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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 Early Days of Pinehurst
    The Early Days of Pinehurst
    by Chris Buie
  • Arnie, Seve, and a Fleck of Golf History: Heroes, Underdogs, Courses, and Championships
    Arnie, Seve, and a Fleck of Golf History: Heroes, Underdogs, Courses, and Championships
    by Bill Fields
  • The Magnificent Masters: Jack Nicklaus, Johnny Miller, Tom Weiskopf, and the 1975 Cliffhanger at Augusta
    The Magnificent Masters: Jack Nicklaus, Johnny Miller, Tom Weiskopf, and the 1975 Cliffhanger at Augusta
    by Gil Capps
  • His Ownself: A Semi-Memoir
    His Ownself: A Semi-Memoir
    by Dan Jenkins
  • Professional Golf 2014: The Complete Media, Fan and Fantasy Guide
    Professional Golf 2014: The Complete Media, Fan and Fantasy Guide
    by Daniel Wexler
Classics
  • Golf Architecture in America: Its Strategy and Construction
    Golf Architecture in America: Its Strategy and Construction
    by Geo. C. Thomas
  • The Course Beautiful : A Collection of Original Articles and Photographs on Golf Course Design
    The Course Beautiful : A Collection of Original Articles and Photographs on Golf Course Design
    Treewolf Prod
  • Reminiscences Of The Links
    Reminiscences Of The Links
    by Albert Warren Tillinghast, Richard C. Wolffe, Robert S. Trebus, Stuart F. Wolffe
  • Gleanings from the Wayside
    Gleanings from the Wayside
    by Albert Warren Tillinghast
  • Planet Golf USA: The Definitive Reference to Great Golf Courses in America
    Planet Golf USA: The Definitive Reference to Great Golf Courses in America
    by Darius Oliver
  • Planet Golf: The Definitive Reference to Great Golf Courses Outside the United States of America
    Planet Golf: The Definitive Reference to Great Golf Courses Outside the United States of America
    by Darius Oliver
Writing And Videos

The best way to whet the appetite and improve the game of any golfer is to offer an incentive and provide a reward for high class play, and by high class play is meant simply the best of which each individual is capable. Placing a premium on accuracy with due consideration for length should be the aim of all men who design courses, for accuracy in the play signifies skill, and skill is generally the master of brute force. WILLIAM FLYNN

 

    

Wednesday
Aug062014

Steve Stricker Gets Keys To A Ryder Cup Cart

Tom Watson added his first Vice-Captain not on the AARP's mailing list, naming Steve Stricker a Team USA Vice Captain for the 2014 Ryder Cup at Gleneagles.

Stricker has displayed solid driving skills in recent commercials for Avis, but driving a sedan and four-seat golf cart are two very different things. Only time will tell...

Ryan Lavner reports.

Wednesday
Aug062014

Video: See Tiger Changes His Shoes In The Parking Lot!

The arrival was surreal, even cutting short Golf Channel's coverage of Tom Watson's press conference, something I know Tiger would be upset about (if he knew).

But as I outlined in this Loop item of the 8 strangest things about Tiger making it to Valhalla in time to possibly play the PGA, the man appeared unscathed from Sunday's back spasms. Miracles do happen.

The Golf Channel video of the arrival...

Wednesday
Aug062014

Stranger By The Minute: Tiger Watch Continues

There is no news on the Tiger front as of 11 a.m. ET here at Valhalla, which is bizarre in that Tiger is obviously not well enough to play this week, so dragging out a decision at this point is either (A) designed to get attention and have people talking about him--working--or, (B) he really is thinking of playing for no good reason.

He'll certainly want to take this advice from one of his favorite writers, John Feinstein, who I'll be sparing with alongside Jaime Diaz tonight on Golf Channel from 6-7 ET in a state of the game-themed Live From.

He's here!! State of the game discussion moves to 8-9 p.m ET! Plenty to talk about.

Anyway, Feinstein on Tiger. Sadly for the sake of interesting television, I concur...

Healthy doesn’t mean playing through pain or feeling good enough to give it a try. Healthy means pain free and feeling as if you’re able to do anything you want to do with a golf club in your hands. Because back problems tend to be chronic for anyone, but especially for golfers, Woods may not be able to get there. But he needs to at least make a serious attempt.

He needs to tell his agent, Mark Steinberg, to not call him to talk business. He needs to tell his sponsors to go away for a while, and he needs to cancel those overseas commitments for appearance fees. He doesn’t need the money. He needs to be healthy.

Tuesday
Aug052014

Dufner Serves "Butt Rubbed" Filet Mignon To Former Champs

Anyone who hosts their PGA Champions Dinner at Churchill Downs--even though the legendary track is run by a wretched company of visionless heathens and home to the majestic Zenyatta's only loss--still earns the defending PGA Champ credit for creative dinner settings.

And I love the menu, reported on here by G.C. Digital, who somehow got access to the menu like he always does with these hard-to-get stories.

Now tell me, I see 17 former champions, including his Vijayness and John Daly in all his Loud Mouth glory, mercifully offset by Kaymer and McIlroy's Savile Row savvy, but who let Sandy Koufax in? (Seated next to Dufner in photo Instagrammed by wife Amanda.)

Tuesday
Aug052014

"Glory’s Last Shot" Has A Replacement: "It's Major"

I shouldn’t jinx things before Thursday’s first goose-bump-inducing telecast opens only to quickly launch into a series of TNT fall promos flowing from Ernie Johnson's lips. But you are now in year two of being spared from “Glory’s Last Shot” references only to have a new slogan to fear.

The former PGA of America Glory's Last Shot line was retired by new CEO Pete Bevacqua and no replacement was named last year, though as Ryan Lavner reported at the time, blame went around the room for getting rid of the lame line because, after all, the FedExCup looms as another shot at Glory. Oy.

While I’m guessing that “It’s Major” won’t be incorporated too often into the chatter, I can only imagine the brainstorming sessions at an unnamed (New York, of course) ad agency that produced this masterwork at a bargain basement price.

Personally, it's just too close to “It’s A Major,” the apparent starting point for the new slogan.

These guys are good!

Tuesday
Aug052014

NY Times: "Golf Resorts Have A Generation Y Problem"

Martha C. White of the NY Times with today's look into millennialism: golf resorts trying to cater to "Generation Y" with marshmellow golf and night time glow stick contests. The numbers since 1996: "the average age of a hotel guest rose by roughly a year, to 46; during the same period, the average age of a hotel guest who played golf went up by two and a half years, to roughly 49, according to D.K. Shifflet and Associates, a tourism and travel research company.

Crisis!

Oh there's more...those pesky baby boomers still play golf.

In 2013, only 22 percent of travelers under 33 played golf when they stayed at a resort, compared with 42 percent of baby boomers.

Take note...tastemakers:

“Certainly, they’re our up-and-coming customers,” said Abby Messick, head golf professional at the Hyatt Regency Chesapeake Bay Golf Resort, Spa and Marina in Cambridge, Md. Activities like night contests where participants wear necklaces that glow in the dark will become more prevalent, she predicted. “These programs are things you will see frequently popping up everywhere,” she said. “We have to change the face of golf.”

Tuesday
Aug052014

Tiger Update: PGA Extends Registration Deadline, But He's Got A Primo Parking Space At Valhalla If He Wants It

Kind of a slow news day on the Tiger front until late, as I outline in this Loop item.

Here is the media alert from the PGA regarding registration that allows Tiger to drag this out as long as possible:

The deadline for registering for the 2014 PGA Championship was 5:00 p.m. (EDT) Tuesday, unless a player notified the PGA of America that he would be registering late.  Any player who notified the PGA has up until his tee time in the opening round to register.

Tuesday
Aug052014

Rickie's Dad Traded Gravel For Range Balls & Other Insights

USA Today's Steve DiMeglio filed a strong profile of Rickie Fowler, one of the PGA Championship favorites this week based on his 2014 major performances.

The story includes some fresh insights into his background, which was far from the country club life.

From the piece that includes a lot from his mom, who travels to many of his tournaments.

That dream began when he was 3 and his grandfather, Yutaka Tanaka, first took him to the public Murrieta Valley Golf Range in the arid valley east of Los Angeles.

The bug bit early and the range became his second home. He would win nickels, dimes and quarters in various contests against older kids and saved up for a new golf club or clothing.
His father, Rod, would haul sand and gravel from his business to the range and swap it out for range balls for Fowler to hit. Meanwhile, his mother, Lynn, worked in the office of a steel company in addition to driving her son and daughter to school, the mall and sporting events.

"He was born to play golf," Lynn says. "You just knew he was blessed with some gift, and I figured early on I couldn't stop it. By the time he was 5 his favorite thing was the clinic he took that taught the etiquette and rules of golf. There was structure to it, you couldn't cheat, and the other kids couldn't strong arm you out of anything. By the time he was 7 he knew how a golf ball was made because he would cut them in half. And he knew how an iron was made, how to make the ball go farther.

Tuesday
Aug052014

Video: Jason Dufner Does Funny Or Die

I'm not going to say Die, but Funny wouldn't get a check mark either.

Thanks to reader Jazzman for this.

Tuesday
Aug052014

PGA Long Drive Separating Point Getters From The Missers

In the moments I took in the PGA's resurrected Long Drive contest here at Valhalla, it became apparently pretty quickly that this was a great chance for the point getters to have a few minutes of fun.

And for the point missers to shine.

My item at The Loop.

Tuesday
Aug052014

Really: Two Hospitalized After Rules Of Golf Dispute 

From the you-can't-make-it-up files, courtesy of reader JB, a tremendous unbylined AP story says two golfers ended up in the emergency room after fighting over the rules of golf as it related to a water hazard. Or maybe a lateral?

Anyway, from the report:

Troopers from the Uniontown barracks aren’t identifying the suspects, beyond saying that one is 42 years old and the other 63.

Darn, I was hoping for millennials. Go on...

According to a news release, the suspects were playing together at the Springdale Golf Course in South Union Township Sunday afternoon when “they became embroiled in a heated debate over the rules of golf, specifically regarding water, on the 5th hole.”

The golfers managed to finish that hole and another before the argument “reignited” on the 7th hole “similarly involving rules, or lack of understanding of said rules.”

Monday
Aug042014

For Your Consideration: Old Tom On Kickstarter

Old Tom Morris is on Kickstarter! Actually, Roger McStravick has taken his research of the last few years, with new findings and some stunning photographs and is looking for pledges to purchase his book on St. Andrews and Old Tom.

Considering some of the farcical things floating around the architectural research arena these days, McStravick's work could not come along at a better time. I'll be buying a copy of the book for pre-2015 Open Championship reading and while I'm not a big proponent of endorsing Kickstarter projects, I can't resist passing along the link to this promising work along with a preview video. Shoot, the cover photo alone is worth the price of admission.

From his description:

For the last three years I have been researching the golf history of the town and Old Tom Morris. Thanks to help from the University of St Andrews, the Royal and Ancient Golf Club of St Andrews and Prestwick GC amongst others, I have been able to give a discover a lot of new exciting evidence, photos and artefacts.

With support, I can put these new findings into the public domain. We can re-write the golf history of St Andrews from the formation of the 1st hole to the actual dates when the Swilcan Burn was banked and its course set. I have the receipts for the construction work.

Monday
Aug042014

Forest Dunes: Doak & Crew To Design Reversible Course

The course will be added to Forest Dunes and according to the press release, Renaissance Golf Design and Tom Doak plan to build a reversible course ala the Old Course. Only that happened mostly by accident.

This sounds like a complicated but potentially exciting undertaking:

“This is a concept I have thought about for 30 years,” Doak said. “You need the right site and the right client to understand the appeal of it. At Forest Dunes we finally have both.”

Doak said when he first met Forest Dunes’ owner, Lew Thompson, an Arkansas-based trucking magnate, Thompson said he wanted a new course but it had to “wow” him.

Thompson wanted a second course that would keep golfers staying on the property an extra night or two after they had played the club’s Tom Weiskopf course, already ranked by national magazines in the Top 100 best courses in America.

The double dose of Doak should accomplish both of those goals.

“The appeal of a reversible course is people would want to play it both ways. You are getting two golf courses in one,” Doak said.

Monday
Aug042014

Less Than Two Weeks Left To Preview The Billy Walters Estate!

I know the demographics of this blog tend to skew toward high, so just a reminder that you have less than two weeks to check out sports gambler Billy Walters' Rancho Santa Fe house before the August 15th auction.

The Walters have decided to move closer to the coast, according to this San Diego Union Tribune piece by Jonathan Horn. El Milagro was listed for $19.995 million but now will go on the auction block. FBI wiretaps included!

It also includes this Desmond Muirhead-inspired short game area:

Monday
Aug042014

Tiger! Will He Or Won’t He Play? Does It Matter?

Tiger has cancelled his Tuesday news conference set for 9:30 a.m. at Valhalla. Bingo boards are being recycled into paper airplanes as we speak.

Agent Mark Steinberg has texted ESPN.com's Bob Harig and says a decision on whether Tiger will play the PGA Championship may not come Tuesday, either.

"Way too early. He has to rest and get treatment and then assess later," he wrote. "Pointless to make that decision now without proper time to give him best chance. Nothing further today, maybe [not] even tomorrow."

Jim McCabe reviews the situation says that regardless of whether Tiger plays, the constantly injured state hasn't been pretty numerically.

At 38, Woods makes headlines not with his golf, but with his litany of injuries. If he is unable to tee it up at Valhalla this week, it will be the seventh major championship missed to injury in 26 opportunities since he last won a major, the 2008 U.S. Open. That’s nearly 27 percent, which used to represent his winning clip.

Now, 27 percent is more closely identified with the percentage of times he tees it up in PGA Tour competition.

My view is that Tiger would be wrong to play on a number of levels. Health, the obvious concern first and foremost. What does he have to prove that supersedes resting up and getting ready for the future?

Next up, credibility. If he had a spasm as severe as the one Sunday, then he will not be physically ready to play Valhalla. There is also a credibility issue with peers and fans: if he plays this week, many will conclude that he embellished the pain to get off the golf course if he is able to miraculously turn things around and show up at Valhalla.

And finally, there is simply no reason to play. He can't win the PGA. He can't make the FedExCup. And Tom Watson doesn't want him on the Ryder Cup team playing like this.

So for all of those reasons and many inexplicable others only Sigmund Freud could fully extrapolate, I expect him to play.

Monday
Aug042014

Watson: Injury “Doesn’t Bode Well” For Tiger

Here's an unbylined AP story covering Tom Watson's comments to Matt Adams on Sirius/XM this morning talking about watching Tiger's ugly nine at Firestone. Watson also sounded downright giddy talking about Phil Mickelson's 62.

You can listen here and it's worth it to hear the tone as he shifts from Tiger to Phil talk. It is fun to imagine

The transcript:

Tom Watson:  “Indeed I was watching.  I watched him play almost the entire front nine there and the shot he hit at 5, the par-3 there, I said something’s wrong with Tiger, you don’t hit that terrible a shot ever, ever.  And I said something’s wrong and then of course, number 9, he just couldn’t go any farther.  It concerns me because that’s an injury that seems like he tried to address before and he’s come back from that particular injury.  I don’t know what the injury is but I did text him and just [said], ‘Sorry about your injury and I hope you get well soon.’  You know, Tiger would be a great addition to our team and, as I’ve said all along, I would pick Tiger Woods if he’s healthy and playing well.  This doesn’t bode well right now.  I just hope that maybe it’s just an isolated problem that he can turn around and possibly play this week at the PGA [Championship].”

And the part including Mickelson:

Adams:  “What about that final round 62 by Phil Mickelson yesterday?  That was very impressive.”
Watson:  “It was.  It’s good to see.  Phil’s that type of player.  It’s just amazing when you go over his record, I think he’s missed five cuts this year, but he can just turn it on like that.  ‘When’ is the big question.  When can he turn it on like that?  That’s the big question with Phil.  Last year he turned it on the back nine at Muirfield and won the British Open Championship, which was in spectacular fashion I might add.  Vintage Phil.  I’d certainly like to have him on my Ryder Cup team, that’s for sure.”

Monday
Aug042014

Barracuda Squabble! Caddie Quits Mid-Round, Fan Picks Up Bag

Together, anything's possible! Or not.

The six-hole replacement for Brian Stuard was a local amateur named Christy Atencio and she looped in flip-flops. Thanks to John Strege for the Loop item on this superb Dan Hinxman Reno Gazette-Journal story of Stuard and caddie Michael Lawson bickering for several holes until Lawson dropped the bag in disgust.

From Hinxman's story:

"That was a first for me," Stuard said Sunday after finishing his final round at the Barracuda Championship at Montreux Golf and Country Club. "Weird situation."

Local amateur Christy Atencio, in flip-flops and a dress, carried Stuard's bag the rest of the way.
"She did good," Stuard said. "It was real nice of her to come out of the crowd and carry the bag those last six holes. She made it easy."

Montreux assistant pro Chad Munoz took over on Sunday, and Stuard finished 72nd with 11 points.

Strege's Loop item also includes a Tweeted photo of the replacement caddie.

Monday
Aug042014

Jack: "I would probably hit it another 20, 30, 40 yards I suppose."

Adam Himmelsbach quotes Jack Nicklaus at length, endorsing Tuesday's return of the PGA Championship Long Drive, which he still carries his winning-money clip from.

Regarding today's equipment, he was being modest here...

"I would probably hit it another 20, 30, 40 yards I suppose," Nicklaus said. "I would obviously hit it further because I mean, good gracious, when I was in my 50s, when I could still hit it a little bit, we were then using the metal woods and using a composite golf ball. And so I found that I was hitting the golf ball further then than I was in my prime. Obviously in my late 50s, I didn't have anywhere near the club head speed I had when I was in my 20s and 30s."

More like 50 or 60 yards.

Monday
Aug042014

Ogilvy On Struggling With Your Game, Pre-Barracuda Win 

In light of Geoff Ogilvy’s win Sunday at Reno, Golf Australia has posted the recent column about his struggles and what pressures professionals face when things aren’t so great.

Ogilvy writes:

Conversely, the worse you play, the more you need to play well, which is the ultimate cruelty. I can go into the locker room at almost any tournament and observe the varying levels of stress in players. Those playing well are cruising along, calling their private jets to take them to the next tournament. The guys who are struggling are looking miserable and kicking things across the room. And there is everything else between those two extremes. It’s amazing to see.

On the PGA Tour, a loss of form becomes mostly a self-perception thing. After a period of success, the financial side of the business is less of an issue for most guys. But playing poorly is a blow to the ego if nothing else. Plus, the desire to play well never goes away. The better you do, the more fun it becomes. Playing badly is no fun, which is another great irony. I play my best golf when I’m having fun. But when I’m playing poorly I have less fun. Yet the best way to play better is to have more fun. Work that one out.

Monday
Aug042014

Bubba Hissy Fit 'O The Week: No Long Drive Contest For Me

When the PGA of America thought it'd be fun to bring back to the Long Drive Contest that once kicked off PGA week and was won by Jack Nicklaus (who went on to win the big event), they shaped the format of just one drive off the tenth tee Tuesday to fit the schedules of today's precious pros.

Naturally, even the simple act of one drive, one time, during practice rounds, was all too much for the whiner-than-ever Bubba Watson

Jason Sobel reports along with Bubba's money quote. Get your Kleenex out!

“I’m there to play golf, not to hit it far,” said the namesake of BubbaGolf. “I’ve got to practice. I’ve never been to the course. I don’t need to worry about a long drive on the 10th hole.”

The poor lad!

The burdens these great thinkers of our planet must face!

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