Turf wars: Wisconsin golf scene

By Matt GinellaFebruary 27, 2014, 6:24 am

As natural selection of American golf courses, architects and owners continues to identify the thrivers and survivors, one man continues to strap on his boots every day and goes to work. Having recently caught up with one of the most influential minds in the modern era of golf and architecture, I simply asked Pete Dye, 88, “What have you been up to lately?”

“I have a few projects I’m working on,” he said, as he took a break from a meeting at his home in Florida. His wife, Alice, had answered and passed the phone: “It’s the guy from the Golf Channel,” she said. And then she barked: “You can take the call, but not in here, go to your office.”

Pete Dye’s busy, but he’s not in charge. Not at home. Although in Sheboygan, Wisc., Herb Kohler has asked Dye to assess a piece of property that would be used for the fifth course at the American Club, of which the first four are all Dye designs.

“In my mind, he’s clearly the strongest living architect,” is what Kohler once told me about Dye. And according to Dye, Kohler might be close to “pulling the trigger” on what appears to be a response to Mike Keiser, owner of Bandon Dunes, moving in on Kohler’s turf.

Kohler already has Whistling Straits and Blackwolf Run, both of which have hosted major championships. And after looking all over the world for more property to develop into courses and resorts, including the southwest coast of Oregon—down the street from Keiser’s Bandon Dunes—Kohler’s now looking into developing his own backyard. “Herb’s been sitting on this property for years,” said Dye. “There would be four holes along Lake Michigan. I wish I could have more along the water. That’s always the case. I wish I could have six.”

And the retail golfer wishes it could be 16, but some is better than none.

Dye has built 81 courses in his decorated career, which includes Kiawah’s Ocean Course, TPC Sawgrass and Harbour Town. “I’m too dumb,” he said. “I’ve actually gone out and built them all myself.” Which is exactly what Kohler appreciates about Dye. That he gets the man he hires, on property, shaping and making the decisions that go into building a golf course.

No one from Kohler’s camp returned multiple attempts for comment, but Keiser welcomed the idea of Kohler adding a fifth course to the American Club. “I’d be a fan,” said Keiser, who told me he plans on building three courses in the next eight years at the Wisconsin development he’s calling Sand Valley, which is near Wisconsin Rapids, two and a half hours from Kohler. The first of Keiser’s courses will be built by Bill Coore and Ben Crenshaw. Preview play could be as soon as the summer of 2016.

“I’ve always loved golf in Michigan,” said Keiser. “But if it was close as to which state has better golf, it sounds like the nod is about to go to Wisconsin.”

Meanwhile, Andy Ziegler, owner of Erin Hills, which will host the U.S. Open in 2017, will undoubtedly draft off the buzz of more golf in the area. Erin Hills is an hour from Kohler and a little more than two hours from Wisconsin Rapids.

“If you love golf, who wouldn’t want it?" said Ziegler. "Both have proven they know what they’re doing. It would be good for Erin Hills, but it would be great for golf in general.”

Asked if he would be inspired to add a second course, Ziegler said no. “We have land that resembles what we used for Erin Hills, but business is working well the way it is.” He said they’re considering adding holes, but he likes the idea of a short course or a par 3 course. “I like what they have at Pine Valley and Augusta National,” said Ziegler, who will add a fourth four-bedroom cottage at Erin Hills this summer.

As the Midwest endures one of the worst winters in over a century, the Wisconsin turf beneath the snow is becoming increasingly attractive to avid amateurs all over the world. And who in the industry wouldn’t want to see the partnership of Kohler and Dye ride again. Except for maybe Alice.

“Every time I do something she tells me I’ve done it wrong,” said Dye.

“What do you say?” I asked.

“I tell her, ‘You’re right.’”

For a guy who told me he’s “too dumb,” Dye’s pretty smart.

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Watch: Gary Player tires people out with sit-ups

By Grill Room TeamJune 24, 2018, 11:33 pm

Well all know Gary Player is a fitness nut, and at 82 years young he is still in phenomenal shape.

That's why it was incredible to see two mere mortals like us try to keep up with him in a sit-up competition at the BMW International Open.

Watch the video below.

The guy in blue makes the smart decision and bows out about halfway through. But give the other guy an "A" for effort, he stuck with Player for about 60 sit-ups, and then the nine-time major champion just starts taunting him.

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Japan teen Hataoka rolls to NW Ark. win

By Associated PressJune 24, 2018, 11:07 pm

ROGERS, Ark. - Japanese teenager Nasa Hataoka ran away with the NW Arkansas Championship on Sunday for her first LPGA title

The 19-year-old Hataoka won by six strokes, closing with an 8-under 63 at Pinnacle Country Club for a tournament-record 21-under 192 total. She broke the mark of 18 under set last year by So Yeon Ryu.

Hataoka won twice late last year on the Japan LPGA and has finished in the top 10 in five of her last six U.S. LPGA starts, including a playof loss last month in the Kingsmill Championship.

Hataoka began the round tied with Minjee Lee for the lead.

Austin Ernst shot a 65 to finish second.

Lee and third-ranked Lexi Thompson topped the group at 13 under.

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Tour investigating DeChambeau's use of compass

By Will GrayJune 24, 2018, 10:09 pm

CROMWELL, Conn. – Bryson DeChambeau’s reliance on science to craft his play on the course is well known, but he took things to a new level this week at the Travelers Championship when television cameras caught him wielding a compass while looking at his yardage book during the third round.

According to DeChambeau, it’s old news. He’s been using a compass regularly to aid in his preparation for nearly two years, dating back to the Shriners Hospitals for Children Open in October 2016.

“I’m figuring out the true pin locations,” DeChambeau said. “The pin locations are just a little bit off every once in a while, and so I’m making sure they’re in the exact right spot. And that’s it.”


Full-field scores from the Travelers Championship

Travelers Championship: Articles, photos and videos


But social media took notice this weekend, as did PGA Tour officials. DeChambeau explained that he was approached on the range Saturday and informed that the Tour plans to launch an investigation into whether or not the device is allowable in competition, with a decision expected in the next week.

It’s not the first time the 24-year-old has gone head-to-head with Tour brass, having also had a brief run with side-saddled putting earlier in his career.

“They said, ‘Hey, we just want to let you know that we’re investigating the device and seeing if it’s allowable,’” DeChambeau said. “I understand. It wouldn’t be the first time this has happened.”

DeChambeau won earlier this month at the Memorial Tournament, and the Tour’s ruling would not have any retroactive impact on his results earlier this year. Playing alongside tournament winner Bubba Watson in the final round at TPC River Highlands, DeChambeau shot a final-round 68 to finish in a tie for ninth.

“It’s a compass. It’s been used for a long, long time. Sailors use it,” DeChambeau said. “It’s just funny that people take notice when I start putting and playing well.”

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Bubba fires 63 to win his third Travelers title

By Nick MentaJune 24, 2018, 9:52 pm

Bubba Watson fired a final-round 63 to storm from six back and steal the Travelers Championship. Here’s how Bubba came from behind once again at TPC River Highlands.

Leaderboard: Bubba Watson (-17), Stewart Cink (-14), Beau Hossler (-14), J.B. Holmes (-14), Paul Casey (-14)

What it means: This is Watson’s 12th PGA Tour win, his third of the season, and his third Travelers title. Watson picked up his first Tour victory at this event in 2010 – when he also came from six back – and won again in 2015 in a playoff victory over – guess who – Casey. Thinking he might need a round of 60 to scare the leader, Watson made eight birdies, the last of which came on the 72nd hole, giving him the outright lead by one. A short while later, Casey would bogey the 16th and 17th to end the drama and allow Bubba to breathe easy. With the win, Watson becomes the only Tour player to win three times this season. He moves to third in the FedExCup points race, behind two-time winners Justin Thomas and Dustin Johnson.

Round of the day: Cink’s round was a stroke better, but Bubba earns this title for winning the title. The left-hander made the turn in 2-under 33 and then ripped off five birdies on his back nine to take the clubhouse lead, which he wouldn’t relinquish.

Best of the rest: Cink looked as though he was going to record the second sub-60 round at the Travelers in the last three years. The 2009 champion golfer of the year played his first 10 holes in 7 under par on the par-70 layout. Cink added three more birdies but also added two bogeys to settle for 8-under 62, tying the round of the week. The 45-year-old has finished T-4 and T-2 in his last two starts.

Biggest disappointment: Casey (2-over 72) began the day up four and couldn’t close. Even par on his round through 15 holes, he missed a 4-footer for par on 16 and found the water off the tee at 17, ending his chances. The Englishman, who ended a nine-year Tour winless drought earlier this season at the Valspar, is now 1 for 4 with a 54-hole lead on the PGA Tour.

Shot of the day: Watson’s wedge from 77 yards at the 72nd hole, setting up his eighth and final birdie of the day.

Quote of the day: “That’s the best shot you ever hit.” – caddie Ted Scott to Bubba Watson on his approach at 18