Mike Davis with Tiger Woods 
What Mike Davis learned
Monday, September 14, 2009
By Joe Logan

Moments after the U.S. victory was sealed in the 42nd Walker Cup Match Sunday at Merion Golf Club,  Mike Davis rolled up in his golf cart, walkie-talkie still attached to his ear, another championship under his belt.


Davis, senior director of rules and competition for the U.S. Golf Association, is the man who set up Merion’s East Course for the Walker Cup and the man who will do the same for the U.S. Open in 2013.  If anything other than lousy weather goes wrong, or if the golfers tear up the course, it’s usually on Davis.


His No. 1 takeaway from the Walker Cup?


"This is a national treasure in the world of golf and to expose it to the world, I feel good about that," said Davis.


Fair enough, but did he learn anything from the Walker Cup that will be useful in four years for the Open?


"Refinements," said Davis. "You learn the greens more, you learn the fairway contours and widths, grass heights, the way the grass is mowed.  They are little things but I probably have 14 pages of notes."


For example?


"Take the 3rd hole," said Davis.  "I didn’t get it right this afternoon with that back left hole location."


No. 3 at Merion is a tough uphill par 3.  Most days, it plays anywhere from 168 to 181 yards, into a deep, sloped green.  On Saturday, as an experiment for the Open, Davis actually used a nearby tee for the 6th hole for No. 3, making it play as a 278-yard par 3.  On Sunday, he returned the tees to the rear of the regular tee box, but introduced a tricky, back left hole location.  He learned a lesson.


"It’s a neat hole location, but you’ve got to hit 7 or 8 iron to it, and today they were hitting mostly 6 irons," said Davis.  "That’s a little too much for that location."


For some fans at the Walker Cup, where crowds ranged from 4,000 to 6,000 each day, one question they came away with is whether Merion can accommodate upwards of 10 times that for the Open.   Not Davis.


"First of all, it’s not 10 times," he said. "And believe it or not, there is a lot of room for grandstands.  We will have some challenges moving crowds, but you can seat crowds on the course.  It will work, it will absolutely work."


If anything, added Davis, Merion has better potential for viewing than some other Open venues, such as Winged Foot.  "All the greens sit up in the air there, and there are trees around every one of them and we can’t get grandstands around many of them," said Davis.  


Still, Davis noted that Merion will be a "small Open," with maybe 25,000 spectators each day.  But they knew that before they picked it for ’13.


Fact is, said Davis, the Walker Cup only confirmed his impressions from the 2005 U.S. Amateur, that Merion remains a viable and worthy venue for its fifth Open.


But after the heavy rains that soaked the course on Friday of Walker Cup week, he did come away with one concern for the Open.


"If I have a fear, it’s four days of wet conditions, where they are throwing darts, but I feel that way at every Open," said Davis.  A bunch of rain and it won’t play like Merion should play.  But I’m telling you, if we get firm conditions, this course will be an awesome test."











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Steve[9/14/2009 12:04:49 PM]
Will the USGA consider using tarps to cover the greens to prevent "dart throwing" if it rains?

A day at the Walker Cup
Saturday, September 12, 2009
By Joe Logan

A tip of the visor to Jeffersonville Golf Club, the unpretentious muni in West Norriton Township, Montgomery County.


The reason for the nod of respect has nothing to do with the fact that the course is a 1931 Donald Ross design that underwent a major restoration back in 2004, or that it was in better condition than I’ve ever seen it.


No, what so pleasantly surprised me during a round early this week was that we played behind a threesome of kids – boys, maybe 11 or 12 – who were not only unaccompanied by an adult, they never once held us up. 


One was pulling a cart and the other two had their bags slung over their shoulders. (See photo) All three were smartly dressed, in golf shoes and tucked golf shirts, like they meant business.  And talk about meaning business, I watched from afar and they all had pretty fair swings.


First, I credit whoever taught those kids the game, the etiquette and the respect for golf.  Second, give credit to Jeffersonville GC for being unafraid to send out three youngsters alone, without some adult hovering over them, supervising.


What makes me smile about that whole scene is that I was once of those boys, except the shirt wasn’t tucked.  Me and my buddies, turned loose on a golf course, which in my case was a little small-town, sad-sack, nine-hole country club in eastern North Carolina.


One of the biggest problems with golf in America these days, if you ask me, is you don’t see enough of those kids out playing golf by themselves -- the golf-equivalent of kids playing sandlot baseball. 




























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Walker Cup: Golf’s most glorious throwback
Saturday, September 12, 2009
By Joe Logan

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The geopolitics of golf
Thursday, September 10, 2009
By Joe Logan

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Man-up, Kenny Perry
Wednesday, September 9, 2009
By Joe Logan

Just when you think you have a pretty good sense about somebody, sometimes it turns out you don’t.


Take Kenny Perry, for example.


A veteran 14-time winner on of the PGA Tour, Perry, 49, a drawlin’ Kentuckian, sure comes off like a decent, likeable guy.  I’ve sat through a million press conferences with the guy and never got a bad feeling about him.  Remember how we all pulled for him to to make the Ryder Cup team last year, then do well before his home-state fans at Valhalla in Louisville?


And didn’t your heart ach for him earlier this year when his big chance to finally win his first major slipped away during the final holes of the Masters?


Well, see if this recent item from Doug Ferguson, the AP’s golf writer, changes your opinion of Perry.  It begins:


"In a peculiar move, Kenny Perry parted ways with longtime caddie Fred Sanders, with whom he has won most of his tournaments..."  Turns out Perry was dumping Sanders in favor of his own son, Justin, who played on the golf team at Western Kentucky.


But here’s the rub:  Apparently not one to man-up, look Sanders in the eye and deliver the bad news himself, Perry had his agent do the dirty work – after Sanders had just spent the week on his bag at The Barclays.


Asked about the firing, Ferguson reports that Perry  offered only a "terse" reply to two writers: "Guys, I really don’t want to talk about that."


Of course you don’t.

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The view from the UK: Walker Cup is a money grab
Tuesday, September 8, 2009
By Joe Logan

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Palmer’s Go-For-It Greatness
Friday, September 4, 2009
By Joe Logan

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