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Books
  • 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
  • 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
  • His Ownself: A Semi-Memoir
    His Ownself: A Semi-Memoir
    by Dan Jenkins
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
Writing And Videos

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.
ROBERT HUNTER

 

    

Wednesday
Apr112007

LPGA "Cross Cultural Professional Development Program"

Exactly as it was sent out...and, yes, the simple answer is, the LPGA has a sponsor for their program to teach players how to speak English.

KOLON signs as title sponsor of

KOLON-LPGA Cross-Cultural Professional Development Program


DAYTONA BEACH
, Fla., April 11, 2007 – KOLON has been named the title sponsor of the Ladies Professional Golf Association’s (LPGA) professional development program that offers educational and cross-cultural communication training for all members and will now be called the KOLON-LPGA Cross-Cultural Professional Development Program.
           “We are excited with our partnership with KOLON, which emphasizes the importance of communication among all individuals, regardless of where they call home,” said LPGA Commissioner Carolyn F. Bivens.  “We successfully test-piloted the cross-cultural program in 2006, and we are eager to expand the program in 2007.”
KOLON has led the way in the development of golf in Korea since 1985, when the honorary chairman of KOLON Group, Dong Chan Lee, was appointed as the chairman of Korea Golf Association

“We are delighted to embark on this new partnership program with the LPGA. Our participation in this program is a tangible reflection of our enhanced contribution to golf,” said Hwan S. Jae, CEO and president of FnC KOLON.  “We believe this program will assist not only Koreans, but all international players to learn the English language and acquire a better understanding and appreciation of the cultural diversity within the LPGA.”

The KOLON-LPGA Cross-Cultural Professional Development Program was designed to assist all LPGA members in developing core skills that will help them be successful as an LPGA professional.  The LPGA showcases an international membership and a global business footprint that establishes the LPGA as the premier women’s professional golf organization in the world.  It boasts a Tour membership exceeding 450, including 117 international players representing 26 countries, while the LPGA Teaching and Club Professionals includes nearly 1,200 golf professionals who are teachers, coaches, managers and entrepreneurs.
            In 2006, Phase I of the program focused on the importance of effective English language communication skills including conversational, survival and golf “speak.”  The program was successful in its inaugural season integrating onsite tutoring sessions into real-life situations, such as weekly pro-ams, media interviews, practice rounds, informal settings with other players and LPGA staff.
Moving forward, the KOLON-LPGA Cross-Cultural Professional Development Program will focus on building social and professional skills with an emphasis on bridging cultural differences; growing awareness of, and sensitivity to, cultural differences exemplified by differing values, assumptions, and communication styles.  The program also emphasizes the skills espoused by the LPGA’s Five Points of Celebrity – Appearance, Relevance, Approachability, Joy/Passion, and Performance; as well as establishing the ability to respond to demands of global golf sport entertainment business.

Wouldn't most other leagues keep something like this a secret?

And an entire press release went by without mentioning the brand. The times they are a...
           
  

Wednesday
Apr112007

Masters Photo Caption Fun, Vol. 4

In light of Jaime Diaz's piece below...

I'm going with "I know it was you Fredo. You broke my heart. You broke my heart!"

Wait, Smith is Fredo. That doesn't work.

Ah, you all can do better.

mickelson_harmon3.jpg 

Wednesday
Apr112007

"Hey, thanks for looking after my buddy for me."

mickelson_harmon2.jpgOh how I love when overpaid swing instructors clash. Golf World's Jaime Diaz shares some great firsthand observations of the budding Rick Smith-Butch Harmon catfight over who gets to tell Phil Mickelson he needs to stop obsessing about distance. And great Dom Furore photo too (left).

Highlights:

Smith made it clear how he feels about Harmon’s forays with Mickelson when he saw Harmon on the practice putting green at the Masters and said, sarcastically, "Hey, thanks for looking after my buddy for me."
And Smith, more blunt: 
"[There has] probably been a lack of communication," said Smith Saturday, acknowledging that the partnership had stalled. “After awhile, the same message doesn’t get through as well. This morning before the round it got a little tense on the practice range because he was hitting the driver poorly and got confused. Finally, he sort of snapped at me, ‘Could you just give me one thing?’

Awkward!


Tuesday
Apr102007

One Last Masters Question

masterslogo.gifIt seems Tiger Woods never came into the press center after his Tuesday chat, right scribs?  And based on his Sunday post round scrum held with TV folks (the lame questions give them away), there are many questions left unanswered about his final round.

Since Tiger will inevitably be dogged by questions at his next Tour event, I'm curious what you would like to have clarified.

I know I have two simple questions that I'd like on the record:

Was the club broken on No. 11 the one you wanted to hit into No. 15 Sunday?

Did the trees on 15 block a straight shot a the flag?

Questions you'd ask if you had the chance? 

Tuesday
Apr102007

Rees-toration of Oakland Hills Update

Thanks to reader Noonan for this Jason Deegan story on the rees-storation of Oakland Hills, site of next year's PGA.

The $1.8 million renovation of the south course at Oakland Hills Country Club, famously dubbed “The Monster” by golf legend Ben Hogan after the 1951 U.S. Open, is nearing its completion.

Architect Rees Jones, hired by the Bloomfield Township club to protect par against the world's best players at the 2008 PGA Championship, has stretched the course more than 300 yards, repositioned fairway bunkers and narrowed fairways to fend off modern players who hit farther and more accurately than ever.

No, they just work out more than ever.

“This will be a significant story in the golf world for Oakland Hills to change,” said Ryan Cannon, the tournament director for the 2008 PGA Championship. “It is like being asked to improve upon the Mona Lisa.”

Well, let's just not say it's the first course to bastardize its architecture for a major championship event. Let's see, there was Oakland Hill in 19...oh.

The length of Oakland Hills ballooned to 7,446 yards from 7,099 yards with 15 new tees. At least 28 bunkers were repositioned or rebuilt and 14 more were added. Some fairway landing zones were shrunk to 22 yards wide. The par-5s at the No. 8 and No. 18 holes will play as par-4s for the tournament, giving the layout four par-4s of at least 490 yards. Only the par-3 third hole remains intact.

22 yards wide. Why not be the first uner 20?

Club officials worried about the course's integrity after seeing elite college players at the 2002 U.S. Amateur bomb tee shots over fairway bunkers and hit wedges to what used to be long, challenging par-4s.

“The members who have seen it so far are thrilled with it,” said Rick Bayliss Jr., Oakland Hills COO. “It is a major championship venue. Our resistance to scoring has always been the greens. With the lengthening, it is a knee-knocker now.”

The job was personal to Jones, who is based in Montclair, N.J. The storied career in golf architecture of his father, Robert Trent Jones Sr., was launched by his Oakland Hills remodeling work before the 1951 U.S. Open.

Ah here comes the quote to rub it in Bobby's face.

“This course meant the most to my father,” Jones said, and the chance to work on it was “the call I was waiting for my whole life,” he added.

“Oakland Hills is one of those wonderful rolling pieces of property where the holes fit like a glove,” said Jones, who has renovated seven U.S. Open courses and six PGA Championship sites. “When we made the changes, it was natural. If somebody blinked from 50 years ago to now, you wouldn't know we touched it.”

Jones said he tried to follow his father's blueprints. At the par-4 16th hole, the pond that has been the site of some of golf's historic moments was enlarged back toward the tee and tucked behind the green. The pond on the par-4 seventh also grew in size. A new tee can stretch the par-3 ninth to 257 yards if needed.

“I don't think it will ever be a monster again. These (pro golfers) are so good,” Jones said. “The game has changed. Oakland Hills is now right at the top of the list (of championship venues) with these advances.”

Well, for now anyway.

Tuesday
Apr102007

Images of Griffith Park

230136-763160-thumbnail.jpg
Colorized view of a historic Griffith Park clubhouse photo by Tom Naccarato (click to enlarge)
I'll be out all day but just as a follow up to my L.A. Times commentary proposing a restoration of George Thomas's Griffith Park designs, here are a few images to enjoy.

Besides Tom Naccarato's enhancement of a historic clubhouse image (left), I've also included one from opening day and an aerial view of the course in 1929.

Enjoy! 

230136-763164-thumbnail.jpg
Willie Hunger, George Thomsa, Ed Tufts, Paul Hunters and W.P. Johnson on opening day
 230136-763922-thumbnail.jpg
Griffith Park's courses in February, 1929

 

Monday
Apr092007

Another Augusta Question

Just consider this with regard to the earlier post on Tiger Woods and the 15th hole as the turning point.

If Tiger has a clear shot at the 15th green Sunday instead of having to hit some silly cut around a Christmas tree, is there not great potential for the kind of explosive golf that so clearly defined the Masters in the previous century?

In other words, with a shot at the green and the potential roar of an eagle putt (and birdie at worst), does that reverberate through the property and influence Zach Johnson's play on 17 or 18? 

Monday
Apr092007

The Future: Relatable Golf?

On the news that ratings were actually up for this hardly satisfying 2007 Masters, I've heard from a number of people that they argued with friends over the weekend about the setup and the joys of watching great players suffer.

There is a sizeable audience of the viewing public that enjoys watching the best players struggle. They like seeing them humiliated and brought down to a lower level of skill.

"They know how I feel now."

This mentality has been around a long time and many of the games lesser-informed writers have celebrated the notion of pro golfers serving as modern day gladiators served up for the people to devour in humiliating spectacles. 

So I'm wondering if championship golf is going to go the way of everything else in our society. Will it have to become "relatable" (as the marketing folks like to say) for big-time golf to succeed? In other words, will professional golfers eventually serve at the pleasure of the people, with major events played to publicly humiliate millionaire golfers on overcooked layouts in order to make the average man feel better about his lousy game?

Personally, I find it to be an incredibly selfish way to view golf. It's a lot more fun to see the talent of these great players exposed, celebrated and savored. But maybe that's old school?  Thoughts?

Monday
Apr092007

Letter From Augusta

Bill Fields at GolfDigest.com with a Darwinesque letter from the 71st Masters.

Monday
Apr092007

Solid Masters Ratings

Up 1% despite Easter Sunday. Just what the committee needs...encouragement that people enjoyed that kind of golf... 

CBS SPORTS’ RATINGS RISE FOR COVERAGE OF MASTERS® FINAL ROUND

CBS Sports’ coverage of the 2007 Mastersâ on Easter Sunday, April 8, in which Zach Johnson won an improbable green jacket, earned an average overnight household rating/share of 9.1/21 in the metered markets.  This year’s final-round rating/share was up 1% from last year’s 9.0/19 when Phil Mickelson won his second Masters title.  It was also was up 25% from the last time the final round was played on Easter Sunday in 2004 (7.3/18), when Mickelson won his first green jacket and first career major title.

CBS Sports’ final-round coverage of the Masters peaked with a rating/share of 11.2/24 from 6:00-6:30 PM, ET.

This year’s final-round coverage of the Masters was higher rated than any of the other final rounds of golf’s majors in 2006: +82% higher than the 2006 British Open final round (5.0/14); +78% higher than the 2006 U.S. Open final round (5.1/12); and +26% higher than the 2006 PGA Championship final round (7.2/16).

CBS Sports’ coverage of the 2007 Masters on Saturday, April 7 earned an overnight metered market rating/share of 6.1/13, up 20% from last year’s Saturday third-round coverage which earned a  5.1/11.

This year’s 6.1/13 rating for third-round coverage of the Masters is the highest overnight metered market rating/share since a 6.2/14 in 2003.


Monday
Apr092007

L.A. Times Public Golf Special Section

230136-763160-thumbnail.jpg
Colorization of a historic Griffith Park clubhouse photo by Tom Naccarato (click to enlarge)
The L.A. Times has published a meaty special section today on L.A. public golf. It includes my plea for a restoration of George Thomas's Griffith Park restoration and my architectural critique of 10 great values. and five overrrated layouts.

There's also Daniel Wexler's guide to historic courses and his look at desert golf.

There's also Tiger's memories of SoCal golf and Thomas Bonk looks at the renovated Torrey Pines South.

Peter Yoon covers the impact of internet-based tee time reservation systems.

Glenn Bunting talks to Dave Pelz.

And the editors make their picks for the best of SoCal golf.

Monday
Apr092007

"The course was certainly as firm as most (British) Open venues"

I don't know what these guys watched, but the last four days, the fairways at Augusta didn't look that firm and fast to me.

The greens did, but not the fairways.

Anyway, Brian Hewitt at TheGolfChannel seems to be reaching with this one:

It’s my contention Jones and MacKenzie gleefully would have told the second-guessers that this 71st Masters played much more like an Open Championship than a U.S. Open.
 
This notion began incubating in my brain early in the week when defending champion Phil Mickelson came off the course and explained the difficulty of the green complexes and their putting surfaces. It’s not so much reading the break that’s hard, Mickelson said. It’s figuring out exactly where the ball is going to stop rolling.
 
This, of course, is exactly what links golf is all about. And the more of this Masters I watched, the more I became transfixed by the troubles the best players in the world were having getting their golf balls to stop where they wanted them to stop on and around the greens.

"The course was certainly as firm as most (British) Open venues," Doak informed me. "Some people think it's impossible to keep it that firm and have it green, too. But it is possible if you have enough money to hand-water the dry spots. And Augusta certainly has the resources to follow through.

Well, I suppose if you think some British Open venues of late have been way too soft and green, yes! 

Sunday
Apr082007

ANGC's (Lack of) Tee Flexibility

apr8_johnsonmain_372x400.jpgAs appalling as the rough or tree planting plays in light of Bobby Jones's eloquently stated design philosophy, it appeared Sunday that the lack of tee flexibility hindered the committee's ability to make a few holes more vulnerable.

Every time there was a wide view of a tee shot, it seemed the markers were placed as far forward as possible. On holes playing into the wind where you want to tempt players to attack (13, 15), there was no alternate tee between the back and forward tees that might have forced led to some more aggressive golf. (And therefore, perhaps more drama?)

Also knowing that Jones and MacKenzie were hoping to import elements of links golf to their inland site, tee flexibility would be seemingly vital to preventing what Jones lamented:

…with our own best courses in America I have found that most of our courses, especially those inland, may be played correctly the same way round after round. The holes really are laid out scientifically; visibility is stressed; you can see what you have to do virtually all the time; and when once you learn how to do it, you can go right ahead, the next day, and the next day, and the day after that.

I've never understood the club's obsession with the "clean" look of two sets of tees along with the odd decision to bulldoze the old tees when extending the course.

Add it to the list of architectural oddities that has the place just not playing as well as it should.

Sunday
Apr082007

Final Round Masters Clippings Vol. 1

masterslogo.gif

Zach Johnson, Masters Champion. Nothing against Zach, but let's face it, another freakish setup produced a surprise winner. Albeit one who held up beautifully under the pressure, but nonetheless, not someone who you sensed was one of the world's elite.

Lawrence Donegan in The Guardian:

The stunning climax came after three days peppered with double bogeys and broken spirits. Fortunately, the gentlemen in green blazers remembered their tournament has earned its place in folklore because it has long been a byword for excitement. But there are precious few thrills to be mined from the sight of the world's best players fearfully plotting their way round the course as if walking to their own funeral party.

So when play began yesterday morning it quickly became clear everything possible had been done to bring the scoring down. Tees had been pushed forward, the greens had been heavily watered and the pin positions were about as friendly as a Labrador puppy. The overnight changes had the desired effect. For the first time all week cheers echoed along the alleyways and canyons of Alister Mackenzie's classic links.

Ron Sirak is trying way too hard to win one of those Masters lifetime achievement writing things they gave out Wednesday:

Going into Sunday, there was real doubt among many that perhaps something of the Masters magic had been lost by the way the course had been renovated. But let the record also show that almost all of the players were fine with the way the course played -- calling it severe but fair, challenging but not tricked up. The patrons, adjusting to the scarcity of eagles and birdies, were probably the ones who needed the most convincing, but even they were finally won over by a Sunday that, while lacking a Tiger victory, was both inspiring and well played.
Let's see what the people at Nielsen say.

Doug Ferguson on Zach Johnson. Here's Johnson's post round press conference.


Lorne Rubenstein says that the more tricked up the course gets, the easier it is for a clever strategist and great putter like Zach Johnson to win.

The hole stats are here. Final tally for the week was 75.884.

The final round hole stats are here. The average for Sunday was 74.331.

The driving distance numbers are here.

The eagle summary is here (18, 10 Sunday).

The birdie summary is here.

The putting summary is here.

Driving accuracy is here.

Okay on to the columns. Martin Johnson in the Telegraph:

You'd be hard pressed to find a whiter set of teeth anywhere in sport, but when Tiger Woods starts to breathe on the rest of the field in a major championship, the effect is usually like a blast of halitosis. Terrible choking noises and dead bodies everywhere.

It's certainly been nippy in Augusta this weekend, but Royal Dornoch in January it is not. In any event, if it's cold, why don't these players wear woolly hats like the rest of us?

The answer to that one, of course, is that they're all paid ludicrous amounts of money to wear caps and visors with sponsored logos, so much so that there are some players on tour you'd never recognise with a bare head. You can just imagine the vicar at Woods' wedding. "Excuse me, Mr Woods, but before you take this woman to be your lawful wedded wife, would you mind removing your Nike hat?"

But there's no denying that the severity of the course this year has altered the character of the tournament. There has not been such a funereal silence around Amen Corner since Greg Norman's final-round implosion in 1996, when the Great White Shark turned into a rollmop herring, and all you could hear was the splash of another of Greg's golf balls plunging into Rae's Creek. The severity of the course this year is such that when Tim Clark, joint leader on Saturday morning, went round in 80, he still found himself no worse than four strokes off the lead.

There have been suggestions that the Masters is turning into the US Open, head down, grind it out, and try to keep a triple bogey off your card.
Ken Carpenter calls it the worst Masters ever and calls it a boring week of "generally awful" golf.

Art Spander said Sunday was "exciting and fascinating."  

AP's Jim Litke had this on Tiger: 
"It was difficult, very difficult," Woods said. "It was the hardest Masters I've ever seen, with the wind, the dryness, the speed of these things. I told a couple guys out here this week, 'I was glad I had metal spikes on, or I would have slipped on the greens, they were so slick.'"

Woods exited the clubhouse soon after, surrounded by his agent and four security guards, sipping a diet soda and carrying a new driver under his arm. He headed for the driving range and so strong is the legend that's grown up around Woods that a few people following him actually thought he was going to practice.

Instead, he used a back entrance to the players' parking lot, started up the car and drove down Magnolia Lane. There would be no more golf this day. This Masters was over, and with it went a piece of Tiger's aura of invincibility.

Gary Van Sickle says Tiger looked mortal Sunday. 

Frank Hannigan shares some thoughts on CBS's Masters approach.

Mick Elliott says the U.S. Open-like antics have turned the Masters into divine comedy.

Dave Seanor believes that Augusta needs to build mounds to help spectators and that they can bulldoze them after each tournament. He makes up for that nutty post with this on the same blog:

Phil Mickelson, who just opened Round 4 with a triple-bogey 7, was spotted working with Butch Harmon on the range at Doral and Tucson.

Bumping into Harmon in the Augusta National pro shop, I posed the question: When are you going full time with Phil?

"I don't know what you're talking about," Butch said, turning his back to me. "I'll let you know when I find out."

Sounded cryptic enough for Rick Smith to be concerned.

Sunday
Apr082007

The Snap

Well it was mentioned earlier on the live blog that plenty of editors were surely waiting anxiously to see if their shutterbugs captured the shot of Tiger breaking his club on one of those silly 11th hole pines. SI's Jim Herre surely was pleased that Robert Beck delivered. From golf.com:

tigerbreak02_600x600.jpg 

 

Sunday
Apr082007

Tiger's Post Final Round Press Conference

Looks like they couldn't get him in the media center, so a lot of questions didn't get asked in the scrum:

Q. Were the scoring conditions a little bit better today?

TIGER WOODS: They were, definitely. The pin locations were a little bit softer. They didn't quite -- they were probably one or two steps from where they normally are. So they gave us a break, which was nice. And gave us a chance to go out there and score.

And 69 was low.

Q. Does it make it even more disappointing to not get a couple more --

TIGER WOODS: It still wasn't easy. Look at the scores out there today. I'm sure there weren't a whole lot of rounds under par today again.

I had a chance, but looking back over the week I basically blew this tournament with two rounds where I had bogey, bogey finishes. That's 4-over in two holes. The last two holes, you just can't afford to do that and win Major championships.

Oy vey:

Q. How hard is it to win that second Major. What's it going to take for Zach to maybe step up and win that second one?

TIGER WOODS: Well, just keep giving yourself chances. That's the thing. The more chances you give yourself the more likelihood you're going to end up winning tournaments. Just like any other regular tournament event or Major. The more times you're up there, the more you learn from the experiences, but also the more chances you gave yourself to win.

And it was fair...

Q. The Masters generally is a bunch of birdies on the back nine, this definitely wasn't that today. Would you like it like this or would you like to see a lot more birdies on the back nine?

TIGER WOODS: Whatever it is, I don't care, as long as I come out on top. But this golf course the way it's playing right now, as dry and as fast as it is, it was a fair test. That's the thing. Granted, it was extremely difficult, but at least it was fair.

Sunday
Apr082007

Was 15 The Turning Point?

masterslogo.gifPrior to the recent tree planting between 15 and 17, Tiger Woods would have had an open shot at this par-5 green and a great chance of knocking it on in two, making birdie or even possibly eagle. That would have set off one of the collosal roars that the CBS boys kept trying to tell us were happening Sunday.

Instead, Tiger has to hit a cut around one of the trees, knocks it in the water and struggles to make a great par.

There were many other instances where the new trees and rough eliminated attacking shots, but this seemed to be the most blatant and the most significant in stripping the tournament of some of its past excitement.

Thoughts? 

Sunday
Apr082007

Green Jacket Ceremony Live Blog

4:10 - Billy Payne thanks everyone including the Argentine and Bolivian Golf Associations.

4:11 - Tepid applause for Fred Ridley. 

4:12 - Even more tepid applause for "chairman emeritus" Hootie Johnson.

4:13 - Zach Johnson thanks "commissioner" Payne.

4:13 - And because it's Easter Sunday, "thank you Jesus."  I think he got the message!

Sunday
Apr082007

Final Round Masters Live Blog

masterslogo.gifWell, how do you follow that 1960 Masters. Aw, something's bound to happen! Here we go. Big cheesy opening. Ugh, just play the theme and let's see some golf!

11:34 - Nantz says the weather has improved. It's only feeling like it's 48 degrees. He says more birdies on the way. We come on and Tiger's on #1? Don't we usually get the leaders teeing off?  Tiger misses par putt and has a long one for bogey that he makes. Appleby doubles No. 1. What a start. Three way tie: Woods, Appleby and uh, Sabbatini!

11:36 - Tiger hooks it on two with a 3-wood and may be in the creek. Goosen holes out to join the lead at +4! The yellow flag is out!

11:37 - Six way tie for the lead wait, no, Zach Johnson birdies 3, Vaughn Taylor birdies 2. Zach up by one.

11:42 - We're seeing highlights of Phils triple bogey on 1. What's with the Yanni music? We don't get enough the rest of the year? 

11:47 - Nantz: "there's the Dredge Report." Oy. 

11:49 - Did Stuart Appleby sleep in that black Masters sweater? The nappy hair would give that impression. 

11:56 - Cool CBS stat: Avg. last 5 years/2007: Bogeys Per round 3.88/4.87; Birdies per round 2.71/2.16, Total eagles 20.2/8, Total rounds under par 68.6/22, Total rounds in the sixties 21.2/5 

11:57 - Faldo notes that they put "a lot of water on the greens overnight." 

12:02 - Nantz notes that Vijay has a chance to get in early and watch everyone deal with the pressure of being around the lead. Reader David points out that not since Jack in 86 has someone with a chance finished well ahead of the leaders.

12:09 - Joe Ford superimposed over No. 13 to tell us about limited commercial interruption. And now time for the ads. AT&T wheeling out the children and IBM with their spots filmed at ANGC. Good, I didn't have tissue ready for the Phil and my wife Amy ad. 

12:12 - Nantz says it's feeling more normal. Is he referring to the fact they may play under 4:30 today?  Kostis chimes in with "is this any fun?" No, not yet.

12:14 - Vijay pars 10 to stay -2, maintaining his "charge."

12:15 - Luke Donald holes out on 8 for eagle and is within one of the lead held by Tiger. Deserves to win for being the best dressed today. As opposed to say, Retief Goosen in the royal blue NASCAR outfit and now tied for the lead. Figures. Didn't he win another of these freakish Fred Ridley run setups?

12:24 - Rory Sabbatini eagles 8, takes lead. A roar, finally!  Oh let's pray...Mrs. Amy Sabbatini having dinner with Billy Payne tonight. Oh to be a fly on the wall.

12:27 - Luke Donald throwing up all over No. 9, finishes with triple from the middle of the fairway. But hey, he looks good in his Polo doing it!

12:32 - If Rory Sabbatini wins does Nick Faldo get to be there for the ceremony? After all, they are good friends. 

12:37 - Goosen goes to -4 on the day, +2 for the event, tied with Sabbatini for about a minute until Rory's bogey on 9. Uh, when do we get someone on this board we want to root for?

12:46 - Goosen sticks it on No. 9. But misses the birdie putt. CBS reminds us he's finished T-3 the last two years.  

12:58 - Classy Byron Nelson segment remembering one of the greats. A few seconds of black screen would have been nice before the lame AT&T ad. 

1:03 - Appleby drives it in the fairway bunker on 8, drops some f-bombs within range of CBS mikes.  Tiger pulls out three-wood and Oosty expresses surprise.  The lays up short left of No. 8. Wow. With all that real estate right. He just seems out of rhythm. Imagine that, he's human after all!

1:08 - Was Faldo trying not to laugh when Nantz asked him what the message was he sent Goosen in 2001 at Southern Hills?  Well, I can't remember what I ate for breakfast so... 

1:12 - Tiger's massive loogey barely escapes his mouth on 8, misses cup again though. So he's got that going for him. 

1:18 - Jerry Kelly eagles 13. Fourth of the day according to Kostis. Crowd erupts in light applause. 

1:23 - Tiger buries club in ground on 9. Gets a 9.3 for technique from this judge.  Did stick the landing though.

1:29 - Retief changes from 7 to 8 on No. 12, plays it beautifully to center of the green. 

1:36 - Tiger smiles and laughs sarcastically after approach to 10. Just one of those days laugh. Oh but Retief three putts 12 while Sabbatini two putts for bird on 13 to take the lead.  

1:44 - Wow, Goosen lays up on 13. Kostis makes great point that he botched it a few years ago and that might have played into this unusual decision. Tape truck guys are probably scrambling to dig up that footage.

1:46 - Jerry Kelly misses eagle putt that would have vaulted him into second, Augusta members still squirming. 

1:50 - Sabbatini just in front of 14 green, chips way over. What was that?  

1:52 - Tiger drives it where there used to be fairway on 11, breaks club around trees. Editors in New York all begging their photographer was there. Let's hope he didn't use the club he might hit on 12.

1:56 - 74.46 scoring average at this point in the round.  

1:57 - Zach Johnson from 213 on 13: lay up. Wow. Makes Chip Beck look aggressive. 

1:59 - Sabbatini lays up on 15. Was he only 213 too? Or was Feherty referring to Zach Johnson? 

2:04 - Appleby in Rae's Creek. Tiger an easy 7 to the center of the green. 

2:06 - Zach Johnson's lay up pays off. Kostis says it was a wise move because the lie/situation didn't suit his swing. Looks like he's right, with birdie and lead. Goose and Sabbatini one back, Tiger 2 back.

2:11 - Reader Bill from Hartford just sent this thought in: "I just realized that Augusta is playing at a par 72 against the par 70 Winged Foot has.  Watching these guys get punished for good shots by the ridiculous setup, I realized the course is playing 4-6 shots (over 4 rounds) harder then Winged Foot did.   At par 70 (think USGA labels), the winner might come in at 10 over."

2:20 - Kostis after Harrington's eagle on 13: "Once again, the Masters of old has returned." Well, let's not get carried away.

2:22 - Tiger sticks it on 13 after the ball stays atop the ridge for an eternity.  Zach lays up from 251 to the hole on 15. Tiger eagles 13, moves to within 2. Oh and they change the scoreboard on 15, did Zach back off because of the roar?

2:33 - Green numbers for over par on the scoreboards? Is that new? Or just unprecedented?

2:36 - Jerry Kelly is your leader in the clubhouse at 292.  Does he go sit in a cabin and wait? Oh, sorry.

2:44 - Did they zap Verne Lundquist when Zach made the putt on 16? That was some delayed I better act excited because that may be the one they play over and over again call. Johnson looks so composed and calm.

2:47 - Nantz: "Sabbatini delivers the roar" with his birdie on 18. Aren't the CBS guys trying a little too hard to tell us about these roars?  Did they remind us about the roars in 86?

2:49 - Ahhhhhhhh....the Phil and Amy math and science ad. I'm Phil Mickelson and I'm not ashamed to work for Exxon Mobil. Warms my heart every time. And I have it digitally record to relive over and over again.

2:51 - Close up of Tiger dropping loogey on 15. He needs to learn from Sergio about dropping them in nice clean pellets, not the whole drewling look.  

2:53 - Tiger tries to hit a big cut to work around the beautifully planted trees on 15. He can thank his design mentor Tom Fazio for that. And you can hear a pin drop at Augusta. Just think, a few years ago that's an open shot and he's probably hitting the green, putting at eagle.

2:58 - Johnson misses the par putt on 17, Rose is tight on 16...

2:59 - Retief only 133 coming into 18 but from the second cut and is unable to control it, taking birdie out of the equation. The second cut bites again.

3:00 - Kostis says Mickelson's critics will say he's still haunted by Winged Foot. Phil is speechless. Afternoon light really...oh I won't go there.

3:02 - Tiger salvages par on 15 to stay at +3.

3:05 - Justin Rose birdies 16 to get to +2 one back. Johnson looses it right on 18. Not Greg Norman right though. Good chance at up and down.

3:10 - +3 boys can pack up their lockers after Zach hits it tight. Man is he composed.

3:13 - Tiger does a semi-back off on 16th hole birdie putt, then just leaves it up high on the right. Still trails by 2. Rose 1 back in 15 fairway with wood in. The tree planting strikes again. 

3:15 - Rose is dead left of 17 green, chips through the green and is at least two back. He can thank Tom Fazio and Hootie Johnson. 

3:21 - Johnson interview with Bill Macattee. Jesus with him every step of the way. He's crying. Oh the Golf Gods may take note of that. And doing more interviews. If Tiger only knew.

3:26: "Honestly, what the hell just happened. It's dead downwind." -Tiger after hitting in the bunker on 17. Wow.

3:27 - Oosterhuis speculates that something isn't right, Tiger is under the weather. Allergies maybe acting up? 

3:28 - Oosty notes indifferent sand play and softer than usual sand this week. Tiger hits a nice shot, but not in. Zach Johnson has won...oh one more hole I know. It's just that we've been thinking it was only a matter of time before he won a major!

3:31 - Tiger dejected. CBS announcers moe dejected because they've gone so long without being able to point out all the roars like the days of yonder. 

3:39 - Tiger has 134 into 18, 9 iron, misses it right. Zach Johnson is your Masters Champion. Even Nantz had trouble sounding excited saying that! 

3:45 - Tiger and Appleby finish in 4:30, about 30 minutes longer than normal right? Nantz reports that this best's Zach's previous best finish in a major: 17th. 

3:46 - Nantz just adds Zach Johnson to the list of Keiser's, Ford's, Aaron's, Coody's and Mize's to win the Masters! What a compliment. Goose bumps thankfully came during the 1960 Masters rebroadcast.

3:48 - Uh, is that a loop of an eagle or a hawk squawking in the background? Sounds like one of the fake bird sound tapes got stuck. 

3:50 - Tiger said I had to hit a "miracle shot around that tree" on 15 and just hit a "crappy shot." 

3:52 - Zach starts thanking everyone, including trainers, teachers, sponsors, and my Lord and Jesus all my credit. Is this the Daytona 500? Did he just win Best Actor? 

3:54 - "I didn't go for one par-5 in two this week." 

3:57 - Where's Marty Hackel when you need him? Zach, take the vest off! 

3:59 - Reader Jimmy is right, where's the low amateur?? 

4:01 - Well as feared, the 1960 Masters rebroadcast was much more exciting. Break out the chainsaw Billy!

Sunday
Apr082007

1960 Masters Re-broadcast Live Blog

Here goes, I've seen it once and I'm already excited again. With apologies to the international audience... 

10:33 - Goose bumps again hearing Jim McKay set the stage.

10:35 - Was Venturi injured or did he always walk like that?

10:36 - Remarkable how shallow the 18th green's rightside bunker was. And didn't Legend Films do a great job with the color of the grass? Not to fertilized. And how do they get each mower stripe!? Amazing.

10:40 - I was just about to say that these guys sure play fast, then there's Venturi standing over that 1 footer forever.

10:44 - Arnold Palmer has come into the view of our cameras.   

10:46 - Arnie misses the downhiller on 15, a little slower than today's green. Needs one birdie to tie Venturi. I like his chances. Oh and don't forget your cigarette Arnie. Thanks for pointing that out Jim McArthur! 

10:49 - Arnold leaves the flag in the hole on 16 and his birdie putt bounces out. Isn't that against the rules? ;) Readers!?

10:52 - How good does that back bunker on 16 look? Fringy edge, nice shape. Ugh. 

10:53 - Sheesh, Arnold let out enough smoke on 17 to be spotted by a weather satellite. But a nice second shot, great chance at birdie. I feel it!

11:00 - Palmer drains the birdie on 17, leaps in the air and Billy Casper taps in before the crowd settles down.  Tied with Venturi.

11:02 - McKay takes over from McArthur. He's unbelievable! Amazing how he sets the stage.

11:03 - Note how huge 18 tee was! Big, beautiful, fairway like tee. 

11:05 - Art Wall with Jim McKay. Wake up Art! Why aren't you playing this year Art? Oh, sorry, sore subject. 

11:07 - Arnold's walking over to the right. Casper stops to talk to him. What could they be talking about?? 

11:08 - Arnold almost holes the approach. The ball spins hard left by the cup! McKay goes wild. 4-5 feet for birdie.  

11:09 - Lacey edged bunkers on 18 don't look so bad, do they?

11:10 - McKay notes that Arnold's looking at the scoreboard. He knows where he stands. Great wide shot of the scene, thank you Frank Chirkinian.

11:11 - Casper goes first and misses the two-footer. Thanks Billy, great image there for Arnold. 

11:12 - Arnold backs off the putt. He hears McKay, who is near the green announcing! 

11:13 - Arnold Palmer birdies 18 and wins the 1960 Masters...again! Big smile for the cameras. "Very cooperative" says McKay! Still exciting after all these years.

11:14 - Do we get another Villages ad now with Arnold hugging Nancy Lopez? Worse, a Flomax ad.

11:15 - Sam Snead finishes +4 after chipping in on 18. And who is the young guy with him. Jack Nicklaus, "the current national amateur champion at the age of 20. A big boy and a long hitter who you're going to be hearing a lot about in the future" according to McKay.

11:16 - We go to Clifford Roberts cabin. Cliff looks like he just found out he's broke! Venturi looks horrified, so Bobby Jones is going to relive his disappoints at previous Masters. Thanks Bob!

11:18 - "With Arnold out there you can never trust him. Now I'll never trust him." -Venturi

11:19 - Arnold's as "happy as he's ever been in his life." And sorry it had to be Ken who finished second. 

11:20 - How amazing is all of the color detail on faces and hair?

11:22 - Arnold says Casper encouraged him to go and make a birdie in their conversation on 18.

11:23 - Arnold thought it was wise to leave the pin in on 16. Sheesh, stubborn until the end! 

11:28 - Wow, second time I've seen it and I still get choked up. Alright, time for the other final round!