Pete Dye Father of Golf Courses

By Adam BarrMay 6, 2007, 4:00 pm
The great mans advance team strode in and cased the joint. She sniffed, drew herself up to her full 22 inches, and commenced to pace around the room.
 
From the hallway came a growl.
 
Sixty! Get out here and siddown.
 
It was the Great Man. Sixty, a two-year-old white German Shepherd, reluctantly sauntered into the hall and returned with her master, golf course architect Pete Dye. He had agreed to meet me for a sit-down interview to support a show I was producing on the latest changes at TPC Sawgrass.
 
Pete Dye
Pete Dye titled his autobiogrphy, 'Bury Me in a Pot Bunker.' (WireImage)
It was about two in a blazing hot south Florida afternoon; we had sought air-conditioned refuge in the Education Center of the PGA of Americas excellent facility in Port St. Lucie.
 
Dye, 81, had already put in the kind of day that would floor a younger, less vigorous man (or dog). He and Sixty had been to Gasparilla Golf Club in west Florida, and had been flown over to St. Lucie to see me. After we were done, he still had work to do. He looked neither wilted nor deterred.
 
While I am often portrayed today as a wicked designer from hell, I am in fact from the quiet midwestern town of Urbana, Ohio, wrote Dye with Mark Shaw in Bury Me in a Pot Bunker, his 1995 autobiography.
 
This time of year, just before THE PLAYERS Championship begins, the specter of Dye as Great Satan, not Great Man, reemerges as the best in the world try to figure and refigure TPC Sawgrass, one of his most notable creations.
 
Today he will discuss with me why it was necessary to peel back the turf on that course, scrape out a quarter centurys accumulation of organic muck, and replace it with fast-draining white sand. (You can see the whole process in the new Golf Channel special, TPC Sawgrass: A New Era, Wednesday, May 9th at 9 p.m. ET)
 
What may be most frustrating to those who love to hate Dye is the fact they all know: far from being evil, Pete Dye is one of the best things that ever happened to golf ' for tours, fans, and yes, players, even those who have to brain-wrack their way around some of his exceedingly difficult tests.
 
If Alice (his wife and a fine player and architect in her own right) ever divorced me, my staff would drop to exactly zero, Dye said as the microphone was being clipped on, Sixty finally recumbent at his feet.
 
So it has ever been.
 
If its hoopla in any way, Dye is not interested. No cell phone, no entourage, no drawings except what can be scrawled on the nearest surface at hand with whatever is available ' usually a stick and some dirt, on-site. (A new painting of Dye in the new clubhouse at Sawgrass shows him in just this mode ' the usual khaki pants, blue golf shirt, and ball cap, stick in hand, drawing brilliance on the desert floor. If he did cave paintings, we could be sure golf would survive eons into the future.)
 
Hoopla aversion aside, the man has a sense of drama. To best demonstrate to PGA TOUR Commissioner Tim Finchem how 25 years had undermucked Sawgrass, Dye brought the course to Finchem ' a couple Dixie cups worth, anyway.
 
I took out a big plug [of turf] and put it on his desk, one Sunday afternoon, Dye said, his tone implying the question, Well, how the hell else would you do it? Finchem corroborates the story. When Dye asked if he could clean up the desk, Finchem said no; he wanted his staff to see this.
 
The redone Sawgrass that will welcome the first PLAYERS in May will play hard and fast, as Dye originally intended, thanks to the process begun by Dyes plug of turf. The course-wide six inches of new sand under the turf will drain much better, keeping the course from getting like Velcro for golf balls if rains come.
 
When Pete designs a golf course, its like one of his kids, Finchem said. He has to keep an eye on it, he wants to take care of it.
 
That includes giving the kids a good start in life. When the interview was over and my cameraman and I began to disassemble the equipment, Dye said he needed to borrow me for 10 minutes.
 
We got in the car and drove a mile to the Dye Course at PGA Golf Club. Here; stop here. Theres a break in the trees, Dye told our driver. I followed him onto the first fairway just short of the green, where the land gently sloped down then up again to the green, framed by a long bunker with a high lip. How did this get done in south Florida flatland?
 
We just pushed some things around gently, Dye said as he walked purposefully up the fairway. Nothing major. But look, he said, pointing to the side. Were actually below the bottom of those cypresses in the woods over there. We were able to scoop this out just a little to get that effect. But here, this is what I really wanted you to see. Lemme get the sumgun offa here.
 
By now, all 81 spry years of Pete Dye were on his knees in the fairway, forcing off a six-inch drain cover and shoving his arm in up to the shoulder. I mean, the man used to walk around the Sawgrass construction site shirtless and machete rattlesnakes in the late 1970s. So whats one more water moccasin in a drainpipe, right?
 
No snakes this time. Well, were in a drought, so the water is down a bit, Dye said, bringing up a dry hand. But look at this course. Not burned out, but were not breaking the bank on irrigation either. Let me show you why.
 
We walked behind the cypresses to the side of the green and he opened a huge steel door that was almost flush with the ground. Fifteen feet below, water rippled in a cistern.
 
All recycled irrigation, he said. Used over and over. Caught in that drain, along with the danged rain when we can get it, and reused. There are more of these on the course. This is how it should be done. I keep tellin em, what with the cost of water and maintenance these days, and environmental concerns and all. Here, they listened. The PGA people who are in there now; they didnt even know they had this. When I showed em, it was a revelation, you can be sure. They were pleasantly surprised.
 
He closed the door with a bang, then looked around at the contours of the first green and the expansive view from the second tee. Some of the best work Ive ever done. Right here.
 
It takes a real great man, I suppose, to check on the kids once theyve grown up.
 
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After Further Review: Tiger's return comes at perfect time

By Golf Channel DigitalJanuary 22, 2018, 2:19 am

Each week, GolfChannel.com takes a look back at the week in golf. Here's what's weighing on our writers' minds.

On the current state of golf as Tiger Woods returns to competition ...

Less than four days before Tiger Woods returns to official competitive golf for the first time in a year, Jon Rahm, the new second-ranked player in the world, won on the PGA Tour and Rory McIlroy made an impressive 2018 debut on the European Tour (T-3).

Not since Ben Hogan, Arnold Palmer and Jack Nicklaus crossed paths at the 1960 U.S. Open has there been so many superstars all poised for big seasons, with world No. 1 Dustin Johnson having already won this year and Jordan Spieth and Justin Thomas both coming off stellar seasons.

It’s a good time for golf. - Rex Hoggard


On Tommy Fleetwood's continued success ...

There have been scores of talented European players whose skills didn’t translate to the PGA Tour … and maybe, in a few years, Tommy Fleetwood will prove to be no different.

He sure looks like the real deal, though.  

His title defense in Abu Dhabi – on the strength of a back-nine 30 in windy conditions – was his third title in the past 12 months and 11th top-10 overall. A few of those have come in majors and World Golf Championship events, too, which led the reigning Race to Dubai champion to accept PGA Tour membership for this season.

Beginning at Riviera, he plans to play exclusively in the States through May, then reassess for the rest of the year. Hope he sticks, because he’s a fun personality with tons of game. - Ryan Lavner

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Rahm passes Spieth to become world No. 2

By Nick MentaJanuary 22, 2018, 1:25 am

With his win Sunday at the CareerBuilder Challenge, Jon Rahm picked up his second PGA Tour victory and moved to No. 2 in the FedExCup points standings.

He picked up one more No. 2, too.

The 23-year-old Spaniard passed Jordan Spieth to move to No. 2 in the Official World Golf Ranking, behind only Dustin Johnson.

In 19 months, since June 2016, Rahm has rocketed from No. 776 in the world to No. 2, thanks in part to his low divisor, his number of events played.

Asked after his playoff victory over Andrew Landry to discuss his rapid ascent up the world rankings, Rahm was almost at a loss.

“It's hard to believe to be honest, passing Jordan Spieth,” he said. “That's a three-time major champion. I only have two wins. He's got 10-plus, right? It's again – I've said it many times – I never thought I was going to be at this point in my life right now.”

Rahm may only have two PGA Tour titles, but this is his fourth worldwide win in the last year, dating back to last season’s Farmers Insurance Open. He also took the Dubai Duty Free Irish Open and the DP World Tour Championship on his way to claiming the European Tour’s 2017 Rookie of the Year Award.

Dating back to the start of last season on the PGA Tour, Rahm has racked up 12 top-10s, three runner-ups, and two wins.

He will head to Torrey Pines next week ready to defend for the first time.

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Brady compares self to Woods after winning AFC title

By Jason CrookJanuary 22, 2018, 1:05 am

Tom Brady and Tiger Woods are two of the all-time greats in their respective sports ... a fact that is not lost on the five-time Super Bowl winning quarterback.

Fresh off leading the New England Patriots to a AFC Championship victory over the Jacksonville Jaguars, Brady was asked about winning the game despite a cut on his throwing hand - which made national news heading into the matchup.

His response invoked the name of a certain 14-time major winner, something that would be tough to pull off, if not for the fact that he is, you know, Tom Brady.

“I think it's kind of arrogant to say it bothered me when we had a pretty good game, so I wouldn't say that," the 40-year-old told reporters after the game. "It's like when Tiger Woods said, ‘That was my C game’ and he won the tournament."

Tiger Woods winning with his "C game" may be a distant memory for golf fans, but no matter what game he brings, his next chance to win comes next week at Torrey Pines during his official comeback to the PGA Tour.

Brady has a shot at his sixth Super Bowl title in two weeks. The Patriots would probably benefit from him bringing a little better than his "C game" as well.

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Rahm beats Landry in playoff to win CareerBuilder

By Nick MentaJanuary 22, 2018, 1:00 am

Jon Rahm birdied the fourth extra hole Sunday to defeat Andrew Landry in a playoff, win the CareerBuilder Challenge and move to No. 2 in the Official World Golf Ranking. Here’s how things played out in overtime at PGA West:

Leaderboard: Rahm (-22), Landry (-22), John Huh (-20), Adam Hadwin (-20), Martin Piller (-20), Kevin Chappell (-19), Scott Piercy (-19)

What it means: This is Rahm’s second PGA Tour win and his fourth worldwide victory in the last year, dating back to last season’s Farmers Insurance Open. Rahm took the early lead Thursday with an opening 62 and after rounds of 67-70, he started the final round two back. On Sunday, he made five birdies without dropping a single shot on the intimidating Stadium Course. In the clubhouse at 22 under, Rahm watched as Landry made birdie on 18 to force a playoff.

Rahm missed birdie putts that would have ended the tournament on the final hole of regulation and on each playoff hole. Finally, on his fourth trip down 18 of the day, his birdie bid found the cup. With the victory, Rahm passes Jordan Spieth to move to No. 2 in the Official World Golf Ranking, trailing only Dustin Johnson. He enters next week at Torrey Pines looking to defend for the first time.

Best of the rest: A two-time Web.com winner playing his second full season on the PGA Tour, Landry shot 68 Sunday, making birdie on the 72nd hole to force extras. Once Rahm finally made birdie on the fourth playoff hole, Landry's putt to extend slid by on the right edge. This is Landry's best career finish on the PGA Tour. Had he won, he would have secured full Tour status through the 2019-20 season and earned invites to the Masters, Players, and PGA Championships.

Round of the day: Sam Saunders fired an 8-under 64 to register this best finish of the season, a tie for eighth at 18 under. The reigning Web.com Tour Championship winner was 9 under par through 12 holes before making bogey at 13 and parring his way into the clubhouse.

Biggest disappointment: Overnight leader Austin Cook was eyeing his second win of the season but never contended. The RSM champion carded two double bogeys Sunday en route to a 3-over 75, dropping him from the 54-hole lead to a tie for 14th.

Shot of the day: Rahm's putt to win:

Quote of the day: "One of us had to do it and either one of us would have been a well-deserving champion." - Rahm on his playoff victory over Landry