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Books
  • Lines of Charm: Brilliant And Irreverent Quotes, Notes, And Anecdotes from Golf's Golden Age Architects
    Lines of Charm: Brilliant And Irreverent Quotes, Notes, And Anecdotes from Golf's Golden Age Architects
  • The Future of Golf: How Golf Lost Its Way and How to Get It Back
    The Future of Golf: How Golf Lost Its Way and How to Get It Back
    by Geoff Shackelford
  • Grounds for Golf: The History and Fundamentals of Golf Course Design
    Grounds for Golf: The History and Fundamentals of Golf Course Design
    by Geoff Shackelford
  • The Art of Golf Design
    The Art of Golf Design
    by Michael Miller, Geoff Shackelford
  • Alister MacKenzie's Cypress Point Club
    Alister MacKenzie's Cypress Point Club
    by Geoff Shackelford
  • The Golden Age of Golf Design
    The Golden Age of Golf Design
    by Geoff Shackelford
  • The Good Doctor Returns: A Novel
    The Good Doctor Returns: A Novel
    by Geoff Shackelford
  • Masters of the Links: Essays on the Art of Golf and Course Design
    Masters of the Links: Essays on the Art of Golf and Course Design
  • The Captain: George C. Thomas Jr. and His Golf Architecture
    The Captain: George C. Thomas Jr. and His Golf Architecture
    by Geoff Shackelford
Current Reading
  • Men in Green
    Men in Green
    by Michael Bamberger
  • Unplayable Lies: (The Only Golf Book You'll Ever Need)
    Unplayable Lies: (The Only Golf Book You'll Ever Need)
    by Dan Jenkins
  • Professional Golf 2015: The Complete Media, Fan and Fantasy Guide
    Professional Golf 2015: The Complete Media, Fan and Fantasy Guide
    by Daniel Wexler
  • The Forbidden Game: Golf and the Chinese Dream
    The Forbidden Game: Golf and the Chinese Dream
    by Dan Washburn
  • Arnie, Seve, and a Fleck of Golf History: Heroes, Underdogs, Courses, and Championships
    Arnie, Seve, and a Fleck of Golf History: Heroes, Underdogs, Courses, and Championships
    by Bill Fields
  • Unplayable Lies: (The Only Golf Book You'll Ever Need)
    Unplayable Lies: (The Only Golf Book You'll Ever Need)
    by Dan Jenkins

    Kindle Edition

  • The Magnificent Masters: Jack Nicklaus, Johnny Miller, Tom Weiskopf, and the 1975 Cliffhanger at Augusta
    The Magnificent Masters: Jack Nicklaus, Johnny Miller, Tom Weiskopf, and the 1975 Cliffhanger at Augusta
    by Gil Capps
Classics
  • Golf Architecture in America: Its Strategy and Construction
    Golf Architecture in America: Its Strategy and Construction
    by Geo. C. Thomas
  • The Course Beautiful : A Collection of Original Articles and Photographs on Golf Course Design
    The Course Beautiful : A Collection of Original Articles and Photographs on Golf Course Design
    Treewolf Prod
  • Reminiscences Of The Links
    Reminiscences Of The Links
    by Albert Warren Tillinghast, Richard C. Wolffe, Robert S. Trebus, Stuart F. Wolffe
  • Gleanings from the Wayside
    Gleanings from the Wayside
    by Albert Warren Tillinghast
  • Planet Golf USA: The Definitive Reference to Great Golf Courses in America
    Planet Golf USA: The Definitive Reference to Great Golf Courses in America
    by Darius Oliver
  • Planet Golf: The Definitive Reference to Great Golf Courses Outside the United States of America
    Planet Golf: The Definitive Reference to Great Golf Courses Outside the United States of America
    by Darius Oliver
Writing And Videos

The supposed necessity for pressing is born of too much respect for the enemy. Because they have got the best of you for the moment and played the hole perfectly up to a certain point, they are credited with being infallible, and you see no chance of their going into a bunker or taking four to hole off an iron. It is scarcely ever politic to count the enemy's chickens before they are hatched...a secret disbelief in the enemy's play is very useful for match play.  WALTER SIMPSON

    

Sunday
May032015

Don't Try This At Home Video: Bryan Bros Edition

After going all corporate and reality show, nice to see the Bryan Brothers hearkening back to their first album's sound with this stripped down gem that should not be tried at home.

Tweeted:

Saturday
May022015

When Is A Tour No Longer Protecting Its Broadcast Partners?

It's very much a first-world media issue and probably not worth a great deal of energy from most of you, but the PGA Tour faces an on-going struggle as they tries to blend into the 21st Century sports landscape. At issue are the rights of fans and media to Tweet, Periscope, Meerkat, Facebook, Instagram or Snapchat video from a tournament site.

Longtime readers know I've obeyed this and will continue to as I sign a regulation form for the privilege of a media credential and broadcast partners are paying a premium that makes tournaments tick. However, many, many times it has pained me not to do some short videos early in a tournament week talking up something of note for architecture buffs or handicappers. But the rules are the rules.

Conflicting news this week suggests that as with the tour's policy of not commenting on pending litigation or drug policy violations--except when the situation warrants--the PGA Tour desperately needs to sit down with their broadcast partners to sort out their social media video strategy.

Alan Shipnuck
makes the case at golf.com for blogger Stephanie Wei, who lost her credential for the rest of the year upon a violation of the tour video policy. After using Periscope on Monday at Harding Park, Wei got the bad news from the tour. Shipnuck says this followed another violation and warning.

The bigger issue is golf's tradition of resisting progress and making common sense adjustments. As networks and other major leagues rush to embrace social media because of its role in drawing in new fans or engaging old ones like never before, the current policy designed to protect broadcast partners often discourages coverage that would raise awareness of events, create buzz and keep a 21st Century fan engaged.

Shipnuck writes:

Even if Wei broke the Tour’s rules, the real issue is whether those rules make sense anymore. The Tour operates under a very traditional model in which it feels it owns the content (the tournaments and whatever the players do during them) and various rights-holders (Golf Channel, the networks) pay handsomely to borrow that content. But the sports media environment has changed at the speed of light, and fans now demand to be entertained in new and different ways, with video clips the coin of the realm. They expect this at all hours, not just on the limited, rigid broadcast schedules of various television networks.

The irony in all of this Inside Golf kvetching?

The PGA Tour will be encouraging fans to "snap" 10-second video clips this Sunday from The Players. If a member of the media joins in the Snapchat Stories "activation," they'll be in violation of the regulations they signed. Even if they are a precious millennial.

Saturday
May022015

WGC Match Play Saturday: What To Expect

So much those meaningless matches!

The jury is still out on the new look WGC Cadillac Match Play because the trial isn't finished. Certainly some tweaks will be needed but I'd contend something is working to see so much intensity from players.

This one-off playing in San Francisco fortunately or unfortunately lands on one of the biggest sports days in some time, with the Kentucky Derby, NBA and NHL playoffs and the Mayweather-Pacquiao championship bout all grabbing attention. NBC will be carrying the quarterfinal matches in east coast primetime (the only time zone that matters), starting at 7:20 ET. Golf Channel has the early play starting at 3 pm ET.

Jeff Babineau has a nice summary of what to expect in Saturday morning's round of 16.

Friday
May012015

Merced Match Play Meltdown! Keegan Fumes For His Man! 

We saw how cranky he was yesterday and Keegan Bradley's temper got the best of him in a wickedly entertaining WGC Cadillac Match Play meltdown with opponent Miguel Angel Jimenez. It seems Bradley has just been playing stroke play way too long and forgot that his opponent very much has the right to question a drop. Keegan's caddie didn't see it that way, was told to shut up, and Keegan went ballistic.

From Rex Hoggard's GolfChannel.com report on Jimenez's 2 up win.

After hitting his drive left of the 18th fairway and over a fence that had been deemed a temporary immovable obstruction, which would allow for a free drop, Bradley consulted with a rules official and was in the process of taking two drops – the first away from the fence and then off a cart path – when Jimenez walked over and insisted he was taking an incorrect drop.

After a heated exchange involving Bradley, his caddie Steve “Pepsi” Hale and the Spaniard, Jimenez told Hale to “shut up” and the situation escalated with Bradley and Jimenez going nose to nose.

“I felt like he was being disrespectful not only to me but my caddie,” Bradley said. “I was kind of standing up for my boy here.”

Unfortunately, Jimenez was well within his rights to question the drop as the PGA Tour's Mark Russell said after the round. And future Ryder Cuppers from Europe now know to get Keegan to unravel.

GolfDigest.com's Steve Hennessey posts a nice Vine with great audio of the first encounter (also posted below for the ease of the PGA Tour Censorship Department).

A rules official was over with the group as Bradley and his caddie Steve (Pepsi) Hale was explaining their drop -- but Jimenez was not happy. Golf Channel's Steve Sands reported that Jimenez's ball was 40 yards farther down the fairway when Jimenez walked back to Bradley. When Hale said something to Jimenez, it sounded like Jimenez told Hale to "shut up," which prompted Bradley to get in The Mechanic's face.

Bradley kept saying "You need to go back to your ball!" It looked like someone was about to push the other.

Bob Harig says the two lovebirds had another chat in the locker room post-round but no one was allowed to witness. Harig did, however, report this from Bradley's caddie, who didn't like the opponent in the match questioning a drop.

"Keegan was getting a little frustrated with that, and he had a right to be,'' Hale said. "We have a rules official with and he decides to interject himself on the ruling again. He questioned the drop again, questioned the rules official. It's clearly escalating.

"I don't understand why a player wants to interject himself into a situation when a rules official is right there. And he doesn't have to talk to Keegan about it.''

Because it's match play and he's allowed to do that?

Brian Wacker reports that the spat continued in Harding's locker room and shared this from the PGA Tour's Mark Russell:

“These guys are all Type-A personalities and competitors, and there’s a lot on the line, they’ve got a lot of pride and they had a little confrontation out there,” said PGA TOUR Vice President of Rules and Competitions Mark Russell. “It’s not the first time, it won’t be the last. You think one of those guys wants to lose to the other? Absolutely not.

"It doesn’t make it OK. It's a gentleman's game, but from time to time things get heated in this game. It's unfortunate that it happened."

Bradley did apologize for his behavior in some post round reports.This from golf.com's report by Josh Berhow:

“It was just a heat-of-the-moment thing," Bradley told reporters afterward. "It was disappointing. I'm pretty bummed out about it. It was just ... I had a ruling and he felt like he needed to intervene and I felt like he was being inappropriate to me and my caddie.

Here is Golf Central's coverage, helmed by Todd Lewis and including the parking lot interview.

Here is the Golf Channel post game chat with Burr, Tilghman, Chamblee and Duval. The nine minutes includes Mark Russell's interview.

After the round Bradley was seen being comforted by his dog, who appeared to have been left in his car by itself. This prompted many on social media to wonder if Bradley had left his "purse dog" in the car during the round.

The PGA Tour posted this part of the telecast:


Enjoy these while you can...first the incident followed by the 18th green handshake.


Thursday
Apr302015

2015 U.S. Amateur Four-Ball Storylines...

The U.S. Open qualifier storylines are fun, but the inaugural Four-Ball takes things to another level with some of the eclectic teams teeing it up in Saturday and Sunday's stroke play at Olympic Club. 

Golf World's Ron Sirak set the table for this inaugural event that essentially replaces the U.S. Amateur Public Links on the USGA championship schedule. And the rest of us can imagine competitors will be enjoying Bill Burgers as Webb Simpson did Monday.

The low 32 advance to match play starting Monday. Fox Sports 1 carries the final two days of competition May 5th and 6th from 4 to 6:30 PT.

From the USGA, with a few interruptions for other stories written about the competitors.

Oldest Competitors: Robert Polk (59, born 6-18-55), Brady Exber (59, born 3-29-56), Jim Williams (59, born 4-4-56)

Youngest Competitors: Ahmed Ali (15, born 12-22-99), Ashwin Arasu (16, born 1-4-99), Kyosuke Hara (16, 10-24-98), Kyle Suppa (16, 5-13-98)

Average Age of Field: 34.76

Oldest Teams: Iain MacDonald (58) & Robert Valerio (56), Kenneth Bakst (57) & Jonathan Doppelt (54), Robert Polk (59) & Bill Fowler (51)

Youngest Teams: Kyosuke Hara (16) & Kyle Suppa (16), Ashwin Arasu (16) & Sahith Theegala (17), Jacob Huizinga (17) & William Wrigley (17)

Largest Age Difference (Team Members): 36, Oliver Rheinfurth (55) & Marc Reyes (19); 35, Marc Apps (55) & Tyler Apps (20); 35, Michael Board (52) & Drew Jones (17)

U.S. States Represented – There are 42 states and the District of Columbia represented at the 2015 U.S. Amateur Four-Ball: California (30 players), Texas (22), Florida (13), New York (12), Pennsylvania (12), Illinois (10), North Carolina (10), Maryland (9), Arizona (8), New Jersey (8), South Carolina (8), Ohio (7), Alabama (6), Colorado (6), Georgia (6), Nevada (6), Virginia (6), Connecticut (5), Kansas (5), Massachusetts (5), Washington (5), Louisiana (4), Minnesota (4), Oregon (4), Nebraska (3), New Hampshire (3), Oklahoma (3), Utah (3), Wisconsin (3), Hawaii (2), Iowa (2), Maine (2), Michigan (2), Missouri (2), New Mexico (2), Rhode Island (2), Tennessee (2), Arkansas (1), Idaho (1), Indiana (1), Kentucky (1), North Dakota (1) and District of Columbia (2).

International – There are five countries represented at the 2015 U.S. Amateur Four-Ball: United States (248), Canada (4), Australia (1), Germany (1) and Philippines (1).

Some notables in my book are below, but you can read them all here.

Ahmed Ali, 15, of Palo Alto, Calif., & Hussain Ali, 20, of Palo Alto, Calif.
Ahmed Ali, the youngest player in the U.S. Amateur Four-Ball field, and Hussain Ali are one of nine sets of brothers among the 128 teams. Ahmed is a sophomore at Palo Alto High School. The left-hander tied for second at the AJGA Junior All-Star at Innisbrook on Feb. 14-16. Hussain attended Dominican College, an NCAA Division II school in California, in 2013-14.

Marc Apps, 55, of Phoenix, Ariz., & Tyler Apps, 20, of Phoenix, Ariz.
The father-son team will each be competing in their first USGA championship. Marc, a real estate broker, has won four state golf association events. His wife, René, will serve as his caddie. Tyler, a junior on the Grand Canyon University golf team, sank an 80-foot par putt on the second extra hole in a four-team playoff to help the duo advance out of sectional qualifying at Desert Forest Golf Club. Tyler took an unplayable lie and found the green with his third shot, a 200-yard approach from behind a tree.

Ashwin Arasu, 16, of San Diego, Calif., & Sahith Theegala, 17, of Chino Hills, Calif.
Arasu, a junior at Canyon Crest Academy, advanced to the Round of 32 at last year’s U.S. Junior Amateur, losing to eventual runner-up Davis Riley after dramatically chipping in on No. 18 to win his Round-of-64 match with an eagle 3. He competed in the inaugural Drive, Chip & Putt Championship at Augusta National in April 2014. Theegala is a senior at Diamond Bar High who recently decided to enroll at Pepperdine University in 2015-16. Theegala has qualified for match play at the last two U.S. Junior Amateurs (2013, Round of 32 & 2014, Round of 16).

Virhat Badhwar, 19, of Australia, & Maverick McNealy, 19, of Portola Valley, Calif.
Badhwar and McNealy are both sophomores on the Stanford University golf team. Badhwar, who hails from Australia but was born in India, has a pair of top-10 finishes this season and tied for 16th at last year’s Pacific 12 Conference Championship. McNealy has won two college titles this season. He qualified for both the 2014 U.S. Open and 2014 U.S. Amateur. McNealy advanced to match play at two U.S. Junior Amateurs (2012, quarterfinalist & 2013, Round of 32).

Ryan Herrington on McNealy's record-setting performance in the Pac-12 Championships, including a final round 61.

Ken Bakst, 57, of Riverhead, N.Y., & Jonathan Doppelt, 54, of Great Neck, N.Y.
Bakst, who is playing in his 23rd USGA championship, and Doppelt, who is making his 12th USGA championship appearance, are the second-oldest team in the U.S. Amateur Four-Ball field. Bakst won the 1997 U.S. Mid-Amateur by defeating Rick Stimmel, 1 up, in the final. Bakst is a developer and managing member at Friar’s Head, a golf club on Long Island. Doppelt owns a jewelry manufacturing company in Manhattan.

Is there a low super-senior team medal?

Brian Bardier, 46, of Dayville, Conn., & David Jones, 53, of Norwich, Conn.
Bardier and Jones have played golf as a team for 15 years and will be competing in their first USGA championship. Bardier was a volunteer firefighter for nearly 18 years and rose to the rank of lieutenant. Jones is a teacher and three-sport coach at a local elementary school. His right lung was removed in 2002 after he suffered complications from a viral infection.

Todd Burgan, 46, of Knoxville, Tenn., & Tim Jackson, 56, of Memphis, Tenn.
Burgan, a pharmacist at Kroger Company, is playing in his 12th USGA championship. He advanced to the U.S. Mid-Amateur semifinals in 2010 and the quarterfinals in 2009. Jackson has captured two U.S. Mid-Amateur championships (1994, 2001). Jackson, who owns a car wash company, is competing in his 51st USGA championship, including five U.S. Senior Opens. He played on two USA Walker Cup Teams (1995, 1999). The duo has represented Tennessee in three USGA Men’s State Teams.

Kyle Crawford, 26, of Coos Bay, Ore., & Tim Tucker, 46, of Coos Bay, Ore.
Crawford and Tucker are caddies at Bandon Dunes Golf Resort, site of this year’s inaugural U.S. Women’s Amateur Four-Ball Championship. Crawford graduated from Oregon State University and earned an Evans Scholarship. He has played in several Pacific Northwest Golf Association (PNGA) events. Tucker, who has competed in three U.S. Mid-Amateurs, spent four years in the U.S. Air Force and another three years working as a security officer for the U.S. State Department.

Alistair Docherty, 21, of Vancouver, Wash., & Lee Gearhart, 20, of Roseville, Calif.
Docherty and Gearhart are both juniors on the California State University-Chico golf team. Docherty was a first-team Division II All-America selection who finished fifth in the 2014 NCAA Championship. Gearhart, who played at Woodcreek High School and won the 2011 Sacramento City East title, was a 2014 honorable mention All-America selection at Chico State.

Gene Elliott, 51, of West Des Moines, Iowa, & Mike McCoy, 52, of Des Moines, Iowa
Elliott and McCoy led Iowa to a third-place finish in the 2014 USGA Men’s State Team Championship. Elliott is playing in his 21st USGA championship and was a 2006 U.S. Mid-Amateur quarterfinalist. Elliott, who owns a sanitation and street equipment company, had open-heart surgery in 2000. McCoy is playing in his 43rd USGA championship. He won the 2013 Mid-Amateur as the second-oldest champion and was low amateur in the 2014 U.S. Senior Open. McCoy and Elliott are members of the Iowa Golf Association Hall of Fame.

Brady Exber, 59, of Las Vegas, Nev., & Kevin Marsh, 42, of Henderson, Nev.
Exber and Marsh will each be playing in their 18th USGA championship. They have partnered in other events and won three Champions Cup Invitationals. Exber won the 2014 Senior British Amateur Championship and tied for 41st in the 2007 U.S. Senior Open. Marsh, a commercial real estate developer, won the 2005 U.S. Mid-Amateur Championship.

Jeffrey Fortson, 41, of Palm Desert, Calif., & Michael Walton, 39, of Indian Wells, Calif.
The lives of Fortson and Walton have been connected since their junior golf days. They were the Nos. 1 and 2 golfers on the Palm Desert High School squad. They have caddied for each other and were grouped together (with Jason Day) in 2006 PGA Tour Qualifying School. They were groomsmen at each other’s weddings and their wives teach at the same school. Fortson, a Callaway demonstration day representative, and Walton, who works in real estate, are reinstated amateurs. Walton advanced to match play in the 2013 U.S. Mid-Amateur and Fortson accomplished the same feat last year.

Here's a nice Larry Bohannan story on these two.

William Gordon, 18, of Davidson, N.C., & Steve Harwell, 52, of Mooresville, N.C.
Gordon and Harwell shot a 9-under 62 in sectional qualifying at Pinehurst’s Pinewild Country Club, just their second time playing as a competitive team. Gordon, who will enroll at Vanderbilt University in 2015-16, is a two-time all-state selection who advanced to the Round of 32 in the 2013 U.S. Junior Amateur. Harwell is playing in his 13th USGA championship. He works as a financial professional for New York Life and was inducted into the Guilford College Athletic Hall of Fame in 2006.

And a nice story on this odd-couple pairing by Bill Kiser.

Kyosuke Hara, 16, of Honolulu, Hawaii, & Kyle Suppa, 16, of Honolulu, Hawaii
Hara and Suppa form the youngest team in the inaugural U.S. Amateur Four-Ball Championship. Hara, who qualified for last year’s U.S. Amateur, is a member of the Monanalua High School team. He has studied karate for seven years and has advanced to black belt. Suppa, who qualified for the 2014 U.S. Junior Amateur, is the current Hawaii State Amateur champion and plays for the Punahou School team. He started snow skiing at age 3.

Scott Harvey, 36, of Greensboro, N.C., & Todd Mitchell, 36, of Bloomington, Ill.
Harvey won the 2014 U.S. Mid-Amateur, which earned him an invitation to the 2015 Masters Tournament. Harvey is a property manager for S&K Triad Properties. His late father, Bill, played in 23 USGA championships. Mitchell was the runner-up to Steve Wilson in the 2008 U.S. Mid-Amateur and is playing in his 20th USGA championship. Mitchell was an all-conference shortstop at Illinois State. He was chosen in the 14th round of the Major League Baseball Draft by the New York Yankees.

Jason Higton, 35, of Fresno, Calif., & Ryan Higton, 32, of Fresno, Calif.
The Higton brothers were both collegiate golfers. Jason, a Johnson & Johnson sales representative, was the 2002 Big West Conference player of the year at the University of the Pacific. He has played in three USGA championships. Ryan, who works as a real estate agent, was a two-time NAIA All-America selection at The Master’s College in California.

Iain MacDonald, 56, of Fullerton, Calif., & Bob Valerio, 58, of Hawthorne, Calif.
MacDonald and Valerio comprise the oldest team in the 2015 U.S. Amateur Four-Ball Championship. MacDonald, who was born in Scotland, is competing in his ninth USGA championship. He works in sales for a publishing company and has survived two strokes. Valerio, who is retired after working for a global security company, played competitively on the junior and collegiate levels before he stopped playing for 10 years. He is competing in his 10th USGA championship.

James Mastaglio, 39, of Garden City, N.Y., & Timothy Schmitt, 44, of Garden City, N.Y.
Mastaglio was an All-Ivy League basketball guard at Princeton University who played on three NCAA Tournament squads. The Tigers won a pair of first-round games, including a 1996 upset of defending champion UCLA. Mastaglio, who works in the hedge-fund industry, is a four-time club champion at Cherry Valley Club. Schmitt has played in two U.S. Amateurs (1997, 2004). His father, John, was the starting center on the New York Jets’ Super Bowl III championship team.

Drew Olson, 32, of Piedmont, Calif., & David Reneker, 46, of Santa Monica, Calif.
Olson and Reneker are both UCLA graduates. Olson is third on UCLA’s all-time passing list and played for the NFL’s Baltimore, Carolina and San Francisco franchises as an undrafted free-agent quarterback. He qualified for the 2012 and 2013 U.S. Mid-Amateur Championships. Reneker, who played in the 2009 Mid-Amateur, was a Bruins’ golf team walk-on (teammates were Scott McCarron and Brandt Jobe) and is a three-time club champion at Bel-Air Country Club.

Tim Rosaforte profiled the above team in this week's Golf World.

Marc Reyes, 19, of Philippines, & Oliver Rheinfurth, 55, of Encino, Calif.
The team of Reyes and Rheinfurth features the largest age difference between partners. Reyes, who is 36 years younger, is a native of the Philippines and played at Venice High School and Orange Coast College. Rheinfurth, a dual citizen of Germany and the United States, is the CEO of a finance company. He was a teammate of Corey Pavin’s at UCLA and he has qualified for two U.S. Amateurs.

Andy Sajevic, 24, of Fremont, Neb., & John Sajevic, 58, of Fremont, Neb.
The father-son team, which shot 10-under 62 to earn medalist honors in sectional qualifying, has plenty of USGA championship experience. Andy, a three-time Nebraska State Amateur champion, has competed in two U.S. Amateurs and one U.S. Junior Amateur. He played as a collegian at Charlotte and North Carolina. John, an automotive salesman, has played in 10 USGA championships, including seven USGA Men’s State Teams.

Nathan Smith, 36, of Pittsburgh, Pa., & Todd White, 47, of Spartanburg, S.C.
Smith and White, one of three teams who were fully exempt into the 2015 U.S. Amateur Four Ball Championship, were members of the victorious 2013 USA Walker Cup Team. Smith is a four-time U.S. Mid-Amateur champion (2003, 2009, 2010, 2012). Smith, an investment advisor, is playing in his 33rd USGA championship. White, a high school history teacher, is playing in his 16th USGA championship. He advanced to the 2012 U.S. Mid-Amateur semifinals and reached the quarterfinals in 2014.

Jim Williams, 59, of Orinda, Calif., & Scott Williams, 25, of San Francisco, Calif.
The Williamses are one of three father-son teams in the U.S. Amateur Four-Ball field. Jim, a partner in a private equity firm, was a member of the USGA Executive Committee from 2010 through 2012 and worked as a Rules official. Jim, who is a Golden State Warriors minority owner, served on the USGA Championship Committee when the Amateur Four-Ball championships were proposed. Scott, who like his brother and sister, played golf at the University of Pennsylvania, won the 2010 Ivy League individual title and led the Quakers to the league championship in 2012. A Fulbright Scholar, Scott is a project manager for an energy company.

There was also this excellent story from a few months back on Brent Grant (18) doing all the qualifying lifting for his much older partner Bill Walbert (47). David Shefter had it for USGA.org.

The USGA's website devoted to news and scoring for the Four Ball.

Thursday
Apr302015

Ko Struggles To 75 After Taking Controversial Unplayable

Lydia Ko is donating her earnings in this week's Volunteers of America North Texas Shootout to earthquake relief for Nepal, so her opening 75 no doubt upset someone not used to posting big scores.

And the round came with a controversial drop, as Randall Mell explains.

Ko was 2 under par in her round when she hit her approach shot at the 14th hole long and left. She tried to hit a lob over a tree blocking her route to the green, but her ball caught up in a branch and never came down.

With Hamilton in the tree, Ko asked why they had to free the ball if they were going to take an unplayable.

“We have to identify it,” Hamilton told her.

Shortly after, LPGA rules official Brad Alexander arrived. He told Ko she could take an unplayable lie based on witness accounts of the ball going into the tree. She took a penalty stroke and a drop near the tree. If the ball had been declared lost, Ko would have been required to take a penalty and also return to where she struck the last shot. She would have had to drop and play from there.

Caddie Jason Hamilton's climbing effort, while noble, didn't quiet some grumbling on social media about the attempts to shake the ball loose and the unplayable lie verdict.

The LPGA rules staff held firm to their conclusion according to a statement to GolfChannel.com.

The officials involved in the ruling with Lydia Ko today on the 14th hole referenced Decision 27/12 to support their ruling. Due to the fact that it was roughly a 30-yard shot, the spectators were able to see Lydia’s ball from start to finish and therefore provided indisputable evidence that the ball in the tree was indeed Lydia’s ball. Therefore the ball did not need to be identified as it was never lost. The USGA confirmed that in a situation where observers indisputably saw the player’s ball in motion come to rest in a specific location at which the ball remains visible, the ball has been identified as the player’s ball. Thus, since the ball in the tree was deemed as Lydia's ball, she was then able to proceed under Rule 28 – Ball Unplayable.

Here is the entire sequence:

Thursday
Apr302015

This Match Play Is Making Cranky Golfers Crankier!

I never really thought of match play as a format that would engender much rage, especially from players who have largely written off the format for its vagaries.

Maybe it's the silly Harding Park rough, which looks so overfed that we may have identified a key source of California's drought.

Maybe they are confused by all of the possible scenarios Friday, which seems to have more than must players upset. Why, I have no idea. Sit back and enjoy the madness I say. But if you need a guide, G.C. Digital has a pretty handy one here.

Or maybe it's the combination of rough and mean old match play bringing out so much rage at the WGC Cadillac Match Play.

But who cares when you get easy laughs like this!

Thursday there was Keegan Bradley kicking his bag (eh…not the most athletic kick, but love the passion!).

There was Patrick Reed auditioning for the San Francisco Giants and no doubt earning a big fine for charity. (Thanks GolfCentralDoc.)

The footage:

And there was my favorite image sequence of the year, with Ian Poulter pointing at Golfweek’s Alex Miceli, who attempted to ask something post-loss number two.

Thursday
Apr302015

Procrastinators Rejoice: U.S. Open Entries Fly In Last Minute!

I guess the good golfers of America were too busy out practicing or maybe on the fence about entering the U.S. Open at Chambers Bay.

Because as the USGA release on the second-highest number of entries ever suggests, a whopping 535 applications came flooding in during the final day and 97 in the final hour.

For Immediate Release:

USGA ACCEPTS SECOND-HIGHEST NUMBER OF U.S. OPEN CHAMPIONSHIP ENTRIES

More Than 9,800 Will Attempt to Qualify for 115th Championship at Chambers Bay

FAR HILLS, N.J. (April 30, 2015) – The United States Golf Association (USGA) has accepted a total of 9,882 entries for the 2015 U.S. Open Championship at Chambers Bay in University Place, Wash.

The number of entries is second to the 10,127 accepted for last year's U.S. Open at Pinehurst Resort & Country Club’s Course No. 2, and is 22 more than the 9,860 accepted for the 2013 championship at Merion Golf Club, in Ardmore, Pa. Among this year’s total are 49 players, including 11 past champions, who are currently fully exempt into the field (see list below).

"We are thrilled with the interest demonstrated by the 9,882 entries, the most we have ever accepted for a U.S. Open held on the West Coast,” said Diana Murphy, USGA vice president and chairman of the Championship Committee. "That Chambers Bay, a public course which has never held an Open, could have this kind of impact proves that our national championship knows no state, regional or national bounds. We look forward to local and sectional qualifying and to conducting the 115th U.S. Open on June 18-21."

Too bad they can't win just showing up and playing a couple of practice rounds!

To be eligible, a player must have a Handicap Index® not exceeding 1.4, or be a professional. Local qualifying, which will be played over 18 holes at 111 sites in the United States, will take place between May 4-21.

Sectional qualifying, played over 36 holes, will be conducted on Monday, May 25 at two international sites (Japan and England) and on Monday, June 8, at 10 sites in the United States, ranging from New York to California. This will be the 11th year with two international qualifiers, which were established in 2005.

Martin Kaymer, the 2014 champion, and 10 other champions are fully exempt from having to qualify for the championship. They are: Angel Cabrera (2007), Ernie Els (1994, 1997), Jim Furyk (2003), Lucas Glover (2009), Graeme McDowell (2010), Rory McIlroy (2011), Geoff Ogilvy (2006), Justin Rose (2013), Webb Simpson (2012) and Tiger Woods (2000, 2002, 2008).

The USGA accepted entries for the 115th U.S. Open from golfers in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, and 63 foreign countries.

For the fifth consecutive year, only online entries were accepted. The USGA received 535 entries on the last day applications were accepted (April 29), including 97 applications in the final hour. Josh Williamowsky, a 30-year-old amateur from Bethesda, Md., submitted his entry just 21 seconds before the deadline of 5 p.m. EDT. Darren Ernst, a 42-year-old amateur from Trabuco Canyon, Calif., was the first entrant when entries opened on March 4.

The number of fully exempt players will increase with the inclusion of the top 60 point leaders and ties from the Official World Golf Ranking®, as of May 25 and June 15. The winners of The Players Championship (May 7-10) and European Tour BMW PGA Championship (May 21-24) will also earn exemptions.

This year marks the third consecutive year and the seventh time that the USGA has accepted more than 9,000 entries for the U.S. Open. The first time was in 2005, when 9,048 entries were accepted for the championship at Pinehurst No. 2. A total of 9,086 golfers entered the 2009 championship at Bethpage State Park’s Black Course in Farmingdale, N.Y. In 2010, 9,052 golfers entered the championship at Pebble Beach (Calif.) Golf Links. In 2012, the USGA accepted 9,006 entries for the U.S. Open at The Olympic Club in San Francisco.

Thursday
Apr302015

Austin Country Club Named Host Of Next Four Match Plays

It was pending member approval and now it's official: Pete Dye's Austin Country Club will host the next for WGC [Dell] Match Plays.

And as hoped, the nines will be flipped to have the "lakeside" holes on the back nine. (Photo right.)

For Immediate Release:

Austin Country Club to host 2016 World Golf Championships-Dell Match Play

Four-year agreement with International Federation of PGA Tours brings event to one of Texas’ oldest existing clubs
 
Austin, Texas – The International Federation of PGA Tours today announced a four-year agreement with Austin Country Club to serve as host venue for the World Golf Championships-Dell Match Play, beginning in 2016, after receiving approval from the club’s membership. Founded in 1899, Austin Country Club is one of the oldest existing clubs in Texas. The club’s current property is located on a challenging Pete Dye-designed golf course built in 1984 with breathtaking views of Lake Austin.
 
This course is the third home for Austin Country Club since its founding in 1899. With its deep pot bunkers, undulating turf and dramatic fairway falls, the course includes Texas accents added by extensive use of massive limestone slabs, quarried on site, to build revetments for tees, greens and fairways. The club has served as home to several of the game’s greats, including World Golf Hall of Famers Harvey Penick, Tom Kite and Ben Crenshaw.
 
The 2015 Cadillac Match Play is being played this week at TPC Harding Park in San Francisco. Dell and the International Federation of PGA Tours announced Dell as the future title sponsor for the event in February. Previously, the Cadillac Match Play has been held in Marana, Ariz., since 2007 and at La Costa Resort and Spa in Carlsbad, Calif., from 1999-2000 and 2002-2006; in 2001 it was held at The Metropolitan Club in Victoria, Australia.
 
“In my recent visit to Austin Country Club, it became obvious to me that this first-class venue will be a spectacular host for our players, sponsors and spectators for the Dell Match Play,” said PGA TOUR Commissioner Tim Finchem. “On behalf of the International Federation of PGA Tours, we first thank TPC Harding Park for their hospitality and Cadillac for their contributions to this year’s event. We also thank the membership at Austin Country Club for their support, and we look forward to bringing the best 64 players in the world to Austin and a club that has such rich tradition at a course that will be a challenging, but fair test for the field. Between the membership at Austin Country Club, the partnership we have with Dell and the excitement throughout the Austin community, we believe that this event will become one of the most popular stops on our schedule.”
 
“It is a fantastic opportunity for Austin Country Club and the city of Austin to host World Golf Championships-Dell Match Play,” said James Cahill, current Austin Country Club president. “The economic and charitable impact will benefit the community, as well as give great exposure to Austin as one of the best places to host world-wide events. Teaming up with Dell as a title sponsor and the PGA TOUR will make this a first-class experience for all attendees and highlight the rich history of Austin Country Club and golf in Austin.”
 
“The Austin Country Club is a special venue and we’re excited to partner with its membership and the PGA TOUR to bring the Dell Match Play to our hometown,” said Karen Quintos, senior vice president and chief marketing officer for Dell. “We’re looking forward to working with ACC and the PGA TOUR to create a world-class event and to extend both Dell’s and the PGA TOUR’s tradition of philanthropy.”
 
Dell, which is making its first foray into a major golf sponsorship, has a presence during this week’s Cadillac Match Play at TPC Harding Park with a customer engagement program and a fan-facing Dell technology experience, as well as a digital media campaign across the 2015 World Golf Championships series.  Moving forward, Dell looks to create a world-class, business-to-business event in Austin and integrate its various technology solutions into the Dell Match Play.
 
“I couldn’t be more excited and proud that my second home, Austin, Texas, is going to host the World Golf Championships-Dell Match Play at the great Austin Country Club,” said recent Masters champion and University of Texas standout Jordan Spieth. “I know that my peers -- the Americans and the international players -- are going to love the Austin feel, the crowds and Austin Country Club itself.”
 
Holes that will serve as the tournament’s back-nine border on Lake Austin with spectacular views from what is known as the “lowlands nine.”  The rest of the course is higher and more typical of the Texas Hill Country. The
course embodies the principle of playing to restricted targets. Indiscriminate play simply to the close-mown area of the fairway will only by accident provide the comfortable approach.
 
Austin, the nation’s 11th largest city by population, last hosted a regular TOUR event from 2003-2009 on the Champions Tour. Austin also was the original site of the Legends of Golf from 1978-1994.

Wednesday
Apr292015

Video: Ben Martin's 17th Hole Ace, WGC Cadillac Match Play

It was the shot of the day on an otherwise mixed-bag day of golf at Harding Park.

Ben Martin, playing 239 on the par-3 17th:

Favorites didn't fare too well on day one, but they have two more days to get things right, as Rex Hoggard notes for GolfChannel.com.

Consider that seven of the day’s first nine matches went to the lower-ranked player and that when the final putt dropped past 10 p.m. on the East Coast things had only gotten slightly better for the favored, with 13 of 32 matches going to the lower seed on Day 1.

It’s always been the axiom at the Match Play, which defies the pathological desire in sports to clearly define favorite and underdog. This however, is no NCAA tournament, where Cinderella stories are the stock in trade.

Rory McIlroy noted that the energy wasn't quite the same as previous match play Wednesdays. Jeff Babineau reports for Golfweek.com:

“I’m not sure the urgency on this Wednesday is right there,” McIlroy said, comparing it to the one-and-done format used in the past. This week, players are guaranteed three matches. “It’s very important to win any match, but obviously your first match. You’re facing a bit of an uphill struggle if you don’t win that one today. … All of a sudden, you’re not in control of your own destiny.”

We ended up with 245 in the GeoffShackelford.com league. Many thanks! I'm still sorting out how we're going to get results and do prizes, but it'll sort itself out. This should be fun come Friday night when we can start seeing results. And next week with the new PGA Tour Fantasy launch this may be a good test run.

Wednesday
Apr292015

Ryan Palmer On Chambers Bay Green Complexes: "Put a quarter in the machine and go for a ride." 

Steve DiMeglio of USA Today talks to Ryan Palmer about his scouting trip to Chambers Bay and he's got some issues with the green complex designs.

In particular, Palmer sees issues with the contours and some of the potential hole locations.

But … "We played it soft. The greens were rolling 9s (on the Stimpmeter). If they get it rolling 10 and 12, it will be interesting," Palmer said of the massive green complexes on the course. The greens feature large mounds, plenty of bumps and are largely unpredictable and will bring luck and plenty of it into play. "Put a quarter in the machine and go for a ride.

" … The green complexes are something else. With some of the pin placements, you will see some guys play it 30 yards left, 30 yards right or 30 yards long, and next thing you know you'll have a 2 footer. Or you'll be 75 feet from the pin. … You have to spend so much time on the greens, practice rounds are going to take eight hours. Every green has like five or six greens on it."

Palmer also provided the first review of the USGA's possible use of less-than-flat areas on tee boxes.

"(Davis') idea of tee boxes on down hills, up hills and side hills is ridiculous. That's not golf. I don't care what anybody says," Palmer said. "It will get a lot of bad press from the players. It is a joke. I don't understand it. I just don't know why they would do it."

Wednesday
Apr292015

The Country Club In Line To Host 2022 U.S. Open

Michael Whitmer of the Boston Globe reports that The Country Club will return to the national championship stage in 2022, pending an agreement between the USGA and the Brookline Board of Selectmen.  The USGA has already accepted the club's invitation to host the U.S. Open.

If all sides can reach an agreement, the 2022 US Open will be the fourth U.S. Open played there.

The Brookline Board of Selectmen, meeting Tuesday night, voted to execute a letter of intent with the USGA, which requested — in cooperation with The Country Club — that the item be placed on the agenda. USGA officials, joined by two representatives of The Country Club — Will Fulton, a member of the club’s board of directors, and David Chag, the club’s general manager — took part in Tuesday’s discussion.

The Board of Selectmen also voted to allow town administrator Mel Kleckner to convene a team to negotiate a definitive agreement with the USGA to bring the 2022 US Open to Brookline. The deadline to reach that agreement, Kleckner said, is Oct. 31.

This sets the USGA for a striking run of historic classic venues, starting with Oakmont in 2016, Shinnecock Hills in 2018, Pebble Beach in 2019, Winged Foot in 2020, TCC in 2022 and Los Angeles Country Club in 2023.

Wednesday
Apr292015

R.I.P. Calvin Peete

WSB-TV in Atlanta was the first to report the passing of Calvin Peete, 11-time PGA Tour winner and the modern era's most accurate driver of the ball.

The AP's short story by Doug Ferguson. And Will Gray at GolfChannel with this obituary.

Garry Smits in the Florida Times-Union remembers Peete, noting this is the 30th anniversary of Peete's Players win and his place as African-American with the most tour wins until Tiger came along.

The PGA Tour issued this press release on his passing, with a nice plug for THE PLAYERS to open the lede.

Calvin Peete, pioneer and THE PLAYERS 1985 champion, passes away at age 71

Ponte Vedra Beach, Fla. (April 29, 2015) - With THE PLAYERS Championship set to start next week, the PGA TOUR mourns the loss of Calvin Peete, a winner of the event 30 years ago and a pioneer who overcame great physical hardship to become a dominant TOUR player in the 1980s.  Peete died this morning in Atlanta, Ga.  He was 71.

Peete was born July 18, 1943, in Detroit as the eighth of nine children to Dennis and Irenna Peete. He won 12 PGA TOUR titles in his career, and of those dozen victories, 11 of them came between 1982 and 1986—all the while playing with a left arm he couldn’t totally extend because of a broken elbow that occurred during a childhood fall. Peete’s elbow healed incorrectly when his doctor didn’t properly set the arm in a cast. With his easily recognizable swing because of his permanently bent arm, Peete used uncanny accuracy off the tee to become the fourth African-American to win on TOUR, joining Pete Brown, Charlie Sifford and Lee Elder.

“Calvin was an inspiration to so many people. He started in the game relatively late in life but quickly became one of the TOUR’s best players, winning and winning often despite the hardship of his injured arm,” said PGA TOUR Commissioner Tim Finchem. “I can still remember watching Calvin hit drive after drive straight down the middle of the fairway, an amazing display of talent he possessed despite some of his physical limitations. Throughout his life, he gave so much, and we especially noticed it when he moved to Ponte Vedra Beach as he continued to support the community, the PGA TOUR and our various charitable pursuits. Along with his wife, Pepper, he made such a difference working with The First Tee and junior golf in this area. Calvin will always be remembered as a great champion and an individual who consistently gave back to the game. We will dearly miss him.”

“Everyone in the family admired and loved him,” said his wife, Pepper Peete.  “He took the Peete name to another level.  We are so thankful that he was in our lives as a father, husband and role model.  He was a blessing, and he will be missed.”

Prior to turning pro, Peete learned the game, starting at age 23, at Genesee Valley Park in Rochester, N.Y. He was 32 years old when he joined the PGA TOUR as a full-time member in 1976 after making his TOUR debut a year earlier. But Peete’s ascent as a pro was a slow one. He never finished above No. 94 on the money list in his first three years on the circuit.

However, in 1979, he broke through in a big way, winning his first TOUR title, at the Greater Milwaukee Open. Four rounds in the 60s led to a five-shot victory over Jim Simons, Victor Regalado and Lee Trevino. The following week, he was again in the hunt, at the Ed McMahon-Jaycees Quad Cities Open. Tied for 15th when the final round began, Peete shot a 7-under 63 at Oakwood Country Club but missed making it two wins in a row, finishing two strokes behind winner D.A. Weibring. He completed the year 27th on the final money list, passing the $100,000 mark ($122,481) in earnings for the first time.

In 1982, Peete had a career year, winning four times and making 22 cuts in 27 official starts. He again won the Greater Milwaukee Open and added wins at the Anheuser-Busch Golf Classic, the B.C. Open and the Pensacola Open. He finished fourth on the money list, and his four tournament titles matched Craig Stadler and Tom Watson for most on the Tour that year. Peete also proved his dominance by winning both the Driving Accuracy and Greens in Regulation crowns. Between 1981 and 1990, Peete led the Driving Accuracy category every year, and in 1980, the first year the TOUR kept records, he was second.

Peete followed his career year in 1983 with another multi-win season—capturing titles at the Georgia-Pacific Atlanta Classic and the Anheuser-Busch Golf Classic. That year he made the first of two U.S. Ryder Cup teams, recording a 2-1-1 record at PGA National, including a 1-up singles’ win over Brian Waites in the U.S.’s one-point win over Europe.

In 1984, Peete won the Vardon Trophy for lowest stroke average, something he just missed earning in 1983. His 70.561 average was enough to edge Jack Nicklaus, who finished second. He won a tournament for the third consecutive season, taking the Texas Open by three strokes over Bruce Lietzke.

Peete added two more titles in 1985—along with a third-place finish on the money list—with wins at the Phoenix Open and THE PLAYERS Championship in Ponte Vedra Beach. At TPC Sawgrass, Peete’s final-round 66 gave him a three-shot win over D.A. Weibring. Peete again played for the U.S. in the 1985 Ryder Cup, earning a 2-1-0 mark. Overall, he finished with a 4-2-1 showing in the biennial team event.

Peete’s last two TOUR titles came in 1986, at the MONY Tournament of Champions and the USF&G Classic in New Orleans. He curtailed his playing schedule considerably after the 1990 season, appearing in only 21 events between 1991 and 1995. His last TOUR start came at the 1995 PLAYERS Championship.

After turning 50, in 1993, he played the Champions Tour full time between 1994 and 2000. He made 158 starts, with his best finish a fourth-place effort at the 1994 Bell Atlantic Classic. Even after retiring from competition, he continued to play in the Legends of Golf, teaming with Mark Hayes in his final two years (2008 and 2009).

In 2002, the African American Ethnic Sports Hall of Fame inducted him.

Peete is survived by his wife, Pepper, and his children, Calvin, Dennis, Rickie, Nicole, Kalvanetta, Aisha and Aleya.

Funeral plans and location have yet to be determined.

Tuesday
Apr282015

The Chambers Bay Scouting Begins...

As the golf world wrestles with Mike Davis' declaration that those who do not pre-scout Chambers Bay rule themselves out of winning the world's most democratic major, a few players have either shown up at the course or talked to those who have.

The early reviews are guarded. Or worse.

Henrik Stenson ended up walking the course, reports Doug Ferguson in his AP notes column.

"I just felt like coming off six hours flying in the morning, to go straight out there and start playing when you don't know where you're going wasn't the best thing," Stenson said. "A lot of times, I feel you can get more out of walking. I'll have plenty of time to try it out in June."

Until he actually plays Chambers Bay, the Swede is reserving judgment.

"It was interesting," he said. "There is quite the elevation drops on a few of the holes. It looks like links with quite severe green areas and some big drop-offs. It could be fairly low scoring if the weather is good, and it could be brutal if the wind blows. It will be more easy to give a final say once I've played it."

Ian Poulter took to Twitter and was roasted for sharing what he'd heard from other players, which was unfortunate since Poulter made clear he had not come to a conclusion in subsequent Tweets.

Tuesday
Apr282015

Video: Schjoelberg's Even More Amazing Trick Shot

The over the shoulder shot by ASU's Mathias Schjoelberg was pretty sweet and we talked about it on Morning Drive. And I have to say it takes a lot to make my jaw drop in the trick shot department these days, but thanks to TJ Auclair for going through Mathias' Instagram account and finding an even more stunning shot.

You have to focus watching this one because it happens fast and it's sort of impossible to believe, but Schjoelberg not only hits a ball over his shoulders with a normal swing, he even gets it close to the hole.

Just amazing...

Need to play around a bit as well! #golf #trick #golfer #pgatour #GolfGods

A video posted by Mathias Schjoelberg (@mathiasschjoelberg) on

Tuesday
Apr282015

Today In Millennialism Gone Awry Files: "Golf Industry Continues To Reimagine Its Brand"

Jeff Fromm of Forbes provides eight ways the golf industry can reimagine its brand in the way that TopGolf successfully has.

It's not often I can link to such laugh out loud fun, though it's just not that funny when you consider how many people will actually take this stuff seriously. For those who don't there's always this.

My favorite laughs...

Key industry stakeholders are attempting to revitalize the sport through innovation and new models that align with a Millennial Mindset ™.

That's right, we're trademarking Millennial Mindset! Go on...

Topgolf is a newer, Millennial-friendly innovation that is taking the industry by storm and aligning with the physical and social culture some millennial golfers want but can not get from traditional golf experiences.

Companies invested in the brand of golf must keep these eight considerations in mind.

Just eight!

Successful millennial brands align with four core millennial values: Authenticity, Uniqueness, Innovation and Meaningfulness.  The most successful brands have authority in all four pillars.

Too bad those things don't work with non-Millennials!

Gain inspiration from other brands that have actively reversed decreasing trends among millennial participation. Running, skiing and cycling are all actively recruiting more millennials every day. This isn’t easy but Millennials will spend money to participate if their social, sporting and self-actualization needs are met.

Ah their self-actualization needs. Why didn't I think of that?

Like I mentioned earlier, little change has occurred in regards to the brand of golf. It is still seen as a very traditional and formal sport, which does not typically align with a millennial mindset that has little equity in old schemas.

Old schemas? How do we fix that?

Golf will need some schema disruption to help accelerate change.

Of course, schema disruption. Brilliant! Will that help pay off their loans?

“Millennials are approaching the game completely differently. They have shirttails out and collars up, listening to music and enjoying golf as a social event,” said May. “The traditional game has to evolve and adapt to the way they want to enjoy the game – Topgolf is that experience.”

No one ever has enjoyed golf previously as a social event. These kids are good!

8. Implement a co-opetition plan

Golf needs a plan that is Millennial-centric. Ultimately, the fragmented nature of the golf industry will make winning with millennials challenging. While many people don’t realize there are five major separate parties including but not limited to the USGA, PGA, LPGA, The Masters and PGA TOUR they will need to come together to increase overall participation in support of the sport as a whole.

This will require an investment of time and money. Likely this investment will need to be supported in some measure by the other companies and stakeholders in the industry that would benefit from increased demand for golf.

And by that time, it'll all be about Generation Z. So my millennial strategy is simple: just wait a few more years and they won't matter as much as the next gen!

Tuesday
Apr282015

Harding Park's Other Championship And Its Namesake

How the WGC Cadillac Match Play's vibe plays out over the first three days remains to be seen, but without the fear of losing half the field in one day Wednesday, we can savor the setting, city and venue as 64 of the best battle.

What the course lacks in architectural intrigue, it makes up for in the ghosts who have battled over Harding Park's mix of grasses. Sean Martin digs into the history of the San Francisco City Championships played at Harding.

Archer, the 1969 Masters champion, also is a past City champion. Miller and Tom Watson, a Stanford alum, competed in the tournament, but never won it. Juli Inkster, a seven-time LPGA major champion, won the women’s division twice.

Frank Mazion, a 6-foot-3 baggage handler at San Francisco International Airport embodied the blue-collar contingent that makes up a large part of The City. He won the City in 1979 and 1983. In addition to scratch flights for men, women and seniors, there are multiple net flights for higher-handicap players. Hundreds of players participate each year.

Mazion befriended John Brodie, the former San Francisco 49ers quarterback who later played the Champions Tour, after beating him in The City in 1974.

“Mazion looks like could have run interference for Brodie, or better yet, caught a lot of passes during a long National Football League career,” the Milwaukee Journal wrote in 1977, when Mazion was playing the U.S. Amateur Public Links there. “His golf clubs look like toys in his hands.”

The friendship between Mazion and Brodie, forged at The City, is testament to its diversity. Riveters, roofers and cops are among the tournament’s past champions. Stephen Molinelli’s opponent in the 1993 semifinals was a man nicknamed “Scarecrow.”

“He played in overalls, a flannel long-sleeve shirt and a straw hat. And he beat me,” said Molinelli, a former Olympic Club champion. “That’s the greatness of The City Championship.”

Over at GolfBlot, Steve Elling considers the life and golfing times of Harding Park's namesake, the former president.

The course opened in 1925, two years after the widely scorned Harding – whose short term in office was marked by accusations of larceny and prison terms of a key cabinet member – died in the city’s Palace Hotel. Harding loved the city so much that … he was immediately hauled off by train and buried in Ohio.

Having a lousy namesake hasn’t hurt the course in the eyes of players. It was designed by Willie Watson, who built the nearby U.S. Open venue Olympic Club, and Harding will host the 2020 PGA Championship.

Overall, Harding was generally considered the second-worst American president in history, behind U.S. Grant, though some put Harding at the top of the list, given the scandals that engulfed his short term in the White House.

Tuesday
Apr282015

PGA Tour Joins With MLB For Streaming Service...

The good news? The PGA Tour has joined forces with Major League Baseball's Advanced Media, MLBAM, to create a digital streaming service.

That's great news actually. Because MLBAM is so good that it powers most of the best digital offerings around, including some that would probably shock you. Oh, and MLB's offerings, which are sensational.

The bad news?

They'll be asking us to pay for early Thursday and Friday PGA Tour coverage not picked up by the Golf Channel. In other words, subscribers will be for friends and family, or family loaning their password to friends. But since you know I always like to look at the positive side of things when it comes to PGA Tour business, the long term play here is hopefully a positive one for fans. You know, one that makes it easier to see some fun content involving more than just weekday non-TV window content.

For Immediate Release:

INTRODUCING PGA TOUR LIVE
New Digital OTT Subscription Service to Debut in 2015
PGA TOUR and MLB Advanced Media to collaborate
on product development, live streaming and distribution

PONTE VEDRA BEACH, Fla. (April 28, 2015) – The PGA TOUR today announced the creation of PGA TOUR LIVE, a digital Over-The-Top subscription service featuring exclusive, live Thursday and Friday morning coverage of more than 30 PGA TOUR events per season.  The PGA TOUR and MLB Advanced Media (MLBAM) are entering into a multi-year partnership to develop, produce, and distribute the OTT service to golf fans in North America and other key markets around the world.

Set to launch this summer, PGA TOUR LIVE will feature exclusive Thursday and Friday coverage of two morning featured groups leading up to the afternoon Golf Channel television broadcast.  PGA TOUR LIVE will mark the first time ever that complete, live coverage of morning marquee groups has been provided to fans.

“PGA TOUR LIVE is an important development for golf fans, as it will bring live action to the devices they use most, while building great momentum and viewership for the ensuing broadcast coverage each weekday afternoon and into the weekend,” said Tim Finchem, Commissioner of the PGA TOUR.  “Working with MLBAM was a natural fit, as it was a top priority to find a partner to meet the challenge of delivering the digital hybrid our fans want most – a live HD broadcast with world-class technology distribution.”

The PGA TOUR and MLBAM will collaborate to develop, launch and operate the subscription service across mobile, tablet and other digital devices in the United States, Canada, and select international markets.  MLBAM, the New York-based technology company, will provide its Emmy Award winning video infrastructure services, including cross-platform application development and broadcast engineering operations, to bring this new digital-only product to a wide range of devices and screens.  Subscription pricing and supported digital platforms will be announced at a later date.

“Commissioner Finchem and his entire staff deserve credit for having the vision and the fortitude to serve the millions of golf fans with this product,” said Bob Bowman, President of Business & Media for Major League Baseball. “Those fans will not be disappointed.”

Tuesday
Apr282015

Last Chances For WGC Match Play Bracketology

Nice to see 109 (at this time) have signed up for Dell's WGC Match Play bracket, the GeoffShackelford.com league.

I have no idea if I'll be able to tell who the winners are or what I'll be providing (but count on books...signed). Either way, it'll be fun to see who has the handicapping moxy at this week's Match Play.

If you haven't signed up, here's the link to the group.

Tuesday
Apr282015

NFL Gives Up Tax Exempt Status...Will PGA Tour Follow?

Of course not! And possibly for good reason.

But it'll be interesting to watch the fall out from the NFL's reversal on their previous stance.

Eric Edholm reports for Yahoo Sports (thanks reader Larry) after the news was broken by Bloomberg's Scott Soshnick, who obtained Commissioner Roger Goodell's memo to the owners:

The fact is that the business of the NFL has never been tax exempt. Every dollar of income generated through television rights fees, licensing agreements, sponsorships, ticket sales, and other means is earned by the 32 clubs and is taxable there. This will remain the case even when the league office and Management Council file returns as taxable entities, and the change in filing status will make no material difference to our business. As a result, the Committees decided to eliminate this distraction.

Recently Congress has questioned whether sports league associations should, as a matter of federal tax policy, be tax exempt. We will notify interested members of Congress of this decision by NFL ownership.

Edholm notes:

In recent years, congressional forces have rallied against this tax-exempt status — as well as with other sports leagues, such as the PGA and NHL — and have pressured the leagues to give it up and pay their fair share. The NFL apparently has the money and is willing to get ahead of the game to avoid a public-relations nightmare.

Drew Harwell and Will Hobson of the Washington Post conclude the move will help the NFL get discussion away from Commissioner Goodell's salary.

The NFL’s head office will have to pay taxes on its income, which totaled about $327 million in 2013. But it will no longer have to file yearly tax forms that publicly disclose details like executive pay, including for commissioner Roger Goodell, who made $44 million in 2012.

In a letter dated Tuesday to team owners and members of Congress, Goodell called the decades-old tax-exempt status a “distraction” that has “been mischaracterized repeatedly,” and whose end “will make no material difference to our business.”

The PGA Tour's response will be that it is an entirely different tax-exempt structure with massive amounts going to charity (more than all of the other pro sports leagues combined). Will that be enough to find off the critics? Isn't it tempting to hide the Ponte Vedra salaries? Just a bit, Ty?