The Death Of Hazard, All Square, Dormie And Halve Not Sitting Well

Last week’s match play and next week’s Masters prompted a couple of pieces worth your time on the changing language in the game. While everyone was for simplifying the rules, increasingly folks are not warming up to the idea of simplifying the language of golf. Particularly since so many golf terms are part of the every day lexicon.

For example, to be living under par suggests you aren’t feeling well. But I digress.

David Normoyle in a special to Golfweek expresses his dismay at the death of the hazard and the timeless word now replaced with penalty area.

Personally, I’m not looking forward this April to the first time a player takes on the corner of the 13th hole at Augusta National, with its famous tributary lying in wait to capture the carelessly played shot, only to have the television commentator suggest the fate of the Masters may hinge on whether the ball finds the meandering “penalty area” to the left of the fairway or not.

What would Herbert Warren Wind say about his beloved Amen Corner being defined each year not by the players who fell victim to the confounding hazard that is Rae’s Creek but rather those who cautiously negotiated the yellow penalty areas on their way to victory?

Golfweek’s Alistair Tait points out that during the Sky broadcast of the Dell Match Play, the announce team did not acknowledge the preferred new match play terminology. As Tait writes, “he language of golf is part of its allure” and with a history of some words dating back to Mary Queen of Scots’ day—caddie for instance, some are not ready to say goodbye to several terms.

Sadly, there is no mention of all-square in the new rule book. It’s been quietly deleted in the supposed attempt to make the game more accessible to new players. Maybe the governing bodies think the game’s going to become populated by morons incapable of understanding simple terms like all-square and halved.

I wouldn’t be surprised if that wonderful, unique to golf term “dormie” is edited out of the next edition of the rule book even though it’s been in existence since Mary Queen of Scots pondered the benefits of an overlapping grip over a ten-finger one.

Auctions! Jeff Ellis Puts Up Some Incredible Old Clubs; Another First Masters Program Also On The Market

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Renowned historian and collector Jeff Ellis has some amazing stuff up for auction at his site. The current gallery that includes some incredible early clubs.

And Roxanna Scott notes that bids can start at $5000 for a First Augusta National Invitational program, a fantastic publication that has been reproduced and even had a poster made by the Masters out of its cover.

Southern Pines' Little Nine: "Fallow Ground & Fertile Memories"

The abandoned “LIttle Nine” is on the right

The abandoned “LIttle Nine” is on the right

Bill Fields takes an in-depth look at one of the more unusual battles over an abandoned golf course—the Little Nine of Southern Pines Golf Club, a still wonderful but defaced Donald Ross gem in greater Pinehurst run by the Elks Lodge. The course has sat dormant since 2004 with Ross ties and facing a possible sale by the Elks in the heart of Southern Pines.

But as Fields notes, a conservancy is trying to prevent redevelopment with an eye on green space or even golf returning some day. Given the quality of the land and the game’s popularity in the area, that shouldn’t be tough, right?

The Little Nine opened in time for the 1924 winter season, 18 years after the first holes were constructed at SPGC (then called Southern Pines Country Club) and a decade after Ross revamped the original 18 into the well-regarded layout that exists today. 

“I’m long on record on Golf Club Atlas saying the main 18 at the Elks occupies the best land in Moore County [for golf], and people parrot that back to me in agreement,” says Ran Morrissett, founder of the website for golf architecture aficionados, and a Southern Pines resident and Elks Club member since 2000. “The detail work, the bones of the Ross routing, the fact that you only see homes on a couple of holes — it’s such a compelling environment.”

The third nine, to accommodate a growing tourist business, was built south and east of the clubhouse. Before the 1920s were over, it had been joined by a fourth nine. In a 1930 promotional pamphlet, Ross noted 36 holes at Southern Pines. In accounts during the 1930s, local newspapers credited Ross’ engineer and draftsman, Walter Irving Johnson, with having drawn up the plans.

Video: Jim Nelford Talks 1984 Crosby, Near-Death Experience On Morning Drive

Really extraordinary stuff here from Jim Nelford as interviewed by Gary Williams and Jaime Diaz on the 35th anniversary of his loss to Hale Irwin. Some of the great footage may have been taken out due to rights issues but Nelford is all you need to hear.

The 1984 Crosby went to sudden death after Irwin’s tee shot bounced off the rocks and back on to 18 fairway. Irwin also hit a horrendous pop-up off 16 tee in the playoff and then a miraculous long iron from the bunker. You can see the 18th tee shot in this best of compilation:

The Kordas And The Amazing Winning Siblings Feat

Nelly Korda wins: some trophies are easier to kiss than others.

Nelly Korda wins: some trophies are easier to kiss than others.

We don’t want to get too far removed from the weekend’s action without pausing to consider the remarkable feat of siblings winning on the same tour.

I’m fairly certainly this is Final Golf Jeopardy material here, from Al Lunsford of the LPGA:

With her win, Nelly Korda joined her sister, five-time LPGA winner Jessica Korda, in the winner’s circle on Sunday, making the Kordas just the third set of sisters to win on the LPGA Tour in history.

Annika Sorenstam (72 wins) and Charlotta Sorenstam (one win) were the first to accomplish the feat in 2000, and were joined by Ariya Jutanugarn (10 wins) and Moriya Jutanugarn (one win) earlier this season when Moriya won the 2018 HUGEL-JTBC LA Open.

Imagine that. Two of the three pairings to have done so accomplished the feat in 2018.

Big sister Jessica was a blubbering mess after the win:

Flashback: The Last Time The USA Made Putts And Europe Didn't, 1981 Ryder Cup At Walton Heath

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In searching for some great looks at Walton Heath’s design in anticipation of this week’s British Masters, I didn’t find much. But this 1981 Ryder Cup highlight film narrated by the late, great Jim Huber will remind you of a time Americans made everything while the Europeans struggled on the greens. There is also this: Dave Marr’s USA squad had NINE future Hall of Famers and is quite possibly the best one America ever assembled.

Flashback: When They Used To Shape The Ball, Use The Ground And Hit Woods Into Par-5s!

Fantastic flashback clip from the European Tour social getting us ready for pro golf’s return to the glorious Walton Heath, host of the 2018 British Masters hosted by Justin Rose.

Lee Trevino

Video: Bobby Jones Wins The 1926 Open At Royal Lytham

There is no sound and the Claret Jug ceremony is set in the middle of the footage, but it's still fun to look at the swings, the clothes, the caddies and especially Royal Lytham & St Annes, host of this week's Women's British Open. (Here are the coverage times.)

Note the bunkering at Lytham then--more sand faced--than the sod wall, typical links style you'll see this week. 

"Tournaments come, and tournaments go. That’s how it is on the PGA Tour."'s Gary Van Sickle provides some fun memories while reminding us of bad news we already know: nothing lasts forever on PGA Tour.

As two towns integral to men's pro golf prepare to lose events or become less significant in the 2019 schedule--Akron and Houston namely--Van Sickle says this is the history of the PGA Tour, where even the once-vaunted Western Open teetered and is now barely recognizable. 

He also reminds us that someone in Tour headquarters signed off on Cialis as a title sponsor.

History is nice, but our memories often are nearly as short as our modern gnat-sized attention spans. Remember the Western Open? It was a cornerstone of the PGA Tour lineup for decades. Butler National Golf Club, the tournament’s long-time Chicago-area home, was considered a beast by Tour players. The event was seen as being just a notch below a major championship during the 1980s.

Today, the Western Open is long gone, having hit a low point – in my eyes, anyway – when Cialis, an erectile-dysfunction drug, became the title sponsor for a few embarrassing years. Imagine being a female tournament volunteer and having to wear a big Cialis logo on your shirt.

USGA Acquires Probst Golf Collection From PGA Of America

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The PGA of America, longtime holders of the Probst Library featuring an incredible collection of golf books and historic materials, has donated the collection to the USGA Museum.

From the press release:

The Probst Library was developed by South Bend, Indiana-based golf collector Colonel R. Otto Probst, whose passion for the game was kindled in the early 1920s with the acquisition of his first golf artifact. Topics explored through the wide-ranging collection include golf instruction, golf club histories, architecture, equipment, fiction, women in golf, travel, humor, literature and poetry. Several pieces explore Scottish history and its relationship to golf.

“The Probst Collection adds depth and richness to the USGA’s library, providing incredible insight into the game’s cultural and historic evolution,” said Rand Jerris, USGA senior managing director of Public Services. “We are grateful to Colonel Probst and the PGA for cultivating this treasure trove of information, which we can immediately share with fans who love and play the game worldwide.”

Probst (1896-1986) began his collection in 1923 and went on to acquire numerous items from renowned collectors through his life, including Cecil Hopkinson and C.B. Clapcott. In 1938, Justice Earle F. Tilley, a USGA Museum Committee member, endowed his golf library to Probst .


Which is all a good reminder for those interested in golf history and in Far Hills, or just searching from home...

Today, the USGA Library is the world’s foremost repository for the game’s history. Books and periodicals in more than 20 languages cover all aspects of the game. Other areas of collecting include sheet music, dissertations, scrapbooks and over 30,000 scorecards from golf clubs worldwide. The Library also contains the personal papers of some of the game’s greatest personalities (including Bob Jones and Walter Travis) and is home to the USGA/PGA African-American Archive of Golf History. The complete library catalog, containing more than 70,000 volumes, can be accessed online at or in person.

Say It Ain't So: Fire At National Golf Links Of America

There is no more historic clubhouse in America and certainly no club housing a more important collection of historic memorabilia than NGLA's. 

So as we await word on the extent of damage--most reports seem to suggest firefighters kept the fire from spreading beyond a kitchen, an upstairs patio and the "birdcage" dining area added in 1916--we can only hope all of C.B. Macdonald's treasures and Jarvis Hunt's clubhouse design were not permanently damaged.

A 27East story seems to be the most complete in terms of details and some images.

A few fire photos followed by some clubhouse interior shots that capture the grandeur of this American treasure...

Instagram Roundup: Tiger's Heroic Recovery, Arnie's Tractor, Bobby Jones's Birthday And A Creative Masters Teaser

A vintage Tiger Woods shot Saturday at Bay Hill. He trails Henrik Stenson by five heading into Sunday's 2018 Arnold Palmer Invitational finale, Dan Kilbridge reports. A fantastic leaderboard should make for a great last day.

V I N T A G E 🐅

A post shared by PGA TOUR (@pgatour) on

The tractor belonging to Arnold Palmer's dad was brought down from Latrobe and parked at Bay Hill this week to commemorate the influence of his father.

Arnie’s Tractor.

A post shared by Joshua Kelley (@j.e._kelley) on

Saturday was Bobby Jones' birthday. The USGA posted some images of the amateur golfing great.

The Masters has begun their social media efforts earlier than normal and feature this look at the club's co-founders.

Crowdfunding Call: St Andrews Headstone For The Andersons

Kudos to author Roger McStravick for continuing his fine work on behalf of all things St. Andrews by crowdfunding an effort to erect a headstone for three-time Open Champion Jamie Anderson and father Auld Daw Anderson, former Old Course greenkeeper and later, ginger beer seller.

Auld Daw is also credited with helping shape the Old Course design during his stint.

Jamie died poor and while buried in the St. Andrews alongside his father, is deserving of proper recognition.

I've made a small contribution and hope you will too!

Here's the link.

A few of my recent photos from the cemetery, including Old and Young Tom Morris's restored headstone/monument and Allan Robertson's gravesite.

The Calamity Jane Story Updated

Really great work here by Jonathan Wall of to revisit the story of Calamity Jane and clarify the history of Bobby Jones' beloved putter. (The Tour Championship winner receives a replica.)

Besides explaining what the putter with 8 degrees of loft meant to Jones, Wall's piece includes a fun Q&A with Jones historian Sid Matthew at the end.

A teaser related to a Jones reunion with Jane in 1936:

Jones eventually walked away from competition at 28, on the heels of his historic victory at the 1930 U.S. Open that completed the then-Grand Slam that also included wins that year at the U.S. and British Amateurs and the Open Championship. In the years that followed, Calamity Jane would fade into the distance, but from time to time, Jones would reunite with his old friend and the sparks would fly.

As golf writer Bill Fields noted in a Golf Digest story on the famed putter, Jones brought the putter out of retirement at the 1936 Masters and promptly shot 64 at Augusta National with just 25 putts.

"It's just like an old friend now," Jones told The New York Times back then. "The ball kept going up to the cup and acting as though it had eyes."

Getting In The Mood For Birkdale: Johnny & Seve In '76 Video

The 1976 Open Championship was won by Johnny Miller, and as he recounted for Golfweek, it was a memorable weekend battle with Seve Ballesteros.

This short piece on the '76 Open is mostly about Seve but includes some great footage of Johnny and Seve's epic recovery on 18. Their battle is at the heart of next week's "Summer of '76" documentary airing on Golf Channel.

This longer piece by Scott Murray just appeared at The Guardian's site and reminds us what a wild week this was:


Where Are They Now Files, Birkdale '08 Edition: Padraig Harrington vs. Greg Norman (Viewer Discretion Advised)

The Shark tired to a final round 77 but gave us a thrill when contending for the 2008 Open Championship at Royal Birkdale.

As the championship prepares to return there nine years after that exciting week, this seems like a nice opportunity to catch up with winner Padraig Harrington and T3 finisher Greg Norman.

Padraig Harrington is tied for the Aberdeen Asset Management Scottish Open lead. Yes, he's got an interesting swing and finish these days, but he's as lovable, driven and zany as ever. But he's found a place of contentment, something he addressed after the round (Nick Rodger's report for the Herald.)

Greg Norman vacations regularly, injures himself constantly and likes to keep his clothes off on Instagram.