Liberty National Loses Bid To Add Three New Island Holes, First Tee

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Terence McDonald reports that Liberty National Golf Club is giving up on hopes to leasing 20-acres to add what would have been three incredibly-situated holes. The concept was to free up space for a First Tee facility.

 The area in question sits in the small bay to the right of the 2017 Presidents Cup host's 18th hole and is essentially a bird sanctuary. 

The club, which hosts the PGA Tour's Northern Trust in 2019 and 2022, had wanted 20 acres but was rejected by the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection and is now apparently abandoning the ambitious plan.

Chidley's letter to Liberty National says the DEP rejected the golf course's bid as "nonresponsive" because it does not include a number of required items. Liberty National failed to demonstrate how its proposed rent — $10,000 annually or a one-time payment of $200,000 — was equal to the market value of the proposed use, the letter says. The bid also failed to specify the tangible public benefit of leasing the portion of the park to Liberty National, according to the letter.

It's not clear whether Liberty National will make a second attempt to lease the land. A request for comment from the golf course's spokesman was not returned.

"What 8 Golfers and Fans Wore to the Presidents Club"

Fun slideshow posted on Halloween of all days showing what "8 Golfers and Fans Wore to the Presidents Club" by the New York Times' John Ortved.

Rickie reps the USA and Anirban the International team.

Of course, the description was funny:

With spectators gathered, top American players including Rickie Fowler and Phil Mickelson managed to retain their trophy against opponents including Canada’s Bob Weir and India’s Anirban Lahiri. Yes, it was a sea of polo shirts and khakis, but not all polo shirts are equal. Here’s a sampling of what golfers and their fans wore.

Mike Weir did drive good cart.

NY Fans Files: Audrey Leishman Laments Boorish Presidents Cup Behavior

The wife of Marc and survivor of a near-death experience is also a wonderful writer. Sadly, she had to take to her blog to share observations about dreadful fan behavior at the Presidents Cup.

Her post was validated by International player Anirban Lahiri and is yet another warning sign that there may need to be limits on crowd size and alcohol sales when the Ryder Cup comes to Bethpage in 2024.

There were many times last week that I thought about what the kids were seeing. The crowds booing for good shots and cheering for missed putts.  The drinking at 7am? Screaming “Big Easy” to Ernie Els and begging for his autograph and then yelling at his players. Heckling a wife for her beauty and then her husband for his play. I was thankful my boys weren’t there to see the way people were treating their daddy. Their hero. My parents could simply turn the television off.

Leishman also takes issue with some of the language used by players in describing what they wanted to do to the International team, and also calls out analysts for excessive language invoking massacres and other ugly scenes for a simple golf exhibition.

Singles First! Presidents Cup Needs Just A Little Gamesmanship To Thrive In 2019

The proposed fixes are flying and some of the assessments are downright bleak (Gray/GolfChannel.com), but as we discussed today on Morning Drive, drastic changes to make the Presidents Cup more winnable for the Internationals could be demeaning to them and discounts the closeness of the 2015 matches.

The talk also downplays a sensational Team USA performance for the week, but particularly in key moments of matches that were often tight through nine or so holes.

As we are prone to do with post-Cup assessments, the suggestions for change and forming of task forces lose sight of the role these events play as exhibitions. The Internationals may have been routed last week, but they were still apart of a valuable experience that will help their games and exposed them to the media capital of the world. The Presidents Cup was beemed all over the world and viewers saw moments of great passion along with historic visits from Presidents past and pressent.

Jaime Diaz urges patience at Golf World because this was mostly about poor play from the Internationals. Just look at the Golfweek report cards and you're reminded that the International stars did not deliver. Jason Day had no idea where the ball was going--with his coach not there to help, eh em--while Charl Schwartzel and Adam Scott could not muster up play close to their best.

There is also the lesson to learn from golf team event history.

As Joel Beall noted early last week, two other notable cup competitions--Ryder and Walker--saw major imbalances in their early years. But the Presidents Cup works with slight variations to the format by extending to a fourth day, though as we saw last week, the four-ball portion of the proceedings seemed bland and in need of some spice. However, that may have been more of a Liberty National and state of the game matter.

While I love Karen Crouse's idea for a mixed team event, I don't think blowing up the Presidents Cup is the place to do it.

Indeed, the 2019 Presidents Cup needs a little sizzle when it returns to Royal Melbourne. The incredible venue is a star already. Els is in and while Phil Mickelson seems determined to keep playing (Ahern/Golfweek), Tiger Woods should ascend the Task Force latter and become the next logical USA captain since he appears to enjoy the job, loves the Sandbelt and will be a Ryder Cup captain whenever he wants the job. In other words, the 2019 event will have plenty of intrigue.

Still, the concerns about competitiveness can be addressed in a clever way that carries a little bit of risk taking for the Internationals.

I'm very much on board with Brandel Chamblee's suggestion that the Internationals, as hosts, propose a home-field change to the order of play. Given their recent success in singles, Chamblee suggested presumed-captain Ernie Els propose opening with singles to prevent a huge early points deficit.

It's also a gamesmanship play. The Presidents Cup has generally lacked the chippiness that makes the Ryder Cup so compelling. By using the home field advantage, the risk and potential reward could be enough to turn the tide for the Internationals.

So would better play.

Task For Bros: Tiger And Phil Show They're Friends, But Will They Hang Around When The Other Wins (Again)?

Of course not, but it's still nice to see these two rivals and Task Force partners sharing in the celebratory mood and no doubt thanking their bud Tom Watson for helping bring everyone closer together. Next thing you know they'll be hanging out by the 18th green the next time one of them wins a golf tournament.

This big hug followed Team USA's 2017 Presidents Cup win.

After play, the two insisted it's the media's fault for not seeing what friends they are, reports Will Gray for GolfChannel.com. Tiger:

“I think the press has made it out to be more than what it has been. We’ve been friends for a very long time,” Woods said. “We’ve had some tough moments where we’ve lost some cups, and also the flip side is we’ve had some great success. Hopefully, going forward, we can continue doing it.”

Not Trumped! 45 Delivers The Presidents Cup To Team USA

Team USA's victorious 2017 Presidents Cup team received the gold trophy from President Donald Trump who kept his remarks brief.

Golfweek's David Dusek on the presidential arrival and visit.

Things got off to a rocky start when the President hit send on a Tweet that criticized his predecessors.

The full transcript for those eager to relive the moment, the video and the text:

PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP: They are very talented, and they really are people that have good hearts. I want to congratulate the Internationals.

On behalf of all of the people of Texas, of all of the people of -- if you look today, if you see what's happening, how horrible it is but we have it under really great control, Puerto Rico, and the people of Florida, who are really suffering over this last short period of time with hurricanes. I want to just remember them and we are going to dedicate this trophy to all of those people that went through so much.

And I tell you what, I've been watching this from the beginning, and I have to say our Team USA, wow, did you play well.

That great putter that I've been copying his putting stroke for many, many years, but it hasn't worked; Steve Stricker. We're going to present Steve with the trophy. I want to thank everybody. This is a special group of folks, tremendous money is donated to charity by the TOUR every year.

Stricker said it was a great honor to be the first captain to receive the cup from a sitting President of the United States, Will Gray reports.

The circumstances led to some fascinating scenes, including this sight of Commissioner Jay Monahan having been commissioned by Dustin Johnson and Paulina Gretzky for a photo with Donald Trump.


The Presidents Cup Almost Ends...A Day Early!

I know some saw a blowout coming but clinching the Presidents Cup on Saturday before a single match is played?

It almost happened if not for the heroics of Si Woo Kim and Anirban Lahiri, who beat Charley Hoffman and Kevin Chappell 1-up to earn a point. This still sends us to Sunday with the U.S. needing just a point to win the Presidents Cup.

While those eager to harpoon this poor man's Ryder Cup will rejoice in the runaway, I will continue to remind that (A) team match play is still better than most stroke play events and (B)

Okay so I don't have much.

Let the solutions to the Presidents Cup begin...and please, let's be constructive!

Why Is Four-Ball Play Not As Compelling As It Used To Be?

As day three of the President Cup carries on with an inevitable USA blowout, the contrast in urgency between foursomes and four-ball play has been noticeable.

Foursomes match play is faster, more volatile and more tense.

Four-ball match play just doesn't seem as lively as it used to be.

Martin Kaufmann noted in his Golfweek review of Friday's 2017 Presidents Cup four-ball session that pace of play was lethargic, making the telecast difficult to sit through.

Then, 2 hours 49 minutes into the show, Tom Abbott said this: “The first match has reached one of the most picturesque spots on the golf course, the short 10th hole.”

In other words, the pace of play was about 5 hours, 30 minutes for 18 holes. I’m not sure there’s anything a producer or director could do to inject excitement into the event when the players are sucking the life out of it with such tedious play.

The pace of play certainly is a factor, but it wasn't that long ago foursomes was less appreciated than four-ball. Alternate shot was seen as fluky, four-ball was a purer test (our friends in the UK, to their credit, never subscribed to this thinking).

Liberty National's lack of great risk-reward holes also reduces the number of four-ball situations where player A can take the safe route to set up a bolder shot by player B. Again, this puts the emphasis on putting over the total package of shotmaking and strategy.

Finally, the consistency and reliability of today's players, combined with improved equipment and conditioning, turns many matches into contests of putting over genuine strategy-fueled jousting. It's hard to create great risk-reward scenarios at today's distances with today's skill. Sure, we will still have players get nervous and even some team-pressure meltdowns, but the overall elevated consistency, regardless of cause, tends to place a greater emphasis on putting.

Now, we could make four-ball play a more compelling and speedier putting contest by forcing players to play their ball down on the greens. Besides elminating the tedium of watching golfers line up their arrows with the path to the hole, we might even have the occasional stymie scenario. Gasp!

A Sunday Presidents Cup Visit By President Trump Seems Likely

As I write for Golfweek.com, the signs were less than subtle Friday of an impending visit. To no one's surprise, it's unclear when or what the President plans to do, though an afternoon visit for the trophy ceremony is the current 2-1 betting favorite.

But he is, after all, the Honorary Presidents Cup Captain!

Presidents 42, 43, 44 Put The Presidents In The Presidents Cup

Given the current climate there was no more welcome sight than three former Presidents turning up at The Presidents Cup first tee. Shoot, they could have strutted in Travolta/Stayin' Alive style and no one would have blamed former Presidents Bill Clinton, George W. Bush and Barack Obama.

NBC's Willie Geist hosted the first tee festivities that also included appearances by the PGA Tour's three living Commissioners, Deane Beman, Tim Finchem and Jay Monahan.

But there was only one big three on property and given that this was a first for the Cup, a historic day in the history of great "gets".

Doug Ferguson's AP story on the 2017 kick off.

Will Gray on the strategy discussions President Clinton enjoyed with Tiger and friends.

Kevin Casey with a roundup of social posts from the first tee.

Phil Mickelson took his first selfie with the Presidents. Brother Tim Mickelson posted it to Instagram:

 

Phil’s first selfie. Almost cropped himself out. Come on man!!!

A post shared by Tim Mickelson (@timmick29) on Sep 28, 2017 at 10:09am PDT

 

It's a moment those of us lucky enough to cover the game won't forget.

 

Presidents 42, 43 and 44 @presidentscup first tee Thursday

A post shared by Geoff Shackelford (@geoffshac) on Sep 28, 2017 at 12:05pm PDT

 

Roundup: Presidents Cup Preview As Three Former Presidents Scheduled To Kick Things Off

It's here! The madness, the mania, the match play!

But come on, three presidents on one property who all love golf? It will be a special day regardless of how the first day foursomes play out, with Presidents Clinton, Bush (43) and Obama kicking off the proceedings. Brentley Romine with the few known details of news that arrived on Presidents Cup eve.

While the Presidents Cup is no Ryder Cup, it is team match play and you know my motto: the worst team match play event is still bound to be more fun and exciting than the typical stroke play tournament.

The opening day foursomes matches look intriguing enough, with the Day/Leishman v. Mickelson/Kisner match of most interest to me.

The opening hole and tee shot is a doozy, writes Brentley Romine.

You might not be super pumped about the Presidents Cup but at Golfweek.com I'm offering a few reasons to be intrigued (and not including the possible Presidential visit Sunday).

Looming over the proceedings today is the incredible excitement over a gathering of three Presidents, but a looming potential visit Sunday from President Trump has delivered some consternation.

Eamon Lynch for Golfweek on the Trump complications including this:

A text message from one member of Team USA’s inner circle reveals that players are anticipating “a (expletive) show” with Trump’s appearance. Does that mean they’d rather he stay away? “All the Americans voted for him, so….” came the reply.

But the politics of players isn’t relevant to Trump’s likely appearance, no more than the voting patterns of LPGA golfers mattered when he pitched up at the U.S. Women’s Open, which was held at his New Jersey course this summer.

What is becoming apparent is that President Trump regards golf as a safe harbor, a world in which he will find a welcome, no matter how vulgar, divisive or incendiary his rhetoric.

The current course routing created for this event. My Golfweek take on that routing's potentially bizarre par-3 finish.

Geoff Ogilvy, cart driving this week for the International team and in charge of fetching water for the Aussie players, singles out the 10th and 12th holes as the most interesting in this PresidentsCup.com piece.

Alex Miceli at MorningRead.com says Tim Finchem's Presidents Cup tried to ride the coattails of the Ryder Cup and has failed.

Tiger got most of the questions during Wednesday's shuttle drivers press conference and got some headlines for suggesting he may never play again. I report for Golfweek.

The Presidents Cup schedule of events.

 All of the TV and streaming times.

The PGA Tour's Facebook page will have live streaming of the first tee ceremony festivities, which commence at 12:20 pm ET. The Presidents Cup Twitter account will also feature a live stream.

The venue from above:

Two hours until this place is packed with the world's best fans 🙌

A post shared by Presidents Cup (@presidentscup) on Sep 28, 2017 at 4:10am PDT

 

 

ShackHouse 49: Presidents Cup And PGA Tour Season Review!

House and I are back to preview the Presidents Cup and hand out some juicy predictions...well decent bets, plus why you should care about the event. We also kick around the FedExCup conclusion and World Golf Hall of Fame's issues getting noticed.

As always, you can subscribe on iTunes and or just refresh your device's podcast subscription page.

Here is The Ringer's show page.

Same deal with Art19 for the show, and Episode 49 is here to listen to right now. Or this new platform or wherever podcasts are streamed.

ShackHouse is brought to you by Callaway, and of course, the new Steelhead fairway woods along with the new O-Works from Odyssey as well.

Showing Up Is Still Hard To Do For Golf's Under-55 (Males)

The World Golf Hall Of Fame produced another special evening at Cipriani in New York to usher in the 2017 class consisting of Henry Longhurst, Davis Love, Meg Mallon, Lorena Ochoa and Ian Woosnam.

Jeff Babineau of Golfweek shares the thoughts of inductees on a ceremony eve  that gathered the largest-ever past Hall attendance. (Counts varied, but 1300 tournament wins and 150 major championship wins were represented by the 34 pictured to your right.)

The LPGA Tour is in New Zealand this week, but their American-based players turned out to support their former rival, Ochoa. Besides another stellar turnout of past female HOF inductees, current stars Morgan Pressel, Michelle Wie, Cristie Kerr and Stacy Lewis were in attendance.

Even though the ceremony was timed to coincide with the 2017 Presidents Cup so  officials and players gathering in New York could attend, most under-55 male stars failed to take the hint: your attendance would have been enjoyed at the World Golf Hall of Fame ceremony. You might even learn that the game was played well before 1999!

As Doug Ferguson highlighted in his AP game story, Love insisted the night was the greatest honor of a life well-lived. Yet not one player or assistant from Love's 2016 Ryder Cup squad or the 2017 Presidents Cup team was able to show support in person.

Granted, there are team room table tennis games to play, room service appetizers to devour and naps to take. But given how much nonsense is uttered when today's young players hang around after a buddy wins, the no-show brigade suggests the admiration does not extend to their elders or golf's history. The history-makers, cord-cutters before there were cord-cutters and trailblazers who allow today's giants to play for massive money.

But worse than the younger players not attending: the noticeable absense of longtime Love competitors and Cup colleagues--Fred Couples, Phil Mickelson, Ernie Els, Nick Price, Tiger Woods, Jim Furyk--who are all in town and yet unable to make the short trip from a downtown hotel to Wall Streets' beautiful Cipriani ballroom. The first four are current World Golf Hall of Fame members, the last two will be inducted some day.

These lines from Love's speech suggest how he will feel about this no-show brigade when reflecting on the night, but only after he's soaked up the great vibes and love from his proud family:

I was lucky enough to play for Arnold and for Jack, too, when they were captains of Presidents Cup teams. I was lucky enough to have Watson, Kite, Watkins, Strange and Sutton as my Ryder Cup captains. I was a captain twice of Ryder Cup teams. This week I'll be an assistant captain of a Presidents Cup for a third time. When I look back over the 31 years of my professional career, my involvement in these team matches, matches that have brought together the world of golf, have meant as much to me as anything I have done in the game. And I'm looking forward to supporting my teammates this week at Liberty National.

Too bad they couldn't be bothered to return the Love.

Liberty National Gets The Ole Hospitality Tent Re-Route And Comes Out Better For It

Look, this isn't shuffling the order of Rumours or Kind Of Blue.

This is Liberty National, the slightly schizophrenic Bob Cupp/Tom Kite design full of interesting moments but a bit unsure what it wants to be (Augusta North? Whistling East?).

Still, I'm never a fan of re-routings for these Cup events in the name of hospitality or function, but the PGA Tour has re-routed Liberty National for both business and entertainment reasons. The 2017 Presidents Cup shoudl be better for it.

As I explain here at Golfweek, finishing on a par-3 seems bizarre given the lack of tournament sucess with them in recent years. But I think it might work out here given that the starting point was the club's 18th hole, now the 14th.

Presidents Cup: Team USA Won't Be Taking A Knee

While Darius Rucker is belting out the anthem--because of course he is--during Thursday's first tee ceremony, Team USA and the International squad will be preparing for day one's five foursomes matches.

USA Captain Steve Stricker was asked a few different ways about the recent protests and displays of unity at sporting events and says it was discussed by the team.

Q. And Steve, not that it's likely to happen, but what would your thoughts be if one of your players wanted to stage a silent protest during the National Anthem?
STEVE STRICKER: Say that again?

Q. What would your thoughts be if one of your players wanted to follow the NFL players and stage a silent protest during the National Anthem?

STEVE STRICKER: We've had a discussion already and none of my players want to do that.

He was asked again later on:

Q. You said your team has discussed what to do with the National Anthem this week, and in other sports over the weekend, we've seen it become very contentious. Golfers, by the nature of what you're doing, don't have a National Anthem played at every event but this will be different. Can you elaborate on what the discussion was you had with your players?

STEVE STRICKER: Yeah, I just wanted to know what they wanted to do and how we wanted to proceed as a team. So we were going to do what we always do and that's take off our hat and put our hands across our chest and over our heart and respect the flag. So that's what we're planning on doing.

Appearing on Morning Drive, Team USA assistant cart driver and World Golf Hall of Fame inductee Davis Love assured all that there will be no displays of unity, protest or otherwise. Ryan Lavner reports.

“I think you’ll see in golf that there’s a little bit more restraint,” he said Tuesday on “Morning Drive”. “We adhere to our rulebook and to our core values and to our traditions, and I think that’s why our sport is so successful."

“There’s a time for us to protest, and it really isn’t during the national anthem. We ought to take a break during the prayer or during the national anthem to thank our country, to thank our forefathers who went before us. And then we can protest with our votes, with our letters to our congressmen or however we want.

“But I think President Trump is right. There is a time for protest, and it probably isn’t during the national anthem. Our country has fought hard for that right.”

The video:

It's Come To This Files: Sources Reveal Prez Cup Pods...

Remember now, I am coming off the Walker Cup where Captain Spider Miller had no assistant captains, drove a standard-issue cart around and stayed in the background, except to meet his players on some of the par-3 tees to offer club assistance if need be.

So it's going to take me some time to adjust to the pomp and obscene bloat that is the Presidents Cup, where assistant captains will be urgently shuttling around to monitor their pods. If only Paul Azinger had trademarked pods we could have avoided this...as reported by Rex Hoggard at GolfChannel.com:

Sources say Dustin Johnson and Matt Kuchar will be in the same pod as rookies Kevin Kisner and Kevin Chappell; Jordan Spieth and Patrick Reed are with Brooks Koepka and Daniel Berger; and Phil Mickelson and Rickie Fowler are with Justin Thomas and Charley Hoffman.

Although Stricker and his assistant captains have multiple possible pairings for each player and could just as easily pair outside the pods, it seems likely teams will emerge from each group, and there are predictable pairs.

I'll sleep better this weekend knowing the pod lineups!

Now, this wacky first tee setup captured by Chris Condon did get me more excited. This has to be the most intimate and potentially intense first tee setups of all cup events:

 

My first look at the first tee at #libertynational. Going to be an epic week!

A post shared by Chris Condon (@ckcondon) on Sep 21, 2017 at 4:04pm PDT

 

Can Steve Stricker Still Be A Ryder Cup Captain Too?

On the news that Steve Stricker will captain the 2017 U.S. Presidents Cup team (with Nick Price captaining the Internationals at the loathsome Liberty National), this would seem to lessen the chances of Stricker also guiding the United States to 2020 Ryder Cup glory in his native Wisconsin.

Not since Jack Nicklaus has someone served as both Presidents Cup and Ryder Cup captain. And, well, Steve is no Jack.

But only the infamous PGA of America task force Task Force "Task Force" knows the answer (from their two meetings).