Twitter: GeoffShac
  • Playing Through: Modern Golf's Most Iconic Players and Moments
    Playing Through: Modern Golf's Most Iconic Players and Moments
    by Jim Moriarty
  • Tommy's Honor: The Story of Old Tom Morris and Young Tom Morris, Golf's Founding Father and Son
    Tommy's Honor: The Story of Old Tom Morris and Young Tom Morris, Golf's Founding Father and Son
    by Kevin Cook
  • His Ownself: A Semi-Memoir (Anchor Sports)
    His Ownself: A Semi-Memoir (Anchor Sports)
    by Dan Jenkins
  • The Captain Myth: The Ryder Cup and Sport's Great Leadership Delusion
    The Captain Myth: The Ryder Cup and Sport's Great Leadership Delusion
    by Richard Gillis
  • The Ryder Cup: Golf's Grandest Event – 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

I have always felt that Riviera Country Club has one of the greatest golf courses in the country. When I was on the tour in the 30s and 40s, wining the L.A. Open, especially at Riviera, was considered as important as a major.
BYRON NELSON

 

  

Saturday
Aug192017

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Friday
Aug182017

Quick Preview: U.S. Amateur Quarterfinals Set

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

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

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

Fox Sports 1 coverage begins at 6 pm ET.

Thursday
Aug172017

Judge Halts Green Jacket Auction Of Green Jackets

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

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

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

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

Yowsers...

The jackets are still listed as of now.

Thursday
Aug172017

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

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


Wednesday
Aug162017

Some Big Names With Tour Cards On The Line This Week

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

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

Wednesday
Aug162017

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

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

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

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

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

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

Here are the pairings:


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

Full field scores.

Tuesday
Aug152017

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

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

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

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

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

Tuesday
Aug152017

Acushnet Files Answer to Costco Complaint With Gusto!

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

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

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

This was fun from the filing:

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

Tuesday
Aug152017

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

USGA photos from day one. 

All day one scores here.

Monday
Aug142017

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

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

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

Monday
Aug142017

And Then Justin Dined With Tiger On Toxicology Results Day

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

Thomas Tweeted the photo first posted by Tiger: 

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

From an ESPN.com report:

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

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

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

Monday
Aug142017

Happy Ending: Worst Player Ever To Win Major Confronts Writer

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

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

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

Monday
Aug142017

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

2. Long telecast lowers the average audience size.

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

3. Eyeballs elsewhere: streaming coverage, cable news viewing

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

Sunday
Aug132017

ShackHouse 46: Recapping The 2017 PGA

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

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

Here is The Ringer's show page.

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

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

Sunday
Aug132017

Roundup: Justin Thomas Wins 99th PGA Championship

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Sunday
Aug132017

Rory Considers Shutting Down For Remainder Of 2017

I found the Roger Federer reference telling from a member of Rory McIlroy's camp, as quoted in Derek Lawrenson's Daily Mail story following a final round 68 at Quail Hollow.

‘There’s a lot to be said for what Roger Federer did in tennis,’ said one of his inner circle, referring to the five months the Swiss legend took off to get fit before coming back to win the Australian Open in January.

That sounds like a season shutdown, something McIlroy did not dispel following the round.

‘So right now, to be perfectly honest, I don’t know what to do. You might not see me now until next year. You might see me in a fortnight at the FedEx Cup. What I do know is that if I want to challenge on a consistent basis, I need to get 100 per cent healthy.’

Sunday
Aug132017

Your Reaction: Justin Thomas Wins The 2017 PGA

After a dreadful Saturday, Quail Hollow finally found its footing Sunday and let the players attack.

Mutiple competitors made a valiant effort at the title.

CBS buried us in commercial breaks in a tradition unlike any other.

Justin Thomas separated himself artfully down the stretch with key birdies at 13 and 17 to take the Wannamaker.

As has happened too many times in recent years, a compelling finish might mask that the PGA Championship needs to up its game.

Your thoughts?

Sunday
Aug132017

2017 PGA Final Round This And That

The forecast is improving after some more overnight rain softened things up, but landmines still linger in Sunday's forecast. Given Saturday's multiple pile-ups that appeased those who saw too many birdies at the U.S. Open, I'm hoping the players get a chance to attack some on Sunday.

Kevin Kisner's driver has been the key so far, and his Zurich Classic partner Scott Brown isn't surprised that he's kept the lead going into Sunday (Romine/Golfweek).  He's also embracing the difficulty of Quail Hollow (Lavner/Golfweek).

This is Hideki Matsuyama's best shot yet heading into a final round, writes Dan Kilbridge at Golfweek.

Jeff Babineau on the potential 2-for-291 run of Chris Stroud, the biggest longshot in some time with a chance to win a PGA Championship.

Webb Simpson is a member at Quail Hollow and thinks the setup is too much for a PGA. Someone's going to get a letter from Johnny! (Casey/Golfweek).

Jordan Spieth acknowledged that the PGA will be his toughest major to win, but Michael Bamberger says he can look to...Vijay Singh for inspiration. Though I'm pretty sure when Spieth wins his PGA, he will attend the Champions Dinner.

Luke Kerr-Dineen explores the six letter name theory in handicapping the final round.

Graham DeLaet had one of the greatest stretches of play you'll ever see Saturday, in sharp contrast to much of the field. (Maguire/ESPN.com).

The shot, hole and quote of the day (Ahern/Golfweek).

Rory McIlroy is thinking about shutting down his game again due to continuing rib issues. (Gray/Express)

I looked at the merchandise center vibe set by a DJ this year! (Morning Drive)

Phil Mushick is just loving it when Peter Kostis mentions the importance of line and speed.

The weather forecast.

Your live streaming, TV Times and groupings from PGA.com.

Golfweek's listing of times and groupings.

Final round hole locations:

 

Follow Golfweek's Live Blog for the fastest and best updates on the action.

Saturday
Aug122017

Hollow Golf: Sluggish Pace, Prevent-Birdie Setup And More Streaming Issues 

*First World Problem warning alert* (especially given the day's news)...

Brandel Chamblee summed it the difficulty of 2017 PGA Championship Saturday on Live From where Kevin Kisner holds the lead and tees off at 2:45 ET Sunday.

 “It was a Saturday that felt like a Sunday… Outside of Carnoustie in 1999, this felt like the toughest major championship that I have seen since going back to the seventies. Nothing like the major championships we have seen as of late.”

Other than the silly green speeds--a big departure for the PGA of America--everything else about Saturday's sluggish PGA Championship repeated issues from the past:

--Too many commercial breaks and promos creating a difficult-to-watch-broadcast, an annual issue that dates to the PGA's unbreakable contract with TNT and CBS. The deal expires in 2019.

--A super-difficult setup that created little sense to a general fan that golf is actually interesting, fun and good sports viewing. Kevin Kisner is to be commended for navigating his way around and setting up a potential dream win. But Jordan Spieth's comment about holes cut on spots was particularly distressing if true. Granted, when greens are 14 on the Stimpmeter, it's hard to find flattish spots. Still, this is chintzy but not unprecedented in the world of tournament golf:

 Fowler also noted this issue but also defended the actions as part of a typical major setup:

--Turner's dysfunctional PGA app. At the request of many of you, I thoroughly tested the PGA app Saturday and can concur on all complaints about it freezing, crashing and replaying ads constantly each time you have to restart a stream. Why an advertiser would want to be associated with this issue, which seems to be many years in the making now, is beyond me. (Tip for cord-cutters watching Sunday, users reported solid experiences with the CBS Sports app). The website aesthetics and functionality are also very substandard compared to what we get with other golf events.

--Pace of play. 5.5 hours will not grow the game, even if it was heat-related as some players claimed, though Quail member Webb Simpson blamed the setup (Menta/GolfChannel.com). Neither does a green rolling 14. The PGA of America's Kerry Haigh has long and most admirably resisted publishing Stimpmeter speeds because it sets a bad example. But host Johnny Harris has gotten his way this week to make this Augusta National of Charlotte, with much less architectural sensibility. The green speeds have overtaken the players as the tournament story. It's even more of a shame because they are so beautifully maintained and should be an important opportunity for the world to see a more sustainable Bermuda surface on display. But the superintendent doesn't cut the cups...

While most of these problems are not new and the media issues won't be fixed until 2020 with new contracts--and maybe presenting sponsors for limited commercial breaks--the subpar player and fan experience is a shame but hardly a surprise.

Saturday
Aug122017

Watch Rickie Leave His Ball Down As A Backstop

It's great to hear from readers who reported Jim Nantz joining those critical of backstopping chip shots by not marking a ball before a playing partner plays. His "inexplicable" comment has been preceded on past telecasts by CBS colleagues Peter Kostis, Ian Baker-Finch and Dottie Pepper criticizing the fundamentally strange choice by pro golfers to leave their ball down to slow down a wayward competitor's shot.

As we have learned from defenders of this behavior, players are merely wanting to play as fast as possible. The practice does not take place on weekends of majors or in match play, and rarely in the televised weekend windows. But as it has become more accepted on the PGA Tour, the act has become so normalized that it seeped into weekends and now majors. (Some players do not partake and behind the scenes are branded bad apples because they don't play "the game the right way" or other similar coded nonsense.)

Thanks to Michael Power for this particularly bold example from Rickie Fowler during round three at the 2017 PGA. Since Saturday was a dreadful 5.5 hour round where speed of play was not going to be appreciably improved by taking another 10 seconds to mark a ball before the next shot was played toward the hole, it's tough to write this off as a pace effort. 

No, today's players simply like to help their buddies in hopes of receiving similar support for their own wayward chip shots. Mercifully, the Golf Gods are always watching and taking notes.

Still, this one is fascinating to watch because you can see the shot stop rolling and watch Fowler as he determines it's of the helping-not-hurting variety, and turns to watch his playing partner knowing it's a backstopping situation.

Here's the link should the embedded video does not play: