Aug 27, 2014 | 02:46 pm

Developing News

There’s a lot going on at PGA Tour HQ in Ponte Vedra Beach. It looks like the Tour may be planning to build a boutique, five-star hotel on five parcels of land on the southern end of the property from the right of the 8th green and 17th tee to left of the 14th fairway of the Players Stadium course, totaling about 185 acres. At least that’s what a rep for the Tour revealed in a meeting with residents who wanted to know what the Tour planed to do with the land after the Tour asked for zoning waivers on undisclosed development plans, according to a report in St. Augustine Record. A new, upscale hotel, along with retail and office space, would be a welcome addition to the only hotel option available right now, the Marriott Sawgrass. Another good bit of news is that the Dye Valley Course is reopening in September after a seven-month restoration—the first since its opening in 1987. In addition to a new irrigation and drainage system, the Pete Dye/Bobby Weed design underwent reconstruction of all the green, tee, and greenside bunker complexes, as well as the replacement of fairway turf and the recapturing the original square footage of each green. The course will open for play following the season-ending Tour Championship Sept. 18-21.

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Aug 26, 2014 | 01:33 pm

Conspicuous Concession

As we approach what promises to be a hotly contested Ryder Cup, a new book reminds us of  a simpler time when the  matches were just we Yanks versus the Brits and the U.S. dominated the contest. Neil Sagebiel’s  Draw in the Dunes is the story of the 1969 Ryder Cup which ended with Jack Nicklaus’s famous—and at the time controversial—concession of a short putt to Tony Jacklin on the last hole of their singles matching, resulting in the first 16-16 tie in Ryder Cup history. More than just a chronicle, however, it’s an exploration of the personalities involved—from Peter Alliss, Brian Barnes, and Bernard Gallacher on the British side to the Lee Trevino, Ray Floyd, Dave Hill, and captain Sam Snead on the U.S.—and the issues and conflicts both between and within the two teams. 

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Aug 25, 2014 | 10:48 am

Tales From The Truck

Every week on Tour, the equipment companies provide assistance to their players, regripping clubs, building new sets, checking lofts and lies, and doing whatever else the pros need to have total confidence in their tools. To showcase their rolling troupe of club crafters, TaylorMade has launched a video mini-series called “Tour Truck Confidential” that takes us into the 18-wheel construction site with the seven technicians who spend 50 weeks a year catering to the likes (and dislikes) of Sergio Garcia, Retief Goosen, Robert Allenby, Lucas Glover, and more than 100 others. Yes, it’s self-promotional, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t interesting to see the craftsmen at work and dealing with the players. The first two episodes are available on the TaylorMade website, with at least two more scheduled to debut in the next few weeks.

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Aug 22, 2014 | 08:28 am

Olympic Muddle

According to organizers of the 2016 Rio Olympics, the Gil Hanse-designed golf course that will welcome the world’s best is 59 percent complete. Not 60 percent. Not 58. But 59. Officials say sod has been placed on 5 of the 18 holes and two-thirds of the course is being irrigated. Grow-in should take another 11 months, which means there won’t be much time to give the course a good test—possibly a PGA Tour Latinoamerica tournament—before the games kick off in August, 2016. Ty Votaw, vice president of the International Golf Foundation was quoted as saying, “the landowner/developer needs to continue doing what he’s doing over the last few months… If they do that we feel that this schedule is certainly achievable.” Furthermore, it seems legal and environmental issues still need to be solved. According to a critical report from the website, the course is on land that was never to have been developed. “Until the bulldozers arrived, the area was a patchwork of mangroves, sandbanks and shoals… The whole area is made up for the Mata Atlantica (Atlantic Forest) biome, a sliver of terrain that used to encompass an area nearly twice the size of Texas. Though less than one-tenth of Brazil’s Mata Atlantica remains intact, these remaining fragments still contain the highest biodiversity index of any biome on earth, harboring eight percent of the world’s species, many of which are found only in Brazil."

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