Morfit: Allenby made an interesting point in his press conference here: He said he was telling Vijay Singh that the V grooves might actually help the players this year. The reason being, a guy can now hit 6- or 7-iron out of, say, the first or second cut of rough at the U.S. Open, get a 'jumper' and watch the ball roll out all the way to the green. Whereas before, with square grooves, he might have had to hit a 4- or 5-iron out of the same lie because the grooves put so much spin on the ball even out of the rough.
Dusek: Ogilvy told me the same thing. He said that big hitters who spin the ball a lot will now be able to attack back-of-the-green hole positions because the ball won't spin back and away from the hole. Players will be able to release the ball from the rough and feed it to back pins.
Morfit: That said, I don't think a lot of players are used to the new grooves yet. I watched wedge after wedge land 15 or 20 feet behind the pin on the 9th hole and just stop. It's going to take some time to get used to the fact that those balls aren't going to back up. Unless you're Davis Love III on 16 today. Somebody check those grooves!
Dusek: Davis spins the ball so much he used to have Titleist intentionally dull his new wedge grooves by about 25% before he started using them. Davis told me that the new groove rules would not affect him.
Evans: This groove thing is not that big a deal for these guys over the long run. Now, if they roll back the ball and bring back persimmon heads...
Bamberger: Waialae is an absolute gem. I don't know if there's a Tour course I'd more want to play, except of course Pebble. Others have thoughts? What Tour course would you want to play?
Shipnuck: Riviera or the Stadium.
Bamberger: Riv's too hard. Good for those guys, but not for a shaky 13. Waialae you can play.
Herre: Played Sawgrass recently from forward tees and it was a lot of fun. Sort of a roller-coaster ride of a course.
Lipsey: Forgive the question, but a report on your total at 17, please.
Herre: Routine par. For whatever reason, the 17th didn't play as scary as it looks on TV.
Evans: For the record, I've played the Stadium course probably 50 times, and I hardly ever played the 17th when there was wind, which puts all the teeth into the hole. No wind and it's like playing darts with a 9-iron.
Dusek: Of the non-major venues, Spyglass Hill is one of my favorites. The first five holes are amazing and the forest holes are under-appreciated.
Morfit: I'd want to play Colonial or Merion because I might be able to reach some of the par-4s in two, and they're not Pete Dye courses.
Gorant: I'd probably go Stadium course. Maybe Alan will let me walk with him when he talks his way on.
Shipnuck: Hello, media rate!
Bamberger: I can't put my finger on it, but there was something missing in Golf Channel's coverage at the Sony. Part of it was the lack of crowds, which detracted from the excitement. But when NBC and CBS do events, the whole thing feels big-league. Speaking of which, NBC announced this week that Brad Faxon will be doing some work for the network. Brad's been a friend for a long time, so consider the source, but I think he will be an excellent addition. He understands the mind of the pro as well as anybody at the elite level, at the rookie level, and at the level of the journeyman looking to snatch a title. That's been missing. What do you all think of the hire?
Dusek: Brad is as nice as the day is long, but if he is made to pander to Johnny Miller like the rest of the Johnettes, then his insightful eyes and experience will be wasted.
Lipsey: You never know until the player gets in front of the camera and starts talking. Lanny was the best announcer in history, in the locker room. He was never himself on TV, though. People sometimes react in strange ways when the camera rolls.
Morfit: I'm not crazy about guys having one leg on Tour and one leg in the broadcast booth. I think it diminishes them both places. To be good on TV, you've got to speak about pro X without fear of what might happen the next time you're paired with pro X.
Bamberger: Very true, Cameron. That was one of Ben Crenshaw's problems that and he was too nice.
Herre: Brad could be a good one. He's smart, thoughtful and well-spoken. We'll see if he can also be candid, which many other player/analysts have found to be difficult.
Evans: Faxon can't hurt the lineup, but I'm wondering if he will be another Mike Hulbert, nice enough guy on TV but not a great personality. Bobby Clampett already owns that coveted identity in the golf world.