Behaving Under Par: Nicklaus-Like Sportsmanship Values Fail To Show Up In Memorial Opening Round

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Where to begin?

Phil Mickelson said the USGA only gets setup right when it rains at the U.S. Open.

Matt Kuchar tries to claim multiple things in hoping to get relief from an old fairway pitch mark, asks for a second and third ruling, and in general, reminds you why it took El Tucan to get paid what he deserved.

Bryson DeChambeau whines about being put on the clock and seems to believe you are entitled to more time when deciding to go for a green in two, or not.

Most fascinating of all: the bratty behavior took place at the prestigious Memorial tournament, hosted by Jack Nicklaus.

Funny how players refrain from the nonsense one week at year at the Masters—no whining about lies, no backstopping, no rudeness to the field—and used to take their behavior up a notch or two when Jack and Arnold were on the grounds.

Not any more.

In Kuchar’s case, he appeared to walk back the long effort to get relief from a pitch mark that was not his, reports Golf.com’s Dylan Dethier.

Kuchar’s behavior was seen by many and called out by just as many, including European Tour player Eddie Pepperell. Mercifully, officials Robby Ware and Stephen Cox handled themselves well and with quiet confidence and authority.

The PGA Tour took down a video it posted on Twitter of the exchange. #liveunderpar

Mickelson, who made a fool of himself during Saturday’s third round of the 2018 U.S. Open, is back on the offensive and not exactly buttoning down the karma heading to Pebble Beach in two weeks. Alex Myers with Mickelson’s remarks and some of the backstory, including this:

“I’ve played, what, 29 U.S. Opens,” Mickelson told reporters at Muirfield Village. “One hundred percent of the time they have messed it up if it doesn’t rain. Rain is the governor. That’s the only governor they have. If they don’t have a governor, they don’t know how to control themselves.”

Says the guy who couldn’t put a governor on his emotions last year. Got it.

Not that it excuses bad course setup or the mistakes made, but you’d think someone who loves to pass on questions would have passed on this one.

As for Bryson DeChambeau, GolfChannel.com’s Will Gray spoke to him about being put on the clock. His rationale to official Brad Fabel for taking his sweet time was fascinating.

“He came up to me and told me I had a bad time. And I was like, do you realize I was deciding between laying up and going for it?” DeChambeau said. “And we’ve had struggles the past three holes in a row, hazards and making bogeys and all that. Was that not factored in? ‘Well, it’s just 40 seconds, it is what it is.’ Well, I don’t agree with that.”

Remember: the players largely believe they should break from the governing bodies and make their own rules. It’s almost tempting to encourage such a scenario just to watch that boondoggle unfold!

Even After Apology, Haney Suspended From SiriusXM Show, Status Under Review

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Hank Haney’s insensitive and dreadfully short-sighted comments regarding the current state of women’s golf have gotten him suspended by SiriusXM and its partner.

The offending conversation with Steve Johnson when discussing this week’s U.S. Women’s Open:

Haney: “Oh it is? I’m gonna predict a Korean.”

Johnson, laughing: “OK, that’s a pretty safe bet.”

Haney: “I couldn’t name you six players on the LPGA Tour. Maybe I could. Well … I’d go with Lee. If I didn’t have to name a first name, I’d get a bunch of them right.”

Johnson: “We’ve got six Lees.”

The PGA Tour, which has its name on the channel, was part of the decision to suspend Haney, reports USA Today’s Christine Brennan:

“Mr. Haney’s comments on women’s professional golf were insensitive and do not represent the views of the PGA TOUR or SiriusXM,” the statement read. “The PGA TOUR is committed to and proud of the increasingly diverse makeup of our fan base, not to mention the power and accomplishments of the game’s world-class, global players – both on the PGA TOUR and LPGA, whom we are working with more closely than ever before.

“SiriusXM proudly covers and supports both women’s and men’s golf and the athletes that make them great. At the PGA TOUR’s instruction Mr. Haney has been suspended from the SiriusXM PGA TOUR Radio channel.  SiriusXM is reviewing his status on SiriusXM going forward.”

While I agree with and understand the outrage over Haney’s remarks, particularly from players in this week’s U.S. Women’s Open at a terrific venue with strong fan support, I’m conflicted about the characterization and direction of the outrage that quickly turned to some very strong words.

One: in my dealings with Haney, few are more passionate about the game and seeing people of all ages, races and sex succeed. He wouldn’t have become a golf instructor otherwise. Hank Haney is not a racist or a sexist. Is he on too many hours talking about a sport where there is only so much one can discuss? Maybe.

Two: the flippant comment he made on his satellite radio show, which was in response by a remark from his co-host apparently referring to the number of women named Jeongeun Lee (there are six), is, one that I’ve heard mentioned hundreds of times over the years—including jokingly from Koreans or Korean-Americans—about the number of women with similar sounding names from Asian countries dominating the game. Sometimes it’s a compliment to the incredible depth and the devotion to craft by these women. Sometimes it’s not. This does not make Haney’s comment acceptable when expressed in condescending fashion and his disdain for the state of women’s golf may be tinged with some sexism, but the leap to racism seems like just that: a leap. I’d lean more toward ignorance of the LPGA Tour or international cultures than anything else.

Three: the LPGA currently lacks a dominating-star the same way the PGA Tour, PGA Tour Champions and European Tour have also dealt with at times (and maybe even in the present). We happen to be in the midst of a parity era in women’s golf not long after eras dominated by epic star power from legends Se Ri Pak, Annika Sorenstam and Lorena Ochoa. Fields are deep, maybe deeper than at any time in the modern era. And we have injuries to some star players too.

Of course, Haney didn’t mention all of this and that’s on him. But his problem is not one of race, sex or bigotry. We live a celebrity-obsessed, marketing-focused world demanding stars who play well all the time or else. Anything less breeds apathy. That’s a shame and ignorant of how cruel golf can be at times. But taking such a stance is also not racist or sexist.

Tiger: "I forgot how small the green complexes are" At Pebble Beach

Besides relishing the return to a course where precision iron play is rewarded, it was interesting to see Tiger’s reaction to the state of Pebble Beach after a recent practice round.

From Will Gray’s report at the Memorial:

“I forgot how small the green complexes are. Add a little bit of firmness and speed to them and they get really tiny,” Woods said. “But seeing some of the new greens that they had re-done, taking a look at some of the new pins was nice to see. So come next week when I start concentrating and focusing on Pebble Beach, it will be nice to have those images.”

Part of Tiger’s forgetfulness has to do less with eroding brain cells and more with encroaching bunkers and the continued shrinking of Pebble’s greens since the last Open.

Once Again Team Match Play Highlights Golf At Its Best: Stanford Beats Texas For 2019 NCAA Title

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Olympic golf is about to be on our radars and players will be forced to pretend how excited they are about the possibility of playing a purse-free WGC event at a greater Tokyo country club, the 2019 NCAA Championships once again reminded how much more compelling team match play is than 72 holes of stroke play.

Nothing about this year’s college golf should have been that compelling other than seeing a historic team cap off their season. They didn’t so two other top ten teams faced off in the final. Still, it featured players largely unknown to most watching, a course featuring an odd set of often buzz-killing green complexes and less than ten hour turn around to beat storms. Yet Stanford and Texas put on another stellar match play era show.

Everything about the modern NCAA’s TV-friendly format continues to be fan friendly and a constant, pesky reminder of Olympic golf’s refusal adopt a team format. Seeing players fight for their team in a sport where lone wolf types generally excel, and watching coaching and team components juxtaposed with match play makes for the ultimate “grow the game” theater. It also helps to have a telecast free of promos, thus allowing more time to listen in on player-coach conversations or to simply let announcers set up situations.

Anyway…

Stanford, taking its ninth title, looked soft last fall and made a change in approach, Brentley Romine writes for GolfChannel.com:

After Stanford finished eighth or worse in each of its three stroke-play events in the fall, Ray knew his squad needed to toughen up. He added a Friday morning workout to the team’s weekly training schedule. The high-intensity conditioning, led by assistant coach Matt Bortis, likened to a boot camp for golfers, so the team coined the hourlong sessions, “Bortis Camp.”

Bortis, who played three years at Arkansas before becoming an All-American at Texas as a senior, spent eight years in the Marine Corps prior to taking the Stanford job last October.

“Without a doubt, I’d say that we were the underdogs, but I think some of the stuff that we’ve been doing together has proven guys otherwise,” Bortis said. 

Speaking of Bortis, he touched all bases today. Winning on the course he once played at, coaching against the alma mater he played for after transferring to Texas and helping lead Stanford to a title. Adam Woodward with the details of a wild journey.

The highlights:


Rory On USGA: "If they can’t redeem themselves at Pebble Beach, then there could be a problem.”

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The man who was said to be ready to boycott the U.S. Open but was not given a chance to deny that claim by a fellow player sounded much more forgiving today.

Speaking at the Memorial, Dave Shedloski reports McIlroy’s view of the USGA headed to Pebble Beach following last year’s setup issues at Shinnecock Hills.

“They’re trying to do as good a job as they can,” McIlroy, No. 4 in the world, said Wednesday at the Memorial Tournament. “And I think they’ll admit they’ve made a couple of mistakes over the last couple of years. Everyone does. And I think we should give them the chance to redeem themselves. If they can’t redeem themselves at Pebble Beach, then there could be a problem.”

Like a boycott?

Finchem Rakes In $10.6 Million Bonus And Then A Some In First Year Of Retirement

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Maybe this explains why they’ve got mandatory cost cutting down in Ponte Vedra Beach. Still, even after retiring in 2016, PGA Tour Commissioner Tim Finchem was well compensated in 2017. Maybe Jay Monahan found some uncashed paychecks in the top drawers and Finchem took them down to the local Suntrust ATM.

My math has him at $18,886,755 in 2017 baesd on this report from Roxanna Scott of Golfweek.

Two More Looks At Seth Raynor, CC Of Charleston

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The USGA’s George Waters does a nice job summarizing who Seth Raynor was, what the template holes meant to his work and seizes on the clever ways Raynor compartmentalized his green complexes.

The golf course architecture of Seth Raynor provides plenty of surprises. His work is built around concepts from classic holes that he never saw in person. He never played much golf, yet managed to design some of the most highly regarded golf courses in the U.S. His designs contain elements that are harshly penal and extremely forgiving. Perhaps most importantly, Raynor managed to provide a great golf experience for the best players and for those with more modest abilities.

And don’t miss Andy Johnson’s look at CC of Charleston as the venue you’ll most want to enjoy on the 2019 calendar (at least domestically!), and as he notes, the first Raynor design to host a men’s or women’s Open.

Texas, Stanford Advance In Day Of Wild NCAA Men's Semifinal Action

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The vaunted Oklahoma State Cowboys were upset by that little upstart from Austin, while Stanford put away Vanderbilt in a thrilling NCAA afternoon session.

Due to a dreadful weather forecast, tee times have been moved up to early morning with a 7:30 am local start for Golf Channel. Coverage time update:

While the strangest story of the day should be the stunning upset of #1 ranked Oklahoma State—a team of historic proportions in terms of season long and stroke play qualifying—Adam Woodward’s Golfweek look at the driver saga of Stanford freshman Daulet Tuleubayev is a doozy. And all of this was going on as the frosh was trying to win a match, accidentally hit his ball off of the 17th green with practice strokes, and then somehow birdied the last.

Tiger Woods congratulated his alma mater immediately after the Cardinal clinched:

Brentley Romine at GolfChannel.com focuses on Texas’s amazing play, highlighted by Cole Hammer beating NCAA individual champion Matthew Wolff and senior Steven Chervony’s win over Zach Bauchou.

Bauchou’s heartbreaking horseshoe miss that led to Texas winning.

Full Golf Channel highlights from the Texas-Oklahoma battle:

USGA's Reaction To Golf Digest Survey; SI's Take On The Story

The “USGA Confidential” oral survey by Golf Digest’s John Huggan and Brian Wacker undoubtedly added some meetings to the Far Hills agenda this week. And definitely made Jason Gore’s hiring look like a great idea, but publicly, the USGA is taking the high road. The Forecaddie’s assessment, including team McIlroy chiming in.

SI’s Daniel Rapaport took issue with several of the player and teacher remarks, but highlighted the purse griping and this caddy complaint as signs that pro golfers have lost the plot.

CADDIE FOR MULTIPLE PGA TOUR WINNERS: The USGA official with every group always patronizes the caddies on the first tee: “Make sure you've got 14 in there—count your clubs.” That's insulting. That's not their job; it's mine. And if I have 15, it's my fault. I heard a caddie say once, “Don't worry, I've got this. I do it every week of the year. It's only you guys who do it once a year.” That statement applies to so much of the U.S. Open.

If that’s not the definition of being mad simply for being mad’s sake, then I don’t know what is. The official this caddie speaks of is simply being courteous. He’s trying to avoid any penalty. One could argue he’s doing the players and their caddies a favor. To view that as “patronizing” and disrespectful betrays just how sensitive many of the players/caddies are.

The last two years, the first tee starter has been Seminole pro Bob Ford. It’s hard to imagine him patronizing a caddy that way, and if he did, the intent was with only good intentions. Or worse, the caddy was simply making up the anecdote.

Jack Nicklaus Isn't Swept Up In PGA Tour's Chase For 82 Push: "They Change Their Mind Ever Year"

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Don’t we love when Jack goes into full “get off my lawn” mode?

The Columbus Dispatch’s Joey Kaufman reports on Memorial Tournament host Jack Nicklaus, kicking off the week, getting asked about Tiger Woods sitting on the cusp of Sam Snead’s 82 PGA Tour wins.

If Nicklaus was dismissive about the possible feat, it mostly stemmed from how he felt the PGA Tour tallied its tournament wins. He professed to have little idea.

“I don’t know how you add up tournaments anymore,” Nicklaus said. “Every time I go to some place, winner of 113 tournaments, winner of 110 tournaments, I don’t know how many I won. It depends on how many the Tour is taking away or giving me.

“They change their mind every year about what they’re going to count. So I don’t know what’s what. No one in the world could know how many tournaments Sam Snead won.”

Actually, it isn’t quite that simple.

Check out Laury Livsey’s fascinating piece detailing the history of PGA Tour win counts and how the 82 number was settled on. This should give you an idea how much thought was put into the tally as it relates to Snead:

Yet even those additions cause heartburn for some today, with the 1937 tournament an 18-hole affair, the ’38 and ’41 tournaments 36-hole events and the 1950 “Crosby” a 54-hole tournament, declared a tie, with Snead, Jack Burke Jr., Smiley Quick and Dave Douglas. All earned official-victory designations because darkness set in on the final day without a winner emerging, and a next-day playoff was out of the question because of the players’ travel requirements.

In addition to the four “Crosby” wins, the committee also bestowed official wins on Snead for his 1952 and 1957 Palm Beach Round Robin titles, already crediting him with Round Robin victories in 1938, 1954 and 1955.

Because of the new standard defined by the panel, though, the committee elected to remove nine tournament titles from Snead’s official-win total, most notably his Greenbrier Invitational victories in 1952, 1953, 1958, 1959 and 1961, the latter two tournaments played at The Greenbrier but renamed the Sam Snead Festival. Also gone from his tally were the 1952 Julius Boros Open, the 1940 Ontario Open, the 1942 Cordoba Open and the 1953 Texas Open, which the record book credited Snead with winning, a tournament actually won by Tony Holguin. That Snead received credit for winning the San Antonio tournament meant the PGA of America and the PGA TOUR essentially perpetuated an error for many years.

U.S. Amateur Four-Ball Semi's Set At Bandon Dunes

Congrats to Scott Harvey and Todd Mitchell in making it to match play in every U.S. Amateur Four-Ball Championship since the event started in 2015. The two 40-year olds are in Wednesday’s semi-finals at Bandon Dunes’ Old Macdonald, reports David Shefter for USGA.org.

Sadly, with the event the same week as the U.S. Women’s Open, the four-ball at Old Macdonald can’t be seen in video coverage or Fox Sports coverage.

Your Rebuttal England? Japan's U.S. Open Sectional Sets New High Water Mark For WD's

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Off the top of my head the U.S. Open Sectional Qualifier in England has gone well into the twenties for WD’s many times over the years, with 23 the most I can find. Some were non-starters and some gave up the, uh, dream, midway through efforts to make it to the U.S. Open.

But I can’t recall more than half a field WD’ing, with five having posted sub-70 opening rounds. Ultimately, 18 of 33 WD’s at the Kuwana Country Club qualifier gives the Europeans a new high water mark to shoot for Monday at Walton Heath.

Because, after all, if there is a course you just can’t get off of fast enough, it’s the brilliant and beautiful Walton Heath.

Given the long journey to Pebble, the 40% chance of rain (but comfortable temps), the “teams” telling their player to protect energy levels and the incredible consistency of WD’s at the England qualifier, I like the chances for a new record (of futility) Monday.

USGA Increases Purses, Including $1 Million To This Week's U.S. Women's Open Champ

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With all the player whining about USGA purses in Golf Digest’s U.S. Open confidential, it’s noteworthy that the U.S. Open’s will both have the largest prize funds in championship golf (the $12.5 million for the men ties the Players). The PGA Championship did not increase its purse this year, sticking with $11 million, while the R&A has not announced an increase to the 2019 Open fund that will already be low with a weakened pound.

On the women’s side, the KPMG LPGA jumped to $3.5 million in 2017 and has seen bumps each year, now sitting at $3.85 million in 2019.

For Immediate Release:

USGA Solidifies Largest Purses Among All Major Championships

Prize money to be raised by $500,000 for 2019 U.S. Open and U.S. Women’s Open

 LIBERTY CORNER, N.J. (May 28, 2019) – The United States Golf Association (USGA) today announced that it will increase the purse for both the 119th U.S. Open at Pebble Beach Golf Links and the 74th U.S. Women’s Open at the Country Club of Charleston by $500,000, furthering its commitment to provide competitors with an unmatched championship experience.

The purse for the 2019 U.S. Open will be $12.5 million, making it the largest of all major championships. This year’s U.S. Women’s Open purse will total $5.5 million, positioning it as the largest in women’s golf and ensuring that its champion – provided that she is a professional – will receive $1 million for the first time.

The announcement builds on substantial investments the USGA has made in all of its Open championships. Along with the debut of the U.S. Senior Women’s Open in 2018, which provides the largest purse in senior women’s golf at $1 million, the organization hosts the U.S. Senior Open, which also leads its demographic with $4 million in total prize money.

The USGA also provides a portion of the purse to all professionals who miss the cut at all four Opens. Amateurs in the field, a number that nears 30 in this week’s U.S. Women’s Open, receive reimbursement for travel expenses incurred during the championship week.

“The USGA is committed to providing an unparalleled experience to every player competing in its championships,” said John Bodenhamer, senior managing director, championships. “Through strategic investments in our player relations program, we are continuing the effort to create a competitor experience commensurate with the game’s most prestigious championships, and that includes an increased purse and a continued commitment to make playing in an Open championship unforgettable for the world’s top amateur players.” 

In March, longtime PGA Tour player and four-time U.S. Open competitor Jason Gore was hired as the association’s first senior director, Player Relations. His primary role focuses on interacting with professional and elite amateur players across the game, particularly competitors in the USGA’s Open and amateur championships. He also leads a full-time staff dedicated to player relations, including Liz Fradkin, who in her new role primarily focuses on women’s championships.

Digest's USGA Confidential: Golf Pros And Their Entourages Vent, Rip And Choose Not To Be Named

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As someone who has done his share of USGA, uh, critiquing, I found the Golf Digest “USGA Confidential” an interesting read at times. However, I can’t help but think most readers will come away finding golf pros and their “teams” to be inconsistent, a tad greedy and unsatisfiable even in the face of obvious mistakes, some of them colossal ones.

Particularly since the elephant in the room—regulating a distance explosion overwhelming courses—is a non-starter for a large percentage of players.

By the end of their venting, I was exhausted, in part because no single person willingly putting their name on such strong views. The totality could leave some readers USGA-sympathetic and annoyed by the understandably-annoyed golfers.

The headline-maker from the impressive effort of gathering 57 voices—35 current players and 16 major champions—was talk of an organized U.S. Open boycott. An unnamed player named names of potential boycotters:

MULTIPLE PGA TOUR WINNER: We had about 10–15 guys who were willing to sit out after 2016. Some of them were big names—Dustin was one, Rory was another.

ANOTHER MAJOR CHAMPION AND FORMER WORLD NO. 1: I was prepared to do it [take part in a boycott]. Absolutely.

ANOTHER MAJOR CHAMPION: I was one of them.

MULTIPLE PGA TOUR WINNER: I would have boycotted if it had come to that. If it wasn't a major, I wouldn't play it, and a lot of other guys feel that way.

MULTIPLE PGA TOUR WINNER: I figure we needed about 25 guys, and I think we could have gotten there based on what I was hearing from players. Really, just one would have done it, but Tiger wasn't playing at the time. Without us, they don't have a tournament.

Actually, it’s a 156-player field with a majority of the spots earned by qualifiers and would have continued on with the same purse and 156 players.

That the “stars” of the game think they could somehow shut down the U.S. Open, yet are unwilling to sign their name to the view, suggests a level of isolation from reality that might run deeper than we imagined.

Sorry boys, but only one player on the planet pulling a protest no-show would have significant meaning.

As for course setup issues, this collection speaks to the can’t-win issues facing the USGA in trying to balance a sense of fairness, difficulty and creativity in a game overwhelmed by modern distances.

MULTIPLE PGA TOUR WINNER: I miss the U.S. Opens of old, where you had narrow fairways and thick rough, and it tested everything.

FORMER EUROPEAN RYDER CUP CAPTAIN: The old DNA was worth defending. It had always been that way. The majors should pose different questions. The Open is about the weather. The Masters is about the course. The PGA is a more difficult PGA Tour event. And the U.S. Open is about narrow fairways. What makes Grand Slam winners so great is that they've passed all four tests.

WINNER OF MORE THAN 20 EUROPEAN TOUR EVENTS: The U.S. Open was always the fairest of the four majors. It was tough, but only bad shots were punished. As we saw at Paris [in the 2018 Ryder Cup], that's the way forward.

FORMER EUROPEAN RYDER CUP CAPTAIN: The Ryder Cup last year was more about accuracy, and the Americans couldn't hit the ball straight. At Erin Hills, the fairways were 60 yards wide. That's not a U.S. Open. But the USGA has adapted to the modern game rather than making the game adapt to the U.S. Open. If a 280-yard drive straight down the middle was most beneficial, no one would be hitting drives 350 yards. Straight should be as important as long.

MULTIPLE EUROPEAN TOUR WINNER: The wide-fairways thing is not working. Too many guys have no chance if you don't hit it 350 yards off the tee.

Got all of that?

Finally, the notion of the USGA building permanent, 8,500 yard venues on the coasts, first floated by CBS’s Peter Kostis many years ago, offered up the world’s golf architects for free to design the facilities and end the practice of going to golf’s iconic venues. Of course, it’s a fine idea in terms of practicalities but a dreadful notion to throw out history, character and golf’s ties to its past so that distance can go unregulated.

Kostis surfaced with the idea again, followed by many more who reinforce how all of this whining, inconsistency and silliness could all be solved with a 10% reduction in distance and a foot or so off the Stimpmeter speeds.

TEACHER OF MULTIPLE MAJOR CHAMPIONS: I said this a long time ago and was ridiculed: I would prefer for the USGA to buy land on the East Coast of the U.S. and on the West Coast of the U.S., then build two facilities for the U.S. Open. Each would have four courses. And each one would be designed to present the examination they wish to present to the players. If they want tight fairways and long rough, so be it. They're entitled to conduct their championships any way they want. So build courses to fit that ideal, whatever it might be. If they did that, they would stop ruining the classic courses by trying to jerry-rig them.

Like I said, there is a lot to Digest in this one and most of it leaves you wondering if there are many Jack Nicklaus, Tiger Woods and a few others who will put the game above themselves.

Getting In the Mood For CC Of Charleston: A Raynor Gem Hosts The U.S. Women's Open

In a special contribution to Golfweek, historian David Normoyle has filed a fantastic read on Country Club of Charleston, host of this week’s U.S. Women’s Open.

Some of Seth Raynor’s boldest green complexes will be on display, as well a course with a fairly typical history of change, modification, misunderstanding and then, in recent years, a realization of what a gem they had.

“The benefit of a targeted approach to restoration work is that new (old) information can occur at any time,” said club archivist Forrest Norvell IV, who found the 1938 aerial and 1925 Mayberry plan. “The targeted approach allows flexibility to accommodate the lessons of new research and can also be more inclusive, building support of the membership as you go along.”

The 11th hole at the Country Club of Charleston is a replica of the 15th hole at North Berwick in Scotland. At 177 yards, the hole features a raised and reverse Redan green with a false front and two large bunkers. The tee box is situated on what used to be a Confederate battery. “I expect the 11th to be a household name by the end of the Women’s Open,” said Kyle Franz, the designer charged with leading the club’s latest restoration.

Graylyn Loomis posted this review with hole photos that show the course in winter. Don’t scroll too fast by the 16th!

Ran Morrissett’s review for GolfClubAtlas.com is older but still does a nice job highlighting the design’s best elements.

The No Laying Up gang filed this video feature on the course:

Fox’s broadcast schedule for the U.S. Women’s Open:

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Chuck May Want To Talk To Chuck After Somber Colonial Kickoff

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All longtime golf fans are grateful to Charles Schwab for rescuing the Colonial, even if it meant wiping the club’s name off the iconic title in favor of the forgettable Charles Schwab Challenge. Then again, had they left Colonial in the title, we’d all still just call it the Colonial. And may still.

But the longtime supporter of golf might be scratching his head a bit after year one of a four year deal even after a perfectly normal PGA Tour event. A fascinating mix of leaders were extinguished by Kevin Na’s closing 66 only to have Na immediately give away quite possibly the most clever winner gift in some time: a restored Dodge Challenger. Mike McAllister reports for PGATour.com.

Granted, Na did pledge before the tournament started to gift the car to Harms, who deserves more than an iconic American sports car for carrying Na’s bag(gage):

But the keys handoff did lead to that gloriously awkward winner’s photo with the car, Harms, Schwab and Na, along with a tournament official in the back left expressing only minor agony.

Adding to the awkwardness of the day: a subdued CBS telecast marked by multiple shots from the clouds (aka blimp), the dreaded bereavement track, and tributes to legends lost like Dan Jenkins, Bart Starr, etc. Still, the general somberness became more apparent when Jim Nantz and Nick Faldo were shown at the 18th before a tribute to “retiring” CBS workers was shown.

The tribute was quite touching, with Nantz refusing to sugarcoat the situation while Faldo’s eyes watered and turned red as they discussed the role of the many talented craftspeople losing their jobs. Excuse me, retiring. In mass. All in the same week.

As they introduced the primary crew members and some of the great moments covered or lengthy tenures, it was obviously a huge blow to the CBS Sports team.

While words like retirement and voluntary were bandied about, we all know what this is about, as telegraphed a couple of months ago:

Cost cutting moves: CBS is looking for about $100 million in cost savings in the next three years from belt-tightening and restructuring in search of greater efficiencies. That process could lead to streamlining of redundant operations and voluntary employee buyouts. “We reorganizing and thinking about functions that go across multiple divisions,” Ianniello said.

If it were any other corporate leader than Schwab—who has seen just about everything in golf—I’m guessing phone calls would be made, inquiries made and questions asked about so many layoffs in the midst of the golf season—with a mid-telecast tribute—and at a time the CBS schedule is at full force.

So Chuck probably won’t have to talk to Chuck. But if he were miffed at how year one played out, no one would blame him.

Colonial--AKA Charles Schwab Challenge--Set Up For A Doozy Of A Finish

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Kevin Na’s not walking putts in—at least intentionally so far this week Mike McAllister reports—but he did make a mess of a hole Saturday and Nick Menta reports that Na’s caddie Kenny Harms channeled full rage toward a Live Under Par Ambassador (aka fan with a cell phone). Charming.

The mess of a hole, minus the confrontation:

A ‘73 Dodge Challenger is on the line and maybe even the Colonial jacket, though the Colonial name and Ben Hogan have been scrubbed from the signage and messaging this week.

Mac Engel wrote earlier in the week that this may have been of Fort Worth’s effort to not become Houston.

Two back, Jordan Spieth could set a Shotlink era record for feet of putts made. He’s already had his best putting week through 54 in that respect and needs about 115 feet of putts to drop for the new high water mark.

Rethinking The Mainstream Golf Vocabulary: Bamberger Is Coming After One-Shotter And Penalty Area

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The former I’ll fight for, the latter is on its own.

Michael Bamberger files a fun consideration of certain golf terms in light of rule book changes along with the desire to shed golf of stuff terms.

Penalty area has been a colossal mistake that needs to be replaced by hazard. Does anyone disagree?

But as a repeated user of one, two and three-shotter, I have to defend those. They’ve been around for a long time, were used by all of the great architects in their writings, and even highlight the silliness of chasing distance (since there are about six legit three-shotters left).

Yes, a par 5. Not a 5 par. Blech. Also grating is three-shotter, two-shotter and one-shotter. And who needs the new penalty area when hazard conveyed it all? As Strunk & White say in Elements of Style, “Be clear.” That doesn’t mean be literal. Golf requires a measure of irony, which is why any body of water, including a gunky Ohio pond on a pitch-shot par 3, may be referred to as a lake. Here are the exceptions that prove the rule: the ocean to the left of 18 at Pebble and the burn crossing the first on the Old Course. Show some respect: Swilcan Burn is not a lake.

I also have to quibble with a few here. A double cross isn’t pretentious, it’s just painful.

These terms are pretentious and should be avoided: hole location, green complex, signature hole, double cross, overseeding, C.O.R., learning center, practice tee, links-style, second-shot course, Championship Course.

15/15 Inside 15: Jordan Spieth Has His Best (Strokes Gained) Putting Day

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You can’t keep the great putters down for long and it’s fun to see Strokes Gained putting a figure on his Colonial, err…Charles Schwab round one performance. Spieth is one back of Tony Finau after the opening round. He must have dreams of that restored Dodge Challenger going to the winner. Really!

From PGATour.com’s Sean Martin:

A PGA Tour round-up and highlight real from Instagram:

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The putter was on 🔥 today. #LiveUnderPar

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Commish Hints At PGA Tour Gaming "Participation" Announcement By Year's End

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As legalized sports betting has so far fizzled after the initial euphoria, the PGA Tour is forging ahead with integrity programs, beefed up stats and partners in various arenas. And now PGA Tour Commissioner Jay Monahan has hinted that an announcement will come by year’s end that could have the PGA Tour taking the vig.

Golfweek’s Dan Kilbridge reports and includes this quote:

“We’ve spent a lot of time over the last two and a half years clearly understanding all of our options and getting ourselves in a position where we can participate,” Monahan said. “Participate with the right partners, and participate in a way that we think resonates with fans. Without getting in front of it, I think you can expect to hear developments from us in the second half of this year.”

It’s an amazing leap from the days of Tim Finchem getting creeped out by the Tour’s association with fantasy leagues and certainly one worth trying. Though after The Match last year where stats were part of theoretical play-along gambling, I’m still struggling to see if live in-round betting will really click given the general lack of prop bet imagination shown by the gaming industry.

In theory the slow speed of golf should lend the sport to some of this gambling, but fantasy leagues and week-to-week pools should remain a focus given the communal nature of those and the more benign notion of picking players based on track records at courses or recent form.

It sounds like that is the case:

Monahan is continually trying to get ahead of the issue to ensure the Tour is in position to maximize the benefits.

“There’s so many different points of entry, from operators to daily fantasy to just games within broadcasts that are non-betting games, just to the way you orient yourself understanding the way people are consuming information,” Monahan said.