Sinister Dye Course at French Lick Resort lands 2015 Senior PGA Championship presented by KitchenAid

By Mike BaileyJuly 30, 2013, 9:03 pm

FRENCH LICK, Ind. -- There's a statue of Pete Dye in front of the clubhouse of the course he designed at French Lick. Underneath it, there's a quote from Dye that reads: 'The ardent golfer would play Mount Everest if somebody would put a flagstick on top. Golf is not a fair game, so why build a fair golf course?'

Whether the six-year-old Dye Course at French Lick Resort is fair or not is up for debate, but in 2015, the best senior golfers in the world will be able to decide for themselves.

On Tuesday, the PGA of America announced that the Dye Course will be the site of the 76th Senior PGA Championship Presented by KitchenAid, set for May 21-24, 2015. There were several dignitaries in attendance the press conference, including Ted Bishop, president of the PGA of America. While Bishop, the director of golf and general manager at The Legends Club in Franklin, Ind., didn't dispute Dye's notion that golf courses need not be fair, he did say that this particular venue, which can be stretched to more than 8,100 yards, would be set up so that it was enjoyable for the players.

'We're certainly not looking to beat them up,' said Bishop, an Indiana native.

The Dye Course is one of four courses at historic French Lick Resort in Southern Indiana. It's also, by far, the hardest golf course at the resort and one of the most difficult courses in America.

In 2010, the course got a trial run with the PGA essentially when it played host to the PGA Professional National Championship. Mike Small, the golf coach at the University of Illinois, won the event for the third time when he carded an 8-under-par total through four rounds to win by three. Most remarkable was that he fired a 65 that week on a course that was routinely giving up scores in the high 70s and low 80s to the field of 312 who qualified at local pro events around the country to get there. In recent years, the course has also been the site for the Big 10 collegiate championships and also hosts the LPGA Legends Championship.

If you're wondering what makes the Dye Course so difficult, all you have to do is understand Dye's philosophy. Dye designs courses to test the best and as he has aged, he's become more stubborn. Although the course has five sets of tees, it's not easy from any of them. Even the second set of tees rates north of 73 for women. Fairways get awfully narrow around driver landing areas. Miss them, or the greens, and you can count on a very uneven lie, usually out of pretty thick rough. For the recreational golfer, bogey is par.

Still, the course is one of the most picturesque in the country. Built on one of the highest points in Indiana, there are panoramic views from the clubhouse, several greens and a number of tees. Indiana Gov. Mike Spence (R), who was also in attendance Tuesday, said he hopes TV coverage inspire viewers from around the country and the world to visit Indiana just because of the natural beauty of the topography.

Conditioning on the Dye Course is also flawless.  Forecaddies are required, and the practice facilities are among the best in the nation. At $350 plus caddie fee and tip, it's a little steep for most recreational golfers, so tee times really aren't needed. As one player at the resort said, 'I can't afford the green fees and I don't want to lose $50 in golf balls.'

Simply put, the Dye Course isn't for everyone, but fortunately for resort guests and visitors there are three more courses to choose from – the no-frills Valley Links and the recently restored Ross Course at the resort as well as Sultan's Run down the road in Jasper, Ind.

Many consider the Ross Course to be the real gem at the resort.  Challenging in its own right, it's definitely more forgiving that the Dye Course and fairly dramatic with its views, elevated greens that slope back to front and classic architecture. The Ross' condition is also pristine, and considerably cheaper to play than the Dye. Plus it has a distinguished golf history, having staged the 1924 PGA Championship won by Walter Hagen and the 1959 and 1960 LPGA Championship, where Betsy Rawls and Mickey Wright respectively were the victors.

Even more historical, though, is the resort itself, which is divided into two hotels. In 2010, after being abandoned for 10 years, the Cook Corp. painstakingly restored the West Baden Springs Hotel as part of a half-billion renovation project. The hotel was the largest free-standing dome structure in the world when it was built in 1901 and dubbed the 'eighth wonder of the world.' (The Astrodome in Houston later claimed that moniker when it opened in 1965.)

West Baden

French Lick's famous West Baden Springs Hotel

No detail was overlooked in its restoration, including its separately domed lobby and 28,000-square foot spa that features marble inlaid floors, fine wooden cabinetry and hand-blown glass. There's also a spa at the resort's other hotel, as well as a sports center that includes indoor tennis, a casino and numerous restaurants. In total, the resort has nearly 700 rooms. It will need every one of them and then some when the Senior PGA comes to town in 2015.

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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.

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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 GolfChannel.com. “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.

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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.