Oct 15, 2014 | 09:34 am

Royal Appointee

White smoke is billowing from the Royal and Ancient Clubhouse! The R&A has just announced who will succeed Peter Dawson as its new Chief Executive, as well as Secretary of The Royal and Ancient Golf Club of St. Andrews. His name is Martin Slumbers and he's an investment banker from London. While he seems to have lots of business experience, having spent the last ten years as head of global business services at Deutsche Bank, the 54-year-old Slumbers doesn't seem to have nearly as much of a golf pedigree as Dawson, who was the captain of the Cambridge golf team, and Dawson's predecessor, Sir Michael Bonallack, who was a five-time British Amateur champion. All we know is that he's a "keen" golfer, according to today's press release, who plays to a two handicap at Worplesdon Golf Club in Surrey. “Golf has always been close to my heart and I am very much looking forward to living and working in St Andrews," said Slumbers, who will joing the R&A next March for a six-month training period with Dawson, who's been in charge since 1999. "I am honoured to be appointed to lead The R&A and to serve such an historic and prestigious Club.”

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Oct 14, 2014 | 09:17 am

At Least One Olympic Site is on Schedule

As the Olympics golf course in Rio continues to struggle and straggle through its gestation process, organizers of the 2020 games in Tokyo are getting ahead of the curve. Last month they announced their venue—the highly regarded East Course at Kasumigaseki Country Club—a Hugh Allison design that opened in 1929—and word is it will be updated by Tom Fazio. Among the expected changes are the lengthening of several holes and repositioning of the course’s many cavernous bunkers, but the main mission will be to eliminate a quirk that prevails on many Japanese courses—two sets of greens, one for summer and one for winter. Kasumigaseki is no stranger to international competition, having held the Canada Cup (precursor to the World Cup) back in 1957, when local boys Pete Nakamura and Koichi Ono scored a stunning upset victory that launched the boom of Japanese golf. 

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Oct 12, 2014 | 06:58 pm

Oldies But Goodies

Once upon a time, this was known as the “silly season,” when the real golf tournaments were done, most of the big-name stars took it easy, and television was filled with such riveting broadcasts as The Skins Game and various Skills Challenges. Things have changed with the PGA Tour’s wrap-around schedule, but this is still a pretty slow time for professional golf, which gives us a chance to play “whatever happened to?” For example, in the last few days we learned that Sandy Lyle, who won the 1985 British Open and 1988 Masters, recently captured the 2014 World Hickory Open, the 10th annual, played at Panmure Golf Club in Scotland; contestants have to use equipment made prior to 1935, and Lyle beat a field of more than 100 competitors. We also heard that Robert Allenby—who had only five top 25s in 29 events this year and is shown above—helped out as an assistant coach on his son’s high-school golf team in Florida, while Retief Goosen, who won two U.S. Opens, is playing better after years of injuries and pain, finishing T7 at this past weekend’s Open. Less positive was the news from Greg Norman, who told Fox Business Network that he might never be able to play golf again after almost cutting off his left hand with a chainsaw a few weeks ago.

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Oct 10, 2014 | 10:29 am

Cabo Is Back In Business

Less than a month ago, the west coast of Mexico was slammed by Hurricane Odile, a Category 3 storm that made landfall at Los Cabos, at the tip of the Baja Peninsula. Despite fears of the worst, most of the 14 golf courses in the area withstood the onslaught with only minor damage. The photograph above shows the 18th hole of The Ocean Course at Cabo del Sol—which reopened October 1—exactly one week after Odile hit. To commemorate the comeback, Cabo del Sol is offering an “Odile to Ideal Weather Guaranteed Unlimited Golf Package” with its on-site hotel, Sheraton Hacienda del Mar: If any round is interrupted by rain, guests can come back, free, for a package of the same length including golf and hotel. As for the other courses, some have already reopened while the rest expect to be ready in a few weeks. Jack Nicklaus’s new Quivira Golf Club held its grand opening yesterday, while Diamante’s El Cardonal—the first completed 18-holer designed by Tiger Woods—will hold its ribbon-cutting in mid-December as planned. As for hotel rooms, many are already available, with the full complement of more than 20,000 expected to be ready for occupancy by mid-December. Watch for an advertising/social-media campaign called “Los Cabos—Unstoppable” to begin soon.

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