Wednesday, March 04, 2009

Of Tiger Tracks And Other Things

Now that the snow has melted and there are rumors of a 70-degree weekend around here, it’s time to follow Monday’s Front Nine with the Back Nine.

1. Tiger Tracks

If you’ve wondered how involved Tiger Woods is with his golf course design at High Carolina, here’s an example:

Recently, Woods phoned Jim Anthony, the man who hired him, and asked if he had some time to look around the property. Woods jetted in a couple of days later and did a walk-around, focusing on a redesign planned for the ninth hole.

"He's been on the property numerous times," Anthony said of Woods. "He's been on the land as much as any architect we've worked with at this point in time."

The routing has undergone 28 versions in an effort to maximize the spectacular setting, Anthony said.

One of the High Carolina features (it’s not scheduled to open until 2011 with a reported $150,000 initiation fee) is that all 18 holes will have some southern exposure, allowing for more golf during colder months.

2. The Florida Swing

It’s not just about getting ready for the Masters anymore.

OK, it’s still a lot about that but the four-week swing from down where Jack lives up to Arnie’s tournament at Bay Hill has become more interesting in recent years.

The events are played on difficult courses with generally good fields, The best field comes next week at the WGC-CA Championship at Doral where all the big-timers, including Tiger, are expected to tee it up.

Among the things to watch:

-- How Tiger does at Doral and, presumably, Bay Hill;

-- If Geoff Ogilvy can successfully defend his title at Doral;

-- Whether Davis Love III can play his way into the Masters over the next two weeks;

-- And, how much discussion there is about the Masters.

3. How’d The U.S. Win The Ryder Cup?

Take a look at the latest World Golf Rankings and you’ll notice something missing – Americans.
Of the top 40 players, only 10 are American born.

4. At Least He Made One Bogey

How well did Geoff Ogilvy play in winning the Accenture Match Play Championship last weekend?

He played his last 56 holes 25-under par. That included 22 birdies, two eagles and a lone, lonesome bogey.

5. The Changing Landscape

While in Pinehurst recently for the Carolinas Golf Association’s centennial dinner, I talked with USGA executive director David Fay about a variety of subjects.

At the time, California government officials were still considering a ‘golf tax’ to help with its budget problems, an idea that has since gone away.

Still, Fay lamented the game’s image as a rich-person’s game.

“It does trouble me that in some quarters golf is almost being picked on,” Fay said.

“I’d like to believe George Strait, ‘they have an image that time is bound to see through’ as far as golf. It isn’t what it was.

“Seventy percent of golf rounds are played on public facilities. That’s the figure the NGF and PGA of America use. The profile of American golf has changed dramatically.

“Will it change further? It probably will.

“There will still be a place for the traditional country club. I think it’s going to be more Darwinian and I don’t mean Bernard. Those clubs are going to have to be more amenable with their pricing and how they position themselves.”

6. This Week’s Pick

It’s the Honda Classic at PGA National, a tough lay-out defined by the three-hole ‘Bear Trap’ on the back nine.

The winner: Camilo Villegas.

7. Swing Thoughts

-- Will any of us around here remember how to swing a club while wearing just one layer of clothing?

-- Playing desert golf courses would be fun – for a round or two.

-- It’s about time for Charlotte resident Johnson Wagner to have another big week.

8. The New Look
The logo for the newly renamed Quail Hollow Championship -- formerly the Wachovia Championship -- will be unveiled on Thursday at, appropriately enough, Quail Hollow.
Word is it's strikingly different from the old logo, which means the logo-conscious will be required to update their wardrobes and/or headwear.

9. The Last Word

“Depends on how many beers.” – Brenda Calcavecchia when asked by a reporter what kind of caddie her husband, Mark, is when she plays.


Anonymous said...

As a fellow Virginia Tech Alum, I'm looking forward to another good year from Wagner as well.

Sure am anxious for March's lion to make way for a warm, cuddly lamb so we can start hitting the driving range! I moved to Charlotte for a few more months of golf, so let's see it!

Big Kev said...

The driving range doesn't close for the winter so there is no excuse to not be out there!

Cedar Posts said...

Tiger suddenly seems old, and I should know I remember playing golf at on Eastway Drive and over on Park Road.

So old that I remember when the Golf Hall of Fame was in Pinehurst.

It will be nice to see the old man back on No. 1 at Augusta in four weeks.