PINEHURST, N.C. — Pinehurst No. 2 is anything but perfect for the U.S. Open, at least in the traditional sense of major championships in America. USGA executive director Mike Davis could not be any more thrilled. ”It’s awesome,” Davis said Monday as he gazed out at a golf course that looks like a yard that hasn’t been watered in a month. Sandy areas have replaced thick rough off the fairways. They are partially covered with that Pinehurst Resort officials refer to as ”natural vegetation,” but what most anyone else would simply call weeds. The edges of the bunkers are ragged. The turf is uneven just off some of the greens, with patches of no grass. Instead of verdant fairways from tee-to-green, the fairways are a blend of green, yellow and brown. Shortly after this Donald Ross gem was awarded its third U.S. Open in 15 years, the fabled No. 2 course went through a gutsy project to restore it to its natural look from yesteryear, before this notion that the condition of a course had to be perfect. Ernie Els, a two-time U.S. Open champion, was amazed when he walked off the 18th green. ”I wouldn’t call this an inland links, but it’s got that character,” he said. ”I was a bit nervous when I heard of the redo. But this looks like it’s been here for a long time.” Els has been playing the U.S. Open for two decades. He never imagined the ”toughest test in golf” without any rough. Nor does he think that will make it easier. ‘You don’t need it,” he said. ”When I played it in ’99, I didn’t like it. You hit it in the rough, you’re just trying to get it out. It was one-dimensional. Now, you’re going to have an unbelievable championship. ”If you miss the fairway, you’re not just going to wedge it out. You’ve got a chance to hit a miraculous shot. And then you could really be (in trouble). This is the way it used to be.” Els said the look of Pinehurst No. 2 reminded him of Royal Melbourne, and a guy who actually grew up next to Royal Melbourne agreed. ”These are Melbourne fairways,” Geoff Ogilvy said as he walked down the first fairway, where the grass was green for the first 200 yards before turning brown, and then going back to greener grass toward the green. ”This is kind of the way grass is supposed to be. In the summer it browns up, and in the winter it’s green. To my eye, this is what golf courses are supposed to look like.” Ogilvy understand architecture better than most players. He was looking at photos as Bill Coore and Ben Crenshaw worked on the restoration. He had heard stories. And it still managed to exceed his expectations. As for the idea of a U.S. Open without rough? He pointed to clumps of grass in the sandy areas, and some of the wiregrass bushes. And yes, the weeds. ”Look, the reality is there is rough there,” he said. ”It’s probably what rough used to be like before we had crazy irrigation.” The past two U.S. Open champions finished over par – Webb Simpson at Olympic Club, Justin Rose at Merion, both at 1-over. A third straight U.S. Open champion over par would be the longest streak in nearly 60 years. Not many were willing to bet against that. ”I’ve never played anything like it,” Jordan Spieth said. ”And it’s already – right now, with the pins in the middle of the greens – hard enough for even par to win. It’s going to be extremely challenging. But at the same time, it’s a great test.” More than a great test, Davis is hopeful it sends a great message. The USGA has been preaching in recent years to get away from the idea that golf courses have to be perfectly manicured to be great. Pinehurst No. 2, and perhaps Chambers Bay next year outside Seattle, allows a chance to show the golfing public what it means. The restoration project involved removing some 35 acres of sod and keeping only 450 of the 1,150 sprinkler heads. Water use is down an estimated 40 percent. ”It’s look back in the past, but it’s really looking forward to the future,” Davis said. ”Owners, operators and superintendents won’t give you this until the golfers think it’s OK. ”At private clubs, unless the greens committee says, ‘This is what we want,’ the superintendent won’t do it. It’s people thinking, ‘This looks fine.”’ Pinehurst No. 2 effectively presents the opposite perception of Augusta National. For years, superintendents have complained that too many courses wanted to be just like the home of the Masters in the quality – near perfection – of the conditions. ”Hopefully, this sets a precedent,” Ogilvy said. ”If Augusta has been the model everyone followed, hopefully this shows that it doesn’t have to be that way to be great.”
Page Light Studios/iStock(LAS VEGAS) — A new report detailing the handling of the deadliest mass shooting in modern U.S. history found a number of ways in which fellow law enforcement agencies may be able to improve upon their own future responses to their own active shooter and mass casualty incidents.Nearly two years after the shooting at a music festival in Las Vegas that left 58 victims dead, the city’s police department released their definitive review of the incident.“In our chosen profession of policing, we often cannot control what takes place on the ground that we have been commissioned to protect and serve,” Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department (LVMPD) sheriff Joe Lombardo wrote at the beginning of the report. “However, we always have control over how we respond in the aftermath.”The 158-page report gives a minute-by-minute account of the attack and the police response, while also illuminating new details of the chaos that unfolded on the ground that night.Fleeing, confused concertgoers warned police of “an older suspicious white male, wearing dark fatigues and a black backpack, who they thought might have been an additional shooter,” according to the report.After seeing that man enter a nearby RV, a strike team responded, according to the report, addressing the man in the RV and realizing then “he was not a threat but rather a survivor of the incident.”That incident was just one of a spectrum of necessary distractions police faced. For nearly three hours after the attack, police dispatch continued fielding frightening new reports of “active shooters” and “shots fired.”The analysis includes 93 recommendations for law enforcement officials, including increased training and practice drills, the reinforcement of existing protocols, and recommended placement of incident command posts and multi-agency coordination centers.One recommendation, for instance, calls for expanded active-shooter training “to include a barricaded active shooter when the shooter is in a position of advantage.”Another recommendation, number 45, was born out of decision by the LVMPD — under relentless and extraordinary pressure for information from a terrified public — to release a preliminary timeline in the early hours after the shooting rather than waiting for all evidence to be collected.“In hindsight, the rush to put out information led not only to confusion but also to the birth of multiple conspiracy theories that continue to plague this mass shooting today,” the report concluded.As a result, another recommendation calls for more precise phrasing to be used — like “sequence of events” and “preliminary details” — to “ensure accuracy while maintaining a commitment to transparency.”In addition to the chaos and confusion, the report also highlights moving moments of unity and compassion.The LVMPD report describes its own officers’ response as “extremely compassionate, supportive, and helpful to those in need,” and that the concession stands gave survivors food and water, and good Samaritans “dropped off cell phone chargers, food, water, and blankets.”Some heartbreaking new details are included in the report as well.Elsewhere, the report describes how some victims and survivors who had gathered at an arena on the campus of University of Nevada – Las Vegas, but “as the sun came up, survivors reported that they did not want to leave… because they felt safe where they were and did not know what to do next.”At the conclusion of the report, the authors acknowledge how first responders “have a difficult and heavily scrutinized profession.”They praised the work of the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department but added that “it is apparent to us as an agency that there are many areas where we must improve.”And they hope they aren’t the only ones, teeing up this report as a possible guide that can “provide insight and drive positive change for first-responder agencies across the world.”Copyright © 2019, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.
San Francisco (iStock)Tech industry workers aren’t the only ones leaving San Francisco for new digs. So are their bosses.Several industry CEOs are leaving the Bay Area as their companies announce they’ll embrace remote working, even after the pandemic subsides and allows for safe office working once again, according to The Information.Henrique Dubugras and Pedro Franceschi, the co-founders of fintech company Brex, have both left for Los Angeles and plan to let their company’s office lease in San Francisco expire next year.Meanwhile, DropBox CEO Drew Houston and Splunk CEO Douglas Merritt bought homes in Austin and plan to move there permanently.CBRE’s Dan Harvey said that moves at the top of the tech food chain could spur employees to follow them. Splunk employees have already asked management if they should move to Austin as well.The pandemic is already having a significant impact on San Francisco’s housing and office markets. Office vacancy hasn’t been as high as it was in the third quarter since 2011. Apartment rents are down by as much as 31 percent for some types of units, year-over-year.Senior level moves at big tech firms could have a more lasting impact on the Bay Area economy. Bay Area cities have seen steep declines in new job postings, according to Indeed.com.A more dispersed tech economy could mean lower tax revenue for those cities, but it could also open up room for other types of businesses for the first time. [TI] — Dennis Lynch This content is for subscribers only.Subscribe Now
KINGSTON, Jamaica, CMC – National Security Minister, Dr. Horace Chang, says there has been a significant reduction in murders in the South Andrew Police Division since the imposition of the State of Public Emergency (SOE).The government declared the SOE on July 7 to curtail the high level of crime plaguing communities in the Division, particularly murders which soared to 94 at the time.But Chang, who toured the area last weekend, noted that while 21 people were killed one month prior to the SOE, its introduction has brought a level of stability across the Division.“For the last three weeks, we have had a significant fall-off; it means that some 20 persons’ lives have been saved. That is the mission of a State of Emergency,” he said, noting that he visited the area to view key social intervention sites and engage with community stakeholders on issues related to targeted youth violence prevention, the creation of safe community spaces, and opportunities for community development.Chang said work would continue with increased provision of social services, and engagement with the broader community to upgrade facilities in the area.“We are in the community, we intend to do case management, family management, and community management, and when we are done, we have a community that you feel safer in,” Chang said, adding that while the Andrew Holness administration’s job to ensure “safety for all Jamaicans”, residents must play their part in this effort.“The SOE will go, but we will leave a stronger [community where] you feel better, and take pride in yourself,” he said.
NBC(LOS ANGELES) — The knockout rounds continued on Tuesday’s one-hour edition of The Voice, a night that saw Adam Levine steal one of Blake Shelton’s artists.Artists from Jennifer Hudson, Kelly Clarkson and Blake’s teams squared off on Tuesday, each of them enlisting the help of key adviser Mariah Carey.Team Jennifer’s “singing warriors,” Franc West, covering The Weeknd’s “Call Out My Name,” and Tyshawn Colquitt, singing Zayn’s “Pillowtalk,” faced off against each other to open the show. Both, said JHud, were “old school” and “sing with a vengeance.” Hudson, addressing the camera during rehearsals, predicted it would be “the hardest decision for me to make.” Following the knockout, she praised both artists for being “extremely talented,” but picked Franc for his “distinctive, unique sound.” He moves on to the live rounds, while Tyshawn heads home.Next up, were Team Kelly’s soulful pop artists: 17-year-old Abby Cates, tackling Clarkson’s achy ballad “Because of You,” facing off against Claire DeJean, 18, singing “There’s Nothing Holdin’ Me Back,” by Shawn Mendes –- an equally daring choice according to Kelly, because “It’s so wordy.” Mariah’s suggestions for the two: Abby needed “to be herself with the song”; Claire had to “focus on the dynamic of her voice.” After agonizing over her decision, Clarkson declared Abby the winner. She advances to the live rounds; Claire’s run on The Voice is over.Finally, Blake paired country artists Dave Fenley, singing Lionel Richie’s “Stuck on You,” against Kameron Marlowe, covering Bob Marley & the Wailers’ “I Shot the Sheriff,” popularized by Eric Clapton. Carey was impressed with Dave’s ability to “take the song to a different place in spots,” while still staying true to the original, and urged Kameron to do the same with his song. Blake, speaking to the camera, said the contest would come down to which artist made him feel like he’s “at a concert having a great time.” Shelton gave the round to Dave, for delivering a “dead-on” vocal performance. He moves on to the live rounds. However, Levine stole Marlowe, who advances as well, now as a member of Team Adam.The Voice knockout rounds continue Monday night at 8 p.m. ET on NBC.Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.