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.
 
Email your thoughts to Adam Barr
Getty Images

Davies a fitting winner of inaugural USGA championship

By Randall MellJuly 15, 2018, 11:26 pm

Laura Davies confessed she did not sleep well on a five-shot lead Saturday night at the U.S. Senior Women’s Open.

It’s all you needed to know about what this inaugural event meant to the women who were part of the history being made at Chicago Golf Club.

The week was more than a parade of memories the game’s greats created playing in the USGA’s long-awaited showcase for women ages 50 and beyond.

The week was more than nostalgic. 

It was a chance to make another meaningful mark on the game.

In the end, Davies relished seeing the mark she made in her runaway, 10-shot victory. She could see it in the familiar etchings on the trophy she hoisted.

“I get my name on it first,” Davies said. “This championship will be played for many years, and there will only be one first winner. Obviously, quite a proud moment for me to win that.”

Really, all 120 players in the field made their marks at Chicago Golf Club. They were all pioneers of sorts this past week.

“It was very emotional seeing the USGA signs, because I've had such a long history, since my teens, playing in USGA championships,” said Amy Alcott, whose Hall of Fame career included the 1980 U.S. Women’s Open title. “I thought the week just came off beautifully. The USGA did a great job. It was just so classy how everything was done, this inaugural event, and how was it presented.”

Davies was thankful for what the USGA added to the women’s game, and she wasn’t alone. Gratefulness was the theme of the week.


Full-field scores from the U.S. Senior Women’s Open


The men have been competing in the U.S. Senior Open since 1980, and now the women have their equal opportunity to do the same.

“It was just great to be a part of the first,” three-time U.S. Women’s Open winner Hollis Stacy said. “The USGA did a great job of having it at such a great golf course. It's just been very memorable.”

Trish Johnson, who is English, like Davies, finished third, 12 shots back, but she left with a heart overflowing.

“Magnificent,” said Johnson, a three-time LPGA and 19-time LET winner. “Honestly, it's one of the best, most enjoyable weeks I've ever played in in any tournament anywhere.”

She played in the final group with Davies and runner-up Juli Inkster.

“Even this morning, just waiting to come out here, I thought, `God, not often do I actually think how lucky I am to do what I do,’” Johnson said.

At 54, Davies still plays the LPGA and LET regularly. She has now won 85 titles around the world, 20 of them LPGA titles, four of them majors, 45 of them LET titles.

With every swing this past week, she peeled back the years, turned back the clock, made fans and peers remember what she means to the women’s game.

This wasn’t the first time Davies made her mark in a USGA event. When she won the U.S. Women’s Open in 1987, she became just the second player from Europe to win the title, the first in 20 years. She opened a new door for internationals. The following year, Sweden’s Liselotte Neumann won the title.

“A lot of young Europeans and Asians decided that it wasn't just an American sport,” Davies said. “At that stage, it had been dominated, wholeheartedly, by all the names we all love, Lopez, Bradley, Daniel, Sheehan.”

Davies gave the rest of the world her name to love, her path to follow.

“It certainly made a lot of foreign girls think that they could take the Americans on,” Davies said.

In golf, it’s long been held that you can judge the stature of an event by the names on the trophy. Davies helps gives the inaugural U.S. Senior Women’s Open the monumental start it deserved.

Getty Images

Suwannapura beats Lincicome in playoff for first win

By Associated PressJuly 15, 2018, 10:49 pm

SYLVANIA, Ohio - Thidapa Suwannapura won her first LPGA event on Sunday, closing with a 6-under 65 and birdieing the first playoff hole to defeat Brittany Lincicome at the Marathon Classic.

The 25-year-old Thai player is the sixth first-time winner on tour this year. Her previous best finish in 120 starts was seventh at the 2014 Kingsmill Championship.

Suwannapura picked up three strokes over her final two holes, making eagle on the par-5 17th and closing with a birdie on the par-5 18th at Highland Meadows to finish at 14-under 270.

In the playoff, Suwannapura converted a short birdie putt after Lincicome hit her second shot into a water hazard and scrambled for par.

Lincicome shot 67. She had a chance to win in regulation, but her birdie putt from about 10 feet did a nearly 360-degree turn around the edge of the cup and stayed out. Next up for the big-hitting Lincicome: a start against the men at the PGA Tour's Barbasol Championship.

Third-round leader Brooke Henderson led by two shots after six holes, but struggled the rest of the way. Back-to-back bogeys on the 14th and 15th holes dropped her out of the lead. The 20-year-old Canadian finished with a 2-under 69, one shot out of the playoff.

Getty Images

Kim cruises to first win, final Open invite at Deere

By Will GrayJuly 15, 2018, 9:38 pm

Following the best week of his professional career, Michael Kim is both a winner on the PGA Tour and the 156th and final player to earn a tee time next week at The Open.

Kim entered the final round of the John Deere Classic with a five-shot lead, and the former Cal standout removed any lingering doubt about the tournament's outcome with birdies on each of his first three holes. He cruised from there, shooting a bogey-free 66 to finish the week at 27 under and win by eight shots over Francesco Molinari, Joel Dahmen, Sam Ryder and Bronson Burgoon.

It equals the tournament scoring record and ties for the largest margin of victory on Tour this season, matching Dustin Johnson's eight-shot romp at Kapalua in January and Molinari's margin two weeks ago at the Quicken Loans National.

"Just super thankful," Kim said. "It's been a tough first half of the year. But to be able to finish it out in style like this means a lot."

Kim, 25, received the Haskins Award as the nation's top collegiate player back in 2013, but his ascent to the professional ranks has been slow. He had only one top-10 finish in 83 starts on Tour entering the week, tying for third at the Safeway Open in October 2016, and had missed the cut each of the last three weeks.

But the pieces all came together at TPC Deere Run, where Kim opened with 63 and held a three-shot lead after 36 holes. His advantage was trimmed to a single shot during a rain-delayed third round, but Kim returned to the course late Saturday and closed with four straight birdies on Nos. 15-18 to build a five-shot cushion and inch closer to his maiden victory.

As the top finisher among the top five not otherwise exempt, Kim earned the final spot at Carnoustie as part of the Open Qualifying Series. It will be his first major championship appearance since earning low amateur honors with a T-17 finish at the 2013 U.S. Open at Merion, and he is also now exempt for the PGA Championship and next year's Masters.

The last player to earn the final Open spot at the Deere and make the cut the following week was Brian Harman, who captured his first career win at TPC Deere Run in 2014 and went on to tie for 26th at Royal Liverpool.

Getty Images

Poulter offers explanation in dispute with marshal

By Will GrayJuly 15, 2018, 6:47 pm

Ian Poulter took to Twitter to offer an explanation after the Englishman was accused of verbally abusing a volunteer during the third round of the Scottish Open.

Poulter hooked his drive on the opening hole at Gullane Golf Club into a bush, where Quintin Jardine was working as a marshal. Poulter went on to find the ball, wedge out and make bogey, but the details of the moments leading up to his second shot differ depending on who you ask.

Jardine wrote a letter to the tournament director that he also turned into a colorfully-titled blog post, accusing Poulter of berating him for not going into the bush "feet first" in search of the ball since Poulter would have received a free drop had his ball been stepped on by an official.


Full-field scores from the ASI Scottish Open


"I stood and waited for the player. It turned out to be Mr. Poulter, who arrived in a shower of expletives and asked me where his ball was," Jardine wrote. "I told him and said that I had not ventured into the bush for fear of standing on it. I wasn't expecting thanks, but I wasn't expecting aggression, either."

Jardine added that Poulter stayed to exchange heated words with the volunteer even after wedging his ball back into the fairway. After shooting a final-round 69 to finish in a tie for 30th, Poulter tweeted his side of the story to his more than 2.3 million followers:

Poulter, 42, won earlier this year on the PGA Tour at the Houston Open and is exempt into The Open at Carnoustie, where he will make his 17th Open appearance. His record includes a runner-up at Royal Birkdale in 2008 and a T-3 finish at Muirfield in 2013.