Time to look back on the most interesting, informative and uh, impactful golf stories of 2005. Well, at least in my view!
Volume 1 is dedicated to Tod Leonard's San Diego Union-Tribune reporting on the state of Torrey Pines.
At issue was a costly redo of the North Course, even though local golfer were not enjoying the renovated South, host of the 2008 U.S. Open.
Starting in November 2004, Leonard exposed the astonishing conflicts of interest and obvious backdoor maneuvering centered around the "needs" of the 2008 Open, the mysterious "Friends of Torrey Pines" (represented by a USGA Executive Committee member!) and the Lodge at Torrey Pines.
His series of articles started an uprising after he revealed that the Lodge was promoting a North Course renovation that had not been approved by the City Council. A later story generated this comment from SD City Councilman Michael Zucchet:
"My opinion was that they ruined the South Course, but at least I understood why they did it – to get the U.S. Open," Zucchet said yesterday. "I love a tough golf course, but I miss the old, historic South.
"Now, it's a Rees Jones masterpiece, but the old one was a San Diego masterpiece. We've lost that, and I want to do my best to make sure the same things don't happen again."
Such a masterpiece that no one wanted him to touch the North, but more importantly, no one seemed to want the USGA greens on the North that were struggling on the South. Leornard's other work was highlighted by this December 4 story, followed later by this January 8 piece, followed by the City Council debate that halted the North Course redo just prior to the Buick Invitational.
I summed up the saga and Leornard's fine reporting for Golfobserver.