Saturday, June 17, 2006

Mulligan's Laws, Part. 3

More pearls of wisdom from Mulligan's Laws: A Lifetime of Golfing Wisdom from the Genius Who Invented the Do-Over.

Don't play with anyone who would question a 7.

No matter how badly you are playing, it is always possible to play worse.

Never try to keep more than 300 separate thoughts in your mind during your swing.

David Duval at the podium

Q. You had fun with the crowd, didn't you, today?
DAVID DUVAL: They really seemed behind me. You know, I've always enjoyed playing up in this area. I've only missed the Westchester event when I've had to miss it. You know, I think they get to see me a lot, and they know I'm coming back and playing well, and they're pulling for me.

Q. (Inaudible).
DAVID DUVAL: I know, I've never led anybody to believe otherwise. If it's not my favorite, it's tied for my favorite event of the year with the Open Championship. I think especially in the last couple years, the golf courses have been set up just how they should be and have been fair and just, extremely hard.

Q. There was a nine stroke discrepancy between yesterday and today. What was working for you today and didn't work yesterday?
DAVID DUVAL: You know, I made some putts and hit the ball just a little bit better.

Here he gets testy, the Duval of old...
Q. The state of your game, even though the scores aren't always there, have you been feeling the last few months or several months
DAVID DUVAL: I guess you haven't been listening. I've been saying that for I don't know how long and nobody wants to seem to listen. I'm playing well. I'll say it again, I'm playing very well. I made some putts today a couple times when I needed to to keep my round going. I did it, and the little things added up a little bit better today than they have the past six months of this year so far.

Q. You're pretty confident over the ball, and after you stroked it on the par putts on 4, 5 and 9, are you feeling a lot better on the greens?
DAVID DUVAL: Yeah, I felt better today than yesterday. I struggled getting comfortable yesterday. Today I felt a lot more comfortable over the ball. I felt like I was aiming the ball a lot better than I did yesterday.

Q. Talk about the 6th hole.
DAVID DUVAL: My third shot?

Q. Yeah.
DAVID DUVAL: I didn't have an out. I felt like I had to play right of the hole and try to get it on the green over there. If I'm aiming at the flag area or even left and it grabs the hosel, go right over the green in the hazard and I'd really have a problem. The mistake there wasn't any of the shots I played, any of the six shots I played. Well, I guess it was the first shot was the mistake I made, and it wasn't so much because it was a bad shot; you have those. It was not even close to the right club. I'm hitting the ball on a string and there's no reason I shouldn't hit it right on the front of the green or in the left bunker or something. It's only 300 yards, 310 yards to the front. Anywhere up around there I can get it on the green.

...more testiness...
Q. Just your thoughts on making the cut in a major and being here on the weekend.
DAVID DUVAL: I guess that's the difference between you and me; I don't think that way. I'm not thinking along those lines of whether I've done it recently or not. It's a matter of confidence and how I'm playing and my results haven't been nearly what I thought they should be this year up to this point, and I just look forward to a really good second half of the year.

Q. Is your confidence growing month by month or week by week or even day by day?
DAVID DUVAL: All those. I felt like I played pretty well at Augusta overall. I had a big test ahead of me for the last 16 holes of that tournament, I guess holes 20 through 36 for me. I guess that's where some of the hardships of how I've played the last few years, that's where the importance of little things like that come into play. I know I'm playing well and I certainly am not going to pack it in, but at that point I've got no chance of making the cut.
But I'm not going to quit. I'm going to keep playing and building on it.

Q. How does it feel to be in contention again?
DAVID DUVAL: Well, you know what, it feels wonderful. Simple things like last week, I'm scratching my head. I felt like after two days I should be in contention and I don't even get to play on the weekend. I hit the ball well enough to be doing that, but the little things, unless you're out following and seeing an entire round of golf. You see the scores when you get done and you don't know what happened. It's those little things that need to add up in a round of golf that haven't for me.

Like I said, I felt great last week, hit the ball well. I could have hit a few more greens, but I really struggled with those real soft poa annua greens with the amount I spin the ball. It was hard to get to the flags. I felt great coming here. I was prepared and ready to play.

Tiger at the Open: The exit interview

Q. Tiger, just trouble again with the greens?
TIGER WOODS: I didn't execute properly today. I didn't drive the ball all that great, didn't hit my irons well and didn't have the speed again, so not a good combo.

Q. Tell us what your emotional state is right now.
TIGER WOODS: Pissed. That pretty much sums it up right there. I thought I was playing well enough to shoot an under par round today, and I didn't do that.

Q. Was it rust?
TIGER WOODS: No, not rust. Unfortunately I just didn't put it together at the right time. I just didn't execute properly, and consequently, I shot 6 over.

Q. Was there a moment today where (inaudible).

Q. You thought as you kept grinding, you still thought you were going to turn it around?
TIGER WOODS: You've always got to feel that way. I felt like if I just kept going, kept plodding along, I could have turned it around any time with one putt or one shot. And I made two good saves there on 18 and 1 and thought that that would be pretty good. Then made a good par there on 3. All in all, I thought I could have turned it around there.

Q. This is kind of a tough tournament and a tough venue to come back. Talk about that.
TIGER WOODS: It is. It's playing really hard. The golf course is very difficult. The wind is up now, just like it was yesterday afternoon. Marginal shots are just going to get killed here; it's just the nature of this golf course. Any U.S. Open, but more so on this golf course, but any U.S. Open venue that we play, any marginal shot here just gets penalized more so than any other Open.

Q. You've never missed a cut in a major. Can you talk about that?
TIGER WOODS: It's not something you want to have happen. I've gone, I guess, a while without missing one. Unfortunately I missed this one, and hopefully I can win the British.

Q. (Inaudible).
TIGER WOODS: Yeah, I knew if I made one birdie coming in and a couple pars, the ten shot rule would get me in.

Q. 20/20 hindsight, would you have (inaudible).
TIGER WOODS: No, I was not ready to play golf.

Q. What's next?
TIGER WOODS: Practice.

Q. Will you play before the British?
TIGER WOODS: Probably the Western.

Q. You said coming into this you felt really good about where your game was. How shocking is this to you?
TIGER WOODS: More frustrating than anything else because I was hitting the ball really well. I struggled all week with getting the speed of these things because they were slower the mindset of a U.S. Open is really slick greens, and these aren't. I struggled all week trying to hit the putts hard enough, and then yesterday it bit me right at the start.

Once I adjusted, as I said yesterday, it was too late. Then today they were nice; they were a little bit faster but still on the slow side. Uphill putts are really slow, and downhill putts just don't quite run out. You have to make the adjustment, and I didn't do that.

Q. Considering what you've had to deal with off the golf course, did it help you to maybe deal with disappointment in tournament play in a major when things don't work out? Is there any way that you've changed or matured with respect to your game and your results?
TIGER WOODS: When you don't execute, you're not going to be happy either way. What's transpired off the golf course, I don't know if it gives you a different type of perspective. But I don't care if you had what transpired in my life of recent or not, but poor execution is never going to feel very good.

Thursday, June 15, 2006

Merion in '13 -- The Announcement

And let's go straight to the video ta -- er, ah, excerpts of the transcript of the press conference with USGA president Walter Driver, championship committee chairman Jim Hyler and executive director David Fay:

This is Driver talking...

The second announcement I want to make is that the 2013 US Open will be conducted at Merion Golf Club in Ardmore, Pennsylvania. We're really excited about this. It's a great golf course, a great club, wonderful connections with the USGA for years and years. We had the U.S. Amateur there last year, they're going to host the Walker Cup, and now the 2013 U.S. Open.

This, in my experience, is a remarkable example of cooperation among the people at the club, the Haverford Township, Haverford College, all of the local authorities in that area, even the people who live around the golf course are pitching in to make more room available for all the fans who will come out and make sure that we can conduct a wonderful U.S. Open at Merion.

Important stuff here...

We think that the U.S. Open at Merion will be approximately the size of the U.S. Open here at Winged Foot, maybe slightly smaller, but it will be -- a lot of people will get a chance to come to the U.S. Open in Philadelphia and appreciate both Merion and all the elements of a U.S. Open.
I want to thank the people from Merion. We have a big group from Merion here today. Stand up, folks. They're very happy to be here. Thank you very much.


Q. Question about Merion. How many fans are you expecting at Winged Foot? What capacity do you expect at Merion? And at what point were you certain that Merion was capable of hosting a U.S. Open since there has been so much talk about it?

WALTER DRIVER: We've sold 35,000 tickets here at Winged Foot. We think we can come close to that at Merion. Maybe not quite, but close to it.

This has been a great process where we have worked with the people at Merion, as I said, Ardmore and Haverford Townships and Haverford College, to deal with issues such as parking, security, access. We'll have more grandstands at Merion than we've had in the past.
There's no single answer. It's all of those things come together in being able to conduct a really top quality U.S. Open at Merion.

Q. Quick follow-up, this came up a couple years ago. I was under the impression that the gallery limit might be about 20,000 and it would be okay to take a hit for one year. Where did you come up with the extra space?

WALTER DRIVER: We can do that by a variety of ways. People along Golf House Road have offered to let the club and the U.S. Open use their property. The Haverford College has helped with the parking so that we can park people at Haverford and let people walk across the train tracks where we'll build a bridge. There are a lot of creative solutions to that issue that all the people involved have come up with.

Q. For David, there's been a lot of pros and cons with Merion, the course and the length of it. I'm wondering about your thoughts about what went into the process. I know you've done a lot of studies there and whatever, how do you feel the course will hold up?

Well, we put a lot of thought into this, and again, hats off to the leadership of Merion. I think I can use this automobile because it no longer exists, but there was once a commercial "It's not your father's Oldsmobile," in some ways I'd say it's the same for Merion.

They've always had great holes, a number of great layup holes where you weren't using driver off the tee. But they've been able to make their long, stout holes, the ones that have been known throughout history. They've made them really long. So I think they have adapted so well to the changing nature of the game.

There was a question before about the gallery. I think you were there, but if you noticed, a lot of trees have been removed, and that also adds the gallery component. We have not been to Philadelphia since 1981. It is a great course; it's rich in history. We used the Amateur as sort of a testing ground where you had the finest players in the world, the finest amateur players in the world, for whom hitting the ball a long way is not an issue.

So in all respects, and I think, hats off, again, to the leadership of Merion and to our operations people who truly investigated all of the pros and cons of this in a very detailed way, as Walter and Jim have said, we feel very comfortable going back to Merion in 2013.

Q. Regarding Merion, based on your analysis of player performance at the Amateur, are there any specific tweaks or major changes to the golf course itself you anticipate making?

WALTER DRIVER: We'll move a putting green to have more room for crowd movement around the clubhouse, and that's the only major change. They'll move the 14th tee in the same general area, but other than that, we contemplate no major changes in the golf course.

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

It's official: Merion gets the '13 Open

After months of rumors, the USGA finally announced Wednesday that Merion Golf Club in Ardmore will host the 2013 U.S. Open.

To read the formal press release, click here.

Miller re-ups with NBC

With all the uncertainty in the booth after the new TV contract between the networks and the PGA Tour, fans of Johnny Miller will be happy to know he is still da man at NBC.

Here are highlights from the network's press release:

NEW YORK -- June 13, 2006 -- Johnny Miller, who USA Today called "the best color analyst in golf, if not all sports TV," has signed a long-term extension as NBC Sports' lead golf analyst.

"My goal in announcing is to speak just like I'm in the living room with you and we're having pizza and I'm just letting go," said Miller.

"Whatever I think comes out. I'm going to do the best job with the most honesty inside me to say, 'here's what I just think just happened.' The announcing is a little bit like teaching. I address a player's mistakes and sort of give a lesson on TV. When I played, I didn't play down the middle and I don't announce down the middle. That would be boring."

Mulligan's Laws, Part 2

More truisms and pearls of wisdom from the book Mulligan's Laws: A Lifetime of Golfing Wisdom from the Genius Who Invented the Do-Over:

Since bad shots come in groups of three, a fourth bad shot is actually the beginning of a next group of three.

When you look up and cause and awful shot, you will always look down again at exactly the moment when you ought to start watching the ball if you ever want to see it again.

The only sure way to find a drive sliced deep into the woods is to hit a provisional ball 260 yards down the middle.

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Nike's Father's Day commercial

If you want a sneak peek at the Nike's new 30-second Father's Day TV commerial featuring endearing old clips of Tiger and Earl Woods, click here.

It's up on Nike's website today. It airs Thursday through Monday.

U.S. Open

If you've ever wondered what the inside of the media center looks like at a U.S. Open, it looks like this.

It's early, only Tuesday, so media folks are still arriving and the big scoreboard is still empty.

By tomorrow, this place will be teeming.

Mulligan's Laws

Looking over my considerable collection of golf books, I came across a slim volume I'd forgotten entitled "Mulligans Laws: A Lifetime of Golfing Wisdom from the Genuis Who Invented the Do-Over."

I thought I'd share a little of that wisdom over the coming days:

If your driver is hot, your putter will be ice-cold; if you can hit your irons, you will top your woods; if you are keeping your right elbow tucked in, your head will come up.

It's as easy to lower your handicap as it is to reduce your hat size.

If you really want to get better at golf, go back and take it up at a much earlier age.

Sunday, June 11, 2006

U.S. Open fact sheet

If you want to go to the U.S. Open but haven't bought tickets yet, forgetaboutit. For the 20th straight year, the Open at Winged Foot was a sell-out long ago.

But if you dig plumbing the fine print for rich details and minutiae, there's some good reading in the USGA's official Open fact sheet.

U.S. Open tee times

Phil Mickelson tees off at 7:55 a.m. Thursday and 1:25 p.m. Friday, paired with Tim Clark of South Africa and Thomas Bjorn of Denmark.

Tiger Woods' tee times are the opposite, 1:25 p.m. Thursday and 7:25 a.m. Friday, paired with U.S. Amateur champion Edoardo Molinari of Italy and defending champion Michael Campbell of New Zealand.

Homeboy Sean O'Hair goes out at 1:36 p.m. on Thursday, 8:06 a.m. on Friday.

For all the tee times, click here.

Golf's unofficial artist

If golf has an unofficial artist, it's Linda Hartough. You've no doubt seen her work, whether or not you realized it was hers. If you own one, lucky you, because they sell from $50,000 to $225,000.

The New York Times serves up an interesting portrait of the 60-year-old South Carolina painter it calls the "Rembrandt of the back nine." For more, click here.

Karrie Webb's side of the penalty story

Here's Karrie's side of the Sorenstam penalty story.

Q. Tell us what happened on 2.
KARRIE WEBB: With Annika?

Q. Yeah.
KARRIE WEBB: Well, I saw her remove part of a divot next to a filled, like a replaced divot. It was a little bit. And I wasn't going to say anything. And then I hit my lay up and I looked over again and she removed the rest of it. And I just know you can't do that. And I, I was either going to feel bad for calling it on her or feel bad if she won by one and whoever finished second and I didn't say something. So that's why I said something.

Q. She moved both pieces? I only saw the second. She said I think the ball was to the right?
KARRIE WEBB: I think the second piece was up against the ball, from what she said to Angus (MacKenzie, rules official).

Q. Was there any question about the penalty?
KARRIE WEBB: No, I don't think so. I don't know if she was aware of the ruling or what.

Q. Did that rattle you at all?
KARRIE WEBB: Yeah, a little bit, because I don't like to have to do that. It's not any fun.

Annika on the 2-stroke penalty

Annika Sorenstam was dinged with a 2-stroke penalty during the third round of the McDonald's LPGA Championship for moving a loose divot. Here's her explanation of what happened.

Q. Talk about the ruling.
ANNIKA SORENSTAM: Well, it was a mistake I made. I was next to a divot and the divot was in two pieces and it was totally replaced in a really horrible way. So I moved the divot and that's against the rules. It's a mistake of mine.

Q. Did you know it was against the rules? When did you realize it was against the rules?
ANNIKA SORENSTAM: Well, Karrie told me I couldn't do it. And I said, well, it looked like somebody grabbed some turf and just stuck it anywhere. I mean it was loose, it was totally I didn't know. I knew it was a divot. Like I say, it was my fault, but I just, I was in I mean, the ball didn't move or anything, it was just totally sloppy done. And I didn't think more of it.

Q. Did you try and replace it?
ANNIKA SORENSTAM: No, I was demonstrating to Karrie what it was. So I mean, but it was too late because that had nothing to do with it.

Q. How much did that affect you?
ANNIKA SORENSTAM: Well, it's a mistake I made. I mean that's just the way it is. I mean, it wasn't that I hit some horrible shots today. I'm not getting any breaks whatsoever and mixed with that, it makes it very, very tough.

Q. You still in this?
ANNIKA SORENSTAM: Well, I got to give it all tomorrow. I mean, to avoid penalty strokes. I mean, I have four shots and two pins, you know, in four holes. I mean, that's right there is six shots. I could be tied for the lead. And that's still with really horrible shots. So it's never too late but things got to change.

Deibert to defend at Philly Am

Amateur preview from GAP...

The Amateur Championship, the crown jewel of the Golf Association of Philadelphia’s tournament season, is set to add another chapter to its rich history. Beginning on June 13 at Torresdale-Frankford CC/Huntingdon Valley CC (qualifying only), a field of 132 players will compete in the 106th Amateur and the right to have their name engraved on the J. Wood Platt Championship trophy.

For GAP's full preview of the Amateur, click here.

Overbrook's Thompson medallist at Sr.Open qualifer

From GAP...

DOYLESTOWN, Pa.–Andy Thompson of Newtown Square, Pa. carded an even-par 72 at Doylestown CC (par 72, 6,514 yards) on Friday to earn medallist honors in a Qualifier for the U.S. Senior Open Championship. George Forster of Villanova, Pa. would be the second qualifier earning a spot after surviving a six-hole, four-man playoff.

For the full story, click here.