I am no lover of the habit of giving names to holes, but the trees and shrubs which give identity to the holes at Augusta are real enough: flowering peach, magnolia--the drive is alive with them, too; yellow jasmine, Carolina cherry, camellia--never was the iron gauntlet of challenge more skillfully concealed in velvet. BOBBY JONES
Phil Casey reports on
Angel Andres* Romero's impressive comeback from his Open catastrophe to win the Deutsche Bank Players Championship, earning a 5-year European Tour exemption.
Romero began the final round two shots ahead of Scotland and was five strokes clear after four birdies and a bogey in the first seven holes. His attacking approach is always likely to lead him into trouble and it duly arrived on the 9th when he went for the island green from heavy rough but came up short in the water.
Unlike his double bogey on the 17th at Carnoustie, however, he still had plenty of time to recover and he birdied the 11th to move four clear again. However, Wilson then birdied the 16th to cut the gap and it was down to two when Romero bogeyed the same hole 30 minutes later.
Two shots clear with two to play once more, Romero this time made no mistake and sealed victory in style with a long-range birdie on the 18th.
*It was late!
"The bunkers are going to be right in play for us, much more than they seem to be for the men these days."
An unbylined (John Huggan?) Scotsman piece talks to Catriona Matthew about what the players will be facing and she has plenty of interesting things to say:
Matthew took the opportunity to reacquaint herself with the sorts of shots you just don't see on the LPGA Tour, where 'hit and stick' is generally the order of the day. Things will be very different on the Old Course.
"A lot depends on the weather, but the hardest thing for the Americans will probably be adapting to the idea of putting from so far away from the flag," she smiles. "All the little chips and pitches will be strange for them, too. Those shots are tough to practise in the States. The game is played far more on the ground in Scotland; over there, almost every shot is flown most of the way. So I suppose I have a slight advantage in that I will 'see' those types of shots more readily than someone who hasn't played in Scotland before."
It quickly became apparent that Matthew and her fellow professionals are going to be, as former US Open champion Geoff Ogilvy recently pointed out, "playing the course like we are supposed to." Where the leading men are able to either blow their drives way over the fearsome bunkers, or lay up well short of them, the shorter-hitting ladies will be forced to hit their drivers from most tees and thread their way between the hazards.
"The Old Course is going to be a fascinating test for us all," agrees Matthew. "The bunkers are going to be right in play for us, much more than they seem to be for the men these days. They seem to whack right over them. In contrast, we'll have to 'take them on' and try to manoeuvre our drives between the bunkers. Which is what it is all about around here. It is better to be hitting a wood to the green than be 50 yards farther on and in the sand."
A perfect example of this dilemma came at the 16th hole. Taking her driver, Matthew hit the perfect shot between the Principal's Nose and the out-of-bounds fence on the right. The ball, however, finished no more than five yards from the sand. So it was a risky shot. Her alternative was to lay up short and left of the bunker, leaving a longer second and less friendly angle of approach. That scenario will be fine downwind, but into the breeze, Matthew and many of her competitors will be forced to hit the longest club in the bag from the tee. It will be fascinating to watch and, inevitably, some disasters will occur.
Meanwhile Golfweek's Brad Klein authors a fascinating piece Castle Stuart developer Mark Parsinen and Donald Trump's competing projects.
Mark Parsinen and Donald Trump are worlds apart in terms of their golf aesthetics and taste, but a revival of Scottish course development has brought the two men here to embark on their most significant projects yet.
Oddly, they never have met though they share a common address, 57th Street in Manhattan; Trump’s office is a mere two blocks from Parsinen’s part-time dwelling there. But their ambitions seem destined to clash, intentionally or by fate, given the limited nature of the upscale Scottish golf travel market that both are targeting. Parsinen has examined Trump’s Aberdeen site and has some concerns about the locale, while Trump recently dispatched his deputies to size up his rival’s plans. The outcome of their matchup almost certainly lies in their distinctive approaches.
Parsinen, best known for his acclaimed creation of Kingsbarns, is working along the Moray Coast just west of the Inverness airport. He’s a devoted student of ground-hugging links golf, someone who makes every effort to incorporate local traditions and vernacular forms in his design, grassing and modest clubhouse buildings.
Trump, by contrast, is a jet-setting casino and real estate magnate with an insatiable appetite for self-promotion, whose golf preferences lean heavily toward manufactured signature holes, elaborate waterfalls, and scrutiny of course rankings to make sure his layouts get the plaudits he’s convinced they deserve.
“Don’t even call me if my course doesn’t get No. 1,” he once told a golf course critic.
There is lame hometown paper fluff, and then there's Furman Bisher transcribing what outgoing USGA President Walter Driver wants him to write.
This gem is listed under blog content at the Atlanta Journal Constitution web site (gosh I hope this didn't actually hit a printing press):
Being president of the USGA is the trophy at the end of the well-ordered ascendency of a faithful servant, from board director to general counsel to vice-president in the case of Walter Driver Jr. It’s officiated by the well-bred whose names oftimes begin with an initial, or are concluded with a Jr. or II or III. As in C. Grant Spaeth or James D. Standish Jr. Walter W. Driver Jr. was the perfect fit — especially with his awesome name.Hit the link, I did NOT insert that last line! Furman sculped that treasure all on his own.
On top of that, he was an accomplished player, scratch at the time of induction, and an alumnus of Stanford University, the pipeline which gave us such celebrated golf personages as Lawson Little, Tom Watson, Tiger Woods and Sandy Tatum.Scratch, wow, remember that later.
Arriving in Atlanta, he became a member of the distinguished firm of King & Spalding, but just two years ago switched interests to the investment firm of Goldman Sachs, Southeast manager no less.Gee Furman, why didn't you throw in a "not too shabby" to make it feel like a Macon Light and Penny Saver society column.
Twice he won the club championship at Peachtree, the shrine to golf that Bobby Jones inspired. Once he became involved in the USGA it was inevitable that he should eventually rise to the presidency, succeeding as he did a former U.S. Amateur champion, Fred Ridley. He got a forewarning of the storm ahead when at the Open at Shinnecock Hills in 2004 he served as chairman of the competition committee and took the blame for high winds, fractious weather and a course as slick as an interstate.Now he took the blame. Of course, back in June, Bisher wrote that it was a faulty weather forecast, but I guess Walter, having found that spin didn't fly, is telling his biographer that he took the blame. If you can find an apology or even an ounce of contrition in the transcripts here and here, you have been blessed with Furman Bisher's reading comprehension skills. And look who Bisher/Driver actually blames:
Truth is, he merely represented the membership; two hired staff employees, now departed, were responsible for the condition of the course, Tom Meeks and Tom Moraghan.
Tom Moraghan? Note to Bisher's editor: Google is your friend.
Driver was a susceptible target, tall, well-constructed and rather handsome in a rustic sort of way. Media were looking for a scapegoat and laid it on him, laced with an overdose of resentment.It's those rustic looks!!! The media resents! Yes, and only I could have his pot belly, would my life be complete.
By the way, well-constructed? Is there something you know Furman from personal experience? Not that there's anything wrong with that!
There was still a chorus of writers looking under rugs for reasons to indict the USGA on an unspecified charge, and Walter Driver. In the end, though, Oakmont drew a harmonious response from the competitors, sort of an unofficial gift to the outgoing president.
"Muchas gracias Senior Driver!"
He still has his favorite championship left, the Walker Cup, to be played in Northern Ireland. “That’s a championship I can get teary about,” he said.
Teary? Well-constructed men don't cry!
There have been internal matters that rattled the furniture at the USGA headquarters in Far Hills, N.J. Driver has seen fit to whittle on some of the staff benefits and came to cross swords with Marty Parkes, the senior director of communications.
There has been crossfire about equipment standards, whose terminology is like trying to translate something off a cave wall to me. Then there was the matter of travel by private jet, which, as it turned out, was a practice Fred Ridley left behind.You'd think the good folks might have come up with something better at this point than "Fred did it."
On another matter, Driver’s game has suffered. His handicap is now a plus-two.He went from scratch to plus-two as president? Ah the suffering!
Meanwhile, back at the homestead, Betty Driver counts the days.She's not the only one counting the days.
It’s sort of like the time when the kids, now grown and out, waited to get a glimpse of dad. “Work, work, work,” they would say, “golf, golf, golf, that’s all daddy does.” Reg Murphy, now a resident of Sea Island, preceded Driver in the office 12 years ago. “There are times when you need a steward and there are times when you need to change,” he told Golf World. “Walter is a change agent.” Wonder if they really understand what he’s saying in the media center, or if they’re still wondering “if the USGA can survive Walter Driver?” as Golf World headlined its report.
Wow, I need to shower now.
"It's a course where you can never play enough practice rounds and I'm so delighted I made the trip over."
Not many players pop across the Atlantic for a practice round. But Paula Creamer proved she is deadly serious about the Ricoh Women's British Open when she paid a flying visit to St Andrews earlier this year as part of her preparations.
It was further proof of the 'special' tag that every one of the world's best players is attaching to the historic first staging of a women's professional tournament at the Old Course. My goodness, they are even allowing the competitors into the male-only sanctuary of the members' locker room.
For Creamer, a typical all-American girl, victory at St Andrews would be as sweet as apple pie. It would be a first major title and a further step towards her belief that she can become the world No.1. Victory on Sunday, August 5 would also be the perfect way to celebrate her 21st birthday.
She already has good vibes about the famous links having packed three practice rounds into her April sojourn from her new home in Florida. "It was an invaluable visit," she reflected. "The course was very different from the way it looks on television.
"There are a lot of blind tee shots and the greens are a lot bigger than I imagined. Every day, the wind was blowing from a completely different direction, so that was also a great learning experience. It's a course where you can never play enough practice rounds and I'm so delighted I made the trip over."
The low moment actually came a couple of holes later. By that time the rain had gone from merely torrential to monsoon-like and my man had vindictively decided to hit his tee-shot at the short fourth into the bunker on the left side of the green. After he had splashed out to four feet or so, I had to rake the sand. Standing there, everything already soaked and with 14 holes still to play, it was hard to think back to the time when this caddying thing seemed like a good idea.He also writes about Clayton's playing companions and this exchange:
Over the course of the two days, Russell and Clayton must have covered most aspects of golf course architecture and course set-up. Hay-like rough, like that at Muirfield this week, is "pointless and boring," by the way.Meanwhile Clayton had plenty of positive things to say about Muirfield even though on television it looked terribly confining and excessively defined:
In an age when architects like Bill Coore and his partner, Ben Crenshaw, Tom Doak and Gil Hanse are building some of the most beautiful bunkers since the nineteen twenties and thirties, Muirfield has some of the least impressive looking bunkers of any great golf course. Some like the bunker short and left of the 10th green would not be out of place on the most basic of public courses yet every single bunker is perfectly placed to influence both shots and decisions.
The greens are one of the best sets to be found and they are brilliantly tied into the surrounding ground and without being overly severe they demand that you putt from the right side of the hole and approach from the correct side of the fairway.
The holes are routed unusually with the opening nine going clockwise all the way around the outside of the inward nine but unlike Troon it's difficult to determine which half is the more difficult which is a comment on how well the course is balanced so that it favours no particular type of player.
Length is of no great advantage, rather placement and the ability to make the right decision are rewarded at Muirfield and whilst it may not appear so special at first glance it is one of the purest golf courses one can find and its promise is that it will ask fascinating but different questions every day and one never grows tired of the rare and special courses that do that for us.
"If I’m sitting in the stands I don’t want to see bogeys, double bogeys and quadruple bogeys, I want to see birdies.”
Outspoken Gary Player had some sharp words for the Royal & Ancient yesterday, accusing them of making the Seniors Open at Muirfield tougher than the course Padraig Harrington and Co had to take on at Carnoustie in the main Open Championship last weekend.
The South African, back at Muirfield 48 years after his first Open triumph in 1959, said: “It’s surprised me they’ve made the seniors so much more difficult than the regular British Open. The rough must be five or six times higher. The standard of play is extremely high yet it’s projecting that the players are not all that good. We’re trying to build up the European senior tour and the wrong message has been sent out. If I’m sitting in the stands I don’t want to see bogeys, double bogeys and quadruple bogeys, I want to see birdies.”
Monty scored some serious points for pointing out one of the silliest things in all of golf: the Scottish Open played on a distinctly American course. Imagine the field they would get if played on a links instead of a lush, inland slog. Well, players are starting to take notice as Mike Aitken reports:
"Yes, I would consider not playing in the Scottish Open at Loch Lomond," said Monty after coaching a group of children as part of the Scottish Executive's clubgolf initiative. "Hopefully, the public wouldn't go against me in that view. It just so happens that the event falls in a great date the week before the Open; but on a course, in terms of preparation, which is not quite right.
"If you think about the play-off at Loch Lomond, where Phil Mickelson was playing OK, even though his driver wasn't great, and Gregory Havret, came through to win, both men subsequently missed the cut at Carnoustie. It's a very different format at Loch Lomond, where it's like playing on clay in tennis, and then going to compete the following week on grass. They are two different forms of competition. You wouldn't find Roger Federer practising for Wimbledon on a clay court the week before. He warms up on grass.
"The best decision Harrington ever made was to play links golf the week before Carnoustie and I think you might find a number of players before Birkdale next summer doing something similar. We've all pencilled in Loch Lomond, but that might not be [next year]. I know Luke Donald has said he will need to consider his preparation next time. I'm not saying anything against the event or the course or the sponsors Barclays, who are all fantastic.
"But it's not preparation for the Open. We're practising on a course that's very different from the one we're playing the following week. The balance isn't there. In terms of preparation [for the Open], it's only five out of ten. But we play for a lot of money [£3 million], a lot of Ryder Cup points and it's very difficult to say 'no' and take that particular week off in the middle of July. But it certainly paid dividends for Harrington."
Trevor Immelman, quoted by Len Ziehm in the Chicago Sun Times, talking about the FedEx Cup:
''I'm paying attention now because I'm just outside the top 30,'' he said. ''This is the point where players start paying attention to it. There's a buzz in the locker room regarding the point system. Everyone wants to be a part of it.''That's right, the
While the system has its critics, Immelman said the players have gotten behind it.
''The point system is what it is,'' he said. ''The guys embraced it because the decision [to use it] has been made. We need to go ahead to make this a success, and everything the PGA Tour has done has been a success.''
Ed Sherman looked at the likelihood of players entering all of the playoff events after sweating out half their body weight in Tulsa and Akron.
The PGA Tour is hopeful. It knows if Woods and Mickelson don't buy in at 100 percent, the FedEx Cup will feel more like the Standard Mail Cup.
"We want to see how it plays out," said Bob Combs, a senior vice president for the PGA Tour. "The top players have said they will play the entire stretch. You may have a player opt to sit out an event, but they will be putting their position at risk [in the playoffs]."
Of course, haven't we been told that they would be putting their position at risk unless they played more often? That doesn't seem like it's happening. Not yet anyway.
Hey, that Tour de France is going well isn't it!?
If you have HBO, don't miss the latest episode of Costas Now that had Barry Bonds foaming at the mouth. Because if you're on the fence about the need for a drug testing policy in golf, the mess in baseball or the Tour de France might be put into better perspective.
Golf World's Ron Sirak dealt with the issue that many outside of golf have tackled, namely the disarray in sports right now and the possible reprecussions for golf. The New York Times's George Vecsey also considered this crisis in sports but didn't mention golf. However, he did question when fans would have enough, and I'm starting to wonder how many golf fans are growing suspicious each time a famous player or announcer launches into one of those "golf is a game of honor therefore there is no cheating" speeches.
Vecsey also makes this point, which Tim Finchem might want to note next time he is going on the record that he thinks testing is unnecessary (my money is on NEVER AGAIN, but you just never know!):
The ashen looks on the faces of three of America’s sports commissioners indicate that they know they are in the same shaky state as the commissars who indulged doping in cycling over the past generations and are now paying the price in public shame.Meanwhile Gary Player went on a little tirade, defending himself at this week's Senior British Open from the many criticisms lobbed his way about how dare he accuse someone of cheating!! Of course, as Player points out, how is it cheating when there is no rule against it (the key point for me in Bonds's case as discussed in the Costas show.
Player, from The Scotsman's Mike Aitken:
After signing for 72, one shot more than his age in the Senior Open at Muirfield yesterday, Player was in no mood to back down about his drug cheat claims. "I was shocked by his [Alliss'] comments because he doesn't know anything about it [drugs in golf]," said the winner of nine majors. "He clearly doesn't know anything about it. But why was he saying I was a 71-year-old man as if I was in my grave? I could reply and say a 75-year-old man should be au fait with what was happening. He just has no idea.Uh, I'm not so sure about that last one. Does anyone have a link that clarifies what went on in France? I couldn't find anything.
"He also wanted to know why I hadn't named the players [on drugs]. Someone said to me 'what do you think about human growth hormone?' and then asked for my word not to ever mention what he's doing. He told me he was trying it. My advice to him was he shouldn't do it. Am I then going to go and mention names when someone has spoken to me in confidence? If I did that, they would crucify those guys. Perhaps justly so, because the average man doesn't know [golf doesn't have a drugs policy]."
Player also said he was taken aback when his remarks were reported so prominently. "I was very surprised by the reaction because this is what the golfing bodies have been saying and the game has been highly criticised by the Olympic committee as the last sport to have a policy on drugs. Tiger Woods and other top players have also been calling for testing, so why the big fuss when I say something ?
"The thing I'm saying is we've got to have a policy. I had dinner in Geneva with one of the Olympic committee and when I made my comments at Carnoustie, Dick Pound [head of the world anti-doping agency] was very complimentary.
"Lots of golfers have taken things like beta blockers and many have said so. Right now in golf there is no cheating because it doesn't ban anything. Others sports have a policy, we don't. It's like the baseball player Mark McGuire who took creotine until they said you can't. Once we start testing, the ones who are taking things are going to stop. That's the beautiful thing about having a policy.
"We shouldn't be the last sport to do it but we are. Mark McNulty told me something interesting. In France, they held a tournament several years ago which was government sponsored, so they tested for drugs. When that was announced, 20 withdrew ..."
Mike Clayton is filing daily reports on his Senior British Open appearance. You can read the first two, including this summary of his first round 80:
This is a summer (at least that's what the calendar says it is) like no other and if you drive it in the rough the guarantee is you will find three or four of the member's balls before you find your own.
You don't want to hear about my miserable 80 and it certainly it's not worth talking about other than to say my only excuse was one John Huggan on the bag.
Wow, but look at his technique. One arm crossing over the other resting lazily on the bag to hand Mike the driver. Such enthusiasm! Your captions please...
Because I know you were very worried about that IRS issues the Shark faced on his jet sale, you'll be glad to know it's about to be resolved, sparing us of a brand-diminishing trial in which...oh we'll never know.
Liam Kelly auditions as Padraig Harrington's ghostwriter by penning this breathless Belfast Telegraph take on the new Open Championship winner's potential earnings.
Clean-cut hero Pádraig Harrington can comfortably smash the €100m barrier in lifetime earnings after his historic British Open victory at Carnoustie.Ahhh, now the fun...
Winning the Open Championship means that Pádraig Harrington Inc becomes a global brand and elevates the 35-year-old to a new level of financial worth.
The Dubliner, who proved nice guys can win Major titles, could sit back and let the cheques roll in for the rest of his career.
Remember that John Daly, winner of two Majors, admits to having gambled away €48m as part of a chaotic lifestyle.
That's not going to happen to Harrington whose image reflects the real thing - he's open, honest, reliable, responsible, hardworking, level-headed, articulate and a good family man.
Jeese, does he rescue dogs from burning buildings too? Can we get him a Mutual of Omaha campaign?
Throw 'successful champion golfer' into that mix and it's a licence to print money.
Kelly was out of breath at this point, so he let someone at IMG take over:
Roddy Carr, a former professional who was an executive with IMG, knows the sports marketing business inside out. He would not put a figure on Harrington's potential - "Adrian Mitchell is his manager and you'd have to ask him that" - but he was unequivocal about the new Champion's marketability.
"Start multiplying . . . for a start this victory establishes Pádraig as an iconic athlete in Ireland for the rest of his lifetime. At 80 years of age he will still be endorseable.
Padraig can look forward to Cialis or Depends ads.
"Even if he never wins another Major, he will always have that special status in Ireland. But you also have to realise this achievement qualifies him for elite status in global markets.
"Pádraig is almost 36 now and he's fit as a fiddle. He could have 20 more years playing and earning at a high level and he's a perfect long term investment for sponsors," he said.
"The great thing about Pádraig is that he won't be blown away by all this and go chasing money for its own sake.
No, that'll be for the agents to do.
With that in mind, reader NRH noticed something funny about
NFL Sports Illustrated's "Leading Off" photo of Sergio Garcia's missed 72nd hole par putt.
It appears Driver was so caught up in the historic conclusion to one of the most thrilling final rounds ever, he just had to sneak a peak at his beloved device!
You be the judge (click on image to enlarge):
"Sergio Garcia has...cultivated the most laughable persecution complex this side of fellow divas Paris Hilton and Lindsey Lohan."
While reading Geoff Russell's Golf World Front Nine this evening, he reminded me of Sergio's cup-spitting incident and suddenly my sympathies subsided. I didn't even feel bad for him after this thrashing from Steve Elling at Sportsline:
For years, Sergio Garcia has manufactured thin excuses, pointed fingers elsewhere and cultivated the most laughable persecution complex this side of fellow divas Paris Hilton and Lindsey Lohan. Mostly, the sporting public has cut him some slack, because he was young and frustrated and playing in the shadow of Tiger Woods.And...
After last weekend's dive into the wallowing waters of self-pity, Garcia has faced excoriation on a global scale like no other top pro since Greg Norman. But of course, the Shark was consistently gracious in defeat, the consummate sportsman. Norman, as a rule, fell on his sword after his major-championship disasters, and many fans felt compassion, not scorn.
But Garcia, the preening and coddled superstar, deflects his shortcomings elsewhere. It recalls the scene in a locker room at another major championship a few years back, when Garcia was spotted repeatedly adjusting the rake of his cap before he left to play that day. Maybe if he had instead spent time looking at the man in the mirror, instead of the lid on his head, he'd find the source of his problems. Style trumps substance again.
Incomprehensively, at age 27, he lacks the maturity to realize that bad breaks, real or perceived, are why golf is the most brutal mental sport of all. Moreover, being accountable means more than just adding up a score at the end of the round.
Yet for the most notorious flirt on the PGA Tour, Lady Luck remains the lone woman in golf to escape his embrace, and it's driving him psycho.
Okay, that's not exactly what Rory said, but Norman Dabell writes that Sabbatini wants Gary Player to name names when making steroid accusations. Perhaps so that the South African great will be even more disliked than his young countryman.
"If you're going to say something, don't say half of it, either be quiet and let things be or spill the beans," Sabbatini told a news conference on the eve of the Players' Championship of Europe near Hamburg.
"I don't believe there are guys that are doing that."
This was also interesting, and yet more evidence that Niclas Fasth actually ponders these issues before he speaks.
Fasth, though, thought drugs in golf, which is not based on the power and strength required for sports that have frequently been caught up in doping scandals such as cycling and athletics, could still give some an unfair advantage.
"Certain drugs make you calmer and lower the pulse rate, so they would have their place in golf as much, if not more, than any other sport," Fasth told a news conference.
"It would be hugely disappointing to me if I was having a tough battle down the closing holes and my opponent had taken drugs to help him."
ALMATY, July 25 (Reuters) - The Kazakhstan Open will debut on the European Tour next year, elevating the first professional golf tournament in the oil-rich Central Asian country to main-tour status after three seasons on the junior circuit.
"Next year the tournament will be co-sanctioned by the Challenge and European Tours," tournament director Konstantin Lifanov told Reuters on Wednesday.
"But staring from 2009, we will be part of the main European Tour with total prize money of over 2 million euros ($2.76 million)."
Held at the picturesque Nurtau golf course near the commercial capital Almaty, the Kazakhstan Open made its professional debut in 2005 as the richest event on the Challenge Tour with 250,000 euros in prize money, increasing each year.
The U.S. golf publications posted the best of their Open coverage much faster than usual.
John Hawkins, with this fun anecdote in his Golf World game story:
"When we first started working together, he said, 'Everything has always come hard for me,' " said sports psychologist Bob Rotella, whom Harrington has been seeing for five years. "Then on the putting green [between the end of regulation and the playoff], he reminded me. He said, 'See? I told you. Nothing comes easy for me.' "
Brett Avery's stat package (PDF file) is now posted and though I prefer to savor this in print, I snuck a peak at his "Cool Stat" and "Fast Facts" and thought this probably explained why the bookies had Padraig at a surprisingly high 24-to-1:
Padraig Harrington had missed the cut in seven of his last 11 starts in major championships.
There is also an interesting chart of recent World Ranking positions of major winners. Though Avery didn't include an average for each major and I think I know why: Ben Curtis's win from the 396th spot severely skews the numbers.
Jaime Diaz not surprisingly refuses to do a standard goodbye to Seve piece, and instead juxtaposes the young Seve with the young Sergio.
Ballesteros -- sometimes petty in his battles with the PGA and European tours, often arrogant in his bearing -- has somehow always possessed dignity, all the more because he has suffered. It was the enduring image of his farewell British Open performance last year at Hoylake. Battling his way to scores of 74-77, Ballesteros' uncomplaining intensity in the face of overwhelming obstacles, as his 16-year-old son, Baldomero, carried his bag, was a father's stoic lesson in character.
Garcia, 27, who is winless on any tour since 2005, is now learning in earnest all about the suffering the game can impose, and his dignity is in development. The two men certainly possess some things in common. Both were prodigies. Both have wonderful artistry and flair.
Tim Rosaforte takes time away from this television work to pen a nice summary of No. 18's various antics.
Bill Fields pens another of his enjoyable essays, though I stopped reading after page one because as with the stat foldout, I prefer to read this in print. Still, this note about Ernie Els's wife Liezl caught my eye.
He drove poorly at the second but recovered to save par. Routine pars at Nos. 4 and 5 were followed by a birdie at the par-5 sixth. Recording every shot was Els' wife, Liezl, who I first noticed by the fourth green. Most partners are constant presences watching their men play golf, but Liezl does more than watch. A tall, sandy-haired woman who married Ernie in 1998, she has been plotting the details of Ernie's major-championship rounds since the 1996 PGA Championship at Valhalla CC in Louisville.
Using a mechanical pencil on a 5-by-8-inch notebook, she records every shot played by her husband and his fellow competitors on diagrams of the holes that she has sketched earlier.
Liezl got the idea from the British artist Harold Riley when Els and Nick Faldo were playing a match at Leopard Creek in South Africa in the mid-1990s. "He told us -- it was Brenna [Cepelak] and me -- that it would be a fun job for us to record every round they played," Liezl explained.
Did Harold also suggest that Brenna try taking a 9-iron to Nick's Porsche? Pathetic, I know, but it was just there...
"I knew I couldn't do it every tournament, so I decided to do it at the majors. It's still quite a stack, spread over three houses. I'm trying to get them all in one place."
She downplayed her efforts -- "Harold's work is beautiful; mine is just a record," she said -- and volunteered that Ernie never looks at the notebooks. When I suggested they might fetch a nice sum for a favorite charity some day, she said she would keep the archive in the family. "It's a keepsake, something I'll pass on to my children [Samantha, 8, and Ben, 4]. I'm a little worried about them fading away, since they're in pencil, but somebody told me there is something I can spray on them to preserve them."
King of the obvious, master of the cliche, spinner of swing jargon — Jed Clampett would be better.