Remembering Hootie

img5880509.jpgFurman Bisher talks to Billy Payne and offers several tidbits on how this all came about, including a quote attributed to Johnson at this year's Masters saying this would be it. I don't remember reading that anywhere, so it must have been said to Bisher. Odd time to share it!

Damon Hack talks to Martha Burk for the NY Times and has this:

In all matters pertaining to the club, Johnson's voice was the loudest.

"You think of all the great companies and corporations in the world, it seems like they're run that way," said Jim Furyk, who is playing in the Wachovia Championship here this weekend. He added: I don't think anyone is going to argue he's made that golf tournament or the club worse off."

That's right, just check out another over-the-top effort by Bob Spear in Hootie's home-state newspaper.
Although he never said so publicly, criticism from Jack Nicklaus and Arnold Palmer about course changes before the 2006 tournament surely stung. His intention was to ensure today’s players hit the same clubs that the Nicklauses and Palmers hit in their prime.

But Johnson found an ally in another early critic, Gary Player.

“I’m using exactly the same clubs, other than (on) No. 4,” the three-time champion said after a practice round.

I guess it never occured to Spear that 70-year-old Gary Player hitting the same clubs into holes now as his prime might not actually raise a few eyebrows? Well, he does do a lot of sit-ups!

Scott Michaux isn't nearly as breathless in praising Johnson's tenure, while also touching on the slip-ups.

Thomas Bonk in the L.A. Times:

But Payne isn't expected to come on board and start the bulldozers.

"Nothing significant, maybe only something minor," said one source who knows Payne from Atlanta.

Another source, who also did not want to be identified, said it would probably be a stretch to assume Payne would oversee substantial changes, especially during the early portion of his tenure.

AP's Paul Newberry writes:

The Masters was played last year on a 7,445-yard layout - the second-longest in major championship history and 460 yards longer than it was when Johnson took over.

"It's kind of like being president," said Davis Love III from Charlotte, N.C., where he was playing in the Wachovia Championship. "No matter what you do, half the people are going to think you did it wrong."

Former Atlanta mayor Andrew Young believes Johnson might have gone along with allowing female members at Augusta National if not for Burk's public campaign.

"Mr. Johnson was very much an old-school Southerner. He was ready to grow, he was ready to change, but he wasn't going to be pushed," Young said. "Let's give him credit for all the good he did, and not try to blame him because he wasn't able to see into the 21st century. That's up to Billy to do."