Twitter: GeoffShac
Writing And Videos
  • 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 – A Complete History
    The Ryder Cup: Golf's Grandest Event – 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 difference between the golf courses of America and of Great Britain can best be expressed by the two words “artificial” and “natural”: and that means a whole lot more than the mere presence or absence of the fabrication of man. Our golf courses in the main lack the subtlety of the British links, and it is why our golf does not demand the strategy or the intelligent planning it should.
BOBBY JONES

 

  

Wednesday
Jul262017

Rolex Effect? European Tour On Ranking Points Streak

Alex Miceli at MorningRead.com suggests we're seeing the first sign of success for European Tour Chief Keith Pelley's Rolex Series, with the three lead-up events to The Open offering more world ranking points than their PGA Tour counterparts.

Miceli writes:

Not since 2010, when the European Tour’s BMW International Open offered the same ranking points as the Travelers Championship on the PGA Tour, followed by France and Scotland outpointing AT&T National and John Deere, has Europe proved to be a better draw than America.

The Rolex Series, which consists of eight lucrative events offering purses of at least $7 million throughout the European Tour season, has allowed Keith Pelley, the tour’s chief executive officer, to create an environment in which European players want to return home to compete.

“There's no question Rolex has come in and has allowed us to elevate the tournaments,” Pelley said of the Swiss watchmaker’s sponsorship. “As the title partner of the Rolex Series, they believed in the vision … but what we have invested in the infrastructure to make it a much stronger and a better tournament.” 

Here were the points breakdown on fields for those events:

HNA Open De France 270 vs Quickens Loans National 229
Dubai Duty Free Irish Open 288 vs Greenbrier Classic 174
AAM Scottish Open 342 vs  John Deere Classic 140

In another nice sign for the tour's ability to intrigue players to tee it up more often, Pat Perez has joined the tour after rising to 42nd in the world ranking, joining Kevin Na and Japan’s Hideto Tanihara in taking up similar affiliate memberships with the European Tour this season.

Perez said: “It’s probably the first time I have been in a position to do become a European Tour member in my career. I’ve always stayed in the US. So I figured, after I won and got to the top 50 in the world, I might try and travel a bit and see some new parts of the world and play against other great players. I wanted to play the European Tour and become more of a global player.

“I am going to try and broaden my horizons, go to places such as Dubai and Malaysia, and see where I fall."

Wednesday
Jul262017

Bloomberg: Time Inc. Exploring Sale Of Golf Magazine

Bloomberg's Gerry Smith quotes Time Inc. CEO Rich Battista as saying the venerable print title and its Golf.com website are for sale along with Coastal Living and Sunset.

In the interview, Battista called the three publications “wonderful brands” but said Time needed to invest in other properties instead. The company also publishes People and Sports Illustrated.

“It’s really important to focus on the key biggest growth drivers of this company that will move the needle the most,” he said. “These are wonderful titles and wonderful brands. They’re just relatively smaller in our portfolio.”

Meanwhile, WWD's Alexandra Steigrad reports that Golf Digest Chief Business Officer Howard Mittman has left for Bleacher Report amid rumors of more shake-ups in the Conde Nast business model.

Tuesday
Jul252017

Follow-up: In Defense Of The Time It Took To Sort Out Jordan Spieth's Open Championship Drop

I wrote about the zaniness at 13 Sunday at Birkdale for Golfweek, and while most are pretty satisfied with the conclusion, many have written in response to the piece still unsatisfied with how things played out.

Namely, many are upset at the time Jordan Spieth's drop took and the impact on Matt Kuchar. Some are still upset that the driving range was not marked as out-of-bounds. And some are unhappy that Spieth could hit such a poor drive and use the rules to his advantage.

A few random rebuttals and reads that hopefully help shed a different light beyond what I wrote above:

- Spieth's tee shot ended up on the side of a huge dune almost 100 yards from the fairway. The ball hit a spectator. The combination of visibility issues and simply maneuvering on a steep, wet hill made it hard for anyone to move quickly or figure out options.

- The range was too far out of play to be seen as a necessary boundary. Sure, the 10th fairway was declared out of bounds on Tuesday of tournament week to prevent 350 yard short cuts, so it certainly could have been declared OB in the same way. But I just don't think anyone could fathom the range being in play.

- As soon as Spieth saw how bad the lie was, he had the clarity to start looking at unplayable lie options, briefly at the base of the dune and then going as far back as he wanted, keeping the ball in line with the hole. He had to move back up the dune to sort out the line with the walking referee. That took a while.

- Spieth should not be blamed for the tour trucks having not left town. Nor is it his fault that the range was left unmarked as a boundary.

- Apparently not seen on the American broadcast was Spieth's drop between the tour trucks, which took a few minutes to sort out and was ultimately resolved by John Paramor, roving official and European Tour rules man. Once he was on the scene things moved along.

- In watching Spieth and Greller work, I actually sensed Jordan might have rushed the shot once he got his line of play and the crowd somewhat settled down. He did not strike it perfectly and from his vantage point, the shot seemed way right. But as Bones noted today on Morning Drive, Greller's yardage call was a great guess. Oh, and rangefinder advocates, a distance measuring device would not have sped things up much or looked very good.

- Jack Nicklaus was impressed with how Spieth used the rules to his advantage.

And while it did take him a long time between the tee shot and the next shot, Jordan figured out what to do. I don’t know if I would have figured out to go over to the driving range for that shot. That was an unbelievable decision and unbelievable 5. That putt was so huge.

- Spieth joked afterwards about having experience with unplayable lie drops and temporary movable obstructions. That may be the case, but as Karen Crouse notes in this comparison between Spieth and McIlroy, he's also just the more analytical player. His nearly-manic energy at times came in handy.

- The entire scene was terribly unfair to Kuchar but not avoidable.

- The distraction of dealing with the situation might have weighed on someone who was already pondering a major meltdown (Coffin/GolfChannel.com). Spieth turned chaos into a positive. Again, lousy for Kuchar but it could have all easily gone another way. Spieth is just a different character. At least he apologized for taking so long.

A YouTube posting of the entire sequence is here.

Tuesday
Jul252017

Latest Twist In UK TV Deals: BT In Talks To Carry Masters

Sky Sports lost the PGA Championship on short notice and appears headed toward also losing the Masters, and as James Corrigan explains in this Telegraph exclusive, BT is now in talks to carry the Masters.

Not only is it an issue for Sky, but as Corrigan explains, could have ramifications for the European Tour and USGA.

BT sees this as the ideal avenue to enter golf, but there are nervous faces not only at Sky but also the European Tour.

Without Sky’s backing the Tour would not operate its present guise, if at all, and the last thing the powers that be at Wentworth HQ would want is for Murdoch Towers to become disillusioned with the sport and walk away.
Yet any sense of ingratitude on Sky’s behalf would be totally understandable, especially with rumours circulating that the USGA, which runs the US Open, is ready to look elsewhere in the quest for bigger viewing figures when its deal runs out in 2018.

Tuesday
Jul252017

Eye On Design: Seamus Golf's Feel Player

I had the privilege of testing out a prototype of Seamus Golf's new Feel Player shoe and did it in the ideal conditions: a wet round at Prestwick.

The shoes held up beautifully and even better, were incredibly comfortable. Never did I question the support provided, something that seemd very much up of interest when I first unpacked these ultra-light golf shoes.

My review of the Feel Player. Tomorrow I'll be posting a Q&A with Seamus co-founder Akbar Christi.

 

Monday
Jul242017

Michael Greller's Role In Spieth's 2017 Open Turnaround

There is a lot of great insight here from The Scotsman's Martin Dempster talking to Jordan Spieth caddie Michael Greller.

Spieth credited his bagman with helping turn things around and Greller, who rare gives in depth interviews, was more open about this one.

“I just told him to go back to the tempo of the Travelers because it was really similar,” said Greller of the PGA Tour win recorded by Spieth in his previous outing before the season’s third major. “He was leading wire-to-wire and was having some tough things happening. It just so happens this was a major. He knows what to do. This was the 13th time he’s had the lead in a major, so it’s not like this was his first time in this situation. He was easy to work with. He’s matured a lot in the last six years since I met him. It wasn’t that difficult.

“He’s hurt a lot since that 2016 Masters, and I’m sure somewhere in there some doubts had crept in. He just said, ‘You know what, I know how to do this’. He’s done it twice before and now three times. It was just cool to see him with his back against the wall, more than at Augusta in 2016. To do what he did just shows his character and his grit.”

Spieth now famously also gave Greller a new task, picking the ball out of the hole after seeing players do that in old Open highlight films. Kevin Casey with the roundup on that.

Greller also gave the days clubs to the R&A for posterity, with an asterisk:

Monday
Jul242017

Ratings: Strong Overnights For 2017 Open At Birkdale

SBD's Austin Karp shared some overnight ratings for Jordan Spieth's win at The Open and for the first time, it may exceed the U.S. Open in total viewership.


Adweek also reported the total interactions on social media. What this means, I have no idea:

 

On the sports side, the final round of the 2017 Open Championship on Golf Channel and NBC drove and putted its way to 433,000 total interactions across Facebook and Twitter.

Monday
Jul242017

First 2017 Open Championship Question And Poll: Should Royal Birkdale Host More Regularly?

As I write here for Golfweek, Royal Birkdale is a course for horses. It regular produces great finishes and stellar champions.

The players love the place.  Several, including hometown hero Tommy Fleetwood,  suggested that once ever 9-10 years is not enough.

 

 

The crowds broke records. They were passionate but respectful and incredibly welcoming.

Having seen Hoylake, Lytham and Birkdale in recent years, I wouldn't mind seeing Birkdale permanently replace Lytham in the Merseyside rota-within-the-rota.

What do you think?

Should Royal Birkdale host The Open more regularly?
 
pollcode.com free polls

Sunday
Jul232017

ShackHouse 43: 2017 Open Championship Wrap

House and I convened immediately after a thrilling, wacky, weird Open Championship at Royal Birkdale to kick around the final day's action.

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 42 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 Odyssey as well.

Check out those Callaway Lives referenced here in the show.

Sunday
Jul232017

Your Initial Reactions: Jordan Spieth Wins The Open

I'll have a longer recap here and a ShackHouse will be posted tonight.

In the meantime, Golfweek's quick recap and my story on the 13th hole chaos as a lucky eyewitness.



Sunday
Jul232017

2017 Open Championship Final Round This And That

Another stellar day at Royal Birkdale gave us some history, mostly incredible play and a few setbacks for stars. Mostly though it was another impressive display by Jordan Spieth and Matt Kuchar who head into the finale well separate of the field.

Here is the roundup on Branden Grace's historic 62 from yesterday.

Two last points on that, apparently the members are handling it well. (Bamberger/Golf.com)

A week ago, the firmness of the fairways, as measured by something called the Clegg Hammer Test, measured about 130. (Drop a golf ball from shoulder height on a 130 CHT fairway and you will hear a dull thud and see the ball bounce.) By Thursday, the Royal Birkdale fairways were Clegging around 115. Not mushy—let us stand in praise of sandy soil!—but not exactly linoleum, either.

John Huggan wonders if the R&A made the setup too reasonable will welcome discussion of the low scoring (GolfDigest.com).

In order to achieve all of the above, they have deliberately allowed the game’s best almost free rein. They have collectively gritted their teeth and actively encouraged low scoring the like of which we haven’t seen before at Royal Birkdale. And, in doing so, they hope to encourage growing and widespread calls for change in the long-established debate over distance.

No easy task, of course. But it can safely be assumed that the R&A and their American counterparts at the USGA would welcome such discussions.

Johnny Miller's assessment of the setup hasn't gone over well with the younger set (Kerr-Dineen/For The Win).

On to the leaders...

Birkdale and Spieth are a match and we may be watching a "quintessential performance" in Spieth's career. (Van Valkenburg/ESPN.com)

It wasn't long ago Jordan Spieth's game was adrift. (Hoggard/GolfChannel.com)

Doug Ferguson with this piece from a few weeks ago where Jordan Spieth spoke of being uncomfortable in the leading role and hoping to change that.

Jaime Diaz wonders if Spieth will put some final round Masters demons behind him and suggests by that deep stare Spieth gave upon birdieing the 18th yesterday if we'll be on career Grand Slam watch next month.

Some Spieth facts and notes worth keeping in mind. (G.C. Digital/GolfChannel.com)

Kuchar is looking to avoid the unavoidable: match play with Spieth. (Coffin/GolfChannel.com)

More McIlroy disappointment. (Harig/ESPN.com)

Beef Johnston is in a Twitter war with a local presenter who called him a clown. (Kerr-Dineen/For The Win)

Hole, shot and quote of the day. (Ahern/Golfweek.com)

More top quotes from Saturday. (G.C. Digital/GolfChannel.com)

Final round tee and TV Times (Casey/Golfweek).

They employed a marker today and will again tomorrow. Both work in the Royal Birkdale shop. (Myers/GolfDigest.com)

Martin Slumbers' shot at the BBC may come back to haunt him. (Murray/Guardian)

The weather forecast suggests the most wind will be late in the day.

Peter Kostis shot back at Dan Jenkins to defend his CBS colleague Ian Baker Finch.

A GolfDigest.com contributor used The Open to air his grievances with golf and even the modern golf professional ("entitled products of a selfish, insular and elitist culture of wealth"). (Ryan/New York Times)

TheOpen.com for all of your basic needs.

Tee times.

The traditional leaderboard at TheOpen.com.

I'm not sure if it works in the States, but Open radio is a fun way to enjoy the action if you have other tasks to tend to. Inexplicably, the R&A no longer sells radios to spectators.

Golfweek's Live Blog will keep you up to date.

The Guardian's Live Blog will give you the UK perspective.

Final round hole locations:

 

 

Saturday
Jul222017

Roundup: Branden Grace Becomes First To Shoot 62 In A Major

He made it look pretty easy on a day that was admittedly asking for a 62 at Royal Birkdale. Bones Mackay even predicted it, with apologies, to Johnny Miller.

I stepped out to the course to watch the last part of the historic round and filed this for Golfweek.com on the round, Grace not having a clue where he stood to par or even the historic nature.

Here is the hole-by-hole info on clubs used, provided by caddie Zack Rasego to R&A media liason Dave Seanor and posted here at Golfweek.com. Note that he did not hit more than a 7-iron into a par-4.

Here is a picture of the official scorecard for history buffs.

Johnny Miller's reaction from the NBC telecast on the accomplishment.  

Steve DiMeglio calls Royal Birkdale defenseless in his USA Today assessment.

Derek Lawrenson in the Daily Mail: "A significant milestone in the history of the game was shattered on Saturday by a South African who had no idea of the enormity of his achievement."

Jason Sobel equates it to breaking golf's version of the 4-minute mile.

Jaime Diaz considers all of the reasons the round happened and concluded this:

And maybe the most important factor, considering how many times the golf gods have kept the 62nd stroke out of the hole in a major – it was about damn time.

Josh Berhow at Golf.com captures some of the majestic home hole scene as Grace finished the historic round.

The social media congratulations are pouring in, starting with Jack Nicklaus. GolfChannel.com with the roundup.

Grace's bag, reported on by David Dusek.

Certainly the scores were good, though as the day has progressed we'll see what the final tally is...

Saturday
Jul222017

2017 Open Championship Round Three This And That

Jordan Spieth is the man to beat, holding a two-stroke lead heading into weekend play at The Open. He was pleased the conditions turned out to not be quite as awful as expected. (Tait/Golfweek)

Matt Kuchar was a pleasure to watch and was taking pleasure in the idea of watching the afternoon round. (Shackelford/Golfweek)

Ian Poulter has nothing to lose, as he sees it. (Coffin/GolfChannel.com)

“I’m in a bonus week,” he said Friday after shooting even-par 70 to remain in contention at his beloved Open Championship. “I qualified for The Open. I’m loving it. I really am. This is a massive bonus for me to be in this position. I haven’t played in a major for a little while, and I can’t wait. I’m excited. I’m pumped up.”

Zach Johnson fired an anger-driven 66 in terrible weather. (Herrington/GolfDigest.com)

Rory McIlroy worked himself back into contention with a 68 and restored some strut to his repertoire too. (Wacker/GolfDigest.com)

Sergio Garcia hurt his shoulder taking a swing at gorse. He still shot 69. (Romine/Golfweek)

The HOF GIF from Ryan Lavner:

Kent Bulle appeared on the leaderboard for a while and is enjoying his time away from the Web.com Tour. (Babineau/Golfweek)

The long-knocking Chan Kim is an intriguing story to watch this weekend and beyond.  (Romine/Golfweek)

Phil Mickelson missed the cut with flair, he said, and other notables going home for the weekend. (Romine/Golfweek)

Justin Thomas made a theatrical 9 en route to missing the cut. (SkySports.com)

Jon Rahm has no hard feelings toward Lee Westwood questioning a decision to alert the walking referee to a violation, but there's also some smoke here that Rahm feels will go away. (Herrington/Golf World)

There's a betting dispute over Tommy Fleetwood and William Hill is not paying up. (Cowan/ChampNews.com)

Eric Matuszewski talks to Tommy Roy about The Golf Channel/NBC approach, including the split screen breaks we've seen so far.

Some background on Bones and his successful first few days as a broadcaster. (Elling/MorningRead.com)

Henrik Stenson's rental home was burglarized and some of his clothes stolen. (Facey/The Sun)

Stenson spoke about the incident after his round and how he might have been targeted, noting several factors of concern. (Murray/Guardian)

The "Amber" weather alert that halted play for 15 minutes is explained here by the Met Office.

Friday's notes, quotes and shots of the day (Ahern/Golfweek).

They look out for their wildlife here...

Saturday's hole locations:

TheOpen.com for all of your basic needs.

Tee times.

The traditional leaderboard at TheOpen.com.

I'm not sure if it works in the States, but Open radio is a fun way to enjoy the action if you have other tasks to tend to. Inexplicably, the R&A no longer sells radios to spectators.

Golfweek's Live Blog will keep you up to date.

The Guardian's Live Blog will give you the UK perspective.

Saturday
Jul222017

WaPo On Trump LA: "Is the presidency good for Trump’s business?" 

The Washington Post's David Fahrenthold and Rob Kuznia analyze numbers and anecdotal evidence to conclude that Trump National Los Angeles has taken a financial hit since the November election of Donald Trump.

Unlike Trump Turnberry where I visited last week and saw signs of robust business, Fahrenthold and Kuznia say it's hard to see anything but a residual effect on Trump LA.

Charity golf-tournaments, another core piece of the club’s business, have moved away: ESPN relocated its celebrity tournament. The L.A. Galaxy soccer team withdrew. The L.A. Unified School District also moved, forfeiting a $7,500 deposit it had already paid Trump’s course.

Hollywood, another source of revenue for the club, has largely stopped coming to film TV shows and movies, according to city permit records.

And the club’s wedding business seems to have been affected as well. Couples used to hold big outdoor ceremonies at a city park across the street, then return to Trump National for a reception.

Friday
Jul212017

Lexi Mocks LPGA Dress Code In Grand Victorian Style

Very clever spoof of the new LPGA dress policy by Lexi Thompson. Maybe she took some inspiration from this (thanks reader LC).

 

Friday
Jul212017

2017 Open Championship Round Two This And That

It was an above average day at Royal Birkdale in terms of scoring, storylines, shotmaking and a course in peak condition.

Day two may not be such a graceful display if the forecasters are to be believed.

Ian Poulter has kept the momentum going since his Players win and in returning to the site of his best Open finish. (Tallentire/Guardian)

Jordan Spieth added a few twists to his game and looked focused. (Shackelford/Golfweek)

Matt Kuchar opened with 67 and admitted after that he should have won more in his career. (Huggan/GolfDigest.com)

Kuchar is crediting his Scottish Open appearance to feeling comfortable here. (Hoggard/GolfChannel.com)

Rory McIlroy got a pep talk from is caddie...well, it was a bit more PG-13 than that. (Tait/Golfweek)

The Tommy Fleetwood-return-to-Southport didn't go as planned. (Mitchell/Guardian)

Brooks Koepka didn't miss a beat since taking off a month after his U.S. Open win. (Babineau/Golfweek)

Jon Rahm went from a disastrous day to a merely eventful opening 69 after he was cleared of an infraction. (Romine/Golfweek)

Aussies aren’t real thrilled with Dan Jenkins after taking a jab at Ian Baker-Finch. (Walten/AAP)

Justin Thomas gave detractors 67 reasons to stop talking about a pretty swell retro outfit. (Romine/Golfweek)

“It’s nice definitely to get people to stop talking about that,” said Thomas, who shot 3-under 67 while sporting a navy tie as part of his Polo Golf/Ralph Lauren scripting for Thursday’s opening round. “Obviously, I knew it was probably going to get a lot of publicity and be out there, but I didn’t come here to dress well.”

Jason Day's joggers and white hi-tops didn't fare well either with fashionistas. (Romine/GolfChannel.com)

Fashion got lots of overall attention. (Romine/GolfChannel.com)

Alfie Plant displayed no fear. England's least known, best hope at the moment.

First day TV hit and misses. (Kaufmann/Golfweek)

Russia has apparently infiltrated the list of Open winners. (Miceli/MorningRead.com)

Monty's bluster brought life to the Golf Channel telecast. (Elling/MorningRead.com)

To kick off round two, the R&A announced Andrew Johnston as "Beef" Johnston. Somewhere Ivor Robson just flinched.

TheOpen.com for all of your basic needs.

Tee times.

The traditional leaderboard at TheOpen.com.

I'm not sure if it works in the States, but Open radio is a fun way to enjoy the action if you have other tasks to tend to. Inexplicably, the R&A no longer sells radios to spectators.

Golfweek's Live Blog will keep you up to date.

The Guardian's Live Blog will give you the UK perspective.

Friday
Jul212017

ShackHouse 42: Open Championship Pop-Up

A quick recap of a lively day one at The Open, some Jordan Spieth talk, the weather, Rory and Ricky, the online coverage and the players to watch going forward (26:00).

Links to the two shows referenced worth checking out: Vice Sports on Henrik Stenson and Matt Ryan on Callaway Live.

Thursday
Jul202017

About The Passing Ship That Is The Royal Birkdale Clubhouse

Having inspired several other clubhouses and several homes in the neighborhood, the Royal Birkdale clubhouse influence is unmistakable.

Though as David Owen noted in this piece, with accompanying image, the original design vision was pretty swell and needs restoration.

The club has monkeyed with the building since it was built, by removing a number of the original Art Deco details and adding boxlike extensions, but the basic idea is intact. The building’s design influenced other architecture in the region, including this house, which is just up the road from the club:

These days, the exterior just lacks a few too many of the fun nuances that articulated the original vision and yet I still love the concept and the vision.

We at Morning Drive took the question to the people and here's what they said...

Thursday
Jul202017

2017 Open Championship Round One This And That

We started it out with positively hideous weather but things have improved notwithstanding a huge drop in temperature compared to the practice rounds.

TheOpen.com for all of your needs.

Tee times.

The traditional leaderboard at TheOpen.com.

I'm not sure if it works in the States, but Open radio is a fun way to enjoy the action if you have other tasks to tend to.

Justin Thomas has stuck to the expected scripting and his cardigan/tie combo is definitely classing this place up.

Golfweek's Live Blog will keep you up to date.

The Guardian's Live Blog will give you the UK perspective.

Round one hole locations at Royal Birkdale appear mostly generous.

Thursday
Jul202017

Bifurcation: R&A Chief Opens Door To The B-Word

After yesterday's press conference where he acknowledged movements in driving distance averages, R&A Chief Executive Martin Slumbers opened the door to rules bifurcation. Slumbers seems to see the wisdom in letting average golfers enjoy the benefits of technology while making changes to maintain skill in the elite game.

Alex Miceli at MorningRead.com reports:

“When we look at all the options we’ve got, it [bifurcation] will have to be one of the options we look at,” Slumbers said. “Whether that’s the right thing to do, who knows the answer. Up to date, we have had a view of one set of playing rules, one set of equipment rules, and I think that served our game extremely well, but we must make sure we get the skill and technology right, as a balance for the good of the overall game.”

Even considering another set of rules for the elite game is a milestone moment for the R&A. The organization has resisted such a concept, even when the notion was suggested to deal with anchoring.

Couple this with the USGA's Mike Davis suggesting a variable distance ball concept as a possibility and we appear to be on the road to bifurcation.