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Days later, Poulter revisits rules miscue

THOUSAND OAKS, Calif. -- Ian Poulter was on the practice range at Sherwood CC Tuesday morning demonstrating the freakish nature of the penalty that cost him a chance to win the Dubai World Championship Sunday.

The garrulous Englishman incurred a one-stroke penalty when in the course of replacing his ball on the putting green he inadvertently dropped it on his specially-made platinum ball marker -- his "lucky" coin -- causing it to move. That made his 40-foot birdie putt into a par putt, which he missed. Robert Karlsson sank a 4-footer for birdie that made the penalty moot, but it was yet another bizarre ending to a golf tournament in a year full of odd conclusions.

"I don't think I could do it again if I tried," Poulter said while taking a break from a practice session. To prove it, he did try, tossing a golf ball at the quarter-sized coin a dozen times before he finally managed to make it flip over as it did Sunday at the European Tour's season-ending event. "You can see how ridiculous it is that I could drop it just so and make it move. But it happened."

A jeweler in Phoenix made the coin for the No. 8 player in the world following his victory in the Accenture Match Play Championship in February. The platinum coin is thicker than a normal U.S. coin and features the diamond-encrusted names of his three children, Aimee, Libby and Luke.

Poulter said he hasn't lost any sleep over the incident. "I slept 11 hours last night," he volunteered. "Because of where it was and when it happened and what it meant it couldn't have happened at a worse time. It put a real focus on another ridiculous rule. But I'm fine with it. Now if the situation had been reversed and I'd have had the 4-footer to win, that could have been an ugly finish. I might still not be talking to anyone."

-- Dave Shedloski

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News & Tours

Volcano wreaking havoc on a golf course

Mount Merapi in Indonesia began erupting in late October, resulting in a pyroclastic flow (hot gas and rocks) that has overrun a substantial part of a golf course there, evident in this remarkable satellite photograph from DigitalGlobe.


(Photo by DigitalGlobe)

-- John Strege

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News & Tours

Creamer seeking to make up for lost time

ORLANDO, Fla. - A good year? A great year? With a U.S. Women's Open victory at Oakmont, it's hard to say 2010 wasn't the latter for Paula Creamer. But as hard-earned and memorable as her maiden major-championship triumph was - coming as it did less than four months after surgery on her left thumb - it is her only win of the season.

That gives Creamer, who is No. 10 on the money list despite playing only 13 events because of her injury, all the more reason to finish 2010 with a victory at this week's LPGA Tour Championship where she is taking a bit of a backseat to the handful of players battling it out for player of the year and the top spot in the Rolex Rankings.

Not only is it a home game for the 24-year-old Creamer, who lives about 15 minutes from Grand Cypress GC, but the layout's fast and sloping greens aren't a bad thing to someone who conquered Oakmont's diabolical putting surfaces. "This course is all about the greens," Creamer said Tuesday. "You can't spend enough time [practicing] putting and chipping. I heard by Sunday they're going to be 12 ¿ on the Stimpmeter. They're not as fast as Oakmont. You lag so much there, even from 10 or 15 feet. Here you can be aggressive in some places even though you're playing three or four feet of break. The speed around the hole, it doesn't get away from you."

After winning the Open, Creamer didn't contend in the next half-dozen events but comes into this week with T-4s in her last two starts. The thumb, on which she had an operation March 30 to repair stretched ligaments and a hyperextension, is still a work in progress. "I still don't have much mobility, but my pain is a lot better and the swelling isn't as bad," she said. "Right after I used to play, my hand would just blow up - it's not doing that as much anymore. They said a year [to heal completely]. That'll be the end of March. Hopefully, after that, I won't have any pain."

-- Bill Fields

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News & Tours

Tiger might not want to watch this 'Law and Order'

On the eve of Tiger Woods' tournament, the Chevron World Challenge, outside Los Angeles, NBC will air an episode of Law and Order Los Angeles that on its website is described this way:

"The investigation of a seemingly simple crime reveals a pro golfer's sordid web of sex, lies and blackmail."

Or as the Associated Press describes it: "The plot on Wednesday's show includes a philandering golf star and his club-wielding wife. When police arrive, the bleeding athlete says his spouse was merely attempting to rescue him -- in this case, from their swimming pool rather than a wrecked car."

The AP's version is confirmed in this trailer for the episode.

-- John Strege

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News & Tours

Would players play Johnny Miller's tourney?

The concept of Johnny Miller taking over as host of his own PGA Tour event (as broached in this week's Golf World Monday) is an intriguing one, for a number of reasons: Miller has already been canonized as one of the great players of his era, he remains an outsized personality, and with his new part ownership of Silverado Country Club in northern California, he could deliver a golf course that the tour is already familiar with, having hosted a tournament there from 1968-1980.

So that is the upside. The downside is that such an event could be rife with complications. As Miller told Jaime Diaz in the December issue of Golf Digest, he would aspire to preside over a tour event much in the way Jack Nicklaus and Arnold Palmer do with the Memorial and Bay Hill, respectively.

miller_470.jpg(Photo by Dom Furore)

Both Nicklaus and Palmer have succeeded in producing an upper-tier tour event in large part because both are almost universally beloved or at least respected by today's players. In short, when Jack or Arnie asks you to play their event, you're rarely in a position to say no. But what if the person asking is a former player with whom few current players have a close relationship, and who has never been shy about pointing out their shortcomings?

While many players when asked about Miller will say they've learned to take his analysis in stride -- "Overall, Johnny is good for golf," Jim Furyk told Diaz -- it's hard to imagine them revamping their schedule for him. And that leads to another awkward dynamic: wouldn't Miller's analysis of players inevitably be influenced if they began snubbing him?

Sure, this is all premature, especially when considering an event at Silverado is little more than a brainstorm at this point. But it is something that might give the PGA Tour pause when it's time to consider going into business with Miller.

-- Sam Weinman

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News & Tours

LPGA needs 'another great American like Annika'

This amusing anecdote came at the end of a Q&A columnist Ken Willis of the Daytona Beach News-Journal conducted with LPGA commissioner Mike Whan, in response to Willis' question as to whether the success of the tour depends on having American stars:

"I took the job in January," Whan replied. "In February I get an email. Older guy, from Phoenix, and he writes, 'Commissioner Whan, your tour will never be great again until you get another great American like Annika Sorenstam at the top of the list.' I read it three or four times. There's no doubt, this guy thinks Annika is American. The point is, don't think Americans won't embrace stars that weren't born here."

Sorenstam, of course, is a native of Sweden.

-- John Strege

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Courses & Travel

Tiger's Course Design In Dubai Is In Trouble

If you're receiving Golf World Monday you'd already know one of Tiger's debut designs might be destined for dust. Or sand.

The digital supplement to Golf World provides this update:

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News & Tours

GCAA gets extension on recruiting recommendations

From year to year, the Golf Coaches Association of America's national convention ranges anywhere from busy business meeting to "working" vacation. Next week's event at the Tropicana Hotel in Las Vegas, however, promises to be more the former than the latter thanks to the GCAA obtaining an extension from the NCAA on its Dec. 3 deadline for submitting recommendations on the potential limitations on recruiting.

After several requests by the GCAA over the past month, explaining the timing of its convention (Dec. 6-9) and its ability to assist in coming to a consensus, the Division I Recruiting and Athletics Personnel Cabinet agreed to extend the deadline until Dec. 13, allowing for discussions and voting on various proposals currently under consideration when the GCAA membership convenes in Las Vegas.

What the coaches will likely be deliberating on are two proposals offered from the GCAA's National Advisory Board. The proposals were expected to be e-mailed to coaches this morning.

* A model that offers specific number of days that coaches can recruit off campus, leaving it up to the coach as to when to use the days.

* A hybrid model that limits the number of days of coaches can recruit while also including dead and/or dark periods for recruiting during the year.

Earlier in the month, the GCAA sent out to 304 Division I head coaches a variation of the hybrid proposal, asking respondents to vote on the concept in one of three ways: yes I approve; yes I approve but with conditions; or no, I don't approve. The GCAA received 167 responses, with approximately 40 percent voting yes, 33 percent voting yes with conditions and 27 percent voting no. Following that, the NAB decided to add a recruiting days proposal for consideration.

Still unresolved in  either proposal is the exact number of days coaches would be allowed to recruit as well as what dates would be included in dead or dark periods. The original hybrid proposal floated by the GCAA included a quiet period (where coaches would not be allowed to recruit off campus) from the end of the early signing period in November through January. However, the AJGA's Polo Junior Golf Classic and the Annika Invitational as well as the Junior Orange Bowl International Golf Championship each fall within those dates, raising concerns for some.
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News & Tours

Tiger Woods Dubai: From oasis to mirage

The desert scrub that it was designed to replace is threatening to reclaim the dormant project known as Tiger Woods Dubai, Woods' first golf course design, as the Guardian's Lawrence Donegan reports today from Dubai.

"The Tiger Woods Dubai: a dust-bowl, an empty car park, an 'Arabian palace' as real as a Hollywood film set," Donegan writes. "Like so much else in post-boom Dubai, the palace is a facade, propped up by wooden beams. Behind it lies a collection of portable cabins that in the glory days of the economic boom served as a sales office. These days the salesmen have gone, to be replaced by a handful of cleaners and maintenance staff trying to keep alive what is left of the $1.1bn fantasy."

Only six holes were completed and the remaining 12 never got beyond the outline stage. Will it ever get done, Donegan asks? "Who knows? It could be great if it ever gets finished, but we don't know if it will ever get finished," says one member of the staff. "They better make a decision soon because we are struggling to keep the desert at bay."

The upshot: "A decision is expected before February, when Woods will arrive here to play in the Dubai Desert Classic," Donegan writes. "The smart money around town is on the return to nature. After all what use is a billionaires playground when there are no billionaires?"

The story is here.

-- John Strege

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News & Tours

Westwood overtakes Woods on Twitter, too

A few days after Tiger Woods gleefully announced he was taking on Twitter ("Yep, it's me. I think I like this twitter thing"), Lee Westwood entered the fray and already has surpassed Woods, at least on the frequency and entertainment fronts.

Woods has more than a quarter-million followers, though what they're following is a mystery. He hasn't posted in nearly a week and has posted just twice since the aforementioned announcement on Nov. 17.

Westwood, conversely, began his Twitter career on Nov. 24 and has quickly embraced it, and has proved entertaining to boot, usually at the expense of his European Tour friends. A sampling:

-- "@McIlroyRory Thanks Rory. I'm just pleased I wasn't stood next to you when that flock of sea gulls flew over!"

Westwood is referring to McIlroy's new blond locks over which he has taken much grief.

-- "Out at 11.50 and hate to rub it in but it's about 85 and not a cloud in the sky! Poults is in the locker room doing his makeup!"

-- "Poults looking very bland in black and White ! More penguin than peacock!"

-- Earlier this month, of course, Westwood supplanted Woods as the No. 1 player in the World Ranking.

UPDATE: Woods just went up with his third post since Nov. 17: "Hope everyone had a great thanksgiving. I just finished a pretty tough cardio session this morning because of all the apple and pumpkin pie."

-- John Strege

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