Twitter: GeoffShac
  • Playing Through: Modern Golf's Most Iconic Players and Moments
    Playing Through: Modern Golf's Most Iconic Players and Moments
    by Jim Moriarty
  • Tommy's Honor: The Story of Old Tom Morris and Young Tom Morris, Golf's Founding Father and Son
    Tommy's Honor: The Story of Old Tom Morris and Young Tom Morris, Golf's Founding Father and Son
    by Kevin Cook
  • His Ownself: A Semi-Memoir (Anchor Sports)
    His Ownself: A Semi-Memoir (Anchor Sports)
    by Dan Jenkins
  • The Captain Myth: The Ryder Cup and Sport's Great Leadership Delusion
    The Captain Myth: The Ryder Cup and Sport's Great Leadership Delusion
    by Richard Gillis
  • The Ryder Cup: Golf's Grandest Event โ€“ A Complete History
    The Ryder Cup: Golf's Grandest Event โ€“ A Complete History
    by Martin Davis
  • A Life Well Played: My Stories
    A Life Well Played: My Stories
    by Arnold Palmer
  • Harvey Penick: The Life and Wisdom of the Man Who Wrote the Book on Golf
    Harvey Penick: The Life and Wisdom of the Man Who Wrote the Book on Golf
    by Kevin Robbins
  • Teeing Off: Players, Techniques, Characters, and Reflections from a Lifetime Inside the Game
    Teeing Off: Players, Techniques, Characters, and Reflections from a Lifetime Inside the Game
    by Ken Bowden

The audience in the theatre, looking over the footlights, view the play as do most of the gallery following the experts of golf. However, back-stage, there are a few eyes critically regarding the play from an entirely different angle. For many years I have preferred to observe golf shots from backstage, as it were. Seeing a man whack a golf ball is of little interest to me, and frequently it is a performance that had better be missed. That which concerns me most is where the ball lands and what it does after. A.W. TILLINGHAST

 

  

Monday
Aug212017

PGA Tour Policy Board Adds Kleiner Perkins Internet Expert, But Will They Opt Out September 1?

I know you all recall that I wrote about the May-PGA move in the August Golfweek. But just in case, a reminder that the piece included a mention of September 1 as the PGA Tour's deadline to opt out its current network television deal. If they do not, the current contract with CBS and NBC is likely to continue as-is until 2021.

Given the uncertainty over schedule dynamics, declining ratings and the uncertain state of television, logic would say wait things out and open up negotiations in two years when the dust has settled.

Countering that thinking was Monday's announcement of Mary Meeker joining the PGA Tour Policy Board. Meeker is a partner in Kleiner Perkins, Silicon Valley's most prestigious venture capital firm and is considered an expert on internet trends.

I believe this announcement also makes her the first woman to serve on the PGA Tour Policy Board. She gets a huge break out of the chute for liking golf architecture, too.

For Immediate Release:

Mary Meeker Joining PGA TOUR Policy Board as Independent Director
 
PONTE VEDRA BEACH, Florida (August 21, 2017) – The PGA TOUR Policy Board today announced that Mary Meeker, a General Partner at venture capital firm of Kleiner Perkins in Menlo Park, California, has accepted an invitation to join the Board as an Independent Director.
 
Meeker becomes the Policy Board’s fifth Independent Director, joining Chairman John McCoy, Victor Ganzi, Edward Herlihy and Randall Stephenson.
 
Meeker has been with Kleiner Perkins since December 2010 and focuses on investing in Internet-related businesses around the world. Meeker has led KP’s investments in a number of leading technology companies including Spotify, JD.com, Waze, Airbnb and Peloton.  She is on the Board of Directors of Square, Lending Club and DocuSign. Meeker joined Kleiner Perkins after serving as Managing Director at Morgan Stanley in New York where she helped lead the Global Technology Research Team. Meeker has been listed by Forbes as one of ‘The World’s 100 Most Powerful Women’ since 2012.
 
“In this dynamic, fast-changing world of media and technology, Mary’s expertise – and proven reputation as a trend-spotter – will be especially helpful as the TOUR innovates to create the best experience for our fans,” said PGA TOUR Commissioner Jay Monahan. “Given that her keen business acumen is matched by a true love and appreciation for the game of golf, we’re thrilled to welcome her to the PGA TOUR Policy Board and look forward to the impact she’s sure to make on the future of our organization.”
 
A native of Indiana, Meeker graduated from DePauw University with a B.A. degree and received an MBA from Cornell University in addition to an Honorary Doctor of Letters degree from DePauw.
 
“We couldn’t be more pleased to have someone of Mary’s expertise and caliber become the newest member of the PGA TOUR Policy Board,” McCoy said. “Many on our Board have known Mary for years and are familiar with her successes and expertise. We look forward to working with her and applying her insights as we guide the business strategies of the PGA TOUR to continue its overall growth and success.”
 
Meeker has a strong, longstanding connection to golf, dating back to a summer job working as a groundskeeper and serving as captain of her high school golf team. Meeker has played golf around the world and has participated in pro-ams on both the PGA TOUR and PGA TOUR Champions, including at the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am.
 
“I grew up around golf and am passionate about the sport,” said Meeker.  “I love practicing, playing, watching, competing and appreciating the artistry of golf course design. The PGA TOUR is impressive – the players, the leadership and organizers, the volunteers and the business model, including the focus on local charities communities and global growth. It’s an honor to have a seat at the table to help participate in the growth of the game.”

According to the release, Meeker joins four other directors, the PGA of America president, and four player directors. That makes ten. The board has traditionally included just nine members. The Tour confirmed there will be ten voters until John McCoy retires some time next year.

The current pre-Meeker board:


But there was also great news for Meeker and others at the PGA Tour!

Citations for everybody at the C Level!

NETJETS EXTENDS CONTRACT AS THE OFFICIAL PRIVATE JET PROVIDER OF THE PGA TOUR
 
TOUR extends partnership through 2022 for the worldwide leader in private aviation
 
Columbus, OH – August 21, 2017 - NetJets® Inc., the worldwide leader in private aviation, has extended its contract as the Official Private Jet Provider of the PGA TOUR® and PGA TOUR® Champions. The agreement solidifies a partnership between NetJets Inc. and the TOUR through 2022, providing flights, marketing support and charitable contributions to assist the PGA TOUR, tournaments and players around the world.
 
“We launched our initial partnership with the PGA TOUR in 2014 and it has been a mutually beneficial arrangement that delivers incredible exposure to our brand and value to the audiences we serve,” said Pat Gallagher, NetJets Executive Vice President of Sales and Marketing. “Currently, more than 30 top-ranked PGA TOUR players rely on NetJets to give them a competitive advantage by maximizing their time. We are excited to work together with the PGA TOUR on tournament activations and media opportunities, as well as extending valuable opportunities to our Owners.”
 
Since 2014, when NetJets became the Official Private Jet Provider of the PGA TOUR and PGA TOUR Champions, the company has had the privilege of flying nine of the last 10 FedExCup winners and seven of the Top 10 world-ranked golfers.
 
“My time is valuable and I try to maximize every second I can get on the course and with my family. For more than 16 years, NetJets has made it possible for me to do both,” said Jim Furyk, NetJets Owner. “They do everything possible to get me to tournaments on time, making my schedule, my safety, and my comfort their priority. I truly can’t imagine traveling any other way.”
 
“The PGA TOUR continuously seeks quality partnerships that support our members and the TOUR on a global scale,” said Brian Oliver, PGA TOUR Senior Vice President, Sponsorship & Partnership.  “NetJets is the recognized leader in the private aviation industry with an outstanding reputation for service, safety and comfort. In addition to our joint marketing efforts throughout the year, NetJets has direct relationships with a number of our players who regularly utilize their service for their private travel needs week to week. We are extremely pleased to extend our valuable relationship with NetJets for the next six years.”
 
NetJets, Inc., the global leader in fractional ownership of private aircraft, has more than 700 aircraft in its fleet, making it the fifth largest airline in the world. Featuring 14 aircraft types, including the Challenger 350, Global 5000 and 6000 as well as the Phenom 300, only NetJets can serve the wide-ranging needs of PGA TOUR players. All of its jets feature plush interiors, the latest avionics, state-of-the-art entertainment systems, mood lighting and more. Larger cabin aircraft, which are designed for longer-range flights, feature a spacious divan and seating that can be adjusted to lay flat for a restful sleep experience.
 
Learn more about the NetJets experience from NetJets Owner and PGA TOUR player Dustin Johnson.

Monday
Aug212017

USGA's "Walker Cup Needs New Selection Process"

Some people sample fine wines, GolfChannel.com's Ryan Lavner tracks the always-flawed Walker Cup team selection process. And while you might not care about the plight of college golfers snubbed because they don't fit the team room dynamic, or mid-ams because they didn't play well enough, the entire mess is important if you'd like to see amateur golf survive.

Unfortunately, as Lavner lays out, this appears to be yet another blow for an amateur game that is already struggling to keep top players from turning pro before the Walker Cup. (Even as great as the event has been.)

The latest top talent to be passed over by the committee working in secret, LSU's Sam Burns, is the Nicklaus Award winner and sports a resume as strong as the last LSU player passed over for suspicious reasons, John Peterson.

Lavner calls the oversight "egregious" and writes:

By almost any metric, Burns should have been a lock for the U.S. team. Three months ago, the LSU sophomore earned the Nicklaus Award, given to the top college player. Drawing significant interest from sponsors and tournament directors, he could have turned pro in June but opted instead to wait until after the Walker Cup in September. It should not have been a risk, but that decision proved costly: Last month he played the Barbasol Championship, an opposite-field event on the PGA Tour, and tied for sixth. Because he was an amateur, however, he forfeited a $113,000 payday and sacrificed other playing opportunities.

Burns was the Division I player of the year. He remained amateur through the summer. He starred in a Tour event. It’s unclear what else he could have done to show the committee how much making the team meant to him, save for getting an American flag tattoo.

Peterson took to Twitter and attacked the USGA:

 

 

The mid-amateur world is also upset, though in such a wide open year, the over-25 set had their chances to make the team and failed. This did not stop former U.S. Mid-Amateur winner Scott Harvey from protesting:

 

 

Besides the biennial oversight issue, the lack of a running points list and sense of momentum leading to the team selection hurts the marketability of the event. For better or worse, team cup points lists keep us aware of who is in the running. The Walker Cup, however, is selected in private and therefore, is conducted in private.

Sunday
Aug202017

Redman Wins U.S. Amateur For The Ages

I've put out feelers with those who would know better and have asked: where did the 2017 U.S. Amateur final rank with the great ones they recall. I'll get back to you on that but in the meantime, as far as events I've been lucky enough to cover, Doc Redman's win over Doug Ghim at Riviera will rank with any golf display I've seen.

Yes, it was the dreaded nobody-should-lose situations, as any 37 hole Amateur final would be appropriately labeled. No player was ever more than two up, and while there were a few loose shots, the quality of shotmaking and course management over a long, intense day was astounding.

The two closed morning play with a 31 (Redman) and 32 (Ghim), making them nine-under on the back nine before the lunch break.

But it's this that'll be talked about across the golfing landscape for sometime: 

The most remarkable part? No one following the match all day was shocked by the eagle make to keep Redman alive and one down with one to go. I've never seen anyone make that many feet of putts at Riviera.

Oh, and the Western Amateur runner-up had never seen the course until this week and it was his first foray on kikuyu. Take that, local knowledge!

For now, just enjoy the game stories and coverage. (Sadly I see no replays on the Fox schedule for this instant classic.)

Ron Driscoll's game story at USGA.org covers all the nuts and bolts from an epic day.

GolfChannel.com's Ryan Lavner writes of Redman:

Little was known about the 19-year-old from Raleigh, N.C., until the recent Western Amateur, where he steamrolled the best field in amateur golf en route to the finals. In the championship match against Norman Xiong, Redman fell 4 down at the turn, but he chipped away at his deficit, lipped out a putt to win on the 18th hole and ended up taking Xiong to 22 holes before eventually falling.

“A lot less dramatic,” he said with a wry smile.

Golfweek's Brentley Romine tells us about Redman's background and recent golf spurt that has him now on the Walker Cup team.

For as good as Redman is in golf, he’s equally as brilliant, showing in interest in the stock market and securing a math internship at Clemson. Clemson assistant Jordan Byrd said after Redman came to him after his first semester and asked how he could get into the Honors College.

“No one’s ever asked that before,” Byrd said.

Tom Hoffarth in the LA Daily News with this on Ghim, who played beautifully:

Ghim said the fact neither could get apart from the other all morning and afternoon was “testament to how good we played. For most of the day we stepped up and executed. Whenever someone got in the lead we knew it was probably going to last for awhile unless we could pull off an incredible shot. Both guys were just waiting for a moment to maybe try to take a chance, but no one really wanted to because it was so risky.

“It was like a chess match … It was like a blinking contest. Who’s going to blink first?”

Mike James on how close the match was, filing this for the LA Times with a quote from UT's Ghim:

Four times in the first 18 holes, the players tied each other with birdies, including on the difficult 18th.

“I felt like every time we won a hole it was so significant because we weren't giving each other anything; nothing was easy,” said Ghim, 21, a senior at Texas. “Every hole that we won was super hard earned…. It was like do or die every time you had a chance.”

Their matching up-and-downs at the par-3 sixth:

 

 

And Redman's last hole birdie to send the match to sudden death.

 

Other fun stuff from the USGA, starting with the early morning highlights.

And the later day highlight reel that won't disappoint.

The full final round photo gallery includes some beauties from Chris Keane in a really nice gallery format.

Sunday
Aug202017

2017 Walker Cup Team Finalized, Notables Passed Over

It remains one of the stranger things in golf: a committee working off of no public points system selects the biennial Walker Cup team.

Unfortunately it leaves them open to criticism when players widely viewed as top talent get passed up.

LSU's Sam Burns, assumed to be a lock, was the most notable left off the team and who postponed turning pro with the Walker Cup in mind.

Brentley Romine at Golfweek's assessment of the notables and his capsules of the team.

Among the notables left off: Sam Burns and Sean Crocker, who will now both turn pro immediately; and mid-amateur Scott Harvey, who played in the 2015 Walker Cup.

Ryan Lavner at GolfChannel.com assessed the selections and noted this:

The USGA’s International Team Selection committee does not make its points list public, and no USGA official was made available for comment Sunday to discuss how the roster was constructed.

For Immediate Release...

USGA Announces 2017 United States Team for the
46th Walker Cup Match

USA Squad Will Face Great Britain and Ireland Team at The Los Angeles Country Club in September

PACIFIC PALISADES, Calif. (Aug. 20, 2017) – The United States Golf Association today announced the 10 players who will make up the 2017 United States Walker Cup Team. The USA team will meet Great Britain and Ireland in the 46th Match at The Los Angeles (Calif.) Country Club’s North Course, Saturday and Sunday, Sept. 9-10.

The 10 players chosen by the USGA’s International Team Selection Committee and captained by John “Spider” Miller, of Indianapolis, Ind., are: Cameron Champ, 21, of Sacramento, Calif.; Doug Ghim, 21, of Arlington Heights, Ill.; Stewart Hagestad, 26, of Newport Beach, Calif.; Maverick McNealy, 21, of Portola Valley, Calif.; Collin Morikawa, 20, of La Canada Flintridge, Calif.; Doc Redman, 19, of Raleigh, N.C.; Scottie Scheffler, 21, of Dallas, Texas; Braden Thornberry, 20, of Olive Branch, Miss.; Norman Xiong, 18, of Canyon Lake, Calif.; and Will Zalatoris, 21, of Plano, Texas. McNealy is the lone returning player from the 2015 USA Team.

“George Herbert Walker’s vision was for leading amateur golfers to come together for a friendly competition to promote interest in the game on both sides of the Atlantic Ocean,” said Diana M. Murphy, the USGA president. “The United States Team is a talented group of players who will work together to be competitive against Great Britain and Ireland, but at the same time uphold the ideals of friendship and understanding that were foreseen nearly a century ago.”

The Walker Cup Match is a biennial amateur team competition between the USA and a team composed of players from Great Britain and Ireland, selected by The R&A. The Match is played over two days with 18 singles matches and eight foursomes (alternate-shot) matches. The USA leads the overall series, 35-9-1, but the teams have split the last 14 meetings since 1989.

The first USA Walker Cup Team, which posted an 8-4 victory in 1922 at the National Golf Links of America, in Southampton, N.Y., is considered among the best teams ever assembled and included Francis Ouimet, Bob Jones, Charles “Chick” Evans and Jess Sweetser. Many of the game’s greatest players have competed in the Walker Cup, including U.S. Open champions Jack Nicklaus, Tiger Woods, Jordan Spieth and Dustin Johnson for the USA and Graeme McDowell, Rory McIlroy and Justin Rose for Great Britain and Ireland.

“It is a great honor to serve as the USA captain and to work with a group of young men who represent the best of amateur golf in this country,” said USA captain John “Spider” Miller, who played on the 1999 USA Walker Cup Team, won two U.S. Mid-Amateur Championships and also captained the 2015 USA Team, which lost, 16½ -9½. “The squad members have a long list of individual and team accomplishments but they are now committed both to representing the United States and to the spirit and tradition of the Walker Cup Match.”

The Walker Cup Match will be conducted for the third time on the West Coast and was previously hosted by Seattle (Wash.) Golf Club in 1961 and Cypress Point Club, in Pebble Beach, Calif., in 1981. This year’s match will be played on The Los Angeles County Club’s North Course, which was designed by George C. Thomas Jr. and restored by Gil Hanse. The course will be set up at 7,425 yards and play to a par of 35-36-71.

“Amateur golf is central to the USGA’s mission and we are meticulous in our selection of the USA Walker Team,” said Stuart Francis, USGA Championship Committee chairman. “The Los Angeles Country Club, which hosted USGA championships in 1930 and 1954, has the same dedication and will be a tremendous venue for this international competition.”

Sam Burns, 21, of Shreveport, La.; Dawson Armstrong, 21, of Brentwood, Tenn.; and Dylan Meyer, 22, of Evansville, Ind., are the first, second and third alternatives, respectively.

USA WALKER CUP PROFILES:

Cameron Champ, 22, of Sacramento, Calif. (born 6-15-95): He was one of two amateurs to make the 36-hole cut in the 2017 U.S. Open, tying for 32nd. Champ won this year’s Trans-Mississippi Amateur by four strokes and was runner-up in the Pacific Coast Amateur. Champ, who was the medalist in the North & South Amateur in June and a semifinalist in the Western Amateur in August, was chosen third-team All-American and first-team All-Southeastern Conference. He helped Texas A&M University finish second in the 2017 SEC Championship. Champ, a product of The First Tee program, tied for fifth individually at SECs. His father, Jeff, was selected in the 1988 Major League Baseball Draft as a catcher by the Baltimore Orioles.

Doug Ghim, 21, of Arlington Heights, Ill. (born 4-16-96): He advanced to the 36-hole championship match of the 2017 U.S. Amateur, where he was defeated by Doc Redman in 37 holes. Ghim was chosen first-team All-American and Big 12 Conference Player of the Year as a junior at the University of Texas. He helped the Longhorns win the Big 12 Championship and tied for second individually. Ghim was also the runner-up in the NCAA Austin Regional. In 2017, he won the Pacific Coast Amateur by one stroke at Chambers Bay with a 72-hole score of 9-under 275 and was fourth in the Northeast Amateur. Ghim was the 2014 U.S. Amateur Public Links runner-up to Byron Meth and a semifinalist in the 2013 U.S. Junior Amateur. He has played in seven USGA championships, including four U.S. Amateurs.

Stewart Hagestad, 26, of Newport Beach, Calif. (born 4-10-91): He won the 2016 U.S. Mid-Amateur Championship by defeating Scott Harvey in 37 holes. Hagestad, who became the second-youngest champion, produced the largest comeback victory (4 down with 5 holes to play) since a 36-hole Mid-Amateur final was introduced in 2001. He was the low amateur in the 2017 Masters Tournament, tying for 36th, and competed in this year’s U.S. Open. Hagestad was a member of the University of Southern California (USC) golf team and graduated in 2013. Hagestad, who was chosen 2016 Metropolitan Golf Association Player of the Year, won last year’s Met Amateur, edging Ethan Ng in 38 holes. He has played in 12 USGA championships, including eight U.S. Amateurs.

Maverick McNealy, 21, of Portola Valley, Calif. (born 11-7-95): He earned the Mark H. McCormack Medal as the world’s top-ranked amateur in 2016. McNealy was a member of the 2015 USA Walker Cup Team and halved his Sunday singles match with Paul Dunne. He was a first-team All-American and first-team All-Pac-12 Conference selection for the third consecutive season as a senior at Stanford University. McNealy was the recipient of the Ben Hogan Award as the nation’s top collegiate player, and received the Byron Nelson Award and Pac-12 Scholar-Athlete of the Year. He competed in this year’s U.S. Open at Erin Hills and The Open Championship at Royal Birkdale. McNealy tied for 44th in the PGA Tour’s John Deere Classic. He has competed in his nine USGA championships and four U.S. Amateurs. McNealy, who advanced to this year’s U.S. Amateur match-play bracket, was a member of the USA team that tied for sixth in the 2016 World Amateur Team Championship.

Collin Morikawa, 20, of La Cañada Flintridge, Calif. (born 2-6-97): He advanced to the Round of 16 for the second consecutive year in the U.S. Amateur Championship. Morikawa defeated a pair of Australians in the first two rounds of match play. He earned first-team All-American and first-team Pac-12 Conference honors as a sophomore at the University of California. He was chosen 2016 Pac-12 Conference Freshman of the Year. Morikawa, who competed in his first USGA championship at the 2015 U.S. Amateur, won the 2017 Northeast Amateur by two strokes with a 72-hole score of 11-under 265. He was the Sunnehanna Amateur runner-up, losing to Braden Thornberry in a three-hole playoff, and tied for second in the Trans-Mississippi Amateur.

Doc Redman, 19, of Raleigh, N.C. (born 12-27-97): He is the 2017 U.S. Amateur champion, edging Doug Ghim in 37 holes in the championship match. The runner-up in the 2017 Western Amateur, he advanced to the championship match of the U.S. Amateur after making the match-play field through the playoff with a par on the par-4 10th hole at The Riviera C.C. At No. 62, he is the second-lowest seed to make the final match (Steve Fox was No. 63 when he won in 2012). He was a first-team Freshman All-American and the 2016-17 ACC Freshman of the Year at Clemson University, where he will begin his sophomore year. He also finished sixth in the Northeast Amateur in 2017. Redman, who caddies at home during his free time in the summer, reached match play in the 2016 U.S. Amateur. He also earned All-Atlantic Coast Conference honors as well as Academic All-ACC honors in his freshman year, when he led Clemson in stroke average. He was a Rolex honorable mention All-American in high school, when he won the 2016 North Carolina 4A Championship.

Scottie Scheffler, 21, of Dallas, Texas (born 6-21-96): The low amateur in the 2017 U.S. Open at Erin Hills, he was a first-team All-American in his junior year at the University of Texas. At Erin Hills, he shot 69-74-71-73 for a 1-under-par total of 287 and a T27 finish. An all Big-12 Conference selection, he finished T3 individually (6-under 282) at the 2017 NCAA Division I Men’s Golf Championships and was also on the Ping All-Region team. He won the U.S. Junior Amateur Championship in 2013. A member of the USA Team at the 2016 World Amateur Team Championship in Mexico, Scheffler also qualified for the U.S. Open in 2016. In 2015, he was the Phil Mickelson Freshman of the Year and the Big 12 Newcomer of the Year.

Braden Thornberry, 20, of Olive Branch, Miss. (born 4-11-97): He won the 2017 NCAA Division I individual title by four strokes with a 72-hole score of 11-under 277. Thornberry earned the Fred Haskins Award as the top collegiate golfer. He earned first-team All-America and first-team All-Southeastern Conference recognition as a sophomore at the University of Mississippi. He tied for third in the SEC Championship and finished fourth at the NCAA Austin Regional. In 2017, Thornberry won the Sunnehanna Amateur in a three-hole playoff with Collin Morikawa and tied for fourth in the PGA Tour’s FedEx St. Jude Classic, the best finish by an amateur in the tournament since 1965. He has played in four USGA championships, including three U.S. Amateurs. He reached the Round of 32 this year and defeated Joaquin Niemann, the world’s top-ranked amateur, in the first round.

Norman Xiong, 18, of Canyon Lake, Calif. (born 11-9-98): He earned the 2017 Phil Mickelson Award as Division I’s top freshman while playing at the University of Oregon. The Ducks won the Pac-12 Conference Championship, finish third at the NCAA Baton Rouge Regional and reached the NCAA match-play final against Oklahoma. Xiong was the Pac-12 Freshman of the Year and a first-team all-conference selection. He shot rounds of 64 and 70 in stroke play to earn the No. 2 seed in the 2017 U.S. Amateur match-play bracket. Xiong defeated Doc Redman in 22 holes to win the 2017 Western Amateur and was the championship’s stroke-play medalist by one stroke over Brad Dalke. Xiong won the 2015 CIF/SCGA Regional as a sophomore at Temescal Canyon High School.

Will Zalatoris, 21, of Plano, Texas (born 8-16-96): He reached the Round of 16 in the U.S. Amateur for the second time in his career. Zalatoris, who won the 2014 U.S. Junior Amateur, defeated the 2015 Junior Amateur champion Philip Barbaree, 1 up, in the first round. Zalatoris earned first-team All-America honors and was the Atlantic Coast Conference Player of the Year as a junior at Wake Forest University. He posted a pair of top-5 finishes in the ACC and NCAA Austin Regional tournaments. Zalatoris, who has played in 10 USGA championships, has competed in five consecutive U.S. Amateurs, including four straight in which he has advanced to match play. He finished third in this year’s Pacific Coast Amateur and tied for 10th in the Trans-Mississippi Amateur. In 2016, he won the Trans-Mississippi Amateur and Pacific Coast Amateur titles.

Here was USGA President Diana Murphy introducing the squad just after U.S. Amateur play:

Sunday
Aug202017

Kapalua Event Saved; Joint PGA Tour-LPGA Tournament Of Champions Has "Not Materialized"

In reporting on the PGA Tour landing new sponsor Sentry for the Tournament of Champions, Doug Ferguson noted this about the efforts to turn this into a joint PGA Tour-LPGA Tour winners-only kick off event.

PGA Tour Commissioner Jay Monahan had said last year that the tour was contemplating a scenario where the LPGA Tour and the PGA Tour play a winners-only format at the same venue. “That has not materialized here,” Monahan said.

Meanwhile, the Sony Open in Honolulu is the week after the Tournament of Championship. Its title sponsorship ends in 2018. For years there was concern that if one of the tournaments had left, it would be more difficult to stage the other as a single event in the middle of the Pacific Ocean.

“We have been playing golf in Hawaii for over 50 years,” Monahan said. “And the two tournaments present a strong start to the calendar year that we looking forward to continuing.”

It would have been a fun idea and may still happen, though the release notes the event's playing in January 2018 but it sounds like it may have to be nimble beyond that year.

For Immediate Release:

Sentry Becomes New Title Sponsor of Tournament of Champions
Leading insurance company signs 5-year deal to sponsor winners-only event at Kapalua

PONTE VEDRA BEACH, Florida, and STEVENS POINT, Wisconsin (August 16, 2017) – The PGA TOUR and Sentry, one of the largest business-focused mutual insurance companies in the United States, today announced a five-year agreement making Sentry the new title sponsor of the exclusive winners-only Tournament of Champions at Kapalua Resort in Hawaii.

The newly named Sentry Tournament of Champions will maintain its traditional spot as the first tournament in January 2018 when the 2017-18 PGA TOUR schedule resumes following the holiday break. The agreement extends through the 2021-22 season.

“Sentry Insurance is proud to partner with the PGA TOUR to sponsor the Tournament of Champions, held on beautiful Maui,” said Pete McPartland, Sentry chairman of the board, president, and CEO. “This tournament and its champions format is the ideal way to more broadly introduce Sentry to the business insurance audience.”

While this represents Sentry’s first major sports sponsorship, it has been involved with golf since 1984 when the company built SentryWorld, Wisconsin’s first destination golf course. Sponsoring the Sentry Tournament of Champions is considered a natural next step for Sentry, providing an opportunity to reach a wide business audience.

“We are thrilled to welcome Sentry to the PGA TOUR and become its first major venture into sports sponsorship,” said Brian Oliver, PGA TOUR Senior Vice President of Sponsorship & Partnership. “Sentry is highly respected as a company that is dedicated to its employees, its customers and embraces the spirit of giving back. So, we view this as a relationship between two organizations that hold common values.”

Sentry assumes sponsorship of a tournament that dates to 1953, when it was introduced at Las Vegas’ Desert Inn Country Club as an event for winners from the previous season. The Tournament of Champions remained at Desert Inn CC until 1967, when it moved to Stardust Country Club. The tournament moved from Las Vegas in 1969 to La Costa Country Club in Carlsbad, California, where it remained for 30 years before relocating to its current home at Kapalua Resort on the island of Maui.

As might be expected with a winners-only format, the Sentry Tournament of Champions has a rich history of champions, from World Golf Hall of Fame members to modern-day stars, as represented by just the past five winners: defending champion Justin Thomas, a four-time winner this season, including at Sunday’s PGA Championship; Jordan Spieth (2016); Patrick Reed (2015); Zach Johnson (2014); and Dustin Johnson (2013).

Saturday
Aug192017

U.S. Amateur At Riviera Final Is Set: Ghim v. Redman

Better work today Angelenos on the attendance front! You were treated to a pair of U.S. Amateur semi-finals that reached the 17th and 18th holes. Remember, you park for free at Paul Revere Junior High and can get a free shuttle ride to the club next door, so no excuses for skipping out on a chance to walk the perfect kikuyu fairways at Riviera.

Plus, you'll be treated to the joys of match play, which includes strategizing, emotions and other micro-dramas that you won't enjoy just watching on television.It just so happens that you'll also be treated to some world-class golf is Saturday's semi's are any indication. Doug Ghim defeated Theo Humphrey 2&1 and Doc Redman beat Mark Lawrence 1 up, setting up Sunday's 36-hole finale at Hogan's Alley.

Brentley Romine at Golfweek.com writes of Ghim's emotional swings in defeating the feisty Humphrey.

The dramatic win, which also gets him in the U.S. Open should Ghim remain an amateur, comes just a few years after a near-miss at the U.S. Amateur Public Links that cost the Texas golf team member a Masters invitation.

Ryan Lavner with that side of the final story for GolfChannel.com.

The quality of the golf has been solid to ridiculously good given the stakes and difficulty of Riviera. USGA Highlights from the Ghim and Redman wins.

Kids take note: both finalists wore pants in their semi-final wins. Meet them here in this USGA video.

Official image galleries from the matches, which capture some of the proceedings played under perfect conditions.

Sadly Fox Sports 1 has Bundesliga Soccer to air Sunday morning (priorities!), so the first 18 of Gihm v. Redman is only viewable on USGA.org.

The afternoon round coverage begins at 4:30 pm ET on big Fox.

Friday
Aug182017

Quick Preview: U.S. Amateur Quarterfinals Set

If you're in Los Angeles, come on out this afternoon to help us look for lost balls due to the lack of members volunteering and some lethal high rough areas. These 8 fine quarterfinalists are depending on you!

Ryan Lavner at GolfChannel.com on Doug Gihm, who sure looks like a strong favorite to win based on his play so far. The back and forth between dad and son should be worth the price of admission.

Theo Humphrey is also making a late push for Walker Cup team status with his play and has cruised to the quarters, Brentley Romine writes for Golfweek.com.

Fox Sports 1 coverage begins at 6 pm ET.

Thursday
Aug172017

Judge Halts Green Jacket Auction Of Green Jackets

The Augusta Chronicle's Sandy Hodson reports on Augusta National's court victory over Green Jacket Auctions related to the current sale of the world famous sports coat.

Hodson's notes this about the filing and the club's claim of theft:

Augusta National filed suit Aug. 11 in federal court in Augusta seeking an immediate halt of an auction begun Aug. 2 by the Green Jacket Auction Inc. of Tampa, Fla. The auction, set to close Saturday, lists three green jackets, silverware and a belt buckle all advertised as authenticated Augusta National and Masters Tournament memorabilia.

On behalf of the Augusta National, Christopher Cosper argued in favor of a temporary restraining order to keep the auction company from selling what the club contends is stolen property or fakes which are prohibited by the club’s trademark. The club also contends that a document the auction company has that it says is a 2005 inventory of the club’s property also had to have been stolen from the club.

Yowsers...

The jackets are still listed as of now.

Thursday
Aug172017

Video: Rory Clarifies What He Is Looking For In Next Caddy*

Stephen Connelly's satirical* work is most impressive, particulary his mastery of voices!


Wednesday
Aug162017

Some Big Names With Tour Cards On The Line This Week

With the FedExCup playoffs Playoffs(C) looming we can easily forget that this is the cutoff date for retaining a tour card without having to go through the Web.com Tour Playoffs.

Joel Beall has a roundup for Golf World of the well-known names who need a big week at the Wyndham Championship, including Sam Saunders, Graeme McDowell and Smylie Kaufman

Wednesday
Aug162017

2017 U.S. Amateur: Record Low Medalist, Down To (Almost) 64

Medalist Hayden Wood, of Edmond, Okla., broke the U.S. Amateur Championship 36-hole stroke-play qualifying record with a total of 131 at Riviera and Bel-Air. The score is impressive on many levels given the firmness and speed of greens and launguid pace of play brought on my ball searches (no spotters and few marshals).

Wood followed his 64 at Riviera with a 67 at Bel-Air to break the 132 record set by Hank Kim in 1994, Gregor Main in 2011 and Bobby Wyatt in 2012.

“It feels good, with 312 guys it is awesome,” Wood said. “To play that way these last two days has been good. I like where my game is. I feel comfortable on this course (Riviera) and it fits my game. I am looking forward to it because the tournament starts tomorrow (Wednesday).”

As I write for Golfweek, Wood will face the last player out of Wednesday morning's hole-by-hole playoff where 8 spots are available for 13 players. They start on Riviera's 10th. Streaming details here.

Tom Hoffarth with the lowdown on SoCal players for the LA Daily News.

Here are the pairings:


AmateurGolf.com's roundup of notes from round 2.

Full field scores.

Tuesday
Aug152017

PGA Ends Up As Season's Least-Watched Major Final Round

Paulsen breaks down the final ratings of the 2017 PGA Championship and he says the PGA Championship's ended up as the least watched final round.

Sunday’s telecast was also the least-watched final round of any major this season — narrowly trailing the British Open on NBC (4.910M) and the U.S. Open on FOX (5.1M). It fared better in ratings, tying the British Open and ahead of the U.S. Open (3.1).

Third round action on Saturday pulled a 2.2 and 3.2 million, down 21% and 24% respectively from 2015 (2.8, 4.2M). Last year’s third round was rained out, earning a 1.3 and 1.8 million. Excluding rainouts, it was the lowest rated and least-watched third round since 2012 (2.0, 2.8M).

He also reports double-digit declines for TNT's coverage.

Tuesday
Aug152017

Acushnet Files Answer to Costco Complaint With Gusto!

Not coincidentally around the announcement of a slight second quarter sales dip of golf ball sales, Acushnet has countered with a lively filing!

David Dawsey at Golf Patents picks apart the claim and notes some of the stronger rebuttal points against Costco's hot-selling Kirkland ball. His conclusion:

Acushnet’s complaint contains a lot of subtle, and some not so subtle, jabs at the Kirkland Signature golf balls. It is hard to comprehend that “over half of the Kirkland Signature Golf Balls tested by Acushnet Company cracked or became structurally unsound before the testing could even be concluded.” Maybe there is some truth to the old adage that sometimes you get what you pay for! Fortunately, most amateurs would probably lose the ball before it becomes “structurally unsound;” in other words, it may not be too smart to play the K-Sig’s that you find in the woods or fish out of the pond.

This was fun from the filing:

34. Distance Performance. The results of the distance tests for the Kirkland Signature Golf Ball and the Titleist® Pro V1® and Pro V1x® golf balls during Acushnet Company’s robot testing demonstrated that the Kirkland Signature Golf Ball travelled a shorter distance than both the Titleist® Pro V1® and Pro V1x® golf balls for 130 mph drives; that the Kirkland Signature Golf Ball travelled a shorter distance than both the Titleist® Pro V1® and Pro V1x® golf balls for 140 mph drives; that the Kirkland Signature Golf Ball travelled a shorter distance than both the Titleist® Pro V1® and Pro V1x® golf balls for 150 mph drives; and that the Kirkland Signature Golf Ball travelled a shorter distance than both the Titleist® Pro V1® and Pro V1x® golf balls for 167 mph drives.

Tuesday
Aug152017

This And That From Day One, 2017 U.S. Amateur

The world's best amateurs gathered in Los Angeles for day one of the U.S. Amateur under glorious mid-70s conditions interspersed with an abundance of agents and club manufacturers hawking their wares.

Of course, Riviera is the annual host to the Los Angeles Open, currently the Genesis Open until further notice, where the PGA Tour pros are "wusses" compared to the players who go the distance this week. From Tom Hoffarth's story for the Daily News and OC Register.

Michael Yamaki, the corporate officer or Riviera and general chairman of the U.S. Amateur Championship, said what sets this event apart from any other golf championship should be obvious, starting with the shorter window of opportunity for an amateur to play in this should he be good enough to turn professional. And, if Yamaki can be blunt, he said “the professionals are wusses … they’re only playing four days. We have to play seven straight days, plus 36 (holes) on the last day. … when you look at the Amateur, it’s really old school.”

So old school that there were almost no volunteer marshals or spotters available for the tees and fairways, leading to numerous lost balls and slow play. Woohoo old school!

At Riviera, Western Amateur champion Norman Xiong fired a brilliant 64 on day one of medal play, matched by two others as Pete Kowalski writes here for USAmateur.com. He will try to wrap up low-medalist at Bel-Air Country Club on Tuesday.

Amateurgolf.com's Kevin Cassidy has a variety of notes and points out the strong play from one of the marquee groups.

Cameras and the occasional IPhone streaming to Facebook could also be found at the 8:34 tee time with Doug Ghim, Cameron Champ, and Norman Xiong. This featured group was chirping for the cameras all day with 15 birdies between them. Champ finished up at even par (70), Ghim three-under (67) and Xiong is tied for the lead at six-under (64).

Players have been saying Riviera is playing at least three shots harder and they will be looking at more birdie opportunities at Bel-Air Country Club.

Former Angel and Mariner Shigetoshi Hasegawa qualified at age 49, and while he struggled to an 81, the retired pitcher appeared to enjoy his first USGA event. I filed this for Golfweek.

Things weren't dull over at Bel Air according to a well-known member and now part-time scribbling great...

The player in question whose probably got his entire set of clubs drying out tonight: Wilson Furr.

Todd Mitchell opened with a 67 but did not sign his card and was disqualified.  

USGA photos from day one. 

All day one scores here.

Monday
Aug142017

"Roasted Quail - Overcooked redesign seared joy out of PGA"

My honorary membership into the over-redesigned Quail Hollow won't happen in this lifetime following this Golfweek column.

And while some day the course might crack a big ranking, it's hard to see following this PGA and since the folks who keep making it worse will undoubtedly be called for the next redesign.

Monday
Aug142017

And Then Justin Dined With Tiger On Toxicology Results Day

Wacky times in Tigerland as the ailing star--looking quite muscle-inflated these days--dined with the PGA Champion and fellow Excel client Justin Thomas at what looks like Woods Jupiter.

Thomas Tweeted the photo first posted by Tiger: 

While it was a nice visual, the news of Tiger's DUI toxicology tests came out and painted a bleak picture, especially when his official statement admitted to doing his own drug cocktails.

From an ESPN.com report:

"As I previously said, I received professional help to manage my medications," Woods said Monday in a statement released through a spokesman. "Recently, I had been trying on my own to treat my back pain and a sleep disorder, including insomnia, but I realize now it was a mistake to do this without medical assistance. I am continuing to work with my doctors, and they feel I've made significant progress. I remain grateful for the amazing support that I continue to receive and for the family and friends that are assisting me."

The PGA Tour, once famously unwilling to comment on such things, particularly when Mary Jane might be involved, issued this statement to Golf World's Brian Wacker.

”As he has stated previously, Tiger is remorseful about his actions and committed to correcting his mistakes going forward,” PGA Tour commissioner Jay Monahan said in a statement. ”And as I’ve said before, the tour is committed to helping him in any way we can, as he is a member of our family. We will have no further comment on this matter.”

Monday
Aug142017

Happy Ending: Worst Player Ever To Win Major Confronts Writer

SI's Alan Shipnuck named Shaun Micheel the worst player ever to win a major and, well, it did not go well to start.

But as Shipnuck writes, after a nice angry manspat, there is a happy ending to this run-in. Get your hanky out...

I can't make 1.4 million copies of GOLF disappear but I'll certainly be rooting for Micheel going forward. After telling him I think his journey would make a compelling feature story, he gave me his cell number so we can keep in touch. I've looked at our DM string a couple of times and Micheel's parting thought still makes me laugh out loud: "Certainly an unusual start to a relationship."

Monday
Aug142017

3.6: 2017 PGA Ratings Lowest Since '08: What's Up?

We have an off-season in golf to now explore the reasons for ratings slides in majors. With SBD's Austin Karp sharing the 2017 PGA overnight, we have a matching 3.6 final round average for the U.S. Open, The Open and PGA to ponder.

I have last year's final round number at 3.4, but I'll defer to Karp with his claim of lowest since '08:


Some eyeballs went to cable news coverage of the events in Charlottesville.

That the U.S. Open and PGA drew the same final round number as The Open's morning telecast is fairly remarkable, unless you factor in changing viewing habits, the broader appeal of Jordan Spieth and the marketing approaches of the three networks.

As for this PGA my theory on why the numbers were poor for what, in the last 90 minutes, was very compelling viewing with many players making a run at the title:

1. Lack of incentive: Brutal Saturday viewing and lack of mega-star power on leaderboard did not make Sunday appointment viewing.

2. Long telecast lowers the average audience size.

3. Commercial breaks. There was little incentive to sit in front of the television and watch due to relentless interruptions.

3. Eyeballs elsewhere: streaming coverage, cable news viewing

There is one other element raised here before but it again begs the question: is there a kumbaya effect? Do people find things less compelling when the protagonists like each other? My Golfweek colleague raised this point:

Sunday
Aug132017

ShackHouse 46: Recapping The 2017 PGA

In a pop-up recorded minutes after Justin Thomas’s triumph in the PGA Championship, we talk about how he saved what could have been seen as a lousy week, the players’ dislike for Quail Hollow Club, Thomas’s Player of the Year, Rory's latest talk of a season shut down, Charlotte as a great golf city and CBS/TNT’s approach to golf, including a Jim Nantz open mic comment heard by many streamers we all agree with: too many commercials didn't ruin the crew effort, but they sure make the PGA the least prestigious major to watch.

As always, you can subscribe on iTunes and or just refresh your device's podcast subscription page.

Here is The Ringer's show page.

Same deal with Soundcloud for the show, and Episode 46 is here to listen to right now. Or this new platform or wherever podcasts are streamed.

ShackHouse is brought to you by Callaway, and of course, the new Steelhead fairway woods along with the new O-Works from Odyssey as well. Contest results coming Monday as we still are tabulating results! Thank you for your patience O-mighty listeners!

Sunday
Aug132017

Roundup: Justin Thomas Wins 99th PGA Championship

Steve DiMeglio of USA Today captured what made this one somewhat thrilling even as Justin Thomas took control: would he be able to corral his energy.

Many times throughout his young career, Justin Thomas has been his own worst enemy.

Much like his high-octane swing that makes him pound-for-pound the longest player in professional golf — he tips the scales at about 150 — Thomas doesn’t hold much back on the inside, either. He’s a demonstrative player with a big personality who rides the highs and lows with equal intensity, often to his own detriment as he quickly can’t shake bad moments.

Doug Ferguson of AP played off Thomas's life as the son of a PGA pro.

Justin Thomas remembers hearing the roar before he ever saw the shot.

He had access to the clubhouse at Valhalla in 2000 as the 7-year-old son of a PGA professional, and the thunder from the gallery reached his ears before the TV showed Tiger Woods making the most important putt of his career at that PGA Championship.

Thomas was barely big enough to dream of playing against the best that day. Now his name is on the same Wanamaker Trophy.

There were memorable birdies at 13 and 17, but the putt at 10 will stand out for man. Kevin Casey with the video and story behind the putt at Golfweek.com.

Here it is, hit the link if the embed is frozen.

Michael Bamberger at Golf.com has a fun account of a weird day and while Thomas ultimately pulled away down the lane, he reminds us...

At 5 p.m., the air still and warm, the Wanamaker Trophy hanging out, waiting for a kiss, Thomas was one of five men who stood at seven under par on the difficult Quail Hollow Club course, with its Bermuda greens and wet, snarling rough.

Thomas drank champagne after the win and following a toast from PGA President Paul Levy of, uh, Indian Wells...

ESPN.com's Bob Harig considers the evolution of Thomas's game, the role of envy in motivating him and talks to his bagman.

"I think what he learned is that he has to play his game and not force it,'' said veteran caddie Jimmy Johnson, who left Steve Stricker to work for Thomas full time two years ago. "Let the course come to him, and play a little smarter. He was trying too hard, maybe. I don't think he was so much frustrated as he was playing too hard. He's just letting his potential go through now.''

Mike McAllister at PGATour.com dives deep (with some rich details) on the three turning point moments for Thomas on Sunday.

Brian Wacker at Golf World talks to Thomas's grandfather about his grandson's win.

“I told him this week when we talked that he was good enough to win anywhere. He hits the ball as well as any guy out there, and he has shots that other guys don’t have.”

Jason Sobel has the full story on Thomas's life as the son and grandson of PGA of America professionals.

David Dusek with the winner’s bag, a whole bunch of Titleist clubs!

Dave Kindred on Thomas's mastery of the Green Mile as a key to his win.

PGATour.com with this photo gallery of the best shots from Thomas's win.

Kevin Kisner gave it a great run all the way to the Green Mile, where he was six over on the weekend, writes GolfChannel.com's Will Gray.

Gray also writes about Jordan Spieth's inability to figure out the greens.

Patrick Reed secured his first top 10 in a major and came away frustrated (ok, downright cranky), reports Golf World's Dave Shedloski.

David Duval speaks from experience when he sees Rory McIlroy swinging around his injury and says it's time to shut the game down until he can get healthy.

"He needs to go home. He needs to stop playing right now. He's hurt and I am watching his golf swing deteriorate," he said. "If only I could go back and tell myself 18-20 years go when I started having those problems, 'Stop, get healthy.' He could do himself a big service. He's always had a little bit of a hitch with the driver in terms of flattening out a little but it is getting a lot more pronounced right now and I think that is due to that rib injury."

Ian Poulter threw quite the fit Sunday and it’s still unclear who was right in the argument with a rules official.

Runner-up Louis Oosthuizen will never look quite the same to you ever again.