Notes Tour to test miking caddies for television

By Associated PressMarch 24, 2009, 4:00 pm
Arnold Palmer InvitationalORLANDO, Fla. ' Phil Mickelson and caddie Jim Bones Mackay made for compelling television at Doral when they discussed the risk of Lefty hitting a right-handed shot on No. 12, and the club selection into the 18th green with a one-shot lead.
Now, the PGA Tour is curious if such dialogue is worth broadcasting.
The tour will be working with NBC Sports at the Shell Houston Open to determine if its worth putting a microphone on some of the caddies. The Houston Open will only be a test for the quality of the audio and whether the conversations are worthy of the telecast. None of the comments will be on TV next week.
The dialogue between Phil and Bones on the second shot Sunday at Doral is the type of stuff our fans tell us they want to hear more often, said Andy Pazder, senior vice president of tournament administration for the tour.
The concern is not what comes out of a caddies mouth ' there is a time delay for TV ' but the quality of the sound.
NBC Sports and CBS Sports primarily use a boom mike that a network employees carries on the fairway, but they often can only get to one player at a time.
Just like anything, were always striving to improve the qualify of the telecast, Pazder said.
But there could be logistical problems.
Putting a microphone on the caddie only works when the caddie is standing close enough to the player to pick up both sides of the conversation.
One improvement with such a microphone, however, is that television cannot get on the greens with the boom mikes to pick up a discussion of how a putt breaks.
And then theres the willingness of the caddies.
The topic was brought up last week at the tours annual meeting with the caddies. Some of them are concerned about being limited in what they say ' not during the shot, but the three hours of dead time during a round.
I know what theyre trying to do, and thats good, said Jimmie Johnson, the caddie for Steve Stricker. Im not worried about what comes out of the caddie. Im worried about what goes into the trailer.
His argument, one that several other caddies share, is that having a microphone will pick up everything they say during a four-hour round. None of that stuff will make the telecast, but they have no guarantee that something inappropriate they might say ' about someone in the gallery, another player ' could be leaked.
Most of us our aware when the big boom mike is around, and its usually when youre coming down the stretch. You know what you say is being picked up, said Mitch Knox, whose players have included David Duval and Daniel Chopra. But having a mike could be a problem.
MASTERS QUALIFYING: Davis Love III took last week off and moved up one spot in the world ranking to No. 47, giving a little more wiggle room as he tries to make it back to the Masters.
This the final week for players to finish in the top 50 to earn a spot at Augusta National.
Love missed the Masters last year, ending his streak of 70 consecutive majors. Right behind him in the world ranking is Louis Oosthuizen of South Africa, who has never been to Augusta National. Mathew Goggin is next at No. 49.
All of them will be playing at the Arnold Palmer Invitational, where a missed cut could doom their chances of the top 50. The four players immediately outside the top 50 ' Richard Sterne, Stuart Appleby, Hunter Mahan and Soren Kjeldsen ' already have qualified.
Prayad Marksaeng is at No. 50 and did not qualify for Bay Hill, but he also has the ball in his hands. Prayad is competing this week on the Asian Tour ' in his hometown of Hua Hin, Thailand ' at the Black Mountain Masters.
The points they need to stay in the top 50 will not be known until the tournaments begin ' but it starts with making the cut.
A BREAK IN THE ACTION: Louis Oosthuizen tied for 20th at the CA Championship, earning enough world ranking points to stay in the top 50 and earn a spot at Bay Hill.
Step one is out of the way, he said.
The next step is getting to the Masters for the first time. Oosthuizen, a 26-year-old from South Africa, got into this position with a strong swing through the Middle East. He was runner-up consecutive weeks at Abu Dhabi and Qatar and tied for seventh at Dubai.
With a week off between Doral and Bay Hill, he practiced in Florida for a few days and then did what most visitors do in Florida.
He went to Disney World.
First time, Oosthuizen said. I went to Hollywood Studios and Epcot, and then I went over to NASA, which was great.
Now its back to work.
I checked in to my hotel and its right next to Universal Studios, Oosthuizen. This feels more like a holiday ' until Thursday.
LIFETIME ACHIEVEMENT: Former president George H.W. Bush has been selected to receive the PGA Tours Lifetime Achievement Award for outstanding contributions to the tour through his work on and off the golf course.
Bush, the honorary chairman of The First Tee since its inception in 1997, will be honored May 6 at The Players Championship.
The 41st president previously has been honored with the Bob Jones Award by the USGA and with the Distinguished Service Award by the PGA of America.
He is the first recipient of the PGA Tour award who comes from outside the golf industry.
DIVOTS: Six players who were in Q-school last year qualified for the Arnold Palmer Invitational. While most chatter about Tiger Woods playing the Australian Masters focused on his $3 million appearance fee, one tournament official had another observation. Why cant he commit to us six months in advance? Chris DiMarco hasnt had much success at Bay Hill, and stopped playing after 2001. But his fortunes have turned and he had to use a one-time exemption for career money. He was the third alternate at Bay Hill, and only got into the field Tuesday when Andres Romero withdrew.
STAT OF THE WEEK: Thomas Aiken finished in a two-way tie for seventh in the World Golf Championship at Doral and earned $192,500. A week later, he finished in a two-way tie for seventh in the Madeira Islands Open on the European Tour and earned $26,221.
FINAL WORD: It wouldnt be my favorite thing to see a player do. ' PGA Tour commissioner Tim Finchem, on Henrik Stenson stripping down to his underwear at Doral to play a shot from a pond.

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  • Open Qualifying Series kicks off with Aussie Open

    By Golf Channel DigitalNovember 21, 2017, 4:24 pm

    The 147th Open is nearly eight months away, but there are still major championship berths on the line this week in Australia.

    The Open Qualifying Series kicks off this week, a global stretch of 15 event across 10 different countries that will be responsible for filling 46 spots in next year's field at Carnoustie. The Emirates Australian Open is the first event in the series, and the top three players among the top 10 who are not otherwise exempt will punch their tickets to Scotland.

    In addition to tournament qualifying opportunities, the R&A will also conduct four final qualifying events across Great Britain and Ireland on July 3, where three spots will be available at each site.

    Here's a look at the full roster of tournaments where Open berths will be awarded:

    Emirates Australian Open (Nov. 23-26): Top three players (not otherwise exempt) among top 10 and ties

    Joburg Open (Dec. 7-10): Top three players (not otherwise exempt) among top 10 and ties

    SMBC Singapore Open (Jan. 18-21): Top four players (not otherwise exempt) among top 12 and ties

    Mizuno Open (May 24-27): Top four players (not otherwise exempt) among top 12 and ties

    HNA Open de France (June 28-July 1): Top three players (not otherwise exempt) among top 10 and ties

    The National (June 28-July 1): Top four players (not otherwise exempt) among top 12 and ties

    Dubai Duty Free Irish Open (July 5-8): Top three players (not otherwise exempt) among top 10 and ties

    The Greenbrier Classic (July 5-8): Top four players (not otherwise exempt) among top 10 and ties

    Aberdeen Standard Investments Scottish Open (July 12-15): Top three players (not otherwise exempt) among top 10 and ties

    John Deere Classic (July 12-15): Top player (not otherwise exempt) among top five and ties

    Stock Watch: Lexi, Justin rose or fall this week?

    By Ryan LavnerNovember 21, 2017, 2:36 pm

    Each week on, we’ll examine which players’ stocks and trends are rising and falling in the world of golf.


    Jon Rahm (+9%): Just imagine how good he’ll be in the next few years, when he isn’t playing all of these courses for the first time. With no weaknesses in his game, he’s poised for an even bigger 2018.

    Austin Cook (+7%): From Monday qualifiers to Q-School to close calls on the, it hasn’t been an easy road to the big leagues. Well, he would have fooled us, because it looked awfully easy as the rookie cruised to a win in just his 14th Tour start.

    Ariya (+6%): Her physical tools are as impressive as any on the LPGA, and if she can shore up her mental game – she crumbled upon reaching world No. 1 – then she’ll become the world-beater we always believed she could be.  

    Tommy Fleetwood (+4%): He ran out of gas in Dubai, but no one played better on the European Tour this year than Fleetwood, Europe’s new No. 1, who has risen from 99th to 18th in the world.   

    Lexi (+1%): She has one million reasons to be pleased with her performance this year … but golf fans are more likely to remember the six runners-up and two careless mistakes (sloppy marking at the ANA and then a yippy 2-footer in the season finale) that cost her a truly spectacular season.


    J-Rose (-1%): Another high finish in Dubai, but his back-nine 38, after surging into the lead, was shocking. It cost him not just the tournament title, but also the season-long race.  

    Hideki (-2%): After getting blown out at the Dunlop Phoenix, he made headlines by saying there’s a “huge gap” between he and winner Brooks Koepka. Maybe something was lost in translation, but Matsuyama being too hard on himself has been a familiar storyline the second half of the year. For his sake, here’s hoping he loosens up.

    Golf-ball showdown (-3%): Recent comments by big-name stars and Mike Davis’ latest salvo about the need for a reduced-flight ball could set up a nasty battle between golf’s governing bodies and manufacturers.

    DL3 (-4%): Boy, the 53-year-old is getting a little too good at rehab – in recent years, he has overcome a neck fusion, foot injury, broken collarbone and displaced thumb. Up next is hip-replacement surgery.

    LPGA Player of the Year (-5%): Sung Hyun Park and So Yeon Ryu tied for the LPGA’s biggest prize, with 162 points. How is there not a tiebreaker in place, whether it’s scoring average or best major performance? Talk about a buzzkill.

    Titleist's Uihlein fires back at Davis over distance

    By Golf Channel DigitalNovember 21, 2017, 12:59 am

    Consider Titleist CEO Wally Uihlein unmoved by Mike Davis' comments about the evolution of the golf ball – and unhappy.

    In a letter to the Wall Street Journal, the outlet which first published Davis' comments on Sunday, Uihlein took aim at the idea that golf ball distance gains are hurting the sport by providing an additional financial burden to courses.

    "Is there any evidence to support this canard … the trickle-down cost argument?” he wrote (via “Where is the evidence to support the argument that golf course operating costs nationwide are being escalated due to advances in equipment technology?"

    Pointing the blame elsewhere, Uihlein criticized the choices and motivations of modern architects.

    "The only people that seem to be grappling with advances in technology and physical fitness are the short-sighted golf course developers and the supporting golf course architectural community who built too many golf courses where the notion of a 'championship golf course' was brought on line primarily to sell real estate," he wrote.

    The Titleist CEO even went as far as to suggest that Tiger Woods' recent comments that "we need to do something about the golf ball" were motivated by the business interersts of Woods' ball sponsor, Bridgestone.

    "Given Bridgestone’s very small worldwide market share and paltry presence in professional golf, it would seem logical they would have a commercial motive making the case for a reduced distance golf ball," he added.

    Acushnet Holdings, Titleist's parent company, announced in September that Uihlein would be stepping down as the company's CEO at the end of this year but that he will remain on the company's board of directors.

    Class of 2011: The groups before The Group

    By Mercer BaggsNovember 20, 2017, 9:00 pm

    We’ve been grouping things since the beginning, as in The Beginning, when God said this is heaven and this is earth, and you’re fish and you’re fowl.

    God probably wasn’t concerned with marketing strategies at the time and how #beastsoftheearth would look with a hashtag, but humans have evolved into such thinking (or not evolved, depending on your thinking).

    We now have all manner of items lumped into the cute, the catchy and the kitschy. Anything that will capture our attention before the next thing quickly wrests said attention away.

    Modern focus, in a group sense in the golf world, is on the Class of 2011. This isn’t an arbitrary assembly of players based on world ranking or current form. It’s not a Big Pick A Number.

    There’s an actual tie that binds as it takes a specific distinction to be part of the club. It’s a group of 20-somethings who graduated from high school in the aforementioned year, many who have a PGA Tour card, a handful of who have PGA Tour wins, and a couple of who have major titles.

    It’s a deep and talented collective, one for which our knowledge should continue to expand as resumes grow.

    Do any “classes” in golf history compare? Well, it’s not like we’ve long been lumping successful players together based on when they completed their primary education. But there are other notable groups of players, based primarily on birthdate, relative competition and accomplishment.

    Here’s a few on both the men’s and women’s side:

    BORN IN 1912

    Birthdate Player PGA Tour wins Major wins
    Feb. 4, 1912 Byron Nelson 52 5
    May 27, 1912 Sam Snead 82 7
    Aug. 13, 1912 Ben Hogan 64 9

    Born six months within one another. Only a threesome, but a Hall of Fame trio that combined for 198 PGA Tour wins and 21 majors.

    BORN IN 1949

    Birthdate Player PGA Tour wins Major wins
    Sept. 4, 1949 Tom Watson 39 8
    Dec. 5, 1949 Lanny Wadkins 21 1
    Dec. 9, 1949 Tom Kite 19 1

    Only 96 days separate these three Hall of Fame players. Extend the reach into March of 1950 and you'll get two-time U.S. Open winner Andy North.

    BORN IN 1955

    Birthdate Player PGA Tour wins Major wins
    Jan. 30, 1955 Curtis Strange 17 2
    Jan. 30, 1955 Payne Stewart 11 3
    Feb. 10, 1955 Greg Norman 20 2

    Another trio of Hall of Fame players. Strange and Stewart were born on the same day with Norman 11 days later. Fellow PGA Tour winners born in 1955: Scott Simpson, Scott Hoch and Loren Roberts.


    Birthdate Player LPGA wins Major wins
    Feb. 22, 1956 Amy Alcott 29 5
    Oct. 14, 1956 Beth Daniel 33 1
    Oct. 27, 1956 Patty Sheehan 35 6
    Jan. 6, 1957 Nancy Lopez 48 3

    A little arbitrary here, but go with it. Four Hall of Famers on the women's side, all born within one year of each other. That's an average (!) career of 36 tour wins and nearly four majors.


    Birthdate Player Euro (PGA Tour) wins Major wins
    April 9, 1957 Seve Ballesteros 50 (9) 5
    July 18, 1957 Nick Faldo 30 (9) 6
    Aug. 27, 1957 Bernhard Langer 42 (3) 2
    Feb. 9, 1958 Sandy Lyle 18 (6) 2
    March 2, 1958 Ian Woosnam 29 (2) 1

    The best 'class' of players Europe has to offer. Five born within a year of one another. Five Hall of Fame members. Five who transformed and globalized European golf.


    Birthdate Player PGA Tour wins Major wins
    Sept. 12, 1969 Angel Cabrera 3 2
    Oct. 17, 1969 Ernie Els 19 4
    May 12, 1970 Jim Furyk 17 1
    May 12, 1970 Mike Weir 8 1
    June 16, 1970 Phil Mickelson 42 5

    Not a tight-knit group, but a little more global bonding in accordance to the PGA Tour's increased international reach. Add in worldwide wins – in excess of 200 combined – and this group is even more impressive.

    BORN IN 1980

    Birthdate Player PGA Tour wins Major wins
    Jan. 9, 1980 Sergio Garcia 10 1
    July 16, 1980 Adam Scott 13 1
    July 30, 1980 Justin Rose 8 1

    Could be three future Hall of Fame members here.

    Editor's note: Golf Channel's editorial research unit contributed.