New Augusta Chairman Studies Old Traditions

By Associated PressFebruary 6, 2007, 5:00 pm
AUGUSTA, Ga. -- For the last eight years, a corner coffee table in the chairman's office at Augusta National held a framed photograph that illustrated the powerful heritage at the home of the Masters.
 
It showed a stone-faced Clifford Roberts standing next to a smiling Hootie Johnson, both in their green jackets, the chairman in memoriam and the chairman emeritus, No. 1 and No. 5 in the 74-year lineage of the club.
 
The sixth chairman is Billy Payne, who is two months away from presiding over his first Masters.
 
On the corner coffee table is a picture of his grandchildren.
 
Payne is the first Masters chairman who never met Roberts, the man who ruled the club and its tournament with an iron fist, and who many believe still rules in spirit. He died in 1977, some 10 years before Payne first played the course as a guest of Charlie Yates -- a former British Amateur champion who learned golf from Bobby Jones and played in the first Masters.
 
But those who think this 'new era in golf' also extends to the Masters might want to heed that time-tested axiom at Augusta.
 
Slow down.
 
'Let me make it clear,' Payne said, leaning forward in his chair. 'History will never forget Cliff Roberts and his contributions to this club and this tournament. He will always be the chairman. I will be nothing more than someone who appeared on the list. Maybe there will be an asterisk by it that said, 'First Georgia resident.'
 
'But other than that,' he added, 'there's so much preservation of custom and tradition that's such an important part of the job. Just to be among the list of men whose lives have been so dedicated to this place, that's enough.'
 
OK, so don't hold your breath on that first woman in a green jacket.
 
When he accepted the job eight months ago, Payne didn't see any reason to open a dialogue with Martha Burk, and that hasn't changed. Members will deliberate and decide all issues related to membership, and the club doesn't discuss membership.
 
'And I don't have anything to add to that,' he said.
 
Payne is hardly a puppet. He combines hard work with big dreams. Proof of that comes from a vision he had leaving church in 1987 that grew into reality when Atlanta hosted the 1996 Olympics.
 
There will be changes at Augusta. They will not be made overnight.
 
'We are not compelled ever to move too quickly,' he said.
 
Payne, however, has shown to be a quick study. The club has enormous archives of its history, and the chairman rarely goes to sleep without delving into Roberts' files. He has tried to learn what made Roberts tick, how he communicated and how people responded. He was amazed at the attention Roberts paid to even the most minor detail, such as knowing the exact metallic weight of trophies.
 
'I would have liked him,' Payne said. 'I'm sorry I didn't have the opportunity to know him.'
 
No doubt he stumbled across Roberts' desire to keep the Masters the most exclusive major championship, which is guiding Payne as he prepares for his first significant change.
 
The other majors have 156-man fields. The Masters had only 92 players tee off last April, typical of a tournament that never has had more than 109 players in its field.
 
'The player field being small, many tournament formalities and regulations are eliminated,' Roberts once wrote. 'The first consideration is to provide a first-class golf course in as beautiful and nearly perfect condition as effort can make it; and secondly, to show our player-guests every possible courtesy.'
 
Payne wants to restore starting in 2008 the eligibility criteria that PGA TOUR winners receive an automatic invitation to the Masters. Johnson did away with the category after the '99 Masters when the tour began scheduling events -- usually with weak fields -- the same week as the World Golf Championships and the Ryder Cup or Presidents Cup.
 
But bringing back the 'win-and-you're in' category is not that simple.
 
Should the Masters recognize winners from opposite-field events in Mexico, Milwaukee and Reno, not to mention the seven events after the FedExCup? And does it continue to take the top 40 on the PGA TOUR money list or the top 30 in the FedExCup? Or both?
 
'There's a lot of arithmetic in this,' Payne said. 'What you don't want is all of a sudden to have 100 playing participants, and we have arguably eroded the quality of the tournament. Notwithstanding folks' opinion of how the best way to get there is, we're going to do the best we can.'
 
His goal is to keep the field around 90 players, and 'anything that puts that number at significant threat has got an uphill battle.'
 
The other change will be in new media coverage of the Masters. There was streaming video of Amen Corner on the Masters' Web site last year, and Payne said that likely will be expanded.
 
'I think you'll see more toes in the water, testing our theories,' he said. Payne didn't elaborate -- another trait of chairmen at the Masters -- although he is not convinced Web-based video competes with a network telecast.
 
He does believe his mandate is to bring the Masters to a larger audience, just as Roberts made sure the tournament had radio coverage when it began in 1934, television coverage in 1956 and then catered to the international press to expand its worldwide coverage.
 
'We treasure our reputation in the media world of being, in many cases, the first to do things, and consistently, the best,' he said. 'That same philosophical approach will dictate through time how we utilize these new media opportunities.'
 
Any changes will reflect a new generation at the Masters, even if old traditions die hard.
 
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    Fleetwood: Carnoustie course record won't help at Open

    By Ryan LavnerJuly 16, 2018, 2:28 pm

    CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – Tommy Fleetwood holds the competitive course record at Carnoustie, but he’s skeptical that his past experience will help him at The Open.

    Last fall, in the European Tour’s Dunhill Links Championship, Fleetwood birdied six of his last eight holes to card a bogey-free, 9-under 63, the lowest score ever at what is widely considered to be the most difficult course in the Open rota.

    No one expects a repeat this week at Carnoustie – not with the conditions this brown, firm and fast.

    “It’s a completely different course,” Fleetwood said Monday. “Shots that you’ve hit have literally no relevance for a lot of it.


    Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship


    “It doesn’t do any harm to have played it for a few years. It doesn’t do any harm to have a course record, but it’s a completely different challenge to what we normally face.”

    Fleetwood took a much-needed two-week break after the French Open, deciding to withdraw from last week’s Scottish Open for a bit more time in his own bed. (He said it was his last full week at home until mid-October.) Since his sparkling 63 to nearly steal the U.S. Open, the Englishman said that he’d “run out of steam” but now feels energized.  

    “There’s not really a good reason why I couldn’t do it (this week),” he said. “It really doesn’t matter what’s happened in the past. The only thing they could do is build your confidence and give you examples of what you can do – examples that you can end up there, and you have the game to compete.”

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    NBC Sports Group Kicks Off All-Encompassing Coverage From The 147TH Open

    By Golf Channel Public RelationsJuly 16, 2018, 1:25 pm

    Five Past “Champion Golfers of The Year” Highlight Broadcast Team

    Technology Enhancements: Links-Optimized Toptracer, Wind Gauges and Bunker Cams, Including “Johnny Miller Bunker” Along 18th Fairway

    NBC Sports Group’s all-encompassing coverage from The 147TH Open kicked off today with Golf Central Live From The Open, which throughout the week will deliver nearly 50 hours of news and analysis on Golf Channel from Carnoustie Golf Links on the east coast of Scotland. The network’s Emmy-nominated tournament coverage will feature another 50 live hours being broadcast on linear television (Golf Channel, NBC), spanning from the opening tee shot at 1:30 a.m. ET on Thursday through the final putt on Sunday. An additional 170 complementary hours of streaming coverage will include featured holes and groups, bringing NBC Sports’ overall production to more than 350 total hours surrounding The Open.

    “The Open is unique. Golf’s original championship isn’t just steeped in nearly 150 years of tradition; it features a multitude of storylines that fuel our comprehensive coverage plan,” said Mike McCarley, president, Golf, NBC Sports Group. “Fans look forward to the best players in the world conquering nature’s elements – this year at iconic Carnoustie Golf Links – in their quest to become the Champion Golfer of the Year. Our extensive approach utilizes a deep roster of commentators to set the stage leading up to our unprecedented coverage from the first tee shot early Thursday morning through the last putt on Sunday evening.”

    Led by the deepest and most-experienced roster of analysts, hosts, reporters and personalities in the game, coverage will set the scene for golf fans with a focus on key storylines and showcase the unique traditions synonymous with golf’s original championship, culminating in the winner being awarded the iconic Claret Jug and introduced as the Champion Golfer of the Year.

    “CHAMPION GOLFERS OF THE YEAR” HEADLINE BROADCAST TEAM:

    NBC Sports’ live tournament and news coverage will utilize several past “Champion Golfers of the Year,” including NBC Sports’ lead analyst Johnny Miller (1976), as well as Nick Faldo (1987, ’90, ’92) and Justin Leonard (1997). David Duval (2001) and Tom Lehman (1996) are in the field as past champions, and also are scheduled to contribute to coverage. *Full broadcast teams outlined below*

    THE MOST LIVE COVERAGE FROM ANY GOLF EVENT: NBC Sports’ 50 hours of live tournament coverage will utilize more than 100 available cameras and employ several technology enhancements to showcase Carnoustie’s distinct characteristics:

    • “Links Toptracer”: A reverse ball flight configuration optimized for links golf will showcase not only where shots land, but also – given players’ strategic use of the ground in links golf – “Links Toptracer” will track how shots roll out.
    • “Bunker Cam”: Coverage will feature NBC Sports’ popular “bunker cam” technology in a total of eight bunkers on Holes 5, 8, 12, 13 and 18, including in several of Carnoustie’s challenging pot bunkers. For the first time, the network will use the embedded camera technology in the face of fairway bunkers (Holes 12 & 18), including the “Johnny Miller bunker,” positioned along the right side of the fairway on the par-4 18th hole. The bunker is named in his honor after it took him two shots to get out of it during The Open in 1975.
    • Influence of Wind: Wind indicators will be utilized around the course to measure changes in wind conditions in real-time, providing immediate ultra-precise data so viewers can easily distinguish what a player is facing over a given shot.
    • “Playing Through” Returns; Callaway to Feature Custom Creative Content: Enhancing both the viewership and commercial experience, NBC Sports’ popular “Playing Through” split-screen commercial format returns for The Open, ensuring viewers don’t miss key stretches of the action during commercial breaks. For the first time at The Open, Callaway has produced an innovative “Playing Through” 30-second spot featuring 2013 Open champion Phil Mickelson. During NBC Sports’ coverage of The Open at Royal Birkdale last year, an additional 200 shots of live golf were shown via “Playing Through.”

    MORE THAN 170 HOURS OF COMPLEMENTARY LIVE STREAMING COVERAGE: Complementing traditional linear broadcast coverage, NBC Sports will showcase more than 170 hours of live tournament feeds being streamed across NBC Sports Digital platforms and TheOpen.com. These feeds also will be available as part of DirecTV’s featured mosaic coverage of The Open. The four feeds will include a simulcast of tournament coverage; a “Marquee Group,” for both the morning and afternoon waves of competition; a “3-Hole Channel,” featuring tournament play on Holes 8, 9 and 10; and “Spotlight,” (also available in 4K) showcasing competition taking place on Holes 1 and 18, along with competitor interviews on the range and inside the press center.

    Additional Highlights Surrounding NBC Sports’ Coverage of The 147TH Open:

    • NBC News’ Dylan Dreyer to Contribute from Carnoustie: Golf enthusiast Dylan Dreyer of NBC News’ TODAY will offer contributions from on-site at Carnoustie. Given the extensive influence weather tends to have on The Open, Dreyer’s experience as a weather anchor and a golf fan will provide a unique perspective.
    • NBC Universo Airing Simulcast of The Open: NBC Universo will deliver live Spanish-language coverage of the third and final rounds of The Open, Saturday and Sunday, July 21-22. Third round coverage will air live from 1-3 p.m. ET on Saturday, and final round coverage will air live from Noon-2 p.m. ET on Sunday. Coverage will be led by play-by-play host Miguel Gurwitz alongside analyst Edgar Lopez.
    • Conor Moore, Vernon Kay to contribute to NBC Sports’ Digital and Social Media Platforms:After grabbing the attention of the golf world leading up to the Masters earlier this year, social media influencer Conor Moore has partnered with NBC Sports to contribute to the network’s digital and social media platforms surrounding The Open, including a series of impersonations of top players in the field. Additional social media efforts throughout the week will offer expanded original content, including: a collaboration with British television host Vernon Kay, reports from Golf Channel social media correspondent Alexandra O’Laughlin, and a Lego recreation of Jean Van de Velde’s collapse in 1999.

    NBC Sports Live Tournament Broadcast Team

    Tom Abbott, Notah Begay, Billy Ray Brown, Curt Byrum, Nick Faldo, David Feherty, Jerry Foltz, Terry Gannon, Dan Hicks, Peter Jacobsen, Gary Koch, Justin Leonard, Todd Lewis, Jim “Bones” Mackay, Roger Maltbie, Johnny Miller, Frank Nobilo, Jimmy Roberts, Mark Rolfing, Tim Rosaforte, Steve Sands, Mike Tirico

    Golf Central Live From The Open Broadcast Team

    Cara Banks, Notah Begay, Steve Burkowski, Brandel Chamblee, Jaime Diaz, Rex Hoggard, Trevor Immelman, Justin Leonard, Rich Lerner, Todd Lewis, Frank Nobilo, Mark Rolfing, Tim Rosaforte, Ken Schofield

    Morning Drive

    John Cook and Damon Hack on-site at Carnoustie

    Complementary Streaming Coverage Broadcast Team

    Tom Abbott, Cara Banks, Steve Burkowski, Ryan Burr, Curt Byrum, John Cook, Damon Hack, Trevor Immelman, Justin Leonard

    NBC Universo Broadcast Team

    Miguel Gurwitz, Edgar Lopez

    Golf Channel Digital

    Mercer Baggs, Jay Coffin, Rex Hoggard, Ryan Lavner, Bailey Mosier, Ryan Reiterman, Brandon Tucker

    Social Media Contributors

    Vernon Kay, Conor Moore, Alexandra O’Laughlin

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    What's in the bag: John Deere winner Michael Kim

    By Golf Channel DigitalJuly 16, 2018, 1:11 pm

    Michael Kim won his first career PGA Tour event at the John Deere Classic. Here's a look inside his bag:

    Driver: Titleist TS2 (10.5 degrees), with Aldila Rogue Black 60X shaft

    Fairway wood:  Titleist 917F2 (16.5 degrees), with Aldila Rogue Black 70 TX shaft

    Hybrid: Titleist 816H1 (21 degrees), Graphite Design Tour AD DI-85 X Hybrid shaft

    Irons: Titleist 716 T-MB (4), 718 AP2 (5-PW), with True Temper XP 115 shafts

    Wedges: Titleist Vokey Design SM7 (52, 56, 60 degrees), with True Temper Dynamic Gold Tour Issue S300 shafts

    Putter: Scotty Cameron GSS Newport 350 prototype

    Ball: Titleist Pro V1x

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    First-, second-round tee times for the 147th Open

    By Golf Channel DigitalJuly 16, 2018, 12:20 pm

    Three-time champion Tiger Woods is playing in The Open for the first time since he missed the cut in 2015 at St. Andrews. Woods will begin his first round Thursday in the 147th edition at Carnoustie at 10:21 a.m. ET, playing alongside Hideki Matsuyama and Russell Knox.

    Defending champion Jordan Spieth delivered the claret jug to the R&A on Monday at Carnoustie. He will begin his title defense at 4:58 a.m. ET on Thursday, playing with world No. 2 Justin Rose and Kiradech Aphibarnrat.

    Other notable groupings:

    • Rory McIlroy will look to capture his second claret jug at 7:53 a.m. Thursday. He goes off with Marc Leishman and Thorbjorn Olesen.
    • World No. 1 Dustin Johnson is playing with Alex Noren and Charley Hoffman. They will play at 8:04 a.m. ET in the first round.
    • World No. 2 Justin Thomas goes at 8:26 a.m. with Francesco Molinari and Branden Grace.
    • Masters champion Patrick Reed will play with Louis Oosthuizen and Paul Casey at 5:20 a.m. ET.
    • U.S. Open champion and world No. 4 Brooks Koepka is grouped with Ian Poulter and Cameron Smith (9:59 a.m. ET).
    • Phil Mickelson, the 2013 Open champion, will begin at 3:03 a.m. ET with Satoshi Kodaira and Rafa Cabrera Bello.

    Here's a look at the full list of times for Rounds 1 and 2 (all times ET):

    1:35AM/6:36AM: Sandy Lyle, Martin Kaymer, Andy Sulliva

    1:46AM/6:47AM: Erik Van Rooyen, Brady Schnell, Matthew Southgate

    1:57AM/6:58AM: Danny Willett, Emiliano Grillo, Luke List

    2:08AM/7:09AM: Mark Calcavecchia, Danthai Boonma, Shaun Nooris

    2:19AM/7:20AM: Kevin Chappell, Oliver Wilson, Eddie Pepperell

    2:30AM/7:31AM: Ross Fisher, Paul Dunne, Austin Cook

    2:41AM/7:42AM: Tyrrell Hatton, Patrick Cantlay, Shane Lowry

    2:52AM/7:53AM: Thomas Pieters, Kevin Kisner, Marcus Kinhult

    3:03AM/8:04AM: Phil Mickelson, Satoshi Kodaira, Rafa Cabrera Bello

    3:14AM/8:15AM: Brian Harman, Yuta Ikeda, Andrew Landry

    3:25AM/8:26AM: Si Woo Kim, Webb Simpson, Nicolai Hojgaard (a)

    3:36AM/8:37AM: Stewart Cink, Brandon Stone, Hideto Tanihara

    3:47AM/8:48AM: Gary Woodland, Yusaku Miyazato, Sung Kang

    4:03AM/9:04AM: Ernie Els, Adam Hadwin, Chesson Hadley

    4:14AM/9:15AM: Pat Perez, Julian Suri, George Coetzee

    4:25AM/9:26AM: David Duval, Scott Jamieson, Kevin Na

    4:36AM/9:37AM: Darren Clarke, Bernhard Langer, Retief Goosen

    4:47AM/9:48AM: Matt Kuchar, Anirban Lahiri, Peter Uihlein

    4:58AM/9:59AM: Jordan Spieth, Justin Rose, Kiradech Aphibarnrat

    5:09AM/10:10AM: Jon Rahm, Rickie Fowler, Chris Wood

    5:20AM/10:21AM: Louis Oosthuizen, Paul Casey, Patrick Reed

    5:31AM/10:32AM: Tony Finau, Xander Schauffele, Jhonattan Vegas

    5:42AM/10:43AM: Yuxin Lin (a), Alexander Bjork, Sang Hyun Park

    5:53AM/10:54AM: James Robinson, Haraldur Magnus, Zander Lombard

    6:04AM/11:05AM: Kodai Ichihara, Rhys Enoch, Marcus Armitage

    6:15AM/11:16AM: Sean Crocker, Gavin Green, Ash Turner

    6:36AM/1:35AM: Brandt Snedeker, Sam Locke (a), Cameron Davis

    6:47AM/1:46AM: Patton Kizzire, Jonas Blixt, Charles Howell III

    6:58AM/1:57AM: Charl Schwartzel, Daniel Berger, Tom Lewis

    7:09AM/2:08AM: Alex Levy, Ryan Moore, Byeong Hun An

    7:20AM/2:19AM: Michael Hendry, Kelly Kraft, Lee Westwood

    7:31AM/2:30AM: Henrik Stenson, Tommy Fleetwood, Jimmy Walker

    7:42AM/2:41AM: Matthew Fitzpatrick, Russell Henley, Jovan Rebula (a)

    7:53AM/2:52AM: Rory McIlroy, Marc Leishman, Thorbjorn Olesen

    8:04AM/3:03AM: Dustin Johnson, Alex Noren, Charley Hoffman

    8:15AM/3:14AM: Zach Johnson, Adam Scott, Brendan Steele

    8:26AM/3:25AM: Justin Thomas, Francesco Molinari, Branden Grace

    8:37AM/3:36AM: Jason Day, Shota Akiyoshi, Haotong Li

    8:48AM/3:47AM: Todd Hamilton, Beau Hossler, Jorge Campillo

    9:04AM/4:03AM: Ryuko Tokimatsu, Chez Reavie, Michael Kim

    9:15AM/4:14AM: Kyle Stanley, Nicolas Colsaerts, Jens Dantorp

    9:26AM/4:25AM: Tom Lehman, Dylan Frittelli, Grant Forrest

    9:37AM/4:36AM: Lucas Herbert, Min Chel Choi, Jason Kokrak

    9:48AM/4:47AM: Padraig Harrington, Bubba Watson, Matt Wallace

    9:59AM/4:58AM: Ian Poulter, Cameron Smith, Brooks Koepka

    10:10AM/5:09AM: Sergio Garcia, Bryson DeChambeau, Shubhankar Sharma

    10:21AM/5:20AM: Tiger Woods, Hideki Matsuyama, Russell Knox

    10:32AM/5:31AM: Jason Dufner, Ryan Fox, Keegan Bradley

    10:43AM/5:42AM: Ryan Armour, Abraham Ander, Masahiro Kawamura

    10:54AM/5:53AM: Jazz Janewattananond, Fabrizio Zanotti, Jordan Smith

    11:05AM/6:04AM: Brett Rumford, Masanori Kobayashi, Jack Senior

    11:16AM/6:15AM: Matt Jones, Thomas Curtis, Bronson Burgoon