Augusta Scouting Report

By Brian HewittMarch 4, 2009, 5:00 pm
PALM BEACH GARDENS, Fla. ' Earlier this week, it was reported on that world No. 4 Geoff Ogilvy had this to say about the severity of the greens and the green complexes at Augusta National:
You couldnt design Augusta right now..We would all say, I cant play this. Its ridiculous.
Wednesday, at PGA National, Honda Classic defending champion Ernie Els was asked for his take on Ogilvys take.
Well, I wouldnt go that far, Els said, with respectful smile. .He (Ogilvy) is right in the fact that he says that if they kept on, how shall I say, massaging the golf course to the point where, yes, at times, when the weather turns, and flag positions are in certain parts, it becomes very much on edge.
In some cases, yeah, some of the years, some of the rounds weve played there, its been almost to the point where its laughable. But, hey, we play a major there. Its still a very good layout and they just try and test the players. At times, they have gone maybe past the point.
Spokesmen for the late Alister MacKenzie, the man who designed Augusta National, were not immediately available for comment. But golf course architecture cognoscenti are in general agreement that MacKenzie never built Augusta Nationals greens to run at the speeds the players get at the Masters.
Interestingly, the general consensus is the last time the Masters produced its famous Sunday roars was 2004 when Phil Mickelson birdied the 72nd hole to edge Els.
I think youre right, Els said. 2004 was the last time there was a really nice shootout.

DOS AMIGOS: Early last season Camilo Villegas gave his close friend Sergio Garcia a self-described figurative kick in the butt.
Listen, man, Villegas told him, youre better than youre playing. He kindve looked at me and said, You know, youre right.
Not long after that Garcia won The Players and finished the year ranked No. 2 in the world. Villegas wont take full credit for the turnaround. But, clearly, somebody needed to say something to Garcia, and Villegas said it.
What was it that caused Villegas to give his friend the advice?
I just said, Listen, buddy, come on, just forget about all the little things (outside of golf) that are happening,''Villegas said. Just stop complaining and crying for little things and play golf. I think he took it the right way and played great from there on.

MORE CAMILO: Next week for Villegas is the WGC-CA Championship at Doral where he was a rock star his rookie season en route to a second place 2006 finish. Does he look forward to all the attention he will get next week in Miami, where the Spanish-speaking population turns out in large numbers to see him play?
The media and the fans have been very, very good to me and thats nice, he said. It feels good.Do you really enjoy signing 200 autographs? Let me tell you, it can get to you, but its part of the job. The fans have been good to me. The media has been great. I try to be good to them.
In other words, Villegas gets it.

A LIST BARBECUE: The place to be for dinner Tuesday night was the home of Aussie Robert Allenby, who fired up the grill for friends and sponsors at his U.S. digs, which are just 10 minutes from PGA National.
Among those attending were reps from Srixon, Cleveland and TaylorMade. But, alas, there were no shrimp on the barbie.
I didnt get the kangaroo in on time, Allenby said, adding the main entre was good old-fashioned steaks.
Allenby pulled a few strings and scored a shipment of VB and Crown lagers courtesy of my friends at the Australian Embassy in Washington. VB is short for Victoria Bitter, a beer especially popular in the Melbourne, Allenbys birthplace.
Victoria Bitter, yeah, Allenby said. We call it Vitamin B in Australia.

SOUR NOTE?: Saxophonist Kenny G, a golf nut, co-sponsored the pro-am Wednesday and told a revealing story on himself that involved Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson at the 2001 AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am in which G partnered with Mickelson.
Mickelson double-bogeyed the 72nd hole and G bogeyed it to leave them in a disappointing tie for first with Woods and his partner, Jerry Chang.
Walking off the green, Gs cell phone rang and it was Woods on the other end. Hey Kenny, its Tiger, said Woods, who turned out to be calling from his private plane. God, you really choked coming down 18, didnt you?
G said his response was something he cant now repeat which, he said, Woods enjoyed. Tiger went on to congratulate G for sharing the trophy. And, said G, Ill never forget that.
Asked if Woods had anything to say, on the call, about Mickelsons closing double bogey, G said, Well, he may have, but Im not going to tell you.

PET PEEVE OF THE WEEK: Losing a brand new golf ball the first time you hit it. (I will NEVER tee off on the first hole with a new ball.)

Email your thoughts to Brian Hewitt
Getty Images

Davies leads Inkster after Day 1 of Senior LPGA Champ.

By Associated PressOctober 16, 2018, 1:10 am

FRENCH LICK, Ind. - Laura Davies opened with a 4-under 68 despite finishing with two bogeys Monday, giving her a one-shot lead over Juli Inkster after Round 1 of the Senior LPGA Championship.

Davies, who earlier this year won the inaugural U.S. Senior Women's Open, had a lost ball on the par-5 18th hole on The Pete Dye Course at French Lick Resort. She still salvaged a bogey in chilly, windy weather that had the 55-year-old from England bundled up in a blanket between shots.

Inkster, runner-up to Davies at the Senior Women's Open, made eagle on the closing hole for a 69.

Jane Crafter was at 70. Defending champion Trish Johnson opened with a 73.

Temperatures were in the high 40s, but the damp air and wind made it feel even colder.

Inkster made a bogey on the 17th hole by missing the green with a 9-iron.

''As old as I am, I still get made and I crushed that drive on 18,'' said Inkster, who followed with a 3-wood to 15 feet to set up her eagle.

The 54-hole event concludes Wednesday.

Getty Images

Miller to retire from broadcast booth in 2019

By Golf Channel DigitalOctober 15, 2018, 9:14 pm

After nearly 30 years in the broadcast booth, Johnny Miller is ready to hang up his microphone.

Following a Hall of Fame playing career that included a pair of major titles, Miller has become one of the most outspoken voices in the game as lead golf analyst for NBC Sports. But at age 71 he has decided to retire from broadcasting following the 2019 Waste Management Phoenix Open.

“The call of being there for my grandkids, to teach them how to fish. I felt it was a higher calling,” Miller told “The parents are trying to make a living, and grandparents can be there like my father was with my four boys. He was there every day for them. I'm a big believer that there is a time and a season for everything.”

Miller was named lead analyst for NBC in 1990, making his broadcast debut at what was then known as the Bob Hope Desert Classic. He still remained competitive, notably winning the 1994 AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am at age 46, but made an indelible mark on the next generation of Tour pros with his frank and candid assessment of the action from some of golf’s biggest events.

Miller’s broadcasting career has included 20 U.S. Opens, 14 Ryder Cups, nine Presidents Cups, three Open Championships and the 2016 Olympics. While he has teamed in the booth with Dan Hicks for the past 20 years, Miller’s previous on-air partners included Bryant Gumbel, Charlie Jones, Jim Lampley and Dick Enberg.

His farewell event will be in Phoenix Jan. 31-Feb. 3, at a tournament he won in back-to-back years in 1974-75.

“When it comes to serving golf fans with sharp insight on what is happening inside the ropes, Johnny Miller is the gold standard,” said NBC lead golf producer Tommy Roy. “It has been an honor working with him, and while it might not be Johnny’s personal style, it will be fun to send him off at one of the PGA Tour’s best parties at TPC Scottsdale.”

Miller was inducted into the World Golf Hall of Fame in 1998 after a playing career that included wins at the 1973 U.S. Open at Oakmont and The Open in 1976 at Royal Birkdale. Before turning pro, he won the 1964 U.S. Junior Amateur and was low amateur at the 1966 U.S. Open at Olympic, where he tied for eighth at age 19.

Born and raised in San Francisco, Miller now lives in Utah with his wife, Linda, and annually serves as tournament host of the PGA Tour’s Safeway Open in Napa, Calif.

Getty Images

Randall's Rant: Tiger vs. Phil feels like a ripoff

By Randall MellOctober 15, 2018, 7:45 pm

Usually, you have to buy something before you feel like you were ripped off.

The wonder in the marketing of Tiger vs. Phil and “The Match” is how it is making so many people feel as if they are getting ripped off before they’ve shelled out a single penny for the product.

Phil Mickelson gets credit for this miscue.

Apparently, the smartest guy in the room isn’t the smartest marketing guy.

He was a little bit like that telemarketer who teases you into thinking you’ve won a free weekend getaway, only to lead you into the discovery that there’s a shady catch, with fine print and a price tag.

There was something as slippery as snake oil in the original pitch.

In Mickelson’s eagerness to create some excitement, he hinted back during The Players in May about the possibility of a big-money, head-to-head match with Woods. A couple months later, he leaked more details, before it was ready to be fully announced.

So while there was an initial buzz over news of the Thanksgiving weekend matchup, the original pitch set up a real buzzkill when it was later announced that you were only going to get to see it live on pay-per-view.

The news landed with a thud but no price tag. We’re still waiting to see what it’s going to cost when these two meet at Shadow Creek in Las Vegas, but anything that feels even slightly inflated now is going to further dampen the original enthusiasm Mickelson created.

Without Woods or Mickelson putting up their own money, this $9 million winner-take-all event was always going to feel more like a money grab than real competition.

When we were expecting to see it on network or cable TV, we didn’t care so much. Tiger's and Phil’s hands would have felt as if they were reaching into corporate America’s pockets. Now, it feels as if they’re digging into ours.

Last week, there was more disappointing news, with the Las Vegas Review-Journal reporting that tickets won’t be sold to the public, that the match at Shadow Creek will only be open to select sponsors and VIPs.

Now there’s a larger insult to the common fan, who can’t help but feel he isn’t worthy or important enough to gain admittance.

Sorry, but that’s how news of a closed gate landed on the heels of the pay-per-view news.

“The Match” was never going to be meaningful golf in any historical sense.

This matchup was never going to rekindle the magic Tiger vs. Phil brought in their epic Duel at Doral in ’05.

The $9 million was never going to buy the legitimacy a major championship or PGA Tour Sunday clash could bring.

It was never going to be more than an exhibition, with no lingering historical significance, but that was OK as quasi silly-season fare on TV on Thanksgiving weekend (Nov. 23), the traditional weekend of the old Skins Game.

“The Match” still has a chance to be meaningful, but first and foremost as entertainment, not real competition. That’s what this was always going to be about, but now the bar is raised.

Pay per view does that.

“You get what you pay for” is an adage that doesn’t apply to free (or already-paid for) TV. It does to pay per view. Expectations go way up when you aren’t just channel surfing to a telecast. So the higher the price tag they end up putting on this showdown, the more entertaining this has to be.

If Phil brings his “A-Game” to his trash talking, and if Tiger can bring some clever repartee, this can still be fun. If the prerecorded segments wedged between shots are insightful, even meaningful in their ability to make us understand these players in ways we didn’t before, this will be worthwhile.

Ultimately, “The Match” is a success if it leaves folks who paid to see it feeling as if they weren’t as ripped off as the people who refused to pay for it. That’s the handicap a history of free golf on TV brings. Welcome to pay-per-view, Tiger and Phil.

Celia Barquin Arozamena Iowa State University athletics

Trial date set for drifter charged with killing Barquin Arozamena

By Associated PressOctober 15, 2018, 7:28 pm

AMES, Iowa – A judge has scheduled a January trial for a 22-year-old Iowa drifter charged with killing a top amateur golfer from Spain.

District Judge Bethany Currie ruled Monday that Collin Richards will stand trial Jan. 15 for first-degree murder in the death of Iowa State University student Celia Barquin Arozamena.

Richards entered a written not guilty plea Monday morning and waived his right to a speedy trial. The filing canceled an in-person arraignment hearing that had been scheduled for later Monday.

Investigators say Richards attacked Barquin on Sept. 17 while she was playing a round at a public course in Ames, near the university campus. Her body was found in a pond on the course riddled with stab wounds.

Richards faces life in prison without the possibility of parole if convicted.