Monday, February 6, 2012

The Week That Was, february 5, 2012

Because it’s Super Bowl Sunday, America’s favorite non-holiday, here’s a collection of all-American news tidbits. Special bonus: This week only, my blog has been declared a Trump-free zone!

. . . the problem Americans don’t play enough golf. And when I say “Americans,” I mean Jack Nicklaus. The greatest golfer in history, the winner of more major championships than anyone who ever lived, recently confessed that nowadays he plays the game that made him famous only about once a month. Okay, Nicklaus turned 72 last month. He’s getting old. Maybe we should give him a pass. But what about the rest of his family? His wife doesn’t play at all. His son Steve, according to a news report, “doesn’t play much.” And his 22 grandchildren, Nicklaus said at a recent industry get-together, “play less than I do, and that’s not very much.” Is this really the first family of golf in America, the people who owe their fortune to golf? If they can’t gather the energy to play anymore, why should anyone else?

. . . the exhibit If you’re headed to Augusta for the Masters, you might want to plan a side trip to Atlanta. The city’s High Museum of Art has opened “The Art of Golf,” which is said to be “the first major art survey on the subject organized by a U.S. art institution.” The works on display date all the way back to the 1650s and include more than 90 paintings, posters, photographs, and drawings by artists as varied as Rembrandt, James McNeil Whistler, Norman Rockwell, and Charles Schulz. “We have a very wide menu,” said one of the museum’s curators. Five portraits of Bobby Jones are part of the collection, along with depictions of Old Tom Morris by George Reid and Jack Nicklaus by Andy Warhol. But the prime attraction, at least to most eyes, is golf’s most famous painting, Charles Lees’ seven-foot-wide The Golfers, which is making its U.S. debut. The show runs through June 24. When its time in Atlanta ends, it’ll make the rounds other U.S. cities through the end of next year.

. . . the obituary Even though many leading economic indicators are beginning to point skyward, two of the world’s most famous course designers remain sour on the prospects for golf development in the United States. Late last year, in a conversation with a reporter from, David McLay Kidd said, “The patient is all but dead in America. Everything is real-estate based, and the sort of big-budget facilities we saw open throughout the 90s and first part of this century won’t be coming back anytime soon.” Not to be outdone, during a recent appearance on CNBC, Greg Norman said, “The United States is dead in the water. We'll be dead in the water for quite a long period of time.” Such talk has got me wondering: What will life after death look like?

. . . the weather Here’s the feel-good story of the year so far: Last week, a municipal golf course in Omaha, Nebraska had to close as a result of “overuse.” According to a local television station, Johnny Goodman Golf Course was shut down temporarily due to “the high traffic it’s seen in the past couple of months.” Mind you, we’re talking winter play. It was so warm in Omaha in December and January that all three of the city’s 18-hole courses set revenue records. Without question, the U.S. golf industry needs more stories like this. But does the planet?

. . . the list Where do professional golfers really like to play? Here are their favorite PGA Tour venues, as compiled by Golf World:

1. Augusta National Golf Club, Georgia
2. Harbour Town Golf Links, South Carolina
3. Riviera Country Club, California
4. Pebble Beach Golf Links, California
5. Colonial Country Club, Texas
6. Muirfield Village Golf Club, Ohio
7. Shaughnessy Golf & Country Club, British Columbia
8. Aronimink Golf Club, Pennsylvania
9. Innisbrook Resort (Copperhead course), Florida
10. Congressional Country Club (Blue course), Maryland

. . . wild card click I don't know about you, but I'm watching football today.