

Wednesday
Jan032007

"Piling up FedExCup points early might pay off..."

In his notes column, Doug Ferguson reveals that for a change, the PGA Tour has tweaked a WGC event qualification that potentially rewards someone without a ticket to ride on the World Ranking Top 50 bus.

Piling up FedExCup points early might pay off for some players trying to get into the World Golf Championship at Doral. The PGA Tour added another criteria for the CA Championship, taking the top 10 in FedEx Cup standings the Monday before (March 12) and the Monday of (March 19) the tournament.

Previously, this WGC event took the top 50 in the world ranking and top money leaders from each tour. That criteria hasn't changed.

Tuesday
Jan022007

Lorne On Ben and Bill

CooreBCrnshawWeKoPa.jpgLorne Rubenstein does a nice job detailing how Kapalua architects Bill Coore and Ben Crenshaw have evolved into the best architects in golf.
Tuesday
Jan022007

ALL CAPS ALERT!

From the homepage of pgatour.com:

The PGA TOUR enters an exciting new era this week at the Mercedes-Benz Championship as the season-long FedExCup points competition gets underway with Thursday's opening round. Adam Scott will hit the first tee shot at 3:30 p.m. ET, which can be seen live on GOLF CHANNEL.

The Golf Channel THE GOLF CHANNEL TGC Tgc GOLF CHANNEL.

What a difference. Those branding people are good.

Tuesday
Jan022007

Sir Ian Woosnam?

The best evidence yet of the British empire's demise...

Tuesday
Jan022007

"This makes every game, every event, every weekend more important.''

This caught my eye in Rex Hoggard's preview of 2007:

Flash forward eight months to the much-talked-about FedEx Cup finale at the Tour Championship. Best-case scenario is a Tiger Woods vs. Phil Mickelson vs. "Little-known Cinderella story" showdown for the inaugural FedEx Cup title in Atlanta at the Tour Championship. Problem is, the new condensed-season shop will make it virtually impossible for a potential "Cinderella" story to elbow his way into the FedEx mix.

Consider Michael Allen finished 153rd on last year's money list and played for an average purse of $4.6 million, compared to Ben Curtis (No. 30 in '06 earnings) who played to an average of $5.6 million or Scott Verplank (No. 40) $5.7 million.

As one player recently lamented of the bottom half of the Tour community, "They've got a ticket to get on the bus, but there's no seat for them." start. "This makes every game, every event, every weekend more important.''

Okay, not to beat dead donkey here, but how will a playoff with 144 players really change someone's approach to the season?  

Tuesday
Jan022007

"This will be a generational change"

Randell Mell, with this from Ric Clarson of the PGA Tour...
``This will be a generational change,'' Clarson said. ``This is not going to be: Turn on the switch and everybody gets it from the start. This makes every game, every event, every weekend more important.''
Tuesday
Jan022007

"It's not the playoffs, it's a showcase."

Olin Browne, talking to Craig Dolch in the Palm Beach Post:

"One thing that bugs me is they call it the playoffs," Browne said. "It's not the playoffs, it's a showcase. In the playoffs, everybody starts from scratch, the winners advance and the losers go home. Under our system, the San Diego Chargers would be given something like a 14-0 lead in their first playoff game, and that's obviously not right."

 I guess this pretty much sums up why the idea of not starting from scratch come "playoff" time is so silly.

 

Tuesday
Jan022007

"There was a lot of post 5-o'clock conversation"

In John Hawkins's excellent Golf World story on the FedEx Cup's evolution, there was this head scratcher:

If the old season had become outdated, this was an idea whose time had come, although you probably could have said that a decade ago. "We've talked about it since the second year I was here," says vice president Ken Lovell, who joined the PGA Tour in January 2000. "There was a lot of post-5-o'clock conversation regarding that actual theme. If you could do anything to produce the most exciting golf product, what would it be?"

I can't keep up with this business lingo, so I'm going to take a stab here and guess that "post 5-o'clock conversation" translates to "us hardworking, overpaid PGA Tour Vice Presidents rolling up their sleeves, working late, trying to stay later than the boss and brainstorming so we don't have to go home to the wife."

Or does it mean something else?

Of course one wonders why this conversation has to take place after 5, as opposed to during business hours.