From the Rough

Golf without discretion

Archive for April 2010

R&A’s Peter Dawson to Tiger Woods: There’s nowhere to hide at the British Open

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The R&A’s big announcement on Tuesday was supposed to be the unveiling of some major changes to the 17th hole, also known as the Road Hole, at St. Andrews’ famed Old Course. But you wouldn’t have known it from comments coming from R&A’s chief executive, Peter Dawson.

Just like Billy Payne did during his Masters press conference, Dawson made it a point to discuss Tiger Woods, pre- and post-scandal, as well as the security measures that will be put into place when Woods makes his way to the Old Course for this year’s British Open.

As opposed to August National’s ultra-tight security, Dawson will forgo the same route and keep the tournament as-is. What does that mean? It means Dawson is fine with people saying whatever “they like” to the game’s number one player. This should be fun. Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Jonathan Wall

04/27/2010 at 12:01 pm

The Zurich Classic of New Orleans just can’t catch a break

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You have to feel for tournaments like the Zurich Classic. For one week out of the year, New Orleans plays host to a PGA Tour event that’s been a part of the professional golf scene since 1938.

The event, which is currently played at the TPC Louisiana, is supposed to be a week to not only recognize a great golf layout, but a fantastic city as well. It’s a city that surely deserves a chance to take over the spotlight for a couple of days each year.

But once again that wasn’t the case. Lorena Ochoa’s retirement announcement, coupled with Ken Green’s return to the sport and some wretched weather in New Orleans all but turned the event into a blip on the tour’s radar. Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Jonathan Wall

04/26/2010 at 12:40 pm

Hush Money: Wells Fargo remains Quail Hollow’s silent backer

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Sponsoring a PGA Tour event is no easy task. First off, there’s the money involved in running the event, usually upwards of $5-plus millions dollars just to have your name plastered all over the course and on television. Secondly, you’ve got to find a way to make you tournament worthwhile for not only the fans that show up, but the tour players as well. While running an event with Tiger Woods in the field tends to make things easier, there’s no doubting that there’s a unique formula to making the event profitable for all parties involved.

The economic downturn of the past couple of years really changed the sponsorship landscape. As of today, the tour has the arduous task of helping nine tournaments find sponsors for the 2011 season. That, in and of itself, is a monumental task.

But something that makes the task even more difficult is the high-wire act that current potential sponsors are having to maneuver. Northern Trust set the stage for all future PGA Tour tournament sponsors when they came under fire for spending money to run hospitality events at the Los Angeles-based event just last year.

The intense scrutiny has put a lot current tournament sponsors on edge. Wells Fargo is one of those sponsors that runs a high-profile tournament (Quail Hollow Championship), yet refuses to make their sponsorship known for fear of getting ripped by the national media. Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Jonathan Wall

04/23/2010 at 12:49 pm

Can we please stop talking about the number of rounds Obama has played?

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This shouldn’t come as a shock to anyone, but the President of the United States enjoys a round of golf. How do we know this? Well if you were paying any attention to him when he first took over office last year, you would have noticed that dearth of photos and articles discussing President Obama’s affinity for the game.

Could Barack Obama be a golf addict? He could be. But then again, you’d probably see him out on the course every waking moment of the day. And we all know the POTUS doesn’t have enough time in his schedule to work on his short game as much as he’d like.

When Obama took office, he became the 15th president in the last 18 to play the sport. That statistical trend right there shows you how much the game and the presidency are intertwined. Dwight D. Eisenhower had a putting green outside the Oval Office; Woodrow Wilson loved the game so much, he played in the snow with a black ball; and both Bushes enjoyed the game as well.

So if the sport has been a part of politics for so long, why now is it becoming such a problem? Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Jonathan Wall

04/22/2010 at 5:08 pm

Posted in Barack Obama, Media

Tiger Woods commits to Players and AT&T National; what about the Memorial?

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Golfers, like most athletes, tend to be creatures of habit. They’ll wake up at the same time each morning during a tournament week (unless your name is Anthony Kim); roll the same putter for years if it’s working for them; and play courses they’ve historically had success on.

Tiger Woods is a creature of habit. Everyone figured that out when he committed to the Quail Hollow Championship last week, a course he’s had success on in the past. Golf World’s Ron Sirak noted yesterday that Woods would most likely go back to his old schedule after Quail Hollow. And he did, announcing earlier today that he’d be entering the Players Championship at TPC Sawgrass and the AT&T National, a tournament Woods used to host when he was an AT&T sponsor. Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Jonathan Wall

04/21/2010 at 4:37 pm

Now that’s cold: Arizona State women’s golf team DQ’d from Pac-10 championship

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In the history of golf DQ’s, Roberto De Vicenzo’s scorecard error at the 1968 Masters ranks up their as quite possibly the worst gaffe in golf history. Getting disqualified from a tournament for signing an incorrect scorecard in a local tournament is one thing, but the Masters? Well that’s a whole other situation.

While Arizona State’s women’s golf teams’ DQ from the first round of the Pac-10 championship didn’t put them in “what a stupid I am” territory, it’ll still go down as one of the more interesting disqualifications I’ve ever seen.

The story begins with the ASU ladies leading the Pac-10 championship after the first round at the Eugene (Ore.) Country Club. After retiring to their rooms for the night, sophomore Giulia Molinaro called assistant Missy Farr-Kaye to tell her she was feeling sick. Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Jonathan Wall

04/21/2010 at 1:32 pm

The Jerry Rice train wreck is coming to a Nationwide stop near you

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With one swing of the club on Thursday afternoon, Jerry Rice changed the Nationwide Tour landscape as we know it. The event in Hayward, California, was his first foray into the professional golf landscape, and boy did it show in his game.

Rice, who claims to be a single-digit handicap, looked out of his league playing against a group of guys trying to grind their way to a spot on the PGA Tour. Before the tournament Rice was quoted as saying he’d be happy if he shot “his jersey number” in the tournament. That didn’t happen in the first round, as Rice shot an 83. His second round, a respectable 76, allowed him to save face.

After the tournament was finished on Sunday, media outlets across the country came in with mixed views on his first tournament appearance. From the Nationwide’s perspective, the event was a huge success. Officials at the tournament stop claimed interest in the event had increased from last year. The same could be said for the attendance numbers at TPC Stonebrae. Other claimed Rice’s debut was a big mistake.

While the Nationwide surely enjoyed an increase in notoriety for the week, the way they went about gaining the spotlight was very questionable. Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Jonathan Wall

04/20/2010 at 5:09 pm