News about Bandon Dunes and Cabot expansion

By Matt GinellaJanuary 21, 2013, 1:30 am

Last week there was some news coming out of the No. 1 golf destination in the U.S., so I called Mike Keiser, owner of Bandon Dunes in Oregon, for an update.

Keiser said that after having a conversation with Pinehurst president Don Padgett about the popularity of Pinehurst’s new putting course, Thistle Dhu, Keiser wants one of his own. I was at Pinehurst two weeks ago and had the opportunity to play/putt Thistle Dhu, which is a 15,000-square foot chunk of crazy breaks. Think pinball meets labyrinth. (Padgett holds the 18-hole course record of 37. I think I had 40 through the first four holes.)


Thistle dhu flag

Before or after a round at Pinehurst, members and resort guests can putt Pinehurst’s Thistle Dhu for free.

Although it was reported that Tom Doak will build Keiser’s version of the Old Course’s Himalayas putting course, Keiser says the architect has not yet been decided: “We are talking to all of the usual suspects.” Which makes me think it will be either Doak or Jim Urbina, who used to work for Doak and was Doak’s co-designer of Bandon’s Old Macdonald.

Keiser says his putting course will be on 120,000-square feet of dunes between the Pacific Dunes clubhouse and the Pacific Ocean.

I’m ruling out Gil Hanse as a potential architect of Keiser’s new putting course because Hanse is busy designing the Olympic course in Brazil, and he will build Keiser’s next 27 holes, Bandon Muni, which will be on a piece of oceanside property just south of the town of Bandon. Keiser’s been waiting for the Oregon State Park’s Department to accept his offer of a $4 to $1 property swap to satisfy their demand for “an overwhelming public benefit.”

Keiser suspects this deal will be approved in the next four to six months. At that point, the gorse-chocked dunes will be cleared and Hanse will come back from Brazil to walk the land and create an official routing. Keiser anticipates shaping of holes to begin in 2014, with preview play in 2015 and an official opening in 2016. Bandon Muni will be offered at a reduced rate for locals and serve as a junior caddie program that will be a feeder system to his first five courses at Bandon Dunes.

I would also rule out Bill Coore and Ben Crenshaw as potential builders of Keiser’s putting course because Coore is set to sign the contract to build Keiser’s and Ben Cowan-Dewar’s second course at Cabot Links – called Cabot Cliffs – in Nova Scotia. Keiser has always said it takes two courses to make a true golf getaway, and Cabot Cliffs, much like what Pacific Dunes did for Bandon Dunes, will be critical to the overall success of this remote Canadian destination.


Cabot 18th green

Cabot Links offers several memorable holes and sweet scenery, which would include this look from the clubhouse and the 18th green.

I played Cabot Links in October. I thought designer and builder Rod Whitman did a good job with the property he had to work with, but Cabot Cliffs has the chance to be spectacular. I walked the property with Coore, who admitted that if he doesn’t build something special, he’ll have failed.


Bill Coore

Bill Coore surveys the land that will be used for the Cabot Cliffs clubhouse.

Smart money is on Coore to come through for Keiser, Cowan-Dewar and what is Cabot Links.


Cabot cliffs

Standing on what will be the 17th tee at Cabot Cliffs, you can look down the coastline to what will also be the 18th hole.

Coore confirmed that although his design partner, Ben Crenshaw, always said he never wanted to work on courses outside of the U.S., that in this particular case, given the property and the upside of the project, that he will be involved. To what degree, Coore can’t say, but Crenshaw has always simply served as top-dressing to their finished products, which includes the recent restoration of Pinehurst No. 2, Keiser’s Bandon Trails and Bandon’s new par 3 course, Bandon Preserve.


Preserve

Bandon Preserve is 13 par 3s. The newest course at Bandon Dunes, which opened in 2012, is $100 in peak season.

Keiser says they will have seven to 10 holes at Cabot Cliffs built by August, with preview play starting in spring 2014. All 18 holes should be open by 2015.

While I had them on the phone, I also spoke to Keiser and Coore about the changes they’ve made to the 18th hole at Bandon Trails, which will reopen in March. The forward tee has been raised a few feet, the landing area in the fairway has been shaved down a bit and the false front of the elevated green has been softened.

“We’ve made it fair,” says Keiser.

Coming off a week of Bandon temperatures in the upper 50s, and hardly any wind, the offseason deal at Bandon Dunes still is one of the best in the world: Through April, you can stay three nights, play three rounds, eat three buffet breakfasts and two dinners off the menu for $650 per person. A la carte, you can play any one of the four 18-hole courses for $75, with a replay rate of $40. Play Bandon Preserve right now for $50.

Look for more updates on courses and resorts in upcoming episodes of Morning Drive and on this website.

Getty Images

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.

Getty Images

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

Getty Images

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.”

Getty Images

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.