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.


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.

South Korean LPGA stars lead KLPGA team

By Randall MellNovember 24, 2017, 10:32 pm

South Korea’s LPGA team of all-stars took the early lead Friday on the Korean LPGA Tour in a team event featuring twice as much star power as this year’s Solheim Cup did.

Eight of the world’s top 20 players are teeing it up in the ING Life Champions Trophy/ Inbee Park Invitational in Gyeongju. There were only four players among the top 20 in the Rolex Women’s World Rankings when the United States defeated Europe in Des Moines, Iowa.

Park led the LPGA team to a 3 ½-to-2 ½ lead on the first day.

Park, who has been recuperating from a back injury for most of the second half of this season, teamed with Jeongeun Lee5 to defeat Hye Jin Choi and Ji Hyun Kim, 5 and 4, in the lead-off four-ball match.

So Yeon Ryu and Park, former world No. 1s and LPGA Rolex Player of the Year Award winners, will be the marquee pairing on Saturday. They will lead off foursomes against Ji Young Kim and Min Sun Kim.

Nine of the 11 South Koreans who won LPGA events this year are competing. Sung Hyun Park and I.K. Kim are the only two who aren’t.

The fourball results:

LPGA’s Inbee Park/ Jeongeun Lee5 def. Hye Jin Choi/Ji Hyun Kim, 5 and 4.

LPGA’s Mirim Lee/Amy Yang def.  Ji Hyun Oh/Min Sun Kim, 3 and 1.

LPGA’s M.J. Hur/Mi Hyang Lee halved Ji Hyun Kim/Ji Young Kim.

KLPGA’s Ha Na Jang/Sun Woo Bae def. Sei Young Kim/Hyo Joo Kim, 5 and 4.

LPGA’s Na Yeon Choi/Jenny Shin halved Jin Young Ko/Da Yeon Lee

LPGA’s In Gee Chun/Eun Hee Ji halved Jeongeun Lee6/Char Young Kim.

NOTE: The KPGA uses numerals after a player’s name to distinguish players with the exact same name.


Cut Line: Lyle faces third bout with cancer

By Rex HoggardNovember 24, 2017, 5:40 pm

In this week’s holiday edition, Cut Line is thankful for the PGA Tour’s continued progress on many fronts and the anticipation that only a Tiger Woods return can generate.

Made Cut

The Fighter. That was the headline of a story Cut Line wrote about Jarrod Lyle following his second bout with cancer a few years ago, so it’s both sad and surreal to see the affable Australian now bracing for a third fight with leukemia.

Lyle is working as an analyst for Channel 7’s coverage of this week’s Emirates Australian Open prior to undergoing another stem cell transplant in December.

“I’ve got a big month coming,” Lyle said. “I’m back into hospital for some really heavy-duty treatment that’s really going to determine how things pan out for me.”

Twice before things have panned out for Lyle. Let’s hope karma has one more fight remaining.

Changing times. Last season the PGA Tour introduced a policy to add to the strength of fields, a measure that had long eluded officials and by most accounts was a success.

This season the circuit has chosen to tackle another long-standing thorn, ridiculously long pro-am rounds. While there seems little the Tour can do to speed up play during pro-am rounds, a new plan called a 9&9 format will at least liven things up for everyone involved.

Essentially, a tournament hosting a pro-am with four amateurs can request the new format, where one professional plays the first nine holes and is replaced by another pro for the second nine.

Professionals will have the option to request 18-hole pro-am rounds, giving players who limit practice rounds to just pro-am days a chance to prepare, but otherwise it allows Tour types to shorten what is an admittedly long day while the amateurs get a chance to meet and play with two pros.

The new measure does nothing about pace of play, but it does freshen up a format that at times can seem tired, and that’s progress.

Tweet of the week: @Love3d (Davis Love III‏) “Thanks to Dr. Flanagan (Andrews Sports Medicine and Orthopedic Center) for the new hip and great care! Can’t wait to get back to (the PGA Tour).”

Love offered the particularly graphic tweet following hip replacement surgery on Tuesday, a procedure that he admitted he’d delayed because he was “chicken.”

The surgery went well and Love is on pace to return to the Tour sometime next spring. As for the possibility of over-sharing on social media, we’ll leave that to the crowd.

Made Cut-Did Not Finish (MDF)

Distance control. The Wall Street Journal provided the octagon for the opening blows of a clash that has been looming for a long time.

First, USGA executive director Mike Davis told The Journal that the answer to continued distance gains may be a restricted-flight golf ball with an a la carte rule that would allow different organizations, from the Tour all the way down to private clubs, deciding which ball to use.

“You can’t say you don’t care about distance, because guess what? These courses are expanding and are predicted to continue to expand,” Davis said. “The impact it has had has been horrible.”

A day later, Wally Uihlein, CEO of Acushnet, which includes the Titleist brand, fired back in a letter to The Journal, questioning among other things how distance gains are putting a financial burden on courses.

“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,” Uihlein wrote.

For anyone paying attention the last few years, this day was inevitable and the likely start of what will be a drawn out and heated process, but Cut Line’s just not sure anyone wins when it’s over.

Tiger, take II. Tiger Woods’ return to competition next week at the Hero World Challenge was always going to generate plenty of speculation, but that hyperbole reached entirely new levels this week as players began giving personal accounts of the new and improved 14-time major champion.

“I did talk to him, and he did say it's the best he's ever felt in three years,’” Day said as he prepared for the Australian Open. “If he's hitting it long and straight, then that's going to be tough for us because it is Tiger Woods. He's always been a clutch putter and in amongst the best and it will be interesting to see.”

Rickie Fowler added to the frenzy when he was asked this month if the rumors that Woods is driving the ball by him, by 20 to 30 yards by some reports, are true?

“Oh, yeah,” he told “Way by.”

Add to all this a recent line that surfaced in Las Vegas that Woods is now listed at 20-1 to win a major in 2018, and it seems now may be a good time for a restraint.

Golf is better with Woods, always has been and always will be, but it may be best to allow Tiger time to find out where his body and game are before we declare him back.

Missed Cut

Searching for answers. Twelve months ago, Hideki Matsuyama was virtually unstoppable and, regardless of what the Official World Golf Ranking said, arguably the best player on the planet.

Now a year removed from that lofty position, which featured the Japanese star finishing either first or second in six of his seven starts as the New Year came and went, Matsuyama has faded back to fifth in the world and on Sunday finished fifth, some 10 strokes behind winner Brooks Koepka, at the Dunlop Phoenix.

“That hurt,” Matsuyama told the Japan Times. “I don’t know whether it’s a lack of practice or whether I lack the strength to keep playing well. It seems there are many issues to address.”

Since his last victory at the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational, Matsuyama has just two top-10 finishes on Tour and he ended his 2016-17 season with a particularly poor performance at the Presidents Cup.

While Matsuyama’s take seems extreme considering his season, there are certainly answers that need answering.

Trump playing 'quickly' with Tiger, DJ

By Golf Channel DigitalNovember 24, 2017, 1:33 pm

Updated at 11:14 a.m. ET

An Instagram user known as hwalks posted photos to her account that included images of Tiger Woods, President Trump and Dustin Johnson Friday at Trump National, as well as video of Woods' swing.

Here are some other social media posts that have surfaced:

Original story:

Tiger Woods is scheduled to make his return to competition next week at his Hero World Challenge. But first, a (quick) round with the President.

President Donald Trump tweeted on Friday that he was going to play at Trump National Golf Club in Jupiter, Fla., alongside Woods and world No. 1 Dustin Johnson.

Woods and President Trump previously played last December. Trump, who, according to has played 75 rounds since taking over the presidency, has also played over the last year with Rory McIlroy, Ernie Els and Hideki Matsuyama.

Chawrasia leads major champs in Hong Kong

By Associated PressNovember 24, 2017, 1:19 pm

HONG KONG – S.S.P. Chawrasia extended his lead at the Hong Kong Open to two strokes Friday after a 4-under 66 in the second round.

Chawrasia, who had led by one at the Hong Kong Golf Club, is at 9-under 131 overall and took as much as a five-stroke lead at one point.

''Yesterday I was putting very well, and today, also I make some up and downs. I saved a couple of short putts. That's why I think I'm leading by two shots most probably,'' the Indian said. ''The next two days, I'm just looking forward.''

Full-field scores from the UBS Hong Kong Open

Thomas Aiken (64) is second, followed by Alexander Bjork (66), Joakim Lagergren (66), Poom Saksansin (68) and Julian Suri (67) at 5 under 135.

Aiken's round was the lowest of the tournament.

''It is tough out there. The greens are really firm. You've got to hit the fairway,'' Aiken said. ''If you get above the holes, putts can get away from you.''

Justin Rose (69) had six birdies, but three bogeys and a double-bogey at the par 3 12th kept him at 3 under for the tournament.

Masters champion Sergio Garcia (71), playing for the first time in Hong Kong, was at even par, as was defending champion Sam Brazel (71) and 2014 champion Scott Hend (67).

''I have to play better,'' Garcia said. ''The way I felt like I played, it's difficult. This kind of course, you need to play well to shoot a good score.''