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Tuesday, November 08, 2005

2005 Jazzy Golf Awards -Best Golf Writer: Ron Whitten


In a year that saw 1) ESPN gobble up a handful of writers and turn them into TV shills; 2) every sportswriter who happens to cover golf overhyping Michelle Wie; and 3) media attention diverted to a "chase for the cup" it's nice to know that we can always rely on Ron Whitten to provide clarity of eye and sensibility in writing. Ron quietly wrote arguably two of the most important articles ever this year.

First, his piece "Is Tom Fazio Really Good for Golf?" examined with laser-like precision the malaise that has infected golf course building, golf course marketing and the choices for tournament venues.

Next, Ron shatters the myth of "Donald Ross Greens" with his pre U.S. Open expose on how "Donald Ross wouldn't recognize these greens" explaining that not only did Ross NOT commonly employ crowned greens everywhere, but that the greens at No 2 (as they exist today) grew several inches over decades, then were cut at the sides by the U.S.G.A.

Finally, of all the poignant pieces written to honor the passing of eminent golf course architect Mike Strantz, noone captured the spirit of the man and his courses better than Ron.

Honorable Mention:

Tie: Geoff Shackelford Cameron Morfit and Melanie Hauser

Only Shackelford has the courage to take on the USGA and sensitive issues such as course length (and what strange things players may be doing as a result) with such relentlessness and fearlessness. Melanie Hauser wrote the most sensible, introspective and intelligent piece about how Michelle Wie Fever has been overblown by the media. Cameron and his excellent editors at Golf Magazine ran a terrific piece on one of the best undiscovered jewels of the golf travel world - North Dakota and its great trio: Hawktree, Bully Pulpit and Red Mike.