The audience in the theatre, looking over the footlights, view the play as do most of the gallery following the experts of golf. However, back-stage, there are a few eyes critically regarding the play from an entirely different angle. For many years I have preferred to observe golf shots from backstage, as it were. Seeing a man whack a golf ball is of little interest to me, and frequently it is a performance that had better be missed. That which concerns me most is where the ball lands and what it does after. A.W. TILLINGHAST
According to this week’s issue, Jeff Babineau has “stepped aside” for Harmon, the deputy editor.
The item says Babineau will be returning to covering the PGA Tour. I had originally posted Babineau's very classy farewell editor to the staff that made the rounds, but Babineau took exception and I removed it even as the same letter was quoted in Golfweek’s story on his departure. The item in the magazine says he will be covering the PGA Tour full time.
Except, perhaps, if the guy who called him Stevie calls.
From an unbylined AP story:
Asked if he would be prepared to work with Woods again, Williams said "he's definitely someone I'd consider."
"He's a tremendous talent, but it's hard to say right now because it's only two weeks since I've hung up the clubs," Williams said.
And I’m pretty sure at this pace Pope Francis is next on someone’s list.
Here's a quick roundup of those nominated or discouraged from taking the currently mythical job of helping Team USA not embarrass itself at future Ryder Cups...
Gary Williams says former Deutsche Bank CEO Seth Waugh would be an agent for change capable of bringing a “cache of humility” to solve Team USA’s various issues. I can't disagree, though I'm not sure the problems Team USA face are worth wasting the time of an ex-CEO who could probably make greater societal contributions than ensuring millionaires tell millionaires if they are playing afternoon foursomes.
Doug Ferguson nominates no one but is clear who should not take the job: Paul Azinger. Why? Because “his reputation only grows each time the Americans fail. Why would he want to risk that when there is no guarantee of reward?”
Jay Coffin wants us to take a Team USA basketball approach and look to someone like former Suns owner and dour personality extraordinaire Jerry Colangelo to structure the Golf USA model. Why not the Pope?
Beth Ann Baldry with the latest silliness regarding unsigned scorecards, an all-timer at LPGA Tour Q-School where Holly Clyburn was the victim after playing partner Justine Lee did not deliver the all-important second signature to validate Clyburn’s round. Now the Englishwoman leaves with her career jeopardized for no good reason whatsoever.
From Baldry's report:
Sue Witters, the LPGA’s vice president of rules and competition, said volunteers in the scoring tent told Clyburn that the addition on her card was good and then Clyburn slid the card over to Australian amateur Justine Lee to get a second signature.
“Justine just flat out whiffed it,” Witters said.
Lee, who wrapped up her final season at Arizona State in May, was frustrated after an opening 78, according to Witters, and got into a heated discussion with a volunteer in the scoring tent when the two couldn’t agree on her total score.
As much as we loved having the chance to watch the excess of commercial breaks live instead of on tape delay with our DVR's, ratings for the Ryder Cup took a big drop compared to the domestic 2012 event when the telecasts aired at a more civilized hour in much of the States.
Paulsen at Sports Media Watch with a report that doesn't fully consider the differences between 2014 and 2012, but still notes many near historic ratings lows for the 2014 event that, it should be noted, saw unprecedented live coverage from Europe in terms of hours and a first-ever absence of tape-delay.
NBC earned a 1.6 final rating and 2.2 million viewers for Sunday coverage of the Ryder Cup, down 58% in ratings and 60% in viewership from 2012 (3.8, 6.0M) and down 24% in both measures from 2010, the last time the tournament took place from Europe (2.1, 2.9M).
Saturday coverage drew a 1.4 and 1.9 million, down 53% in ratings and 55% in viewership from 2012 and down 22% and 27%, respectively, from 2010 (1.8, 2.6M). This year marked the first time that NBC has aired live Saturday coverage of a European Ryder Cup.
This year’s tournament produced the two lowest rated Ryder Cup telecasts since at least 1997, and almost certainly the two lowest rated ever on NBC (dates back to 1991). Individual ratings prior to ’97 were not available, but NBC’s two-day coverage averaged a 2.5 rating in 1991, a 3.8 in 1993 and a 4.1 in 1995 — making it unlikely that any individual telecast dipped as low as this year’s 1.4 and 1.6.
Golf Channel averaged a 0.5 rating for 11 hours of day one coverage on Friday, down 67% from the 2012 tournament on ESPN (1.5). Keep in mind the 2012 Ryder Cup took place in the U.S. and thus had a much better timeslot; ESPN aired coverage from 8:00-7:30 PM ET, compared to 2:30 AM-1:30 PM on Golf Channel this year.
Golf Channel's press release uses better short term comparisions, especially as it relates to Friday's coverage.
In total, the three days of coverage on Golf Channel and NBC, in which the European team defeated the U.S. team, 16 ½ to 11 ½ , reached more than 18.5 million unique viewers, which represents 12.5% of U.S. TV households, according to Nielsen Fast Nationals.
Ryder Cup Day One: Golf Channel
· Golf Channel’s Day One coverage marked the network’s debut as the exclusive Day One U.S. television source of this international rivalry. Golf Channel ranked as the No. 1 rated and most-watched sports network on Friday after the network posted its highest-rated total day in three years, and second-highest rated day of all time, with a delivery of a 0.37 U.S. HH RTG and 494,000 viewers per minute. This rating was +517% vs. comparable coverage in 2012 from Medinah Country Club in Illinois; +640% vs. 2010 from Celtic Manor Resort in Wales; and +517% vs. 2006 from The K Club in Ireland.
· Golf Channel’s Day One live coverage, from 2:30 a.m. to 1:27 p.m. ET, delivered a 0.52 U.S. HH RTG across 11 hours of coverage, peaking at a 0.81 U.S. HH RTG for the last hour.
· The last three hours of Golf Channel’s coverage from 10:30 a.m. to 1:27 p.m. ET was up 6% (0.76 U.S. HH RTG) and higher for average viewers (979,000) versus comparable live Ryder Cup coverage in 2010 on ESPN from 11:50 a.m. to 2:11 p.m ET (0.72 U.S. HH RTG; 976,000). Since ESPN’s coverage in 2010 was interrupted by rain earlier in the telecast, these windows of live golf serve as the best head-to-head comparison of past live coverage of a Ryder Cup Day One hosted at a European venue.
Ryder Cup Day Two:
· Golf Channel on NBC’s live coverage of Saturday’s matches delivered a 1.4 U.S. HH RTG, 1.9 million average viewers (7 a.m. to 1 p.m. ET). This is the first time live coverage was provided of Day Two of the Ryder Cup from a European venue, therefore there are no comparables.
· Golf Channel on NBC’s live Day Two coverage was the most-watched, non-football sports telecast on Saturday.
Ryder Cup Day Three:
· Golf Channel on NBC’s live coverage of Sunday’s matches delivered a 1.6 U.S. HH RTG, 2.2 million average viewers (7 a.m. to 12:40 p.m. ET).
· Golf Channel on NBC’s live Day Three coverage was the second most-watched, non-football sports telecast on Sunday, behind ESPN’s NASCAR Sprint Cup Dover 400, which aired partially in primetime
Congratulations to the host of the 2016 PGA Championship and many other majors.
For Immediate Release...
BALTUSROL GOLF CLUB RECEIVES NATIONAL HISTORIC LANDMARK DESIGNATION
Statement by Joseph Tato
President, Baltusrol Golf Club
SPRINGFIELD, N.J. (October 1, 2014) - On behalf of the members of Baltusrol Golf Club, we are honored to be designated a National Historic Landmark. Our membership recognizes the importance of this designation and that it is bestowed only after a thorough, exhaustive analysis by the Department of the Interior's National Park Service Landmarks Program. Baltusrol's Dual Courses, completed in 1922 and known as the Lower and Upper Courses, are truly historic accomplishments and important designs of Golden Age golf course architect A.W. Tillinghast.
We recognize that with this designation comes responsibility. Over the years, our membership has worked to maintain and preserve the design integrity of our Tillinghast courses. One of our Club's responsibilities is the stewardship of our golf courses and Clubhouse consistent with Baltusrol's distinct place in American golf history. We also recognize our responsibility to maintain appropriate environmental standards, so that our courses will be preserved and enjoyed by future generations.
We are grateful to have been designated a National Historic Landmark, and to join Merion Golf Club, Oakmont Country Club and Pinehurst as the only golf courses to achieve landmark status. We thank the National Park Service and the Department of the Interior which understood the importance of maintaining our historic site for future generations. In addition, I would like to acknowledge and thank Baltusrol's Communications & Club History Committee, and in particular our Club Historians Rick Wolffe and Bob Trebus, for their persistent efforts and diligence, and the Boards of Governors, over the last ten years in making this honor a reality.
The comedian Matty Blake and Ahmad Rashad filmed this spot and it was posted online to get you to call your cable provider to beg for the Back9 Network to appear on your network. Ahmad drinking gamers will be sad to learn there were not references to Tiger, MJ or Barack, but Christmas can't come every day!
Something tells me this will not motivate many to pick up phones except to the Defense Department to nominate it for clip most likely to cause a prisoner to crack.
Predictably, there has been a terrific overreaction in Columbus and beyond to the body slam of an on-field rusher who turned out to be an Evans Scholar.
**Update: above headline modified as the Dispatch story and another AP story reported his scholarship has been lost, but as reader John noted in the comments section, the Evans people have issued a statement announcing their investigation and the young man's status pending that outcome. Hopefully cooler heads will prevail. Continue original post...
In a comical-if-it-weren't-so-overblown story from the Columbus Dispatch, Allison Manning reports on Anthony Wunder's court appearance and the news that he is no longer in the Evans Scholar program as a result of a few minutes of stupidity that will now haunt him from life. He forgot that Ohio State football is a religion and any crime pertaining to it carries special circumstances, even though the body slam was more than enough punishment.
According to his attorney...
Collins said that Wunder was told yesterday by the Evans Scholars program that Wunder has lost his scholarship with the program.
Collins also said that Wunder is no longer living in the Evans Scholars house.
Collins, however, said that Wunder remains enrolled at Ohio State. He is a fourth-year student in a five-year engineering program, Collins said.
The nonprofit Evans Scholars Foundation gives academic awards to college students who have served as golf caddies.
Longtime readers know of my affinity for peculiar golf course names and, in particular, the grabbing of any old title and slapping National on its backside, as if that'll class the joint up. So the recent news of a Mickelson National sounded like another doozy until you heard what the developers were originally going to call the to-be-built course west of Calgary.
From John Strege's report:
The course originally was going to be known as Copithorne Club, named for the original landowners of the property. But people had trouble spelling Copithorne, Ehlert said, which made it problematic on the branding front.
“We thought it would be much easier having a name that people could find,” Ehlert said. “We were talking to Phil’s team and said, ‘what if he was Phil’s name associated with it?’ They contemplated it and agreed to it. We believe there will only be one Mickelson National in Canada.” Or likely anywhere else, for that matter.
And there was this quote, for your roll-back-the-ball clipping files.
“We’re not set on 8,000 yards,” Ehlert said. “When Phil gets on site, it ould end up being 7,600 yards. The original routing ended up being almost 8,000 yards. But whether it’s 7,600, 7,700 or 7.800 yards, whatever it is, first and foremost it will be a course that the members play every day.”
Thanks to reader Phil for Michael Rand’s Star Tribune story talking to 2016 Ryder Cup general chair Patrick Hunt who reveals the committee’s dilemmas (subdued or not closing ceremony?) after visiting the Ryder Cup at Gleneagles.
And he drops a bombshell for those of us planning on Hazeltine National’s famous 16th serving as a key hole in match conclusions.
On the course, the most interesting aspect is that Hazeltine will reroute how the course plays. Players will start on what have traditionally been holes 1-4, then jump to 14-18, then back to 10-13, before finishing on 5-9.
With fewer players in the field than in a traditional tournament, that layout allows for better flow, Hunt said.
“It allows more people to be on the closing holes and to get off the golf course,” he said.
Many admire Captain Paul McGinley's attention to detail but does there become an eye-roll, oy-vey, get-a-life, winning isn't everything moment?
After reading Doug Ferguson's story about the European Tour allowing the captain to control early round pairings to help players from say, Team Lake Nona, get to know those playing the actual European Tour, is, a tad excessive.
Graeme McDowell and Victor Dubuisson playing together in the French Open was no accident.
McGinley wanted them for foursomes at Gleneagles, and they wound up winning both their matches.
"I was able to get Victor and Graeme on the same page," he said. "I controlled the draws on the European Tour during the summer, and every time Graeme came to play in Europe, he played with Victor. They didn't know what I was planning, but I had planned that they would be partners."
The Back9Network officially launched on Monday, and former Morning Drive host and Pastel HOFamer Ahmad Rashad stopped by "The Turn" to promote his cleverly titled show, "Ahmad Rashad."
Rashad was asked about his dream foursome (why didn't I think of that!) and the infamous name dropper managed to get in nods to Tiger, MJ and recent golfing buddy Barack Obama...all in one segment specially wrapped for the Ahmad drinking gamers and bingo boarders who've missed him.
For your consideration...
In separate conversations with Rex Hoggard of GolfChannel.com and Mark Lamport-Stokes of Reuters, PGA of America President Ted Bishop wisely admitted to the organization already re-thinking their approach to the Ryder Cup after a series of hiccups that may have tainted the USA experience this year, starting with a premature points cut-off, maybe premature captain's picks and Captain Tom Watson's old-school approach.
Interestingly, the man most mentioned as wanting to at least have a say in the captaincy structure going forward, Paul Azinger, didn't return a call when Bishop phoned before Watson was picked.
From Hoggard's report:
Before that, Bishop said he spoke with many former captains, including Davis Love III, Corey Pavin and Lanny Wadkins. He even reached out to Paul Azinger, the last winning American captain in 2008, but “never heard back from him.”
It also sounds like the PGA's desire to have a former major winner pilot the team is no longer a requirement.
“That decision will be made by someone other than me, but at this point the slate is totally clear. Why wouldn’t you consider him?” Bishop said. “A Ryder Cup captain doesn’t have to be a major champion. We have to get over that. We have to look for guys who are not afraid to roll their sleeves up and take a blue collar approach like McGinley did and Azinger did.”
Before Bishop went back to work on Tuesday afternoon, he offered one final thought that seemed apropos considering the criticism Watson and the PGA has received in the aftermath of last week’s blowout.
“I think the PGA of America is willing to change from a certain stand point,” he said. “We are willing to try to put all the appropriate pieces into place to collectively make a good decision going forward.”
From Lamport-Stokes we learn Bishop's view that the captain's picks might need to move to after the Tour Championship and his take on Mickelson's viewpoint about captains, which, at least publicly, isn't quite as shocked as you might expect.
"You know what, that was no surprise to me because I had a very similar conversation with Phil when we played together in the pro-am at the Scottish Open back in July at Royal Aberdeen.
"I had asked Phil a question about his perception of the Ryder Cup and he gave me the same answer that he gave on Sunday night, so it's clear to me that he feels very strongly about that."
Bishop, whose PGA of America organization represents more than 27,000 golf professionals, felt Mickelson's biggest mistake was not to speak out earlier, and in private with Watson.
"It would have been nice if he had maybe conveyed those feelings to Tom before the Ryder Cup rather than after the Ryder Cup," said Bishop. "And I wish he wouldn't have done it in that venue on Sunday night, but it is what it is.
Tim Rosaforte discusses what Mickelson’s message to the PGA of America and Tom Watson and captures some of the emotions involved for the various folks and also clarifies why Mickelson was not on the team jet (well, something about business meetings which is jargon for, I don't want to be on the same plane with a bunch of people I shouldn't have to fly to the Ryder Cup with).
Apparently he hasn't watched Midnight Run in a while, otherwise Tiger would recall that restaurants are a very, very tricky business.
Kristin Hunter in the Palm Beach Post reports on his forthcoming, The Woods Jupiter: Sports and Dining Club, set for an early 2015 opening.
“I envision a place where people can meet friends, watch sports on TV and enjoy a great meal,” Woods said in a statement. “I wanted to build it locally where I live and where it could help support the community.”
Design plans are still being finalized for The Woods Jupiter, but the 5,900-square-foot restaurant will have a “prime location” in the new development, next to the amphitheater and marina.
It’ll include outdoor seating and also have its own valet roundabout to accommodate patrons, developer Nick Mastroianni II said Tuesday.
Ron Kroichick reports that the 2015 World Golf Championships-Cadillac Match Play will be sponsored by the automobile maker, also the sponsor of the World Golf Championships-Cadillac Championship in March at Doral. It is believed this is a one-year deal.
The press release also resolved television coverage, with NBC/Golf Channel taking what used to be a CBS week on the schedule when the Wells Fargo was played.
As part of this announcement, Golf Channel and NBC have also been announced as host broadcasters of the event. Golf Channel will air the first three days of round-robin play live in primetime Wednesday through Friday. On Saturday, Golf Channel will air the Round of 16 live on Saturday afternoon leading into NBC’s coverage of the quarterfinal matches live in prime time on Saturday night. On Sunday, Golf Channel will air live coverage of the semi-final matches leading into NBC's live coverage of the championship and consolation matches on Sunday afternoon.
In a big surprise, Humana will be ending their sponsorship of the tournament formally known as the Hope, bowing out after 2015 despite an agreement that Larry Bohannan reports, was signed through 2019. Even more bizarre is what a good fit the company and event seemed to have, arguably the best "synergy" of sponsor, event theme and host (Bill Clinton) on the PGA Tour. The Clinton Foundation remains involved.
From Bohannan's report, see if you can translate the corporatespeak:
But Humana, based in Louisville, Ky., and the tour say that a changing business environment for the healthcare company led Humana to exercise an opt-out clause in the deal after the 2015 event, to be played Jan. 22-25 at three courses in La Quinta.
"Humana's business is changing rapidly. As we continue to shift toward a direct-to-consumer focus, we have to align our marketing and sponsorship commitments to areas that are the best fit for our business, brand and members," Tom Noland, senior vice president for corporate communications for Humana, says in a statement that will announce the end of the sponsorship deal Monday.
Tim Rosaforte, who reported being in contact via text message with Phil Mickelson Saturday night of the Ryder Cup, writes in Golf World that Mickelson learned of his Saturday afternoon benching after warming up and via text message by Captain Tom Watson.
Granted, Jose Maria Olazabal had trouble communicating such things in 2012, but the idea that Mickelson wasn't worthy of an explanation or even prepared that he might be benched all day might explain what inspired Sunday's press conference comments.
Alan Shipnuck's assessment of Watson's work in contrast to that of Paul McGinley is less than gentle.
Watson made little effort to get to know his charges or do any team building beyond a few get-off-my-lawn speeches. He was a remote and disengaged figure in the run-up to the Cup, and once the competition began, he had little understanding of how his players were feeling, physically or emotionally. (It didn’t help that two of his vice captains -- Ray Floyd, 72, and Andy North, 64 -- are decades removed from playing the Tour and the third, Steve Stricker, 47, is now a part-timer.)
While Watson’s counterpart Paul McGinley, 47, was meticulously prepared, having spent years seeking the counsel of his players over long dinners and b.s. sessions on the range, Watson seemed to be making up his pairings willy-nilly. A series of botched decisions for the Friday-afternoon foursomes had a cascading effect that led him to bench his putative team leader, Phil Mickelson, and Bradley, the guy who could have been the team’s emotional juggernaut, for both Saturday sessions. (To that point they had teamed to go 4–1 in the Ryder Cup.) These proud major champions were understandably wounded by the slight, but according to a team insider, what left them more upset was the heartless way Watson delivered the news.
Shipnuck also writes about his inability to talk to PGA of America President Ted Bishop following the press conference regarding the selection process and shares this about Watson.
A veteran of multiple U.S. teams told me in the aftermath, “A lot of s--- went on behind the scenes that people don’t know about. It will all leak out eventually. People talk about Hal Sutton and Lanny Wadkins, but Watson is going to be remembered as 10 times worse.”
John Hawkins puts Mickelson's remarks into context and believes that long term the candidness will benefit the American side.
Not only does this apply to Watson, whose shortcomings as both a captain and communicator turned PGA of America president Ted Bishop’s outside-the-box experiment into a bust, but Mickelson himself. In offering such a candid and visible assessment of the 2014 captain, Philly Mick was roasted by several prominent voices for violating the very essence of appropriate team conduct.
What happens in the team room stays in the team room, or so we’re led to believe. The funny thing about media – some of us chastise guys like Mickelson for talking out of school, then lick up every last crumb, no matter how dirty.
Some of my favorite golf journalists, including Golf Channel teammates Rex Hoggard and Tim Rosaforte, have referred to the U.S. news conference as one of the most awkward moments in Ryder Cup history, and I certainly wouldn’t disagree. It was hard to watch and impossible not to, if you know what I mean.
Perhaps it was also necessary, or at the very least, a much-needed attempt to shake up a system that has produced lousy results for far too long. Bishop chose Watson himself. Why is there no committee for such an important appointment? As I wondered here a couple of weeks ago, why are the U.S. captains’ picks made almost a month before the actual matches – before the final two FedEx Cup playoff events?
Robert Lusetich calls Mickelson's comments "a graceless mutiny of one" and feels players should not need to be invested in the matches via gimmicks like a pod system.
Mickelson -- who always needs to be the smartest guy in the room -- recounted how great Paul Azinger was as captain because he got players "invested in the process."
I could stop right there and say, if you're not invested in the process anyway, then don't play. You're representing the United States, and if you can't get up for that does it matter who captains?
Mickelson went on to say Azinger's tactic of splitting the 12 players into three pods of four -- and giving them a lot of autonomy within those groupings -- was the key.
"He had a great game plan," Mickelson said. "We use that same process in the Presidents Cup and we do really well. Unfortunately, we have strayed from a winning formula in 2008 for the last three Ryder Cups, and we need to consider maybe getting back to that formula."
In other words, Phil likes to have his voice heard, and Tom Watson didn't listen.
Darren Clarke Zooms To Front Of '16 Captaincy Race As Padraig Declares He Is Now "Less Keen" For Job
Brian Keogh on Padraig Harrington's surprising remarks upon seeing the great and thorough job done by Paul McGinley has made him less enthused about pursuing the job as he still feels his game is good.
Harrington, a vice captain in 2014, was looming as a possible candidate along with Miguel Angel Jimenez for the 2016 job after fulfilling assistant driving duties last week at Gleneagles. Both would be hugely popular captain's to American crowds while Darren Clarke--despite reports saying he'd be popular here--does not have nearly the name or recognition of this year's vice captains.
From Keogh's report:
While he still wants to be captain, Harrington admitted: "I’m less keen than I was before. It does make you less keen. It is a lot harder than you think. There is a lot goes on.
The new captain will be chosen by the three immediate past captains — McGinley, Jose Maria Olazabal and Colin Montgomerie — with the input of European Tour Chief Executive George O'Grady and a nominee from the Players Committee.
Keogh has a separate item on Paul McGinley assuring those who cared that he will not go out of his way to torpedo Clarke even though the 2012 Open Champion backed Monty for the 2014 captaincy. But McGinley also is far from committing to Clarke for his vote.
“Darren has been a vice captain along with many other guys, as well, too. So we will see where that all evolves and I certainly won't have no issues whatsoever with that.
“I'll make a professional decision based on the views of people that I respect.”
The new captain will almost certainly be named next January under a new system designed to avoid the politics that marred the 2014 captaincy race.
According to BBC’s Mark Simpson, police in Rory McIlroy’s hometown of Holywood responded to a call about a massive European Union flag on display for a Ryder Cup viewing party.
It seems a neighbor thought it was something else...
The flag-waving golf fan, who did not wish to be named, said: "I was having a house-warming party and decided to put up the European flag for the Ryder Cup.
"I was tidying up on Sunday morning and two police officers arrived. They didn't seem to know what the flag was themselves.
"I said 'it is a European Union flag for the Ryder Cup'.
"They said there'd been a complaint about it being some sort of Arabic flag.
"I just laughed. In the end they were laughing too. It was crazy."
Okay, so the branding outreach hasn't gotten to everyone yet.
Now America, let's not overreact and revoke a scholarship because he's stupid, perhaps drunk and a former caddy, but thanks to reader Kevin for noticing that Saturday's gone-viral recipient of a tremendous body slam tackle is an Evans Scholar!
Henry Molski's report on Anthony Schlegel, Ohio State Strength and Conditioning coach, with one of the better handlings of a fan rushing the field.
Not my favorite angle but it gets the job done...so enjoyable!