Business Edge for Friday May 18 2001
Its been a slow news day, so what youre getting is a sampling of the latest jottings in my Idea Book.
If I get one more press release about a new upscale daily fee that promises to offer the complete golf experience or that country club feeling, Im turning in my GHIN card. (The mathematics museum at M.I.T. wants it anyway. Something about impossibly high numbers.)
The economics of golf courses in this day and age make it more profitable to open overblown, overpriced, over-hyped tracks designed by big-name players, and almost always with a real estate development attached. Not long ago, I defied anyone to play an upscale daily fee in the Atlanta area without hearing the sound of a pneumatic nail gun or power saw in the background. No one was able to rise to the challenge.
Upscale daily fees have their place in the golf economy, I suppose. But the shame of it is at the other end of the spectrum, where municipal and Mom-and-Pop courses and ranges used to fulfill an important part of the process of golf development.
Its simple: You could hang out there.
Unless youre deep in the cash, you cant just hang out at, say, the TPC at Sugarloaf outside Atlanta. And if you have that much money, youre probably busy earning more. On the other hand, thousands of golfers have stories of childhoods constructively wasted at town courses all over America.
One of our producers here at TGC used to pick the range at a New York area course. He got in a lot of practice time, learned the gentlemanly habits of the game, and felt the glory of summer afternoons on the turf.
Of course, he also played roofball with the caddies. After the sun went down, he and the caddies would bet dollars on who could catch a ball when it suddenly rolled down into the remaining light after being thrown into the darkness of the clubhouse roof.
Our own Rich Lerner is a treasure chest of golf course memories, many of which concern the inimitable northeastern Pennsylvania pro, Frank Stockey. He also recalls range-picking, and having to get out of the cart to hit balls away from the fence and back into the range. What with all the shotmaking experiments, that job could easily take three hours.
You wouldnt know it was ever in the genes, but my late brother was a scratch player. He was a regular at the muni course in Mt. Lebanon, Pa., the Pittsburgh suburb where we grew up. Ill never forget the day he ran across the front yard toward me with a big smile on his face and a scorecard in his hand: 34. Even par for the first of many times in his life. (Mt. Lebanon was a tight little par 34, 9-hole track.)
Fred Couples was a range rat. So was Mark King, president of TaylorMade-adidas Golf. Wally Uihlein, Titleists chief, grew up in Haverhill, Mass. and was slapping sleeves of balls and pouring beers in the clubhouse when most of his peers hadnt even had their first jobs yet.
I wont contend for a moment that expertise in roofball added greatly to a young mans education. But it was part of a chance to be around golf. Through long exposure, experimentation, and example, a generation of golfers learned to love the game and treat it well.
Nothing against organized programs such as the First Tee. On the contrary, Ive declared my support for those efforts time and time again in this space. But some of that informal stuffwell, thats gold.
Cabreras take 1-shot lead in Father/Son
ORLANDO, Fla. - Two-time major champion Angel Cabrera and Angel Cabrera Jr. birdied their last three holes for a 13-under 59 to take a one-shot lead Saturday in the PNC Father-Son Challenge.
Cabrera, a Masters and U.S. Open champion, is making his debut in this popular 36-hole scramble. His son said he practiced hard for 10 days. What helped put him at ease was watching his father make so many putts.
''We combined very well,'' Cabrera said. ''When I hit a bad shot, he hit a good one. That's the key.''
They had a one-shot lead over Mark O'Meara and Shaun O'Meara, who are playing for the first time. That included a birdie on the last hole, which O'Meara attributed to the strength of his son.
''My little man hit it 58 yards by me on the 18th,'' said O'Meara, the Masters and British Open champion in 1998. ''It's a little easier coming in with a 6-iron.''
Defending champions David Duval and Nick Karavites rallied over the back nine at the Ritz-Carlton Golf Club for a 61. They are trying to become the first father-son team to repeat as winners since Bernhard and Stefan Langer in 2006. Larry Nelson won two years in a row in 2007 and 2008, but with different sons.
''I'd imagine we have to break 60 tomorrow to have a chance to win, but hey, stranger things have happened,'' Duval said. ''I've even done it myself.''
Duval shot 59 at the Bob Hope Classic to win in 1999 on his way to reaching No. 1 in the world that year.
Duval and his stepson were tied with Bernhard Langer and 17-year-old Jason Langer, who made two eagles on the last five holes. This Langer tandem won in 2014.
Jack Nicklaus, playing with grandson G.T., opened with a 68.
Woods' 2018 schedule coming into focus ... or is it?
Two weeks after his successful return to competition at the Hero World Challenge, Tiger Woods’ 2018 schedule may be coming into focus.
Golfweek reported on Saturday that Woods hopes to play the Genesis Open in February according to an unidentified source with “direct knowledge of the situation.”
Woods’ agent Mark Steinberg declined to confirm the 14-time major champion would play the event and told GolfChannel.com that Woods – who underwent fusion surgery to his lower back in April – is still formulating his ’18 schedule.
Woods’ foundation is the host organization for the Genesis Open and the event supports the Tiger Woods Learning Center in Anaheim, Calif.
The Genesis Open would be Woods’ first start on the PGA Tour since he missed the cut last January at the Farmers Insurance Open.
Rose weathering delayed Indonesian Masters
JAKARTA, Indonesia - Justin Rose held a three-stroke lead after eight holes of the third round Saturday when play was suspended for the day due to bad weather at the Indonesian Masters.
Rose was 3-under on the day and led his playing partners Kiradech Aphibarnrat and Scott Vincent. The Englishman led both players by a stroke after the second round was completed Saturday morning due to weather delays on Friday.
Brandt Snedeker withdrew with apparent heat exhaustion on Friday on the 11th hole of the second round. Ranked 51st in the world, he flew to Jakarta looking to move inside the top 50 by the end of the year and ensure a spot in next year's Masters.
Lexi (wrist) WDs from Diamond Resorts Invitational
Lexi Thompson on Friday withdrew from the Diamond Resorts Invitational, citing inflammation in her wrist. Thompson, who teamed with Tony Finau to finish tied for fourth place in last week's QBE Shootout, said she is under strict doctor's order not to hit golf balls until mid-January.
The Diamond Resorts Invitational is scheduled Jan. 12-14 at Tranquilo Golf Club in Orlando, Fla. The field for te 54-hole event includes LPGA and PGA Tour Champions players, as well as celebrities from the worlds or sports and entertainment.