Is Whistling Straits contrived

By Golf Channel DigitalAugust 9, 2010, 10:10 pm

In May editors Brian Koressel and Erik Peterson had the opportunity to play the Straits Course at Whistling Straits. During their stroll along the banks of Lake Michigan they argued whether the course is contrived.


SHEBOYGAN, Wis. – I’m sure many people associate the word contrived with negative connotations, so I got out the dictionary:

– verb
1. to plan with ingenuity; devise; invent
2. to bring about or effect by a plan, scheme, or the like; manage
3. to plot (evil, treachery, etc.).

Well, as you can see, the first two are fine in my book. As for the third, I hardly think “evil” or “treachery” were on the mind of Herb Kohler and Pete Dye when creating this masterpiece on the edge of Lake Michigan.

Granted, the word “treachery” is abundant around this track, which has more than 1,000 bunkers dotting the landscape. If you hit into them, that’s your fault. Play better.

Otherwise, this “contrived” course is just flat-out one of the most visually stunning courses I have ever played. Never once did I stand on a tee box and think, “Hmm, I bet a bulldozer was involved at some point here on this hole.” No, the word that most came to mind at the start of each hole was simply, “Wow!”

And I’m pretty sure Kohler and Dye didn’t dig a big, giant hole on the east side of the course and dub it Lake Michigan when they created this gem.

Besides, who doesn’t love the St. Louis Arch, the Statue of Liberty and Mount Rushmore? All were created by man – contrived – and all are absolute national treasures, much like Whistling Straits is fast-becoming to golfers lucky enough to walk the Kohler and Dye-inspired beauty.


SHEBOYGAN, Wis. – Before we get into whether the Straits Course is contrived, I need to make it clear that contrived does not mean bad. In fact, contrived can be really, really awesome. What other explanation is there for things like plastic surgery and Cool Whip?

Is Whistling Straits contrived? You bet it is.

Before Herb Kohler got his hands on the property that became Whistling Straits, it was an abandoned airfield. Flat as a pancake. What’s wrong with that? Same thing that’s wrong with Florida: Most golf courses need elevation change to have character.

So what did Kohler do? He hired Pete Dye, King of Contrived, to inject the lifeless land with character.

At TPC Sawgrass Dye turned a swamp into a course that hosts golf’s 5th major. At PGA West and Paiute he built an oasis in the desert. His ability to turn a useless piece of land into something incredible is what’s made him the revered dirt-pusher he is today.

But let’s be honest, his most notable layouts could be the photo next to the definition of contrived in the dictionary. They’re all great courses, but contrived to the nth degree. And the Straits Course, with its grass-topped dunes and gnarly bunkers, is the most contrived of them all.

In all honesty, the Straits Course is one of the most spectacular layouts I’ve ever seen. Every hole has a wow-factor that’s unmatched at any resort course I’ve ever visited – including Pebble Beach. The views of Lake Michigan are incredible. On a sunny day, you can’t ask for a more incredible resort golf experience.

Contrived can indeed be beautiful. If you don’t believe me, just ask Hugh Hefner.
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Perez skips Torrey, 'upset' with Ryder Cup standings

By Will GrayJanuary 24, 2018, 2:19 am

Pat Perez is unhappy about his standing on the U.S. Ryder Cup points list, and his situation won't improve this week.

Perez won the CIMB Classic during the fall portion of this season, and he followed that with a T-5 finish at the inaugural CJ Cup. But he didn't receive any Ryder Cup points for either result because of a rule enacted by the American task force prior to the 2014 Ryder Cup which only awards points during the calendar year of the biennial matches as well as select events like majors and WGCs during the prior year.

As a result, Perez is currently 17th in the American points race - behind players like Patrick Reed, Zach Johnson, Bill Haas and James Hahn, none of whom have won a tournament since the 2016 Ryder Cup - as he looks to make a U.S. squad for the first time at age 42.

"That kind of upset me a little bit, the fact that I'm (17) on the list, but I should probably be (No.) 3 or 4," Perez told Golf Digest. "So it kind of put a bitter taste in my mouth. The fact that you win on the PGA Tour and you beat some good players, yet you don't get any points because of what our committee has decided to do."

Perez won't be earning any points this week because he has opted to tee it up at the European Tour's Omega Dubai Desert Classic. The decision comes after Perez finished T-21 last week at the Singapore Open, and it means that the veteran is missing the Farmers Insurance Open in his former hometown of San Diego for the first time since 2001.

Perez went to high school a few minutes from Torrey Pines, and he defeated a field that included Tiger Woods to win the junior world title on the South Course in 1993. His father, Tony, has been a longtime starter on the tournament's opening hole, and Perez was a runner-up in 2014 and tied for fourth last year.

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Woods favored to miss Farmers Insurance Open cut

By Will GrayJanuary 24, 2018, 1:54 am

If the Las Vegas bookmakers are to be believed, folks in the San Diego area hoping to see Tiger Woods this week might want to head to Torrey Pines early.

Woods is making his first competitive start of the year this week at the Farmers Insurance Open, and it will be his first official start on the PGA Tour since last year's event. He missed nearly all of 2017 because of a back injury before returning with a T-9 finish last month at the Hero World Challenge.

But the South Course at Torrey Pines is a far different test than Albany, and the Westgate Las Vegas SuperBook lists Woods as a -180 favorite to miss the 36-hole cut. It means bettors must wager $180 to win $100, while his +150 odds to make the cut mean a bettor can win $150 with a $100 wager.

Woods is listed at 25/1 to win. He won the tournament for the seventh time in 2013, but in three appearances since he has missed the 36-hole cut, missed the 54-hole cut and withdrawn after 12 holes.

Here's a look at the various Woods-related prop bets available at the Westgate:

Will Woods make the 36-hole cut? Yes +150, No -180

Lowest single-round score (both courses par 72): Over/Under 70

Highest single-round score: Over/Under 74.5

Will Woods finish inside the top 10? Yes +350, No -450

Will Woods finish inside the top 20? Yes +170, No -200

Will Woods withdraw during the tournament? Yes +650, No -1000

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Monahan buoyed by Tour's sponsor agreements

By Rex HoggardJanuary 24, 2018, 12:27 am

SAN DIEGO – Farmers Insurance announced on Tuesday at Torrey Pines a seven-year extension of the company’s sponsorship of the Southern California PGA Tour event. This comes on the heels of Sony extending its sponsorship of the year’s first full-field event in Hawaii through 2022.

Although these might seem to be relatively predictable moves, considering the drastic makeover of the Tour schedule that will begin with the 2018-19 season, it is a telling sign of the confidence corporations have in professional golf.

“It’s a compliment to our players and the value that the sponsors are achieving,” Tour commissioner Jay Monahan said.

Monahan said that before 2014 there were no 10-year title sponsorship agreements in place. Now there are seven events sponsored for 10-years, and another five tournaments that have agreements in place of at least seven years.

“What it means is, it gives organizations like the Century Club [which hosts this week’s Farmers Insurance Open], when you have that level of stability on a long-term basis that allows you to invest in your product, to grow interest and to grow the impact of it,” Monahan said. “You experienced what this was like in 2010 or seen other tournaments that you don’t know what the future is.S o to go out and sell and inspire a community and you can’t state that we have a long-term agreement it’s more difficult.”

Events like this year’s Houston Open, Colonial in Fort Worth, Texas, and The National all currently don’t have title sponsors – although officials at Colonial are confident they can piece together a sponsorship package. But even that is encouraging to Monahan considering the uncertainty surrounding next season’s schedule, which will include the PGA Championship moving to May and The Players to March as well as a pre-Labor Day finish to the season.

“When you look back historically to any given year [the number of events needing sponsors] is lower than the typical average,” Monahan said. “As we start looking to a new schedule next year, you get excited about a great schedule with a great group of partners.”

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Day WDs from Farmers pro-am because of sore back

By Golf Channel DigitalJanuary 24, 2018, 12:07 am

SAN DIEGO – Jason Day has withdrawn from the Wednesday pro-am at the Farmers Insurance Open, citing a sore back.

Day, the 2015 champion, played a practice round with Tiger Woods and Bryson DeChambeau on Tuesday at Torrey Pines, and he is still expected to play in the tournament.

Day was replaced in the pro-am by Whee Kim. 

Making his first start since the Australian Open in November, Day is scheduled to tee off at 1:30 p.m. ET Thursday alongside Jon Rahm and Brandt Snedeker.