So LACC has cleaned up its act for a U.S. Open? Sorry, Riv

Los Angeles Country ClubAfter a 75-year absence, the United States Golf Association will bring the prestigious U.S. Open championship back to Los Angeles.
But it might not be at the course many expected based on recent golf history here.
The Los Angeles Country Club, which has two courses that opened on Wilshire Blvd. near the Beverly Hills Hilton Hotel in 1911, has been officially selected to host the 2023 major event, the USGA officially announced Wednesday.
USGA-LogoThe North Course, redesigned by the famed George C. Thomas Jr. in 1921 and currently under renovation to bring back many of its original features by architect Gil Hanse, will provide the 18-hole test for the U.S. Open. The club’s South Course will be used to accommodate the media, sponsor tents and concessions.
In 1948, when Ben Hogan won the last U.S. Open held in L.A., it took place seven miles west of LACC – at the famed at Riviera Country Club in Pacific Palisades, which, like LACC, is a private course.
But without as much baggage.
The exclusive club that many Hollywood stargazers may not even know exists in such a congested urban part of L.A. because of its fences protected by tall trees has previously turned down numerous attempts by golf’s governing bodies to have an event on its facility.
The LACC for many years existed, like the Wilshire Country Club, without allowing Jewish members. A 2011 story about the club in the Hollywood Reporter called it “a bastion of bankers and corporate execs” that “remains hands-down the most clannish and is known for shunning entertainment types in general.”
But situated on one of the most valuable piece of land in the world with downtown L.A. as the backdrop to the 11th hole and the back of the Playboy Mansion sharing a wall, the LACC started serious discussion last year with the USGA about connecting on the 123rd Open in 2023. The course’s board of directors approved it last fall, said club president John Chulick.
“The city of Los Angeles takes pride in hosting national championships – whether it’s a football national championship to a Super Bowl, the Olympics and even the Special Olympics,” said Chulick. “The region is going to be ecstatic to host this event. The region will embrace the event.”
The last event of any magnitude that LACC hosted was the PGA’s Los Angeles Open five times, the last in 1940. That annual event, currently called the Northern Trust Open, has been at Riviera almost exclusively since 1973. Riviera is also set to host the 2017 U.S. Amateur championship.
However, because of all the extensive space needed to accommodate the elaborate setup for the U.S. Open, the landmark Riviera, an 18-hole course off the windy Sunset Blvd., with limited parking and shuttle service, may have the most history on its side but not enough land.
In the latest Golf Digest list of the 100 greatest golf courses in the U.S., Riviera’s par 71, 7,040-yard amphitheater, also designed by Thomas, ranks No. 24. That’s two spots ahead of the LACC North Course, a par 71, 7,236-yard track. A year ago, LACC was ranked No. 41.

== Our column from the final round of the 2015 Northern Trust Open about Riviera’s future as a major host.


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HBO makes Bill Simmons its latest baller, coming to a platform nearest your wallet

simmons2HBO may have been one of the first logical landing spots for former ESPN writers/website chief/documentary producer Bill Simmons when it was revealed in May his contract would not be renewed, but it wasn’t official until Wednesday.

The premium cable network said the 45-year-old who is “one of the most influential figures in contemporary sports media” agreed to an “exclusive multi-year, multi-platform agreement” starting in October that includes a weekly series starting in 2016.

Simmons’ deal with ESPN expires in September, but he has not been involved in any of the network’s platforms since news came out that ESPN did not want him back.

“It’s no secret that HBO is the single best place for creative people in the entire media landscape,” Simmons said in a release. “From the moment I started talking to Michael (Lombardo, HBO president of programming) and Richard (Plepler, HBO chairman and CEO), it was hard to imagine being anywhere else.”

Key to this is Simmons having a production deal to produce content for the network and its digital platforms. He will also “be consulting” with HBO Sports and its division president Ken Hershman on “non-boxing-related programming” that include documentaries and shows.

Simmons, who was included in the L.A. Daily News’ Top 50 recent most powerful in L.A. Sports list, started at in 2001, and a year later was a columnist at ESPN’s magazine. He also wrote on ABC’s “Jimmy Kimmel Live” from 2002-04 when he moved from Boston to L.A. He and ESPN launched in 2011.

== From our column about Simmons’ departure in May: “Whatever galaxy is left to accommodate Simmons, whose fame we’ve never completely understood and really aren’t that motivated to investigate despite others who begrudgedly give him props, we can’t wait to hear about from those independent bloggers who are now begging him to bless their site with his presence.”

== All Simmons had to do this morning was send out this tweet and it’s already been retweet 1.4K times:

== What doomed Simmons at ESPN? Author James Andrew Miller explains in Vanity Fair.

== What we found to be most appropriate from Twitter feeds today includes this:

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Play It Forward July 20-26 — The specialness of the Special Olympics World Games

Details/TV: At the Coliseum, Saturday at 5 p.m., ESPN

If you recall the joy of watching Chris Sutter, the son of Kings coach Darryl Sutter, give pep talks on the bench to members of the NHL All-Star team last January, or the exuberance of Champ Pederson, the older brother of the Dodgers’ Joc Pederson, greet the Angels’ Albert Pujols during the Home Run Derby in Cincinnati at the MLB All-Star game, then you’re already dialed into to what kind of all-star moment is about to happen — more than 7,000 special-needs athletes from 177 countries will walk into the Coliseum to officially launch the World Games for what’ll be labeled as the “largest sports and humanitarian event anywhere in the world” this year, and “the single biggest event in L.A. since the 1984 Olympics.”
imagesConsider the contingent from Nepal. Five athletes are attending, four of them competing in track and field. But because of the recent earthquakes that have devastated their country, there was some doubt they could make it. Dr. Jyoti Sherchan, the chairman of the Special Olympics Nepal, recently sent an email to organizers in Manhattan Beach, the host city for the group when it arrives, that explained how thousands of temples, monasteries, school buildings and heritage sites have been destroyed by the quakes of April 25 and May 12, with more tremblers coming all the time. “Special Olympics Nepal is planning to get involved in the reconstruction and social rehabilitation, for the humanity, Special Athletes and their family, which is most challenging,” Dr. Sherchan wrote. “We will request all the friends to join hands in this mission in Nepal.”
Competition in the 25 events actually begins Saturday morning, including the Nepalese competing in track and field on the USC campus, which also has basketball and swimming. UCLA is accommodating soccer and tennis, and the downtown Convention Center puts on bocce. Sunday’s events include the triathlon in Long Beach; handball, table tennis, badminton and roller skating at the Convention Center; bowling at Lucky Strikes at LA Live, softball and gymnastics at UCLA and beach volleyball in Long Beach.
ESPN coverage of the ceremonies begins at 6 p.m.; KABC-Channel 7 re-airs the event from 9 p.m. to midnight. Closing ceremonies are Aug. 2 at the Coliseum. More info:


The wind-delayed 144th British Open has a special Monday conclusion — and beyond, if there’s a tie — starting at 3 a.m. on ESPN … The Dodgers end a 10-day, 10-game post All-Star break with four games in New York against the Mets from Thursday-Sunday on SportsNet LA  … the MLB Network has the Baseball Hall of Fame induction ceremonies (Sunday, 10:30 a.m.) for Randy Johnson, Pedro Martinez, John Smoltz, Craig Biggio, Joe Torre, Bobby Cox and Tony LaRussa  … The CONCACAF Gold Cup final is set for Philadelphia on Sunday (4:30 p.m., FS1), should the U.S. team make it past Wednesday’s semifinal … The Galaxy faces FC Barcelona (without Messi) in the International Cup match at the Rose Bowl on Tuesday at 8 p.m. …  More to read at this link ...

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How the fertile San Fernando Valley cultivated Dick Enberg’s Hall of Fame baseball roots

The word fits quite naturally into Dick Enberg’s vocabulary list, but he’s quick to credit Stan Charnofsky.
Sagacity — one of those Latin-root expressions that has to do with having foresight, a keen perception and wise discernment, leading to the ability to make sound judgement – isn’t really a baseball term until one figures out a way to squeeze it in there.
It took some hurry-up-and-wait sagacity for those who vote on the Baseball Hall of Fame’s Ford C. Frick Award to finally select Enberg as its newest honoree for his body of work in communicating the game. The 80-year-old former voice of the California Angels will detour from his current San Diego Padres’ TV job to arrive in Cooperstown, N.Y. next weekend to be feted.
Enberg_Dick 1And if one were to prune the tree of Enberg’s baseball knowledge, looking for a hint of how he became such a celebrated and cerebral voice of the game, perhaps there was no time in his life more fertile than when he was lured to a brand-new college campus in Northridge surrounded by orange groves some 50 years ago.
There, at San Fernando Valley State College, a former USC standout second baseman, New York Yankees Triple-A player and eventual recipient of a doctoral degree in counseling psychology was prepared to be Enberg’s primary cultivator.
“The mental errors were inexcusable for Charnofsky,” Enberg recently recalled about the seasons the two of coached baseball together at the school from 1962 to ‘64. “You had to play in a smart manner. You could be an average player, but if you played with sagacity – one of Stan’s words – then you could win games up here (pointing to his head).”
Enberg has admitted more than once he learned more about baseball from Charnofsky in his first year at SFVSC than he did the previous 26 years of watching, playing and broadcasting.
“To work with Stan and watch how he taught baseball to the players – I thought I knew a little bit,” Enberg said when he visited the campus last March to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the first Matadors’ conference championship baseball team – managed by Charnofsky.
“I work them in a broadcast today. There’ll be times in a game, an incident, that’ll take me all the way back to the ’60s and Charnofsky, and I’ll use that.
“And I’ll sound a lot brighter than I really am. And I’m thankful for that.”
Charnofsky, whose wavy gray hair is pulled back on a pony tail as he sits in his tiny third-floor office situated in the CSUN Education Building, politely smiles when he’s told about Enberg’s admiration for him.
“Listen, if Dick says he learned from me, I really learned from Rod Dedeaux,” the 84-year-old Charnofsky said this week, referring to the legendary late USC coach. “And Rod, you know, learned from Casey Stengel.”
For the rest of this story, go to this link …

== Also:

== Cox Cable’s Jane Mitchell visits with Enberg recently (above)
== On Monday, CSUN water polo player Kiernan Davis will visit Enberg at Petco Park. She is the recipient of Dick Enberg Post-Graduate Scholarship for Academic Excellence.
== In an Enberg profile from the Baseball Hall of Fame website, he talks about the secret former PCL broadcaster and eventual Angels GM Fred Haney gave him:
“Fred Haney was the man I listened to as a very young boy calling Pacific Coast League games and now (in 1968) he’s the general manager of the Angels. He came into the broadcast booth about a half hour before the first pitch, and I’m very nervous, and he said, ‘Enberg, I heard you during spring training. I know you’re going to do a fine job for us. I just want to give you a little piece of advice: Report the ball. Don’t tell me what you hope the ball is going to do, what you think it’s going to do, why it didn’t do it. Report the ball.’ Then he said, ‘That’s all I have to say to you. I won’t come in your booth the rest of the year.’
“And it was a great gift that Haney gave to me because sometimes, especially on radio, when you are trying to paint the total picture, and when the pitcher backs off and refuses to throw the ball, it always took me back to the ball. And it works on all sports. When in doubt, report the ball.”
== Enberg visited the Angels’ broadcast crew when the Padres played in Anaheim earlier this season.

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Weekly media notes version 07.16.15 — Last big name to leave ESPN, turn out the spotlight

What we have planned for Sunday’s weekly media column:

When Cal State Northridge celebrated the 50th anniversary of its first conference baseball title, Dick Enberg, right, rejoined Stan Charnofsky (holding ball) for the March ceremony (Photo by

Last March, when Cal State Northridge celebrated the 50th anniversary of its first conference baseball title, Dick Enberg, right, rejoined Stan Charnofsky (holding ball) for ceremony (Photo by David Cohen/CSUN)

When Dick Enberg makes his Baseball Hall of Fame acceptance speech at Cooperstown next Saturday, thanking those who helped teach him about the game over the years that led to his Ford C. Frick Award for outstanding broadcasting, Stan Charnofsky may not be physically able to attend, but he’ll be there in more than spirit.
For three years, Enberg assisted the San Fernando Valley State head baseball coach in the early 1960s, and in his 2004 autobiography he wrote: “I learned more baseball from him in my first season than I had in my previous 26 years.”
We dig a little deeper at how the former Angels and current Padres play-by-play man learned baseball during his life in Southern California in general and in the San Fernando Valley more specifically during our Sunday’s column, with interesting observations from the 84-year Charnofsky, who maintains an office on the Cal State Northridge campus in the College of Education psychology and counseling department.

What is worth putting out there now:

== Now that ESPN has put out its annual “Body Issue,” is it appropriate to follow up with its “Disembody Issue?”
Official news today that Colin Cowherd is the latest not to have his contract renewed means that ESPN, in this year alone, has shown the door to Keith Olbermann and Bill Simmons, as well as removing Jason Whitlock as the high profile head of a website that hasn’t even launched yet.
The dismantling has been framed by ESPN as cost-effective decision making. They overpaid for the talent in the first place. The talent didn’t produce the income projected.
It’s kinda like ESPN’s own “Game of Thrones” storyline.
Plus, at ESPN, no one man is bigger than the company. Except if you’re John Skipper.
A statement released by ESPN and quoting company skipper Skipper this morning said simply: “We’ve enjoyed a mutually beneficial run with Colin for over a decade. He came to national prominence on ESPN with his unique perspective on sports and society. Endings also bring new beginnings, for ESPN and Colin, and we thank him and wish him the best.”
Sub in the names Olbermann and Simmons in previous statements, and that’s become the state of ESPN for 2015.

(Photo: ESPN)

(Photo: ESPN)

Those at the Big Lead who had this story first surmise that Cowherd’s next stop could easily be at Fox Sports, again giving FS1 another boost of energy. That would accommodate Cowherd’s latest  desire to move to L.A., where Simmons currently resides and Olbermann used to.
We’re still waiting for Cowherd to start his own “Love Line” call-in show.
No word when Cowherd’s final show on ESPN Radio (via KSPN-AM 710) will be, although author James Andrew Miller tweeted out today that Cowherd is expected to fill out the rest of his contract — that’s four more months.
Olbermann has tweeted out that his final episode of “Olbermann” on ESPN2 is slated for Friday, July 24.
Those at attempt to rate Olbermann’s Top 10 opening monologues. We’ll wait until we’ve seen the last of them come next week.

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