A Golfing Moment Lives On

By Tom AbbottMarch 18, 2008, 4:00 pm
I had the pleasure of visiting the Concession Golf Club recently. Now you dont have to be smart to be on television, sorry colleagues, but its true. This fact was evidently clear upon my visit. Its a Jacklin/Nicklaus design, and it wasnt until about the fourth hole, a tricky little par 3 for the record, having seen the Ryder Cup plaques dotted about the place, that it actually dawned on me how they came to the rather unique name. Ryder Cup back in 1969 at Royal Birkdale, Tony Jacklin, Jack Nicklaus . The Concession say no more.
 
Anyhow its a delightful spot, hidden away from prying eyes, the course has a real mixture. At times I felt I was certainly in Florida, but then on holes 8 and 9 I could have been in North Carolina. Later I looked across at one hole and had the feeling of Hankley Common, a Southern English masterpiece. Jack himself rates some of the holes as among his best, and he means it, the course is designed for good, maybe dare I say professional players, and the best of them will be tested from the back tees, measuring a smidgen under 7500 yards. The length will make them work, the greens will make them work even harder, patience is tested, especially when made to look foolish by putting the ball off the green, an occurrence which can easily happen when the superintendent wants to truly test you.
 
Theres a multi-million dollar clubhouse planned, homes are springing-up, but mostly not on the course, which I like, and golfers are few and far between - this is ultra-private. Memberships run upwards of $100,000 and there was even a Paul Azinger sighting when I was there, the U.S. Ryder Cup captain makes his home in the area.
 
Completing the club is a brand new Jonathan Yarwood Golf Academy. Yarwood has spent time at the IMG Academy in Bradenton and at the Ritz Carlton Members Club, which is just down the round from Concession, now he seems happy inside the large iron gates of this Nicklaus/Jacklin masterpiece. Yarwood has been the long-time coach of Michael Campbell and looks after a slew of other professionals, who all seem keen to visit him at the new base - I wonder why especially those from the United Kingdom.
 
Well see how Concession develops, hopefully not under any clouds of economic slow-down, but hopefully under clouds of dust from the new clubhouse and homes. Maybe one day well see clouds of dust trailing behind fans coming to the competition which paved the way for the moment that gave the place its name - theres no doubt with a little time to mature, the lay-out is deserved of such a showdown.
 
From Hackney to Hall
 
This weekend on Golf Central youll have the chance to see a story about Lisa Hall. You may be more familiar with Lisa when I tell you she used to be Lisa Hackney (shes since adopted her married name, Martin Hall, coach to Morgan Pressel and others, is her hubby).
 
I had the pleasure of spending an afternoon with Martin and Lisa at Ibis Golf and Country Club back in the beginning of the year. I must say as Lisa began to tell me the incredible story of her career I became more and more fascinated with whats happened to her, and more importantly how shes been able to recover her game from the doldrums. Thankfully she didnt have to battle injury or personal tragedy, but she did have to deal with the fact that her ability to shoot low or even decent scores, totally deserted her. This is a lady who played on the European Solheim Cup team and was the Rolex Rookie of the Year on the LPGA Tour in 1997. Her fight back and the story of how she managed to get a second wind on the LET is remarkable.
 
For those of you that follow the womens game, youll know Lisa has now won three times in the last 12 months, shes well on the way to making the Solheim Cup in 2009, and if she does indeed done the uniform next summer, itll be a gap of some 11 years since her last outing for the Europeans.
 
Email your thoughts to Tom Abbott
 
Related Links:
  • Full Coverage - WGC - CA Championship
  • Getty Images

    'The Golf Club 2019' adds Elvy to commentary team

    By Nick MentaJuly 19, 2018, 4:45 pm

    “The Golf Club 2019” is adding a new name to its commentary team.

    Broadcaster Luke Elvy will join returning announcer and HB Studios developer John McCarthy for the title's third installment.

    Golf fans will recognize Elvy from his recent work with CBS in addition to his time with Sky Sports, FOX Sports, TNT, PGA Tour Live and PGA Tour Radio.

    A 25-year media veteran from Australia, he now works in the United States and lives with his family in Canada.

    "Ian Baker-Finch was my right-hand man on Australian televison," Elvy told GolfChannel.com in an interview at the Quicken Loans National. "And Finchy said to me, 'What are you doing here? You should be with me in the States.’ He introduced me to a few people over here and that's how the transition has happened over the last five or six years."

    Elvy didn't have any prior relationship with HB Studios, who reached out to him via his management at CAA. As for why he got the job, he pseudo-jokes: "They heard the accent, and said, 'We like that. That works for us. Let's go.' That's literally how it happened."

    He participated in two separate recording sessions over three days, first at his home back in February and then at the HB Studios shortly after The Players Championship. He teased his involvement when the game was announced in May.

    Although he doesn't describe himself as a "gamer," Elvy lauded the game's immediate playability, even for a novice.

    “It’s exactly how you’d want golf to be,” he said.

    "The Golf Club 2019" will be the first in the HB series to feature PGA Tour branding. The Tour had previously licensed its video game rights to EA Sports.

    In addition to a career mode that will take players from the Web.com Tour all the way through the FedExCup Playoffs, "The Golf Club 2019" will also feature at launch replicas of six TPC courses played annually on Tour – TPC Summerlin (Shriners Hospitals for Children Open), TPC Scottsdale's Stadium Course (Waste Management Phoenix Open), TPC Sawgrass’ Stadium Course (The Players Championship), TPC Southwind (FedEx St. Jude Classic/WGC-FedEx St. Jude Championship), TPC Deere Run (John Deere Classic), and TPC Boston (Dell Technologies Championship).

    “I played nine holes at Scottsdale,” Elvy added. “It’s a very close comparison. Visually, it’s very realistic."

    The Golf Club 2019 is due out this August on PlayStation 4, XBOX One, and PC.

    Getty Images

    Expired visa, helicopter, odd clubs all part of Vegas' journey

    By Ryan LavnerJuly 19, 2018, 3:48 pm

    CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – Jhonattan Vegas thought someone was playing a practical joke on him.

    Or maybe he was stuck in the middle of a horror movie.

    Scheduled to leave for The Open a week ago, he didn’t arrive at Carnoustie until a little more than an hour before his first-round tee time Thursday.

    “Even if somebody tried to do that on purpose,” he said, “you couldn’t really do it.”

    The problem was an expired visa.

    Vegas said that he must have gotten confused by the transposed date on the visa – “Guessing I’ve been living in America too long” – and assumed that he was cleared to travel.

    No problem, he was told. He’d have a new visa in 24 hours.


    Full-field scores from the 147th Open Championship

    Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship


    Except the consulate in New York didn’t respond to his application the next day, keeping him in limbo through the weekend. Then, on Monday, he was told that he’d applied for the wrong visa. UPS got shut down in New York and his visa never left, so Vegas waited in vain for seven hours in front of the consulate in Houston. He finally secured his visa on Wednesday morning, boarded a flight from Houston to Toronto, and then flew to Glasgow, the final leg of a 14-hour journey.

    His agent arranged a helicopter ride from Glasgow to Carnoustie to ensure that he could make his 10:31 a.m. (local) tee time.

    One more issue? His clubs never made it. They were left back in Toronto.

    His caddie, Ruben Yorio, scrambled to put together a new bag, with a mismatched set of woods, irons, wedges and putter.

    “Luckily the (equipment) vans are still here,” Vegas said. “Otherwise I probably would have played with members’ clubs today.”

    He hit about 20 balls on the range – “Luckily they were going forward” – but Carnoustie is one of the most challenging links in the world, and Vegas was working off of two hours’ sleep and without his own custom-built clubs. He shot 76 but, hey, at least he tried.

    “It was fun,” he said, “even though the journey was frustrating.”

    Getty Images

    'Brain fart' leads to Spieth's late collapse

    By Rex HoggardJuly 19, 2018, 2:44 pm

    CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – The closing stretch at Carnoustie has famously ruined many a solid round, so Jordan Spieth’s misadventures on Thursday should not have been a complete surprise, but the truth is the defending champion’s miscues were very much self-inflicted.

    Spieth was cruising along at 3 under par, just two shots off the early lead, when he made a combination of errors at the par-4 15th hole. He hit the wrong club off the tee (4-iron) and the wrong club for his approach (6-iron) on his way to a double bogey-6.

    “The problem was on the second shot, I should have hit enough club to reach the front of the green, and even if it goes 20 yards over the green, it's an easy up-and-down,” Spieth said. “I just had a brain fart, and I missed it into the location where the only pot bunker where I could actually get in trouble, and it plugged deep into it. It was a really, really poor decision on the second shot, and that cost me.”


    Full-field scores from the 147th Open Championship

    Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship


    Spieth continued to compound his problems with a sloppy bogey at the 16th hole, and a drive that sailed left at 18 found the Barry Burn en route to a closing bogey and a 1-over 72.

    The miscues were more mental, a lack of execution, than they were an example of how difficult the closing stretch at Carnoustie can be, and that’s not good enough for Spieth.

    “That's what I would consider as a significant advantage for me is recognizing where the misses are,” said Spieth, who was tied for 68th when he completed his round. “It felt like a missed opportunity.”

    Getty Images

    Perez: R&A does it right, 'not like the USGA'

    By Rex HoggardJuly 19, 2018, 2:28 pm

    CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – Pat Perez didn’t even attempt to hide his frustration with the USGA at last month’s U.S. Open, and after an opening-round 69 at The Open, he took the opportunity to double down on his displeasure.

    “They (the R&A) do it right, not like the USGA,” Perez said of the setup at Carnoustie. “They've got the opposite [philosophy] here. I told them, you guys have it right, let the course get baked, but you've got the greens receptive. They're not going to run and be out of control. They could have easily had the greens just like the fairway, but they didn't. The course is just set up perfect.”


    Full-field scores from the 147th Open Championship

    Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship


    Concerns at Shinnecock Hills reached a crescendo on Saturday when the scoring average ballooned to 75.3 and only three players broke the par of 70. Of particular concern for many players, including Perez, were some of the hole locations, given how fast and firm the greens were.

    “The U.S. Open could have been like this more if they wanted to. They could have made the greens a bit more receptive,” Perez said. “These greens are really flat compared to Shinnecock. So that was kind of the problem there is they let it get out of control and they made the greens too hard.”