Twitter: GeoffShac
Writing And Videos
  • 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

Stroke play is a better test of golf, but match play is a better test of character.
JOE CARR

 


    

Friday
Sep302016

2016 Ryder Cup Morning Foursomes This And That

The bickering and bloat is a thing of the past. Let's play some golf!

The first morning foursomes pairings still have folks scratching their heads, particularly the Mickelson/Fowler group. The force better be with the Task Force, writes Ryan Lavner.

Hecklers may be comforted that one of their own enjoyed an epic moment Thursday. Danny Willett won't have to worry either way, he's on the bench Thursday morning. John Huggan with his story heading into day one.

Jaime Diaz has your Ryder Cup facts and figures, plus TV times.

You can follow scoring here.

Thursday
Sep292016

2016 Ryder Cup Opening Session Oddities Galore

Well, four to be exact, according to Alex Myers.

I totally concur with all four of the key questions he has about Davis Love and Darren Clarke's opening session pairings in the 2016 Ryder Cup.

After the ceremony and out at dinner, most werein consensus that the Mickelson foursome's pairing with Rickie Fowler was strange, but that he ommission of Ryan Moore was even more bizarre.

Thursday
Sep292016

Old Guys Salvage The '16 Ryder Cup Opening Ceremony

There were tears, laughs (at the spectacle) and moments from golf's legends that helped make the Ryder Cup opening ceremony work.

Otherwise, it was another unusual display of excess and exotic eyewear.

I filed this review for GolfDigest.com.

Thursday
Sep292016

Somewhere Over The Rainbow: Palmer's Ashes At Latrobe

Gerry Dulac with an image of this ceremonial flight over Latrobe Country Club for Arnold Palmer. A small family-only service was held.

Dulac says the location of his ashes became known too...


And after the funeral, this stunning rainbow appeared...

Thursday
Sep292016

Phil Apologizes To Hal Over Ballgate, Hopes Hal Feels Welcome

According to a fresh report from G.C. Digital, Phil Mickelson has told Golf Channel and Golf World reporter Tim Rosaforte that he was in the wrong by singling out decisions made during Hal Sutton's captaincy.

Mickelson acknowledged that the comments came off wrong.

“I’ve communicated with him,” Mickelson told Rosaforte. “I feel awful. It was never meant to be like that. I was trying to use an example of how a captain can have a strong effect. Unfortunately, it came across the way it did.”

Sutton and other past captains have been invited to hang out in the team room and at Hazeltine as a display of unity.

“I was totally in the wrong,” Mickelson said. “I never should have brought that up. I used an extreme example the way decisions can affect play, and I never should have done that because it affected Hal.”

Rosaforte's report on Live From, where he also explains that Mickelson hopes Sutton will still feel welcome to visit the team room, where past captain's have been encouraged to hang out in hopes of creating an "inclusive family feel."

Sutton reportedly left town but is scheduled to appear in a captain's exhibition match with Ben Crenshaw at midday.

The full Rosaforte report:

Randall Mell looked at the episode before Mickelson's apology and explained the whole mess very well. This explanation from Captain Davis Love doesn't add up though, as Mickelson was the one who raised the 2004 matter, not the press.

American captain Davis Love III was asked in his news conference Wednesday if Mickelson’s calling out Sutton again was appropriate. Love indicated Mickelson is in some ways playing defense.

“Unfortunately, some analysts just keep bringing it up over and over and over again, things that have happened in the past,” Love said. “Sometimes, you have to set the record straight.”

If you have the time, Dave Anderson's New York Times account of the 2004 ball episode is worth a read. Perhaps some of the lingering bitterness stems from Sutton making Mickelson adapt to Tiger's equipment...

Should Mickelson be teamed with Woods in the afternoon alternate-shot match today and perhaps again tomorrow, he will be using a rare mixture: Callaway woods, Titleist irons and putter, and a Nike ball. But why Tiger's ball?

"I personally felt that it would be very difficult to tell a guy that was 257 times or whatever the leading player in the world," Sutton said, alluding to Woods. "And you're going to ask him to switch balls. I didn't want to put Tiger in that position, so I just said, 'You need to know how to hit this ball right here."'

Wednesday
Sep282016

ShackHouse 21: The Ryder Cup, Bill Simmons, And Dave Shedloski On Arnold Palmer's Passing

An incredible time in golf and hopefully we did it justice on this week's ShackHouse.

The Ryder Cup is our primary focus, with Bill Simmons (@billsimmons) joining to express grave concerns for Tiger Woods not even being worthy of a selection. We try to reassure him.

Also joining us to discuss the passing of Arnold Palmer is Golf World and Golf Digest contributor Dave Shedloski (@golfershed) who has been assisting Mr. Palmer on a book of stories and memories--A Life Well Played--that St. Martin's Press has expedited for an October 11th publication date.

All proceed's go to the Arnie's Army.

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

Same deal with Soundcloud for the show, and Episode 21 is here to listen to right now!

The ShackHouse Stitcher page.

The Ringer's ShackHouse page with all of the info and links you can dream of.

ShackHouse is presented by Callaway Golf, who are offering listeners free shipping on ANY ORDER through callawaygolf.com using the Promo code HOUSE.

HOUSE!

Go to CallawayGolf.com and enjoy that free shipping.

Free shipping!

Also, here is the link to the Danny Lee/Vice online series mentioned in episode 21.

We also want to thank Athletes Collective, which makes a great longsleeve for the fall, plus a sensational new V-neck for working out. They are making solid, comfortable, logo-free and incredibly low-priced athletic wear out of the latest tech fabrics. Use promo code House for 15% off your first order. Now!

Check out this week’s Blue Apron menu and get your first THREE meals FREE—WITH FREE SHIPPING—by going to blueapron.com/shackhouse.  It's a better way to cook. Really!

Three free meals!

Thanks for your continued support of the show and our advertisers. Ad be sure to check out the website of our hosts, The Ringer.

Wednesday
Sep282016

Hal Sutton: "I think Phil better get his mind on what he needs to have it on this week, instead of on something that happened ten years ago."

The past Ryder Cup Captain's played an exhibition off-site today and Alex Miceli of Golfweek captured this video of some of Hal Sutton's remarks (embed below).

Sutton, the 2004 captain at Oakland Hills, had plenty more to say about Phil Mickelson and his assertion that he was not given enough time.

Dave Shedloski reports for GolfDigest.com on Sutton's response.

His key point: Mickelson changed equipment the week prior, yet feels he got sidetracked testing Tiger's ball for the foursomes pairing, one that Sutton explains in the video that he intended as a goodwill gesture.

Sutton, who was one of several former captains to visit the U.S. team room on Tuesday night, went on to stipulate that Mickelson omitted a crucial fact in his recollection of his pairing with Woods: Lefty had changed to Callaway equipment just prior to the 2004 matches. “Yeah and then he didn't even call me and tell me he was changing the equipment,” Sutton said. “He had [his agent] Steve Loy call me and tell me. And he changed not only equipment, he changed ball too. So, print that. Print that. Print that. He let his whole team down. So he's talking about Hal Sutton? He let his whole team down.”

There were many other quotes from the chat, including Sutton's admission that he esentially quit the game after the Ryder Cup heat he took.

Pretty much quit golf, took the blame for everything. Nobody played well that week. If I need to still shoulder the blame for Phil’s play, then I’ll do that.

The video:

Wednesday
Sep282016

Danny Willett Apologizes For Brother's Column, Does Not Believe American Fans Are A Baying Mob Of Imbeciles

Speaking to Golf Channel's Steve Burkowski, Danny Willett certainly sounds contrite and upset in apologizing for his brother's column mocking the American Ryder Cup fan.

Willett says they are not the thoughts of his teammates and that he phoned his brother to discuss.

Captain Darren Clarke addressed the matter, writes Alistair Tait for Golfweek.com.

The look of anger on Clarke’s face told the whole story. This was the last thing he needed as he sets out to try to win the Ryder Cup for Europe for a fourth consecutive time.

“I was made aware of the article about an hour ago,” Clarke said. “I showed it to Danny and he’s bitterly disappointed in his brother’s article. It’s not what Danny thinks. It’s not what I think. It’s not what Team Europe stands for.

For his part, PJ Willett is suggesting the piece was satirical.

Wednesday
Sep282016

Merchandise! 2016 Ryder Cup Edition

Hockey sweaters, pub signs, team gear, Stance team socks and some awesome T-Shirts.

Marty Hackel and I highlight the best of the Ryder Cup shop for GolfDigest.com.

I think I'll be buying this Nike T for my British friends:

Wednesday
Sep282016

Phil Talks Importance Of Ball Testing, Captain's Who Put Players In A Position To Fail

Phil Mickelson held court in the 2016 Ryder Cup media center, revealed that he and Tiger have been talking multiple times and day, and cleared the air on a captain's role.

Before the long answer, this about the inclusive nature of Captain Love's coaching style may be noteworthy if it continues to feel like no opinion goes unnoticed, discussed and appreciated.

This is a year where we feel as though Captain Love has been putting us in a position to succeed. He's taken input from all parties. He's making decisions that have allowed us to prepare our best and play our best, and I believe that we will play our best.

Now we are playing a very strong European Team and I don't know what that means results-wise, but our best golf will come out this week and that's our goal.

And there is the main show...

Q. You've played for ten of them. How much difference can or does a captain make?

PHIL MICKELSON: Unbelievable. It all starts with the captain. I mean, that's the guy that has to bring together 12 strong individuals and bring out their best and allow them on a platform to play their best. That's the whole foundation of the team. You're saying -- I understand and I hear -- well, guys just need to play better or they just need to putt better. Absolutely you do.

But you play how you prepare. And in major championships, when we win or play well in majors, it's because we prepared properly for those events. And that allowed to us bring out our best golf. And in a Ryder Cup, you have to prepare properly for the event.

Now, I see these looks, like what are you talking about. Let me give you an example, if I may (laughter).

JOHN DEVER: You may.

PHIL MICKELSON: Twelve years ago, okay, in 2004, Tiger and I were paired together and we ended up not playing well. And was that really the -- was that the problem? I mean, maybe. But we were told two days before that we were playing together. And that gave us no time to work together and prepare.

He found out the year before when we played at The Presidents Cup in 2003 that the golf ball I was playing was not going to work for him. He plays a very high-spin ball and I play a very low-spin ball, and we had to come up in two days with a solution.

Deflate them?

So I grabbed a couple dozen of his balls, I went off to the side, and tried to learn his golf ball in a four- or five-hour session on kind of an isolated -- one of the other holes out there trying to find out how far the ball goes. And it forced me to stop my preparation for the tournament, to stop chipping and stop putting and stop sharpening my game and stop learning the golf course, in an effort to crash-course and learn a whole different golf ball that we were going to be playing.

And in the history of my career, I have never ball-tested two days prior to a major. I've never done it. It doesn't allow me to play my best. What allows me to play my best is to learn the course, sharpen my touch on the greens, sharpen my chipping out of the rough and ball striking and so forth.

Instead, I'm taking four or five hours and I'm out trying to learn another ball to allow us to play our best. Had we known a month in advance, we might have been able to make it work. I think we probably would have made it work. But we didn't know until two days prior.

Now, I loved -- I'm not trying to throw -- to knock anybody here, because I actually loved how decisive Captain Sutton was. I feel like that's a sign of great leadership to be decisive. Had we had time to prepare, I think we would have made it work and could have had some success.

Decisively bad!

But that's an example of starting with the captain, that put us in a position to fail and we failed monumentally, absolutely. But to say, well, you just need to play better; that is so misinformed because you will play how you prepare.

Wednesday
Sep282016

Manspat Alert: Brandel Chamblee & David Duval Go Extra Holes Over Leadership

A lively, 24-hole Live From match broke out between Brandel Chamblee and David Duval over leadership.

The debate got a bit touchy at this point:

Duval: "Well having actually been out there and done it, there's more to it than just what the stats say."

Chamblee: "You think that actually having to be out there to do it, determines whether or not you can pass judgement on it or not? I wasn't at the Boston Tea Party but I can tell you all about it."

Duval: "OK, well I know you're never wrong. I understand that."

The clear plastic sheeting adds a nice Dexteresque feel to the scene...

Wednesday
Sep282016

Note To Ryder Cup Fans Watching Danny Willett: His Brother Thinks You Are "Pudgy, basement-dwelling, irritants"

For reasons entirely clear, Masters champion Danny Willett's brother Peter wittingly takes on the Team USA vice captains and selfish types.

For reasons not entirely clear and let's be honest, not necessary, Peter Willett takes on the fans in this National Golfer piece.

For the Americans to stand a chance of winning, they need their baying mob of imbeciles to caress their egos every step of the way. Like one of those brainless bastards from your childhood, the one that pulled down your shorts during the school’s Christmas assembly (f**k you, Paul Jennings), they only have the courage to keg you if they’re backed up by a giggling group of reprobates. Team Europe needs to shut those groupies up.

They need to silence the pudgy, basement-dwelling, irritants, stuffed on cookie dough and pissy beer, pausing between mouthfuls of hotdog so they can scream ‘Baba booey’ until their jelly faces turn red.

They need to stun the angry, unwashed, Make America Great Again swarm, desperately gripping their concealed-carry compensators and belting out a mini-erection inducing ‘mashed potato,’ hoping to impress their cousin.

They need to smash the obnoxious dads, with their shiny teeth, Lego man hair, medicated ex-wives, and resentful children. Squeezed into their cargo shorts and boating shoes, they’ll bellow ‘get in the hole’ whilst high-fiving all the other members of the Dentists’ Big Game Hunt Society.

Good luck this week Danny! Enjoy your stay in Chaska!

Tuesday
Sep272016

Q&A With Martin Davis, Author Of The Ryder Cup: Golf's Grandest Event

Few volumes seeking to capture the history of a significant golf tournament or course will ever match the The Ryder Cup: Golf's Grandest Event. Publisher and writer Martin Davis has put together the usual list of elite names that have contributed to previous efforts, and combines their words with an incredible array of photos, facts and records documenting what has become golf's most dramatic event.

You can check out the book here at Amazon, and if you're on site at Hazeltine this week the book is available in the merchandise tent.

Davis kindly answered questions on his latest coffee table epic and the Ryder Cup.

GS: Let’s get to the breaking news first: the book reveals the Ryder Cup started in 1927 and that is not Abe Mitchell atop the trophy. Reveal your sources. Tell all!

MD: Contrary to published reports and in the media guides from the European Tour and the PGA of America for many years claiming the first Ryder Cup first took place in 1927, the first Ryder Cup was actually contested in 1926 at Wentworth in southern England.

The story that had been put out for many years held that Sam Ryder was sitting in the Wentworth Clubhouse celebrating with the British pros a win over an American Team captained by Walter Hagen - eating chicken sandwiches and drinking champagne, it was reported - when Ryder reportedly said, "this was great, we must do it again, I'll even donate a trophy."

It's a nice story, but it's simply not true.

In our research, we found that Ryder announced in late 1925 that the inaugural Ryder Cup would take place at Wentworth in early June of 1926. It was reported in several of the biggest, most well-respected newspapers in England.

At first it was referred to as the "Ryder" Trophy. Later as The Ryder Cup.

And the event itself was reported in nine of the major media outlets of the day, all telling the same story of the event before, during and after the Matches that June at Wentworth, referring to the event as The Ryder Cup in headlines and body copy.

So who were these sources?  

None other than the most significant newspapers, wire services and golf magazines of the day.

The Daily Telegraph, The Times (London), The Sunday Times, The New York Times, The New York Herald Tribune, Golfing Magazine and Golf Illustrated Magazine (UK) and finally the wire services - the Associated Press and Reuters - who sent the stories around the world for publication in numerous newspapers.  

(And if there is any doubt as to veracity of the reports, it was Bernard Darwin, golf's first truly great golf writer, considered the gold standard, who provided the reports for The Times and The Sunday Times.)

And the actual articles from the various publications reporting on the Ryder Cup are reprinted in the book.

There's no question that this was intended to be the first Ryder Cup and was reported contemporaneously with the event as such.  Indeed this was the first Ryder Cup.

And our research also found that the trophy was manufactured and assayed (certifying as to the gold content, who made it, etc.) in April of 1926.  So the Cup was ready in time for the event at Wentworth.


GS: So what happened?

MD: It's a fascinating story.

In the spring of 1926 some 800,000 English coal miners went on strike for higher wages and better working conditions. In sympathy, the other major unions in the UK - including all of the transportation workers - joined the miners.  It was referred to as The General Strike. It effectively shut down the entire country.

Playing captain Walter Hagen and four other members of the first American Team had already made it into England before the strike. (Ryder had asked Hagen to form a team to play for the Cup in late 1925.) But other original members of the Team - including such big-name players as Sarazen, Farrell, Diegel and MacFarlane - couldn't get into the country.  So Hagen asked five expats that were living in the US and had made it into England to try to qualify for the Open Championship to fill out the American side. The five included two Brits, two Scots (one was Tommy Armour, the famed Silver Scot) and an Australian trick shot artist (Joe Kirkwood). The "Americans" got waxed, 13 1/2 to 1 1/2, losing to captain Ted Ray's British Team.  

Realizing that the Americans didn't have a properly constituted team, Ryder decided to withhold the trophy until the next year where it would be played at Worcester CC in Massachusetts.  

So the first Ryder Cup was actually played at Wentworth in 1926, but the first "official" Ryder Cup was played in America in 1927. When the Cup was awarded for the first time.

The story about the now iconic diminutive 17 1/2 inch high solid gold trophy is similarly one that took a life of its own.

For years the narrative was that Sam Ryder, in ordering the trophy from jewler Mappin and Webb, had the figure crafted on top in the image of his good friend and golf teacher Abe Mitchell. It was a romantic story of friendship and loyalty.

In researching the origins of the Cup, we went to England and tried to find the origins of the Cup. We hired the world's expert on the Ryder Cup (and other sporting trophies), John Bowles, to track down some of the new facts we uncovered. In doing so, he found that the trophy was not a custom made one ordered by Ryder, but one that had been in the Mappin and Webb's catalog for a number of years, thus dashing the romantic feel-good story.  In addition, we uncovered five or six additional facts that clearly showed that this wasn't Abe Mitchell on top of the Ryder Cup, but there sure was a striking resemblance.  But you'll have to get the book to glean what we uncovered.



GS: The cup itself has been making the rounds, even in the country that does not currently hold it. Give us a little more reason to adore this small gold trophy?

MD: Why adore Sam Ryder's diminutive little trophy?

Because it's clearly the most fun event in golf.

It puts all of our heroes on a team that we can root for as a group.  Hey, they're representing us.  And those guys in the black hats, those Europeans, they're representing the bad guys. It's us against them. And the little trophy, which we used to win ALL THE TIME, has been won by the bad guys eight out of the last ten times.  Hey, we want OUR trophy back.

Here's a story in the book.  It will give you the "us against them flavor."

The 1947 Ryder Cup, the first after World War II, was held at Portland Golf Club.  Ben Hogan was the playing captain for the U.S., Henry Cotton, multiple winner of the Open Championship, captain for the Brits.

On the eve of the Ryder Cup, Cotton goes to the officials and claims the Americans are playing with illegal clubs (I think he saw Hogan hit the ball for the first time and couldn't believe the spin he got on it,) and he wants the American's clubs inspected.  So the officials do so and find that all of the American's clubs conform to the rules.

Fast forward to the next Ryder Cup, 1949 at Ganton in England.  Hogan is captain again, but the non playing captain because of the horrific accident that almost took his life earlier in the year. So on the eve of the Ryder Cup, Hogan, remembering what Cotton had done to his team two years earlier, asked that the Brit's clubs be inspected.

And guess what? They found that the edges on two of the British players clubs were too sharp and thus nonconforming. So the host pro spent most of the night filing the edges down!  I guess turnabout is fair play. Hogan thought so about the guys in the black hats.


GS: The book is truly a breathtaking undertaking, how many years was this in the works and what inspired you to attack what is such a massive undertaking?

MD: It really was a massive undertaking - I worked on it for 6 1/2 years.  Once it got started, it took on a life of its own, as it ended up at 500 pages with 7-800 photos, three double gatefold spreads and one gate - a Ryder Cup timeline - that folds out to almost six feet, in a jumbo 11 X 14 coffee table size.  Heck it weighs in at almost nine pounds!  The joke is, if you get tired of reading it, you can always work out with it.

As you know, I'm very concerned with quality.  As such, we print all our big books in Italy at one of the finest art book printers in the world.  

Thankfully I own the company, so I could keep stretching what passed as a budget. My accountant is not very happy at all, but I felt it was something that just had to be done.

It was maybe the hardest thing I've ever done, but it is certainly the most rewarding when I look at the finished product and see people's reactions.


GS: Many disagree on the year the Ryder Cup went to a different stratosphere both in the early days and the modern era. Which cups defined what the matches became both in the good old days and in more recent times?

MD: Right from the beginning, the Ryder Cup was a big idea.  All the Cups before the War had good attendance and a lot of interest by the media.  But in the 60s and 70s interest waned as the American side simply dominated - we'd show up in our fancy blazers, play a practice round or two, go to a big dinner, win convincingly and take Sam Ryder's little cup home. (Somehow we lost in 1957 at Lindrick - we're still trying to figure out what happened.)

But after Jack Nicklaus suggested to Lord Darby that Europe be included (and that meant the best player in the world at the time, Seve), interest started to pick up.  But the watershed event was 1987 when the U.S. lost for the first time on home soil as Captain Tony Jacklin's Euro squad beat Captain Jack Nicklaus at Jack's course Muirfield Village, with Woosie and Sandy Lyle, a rookie named Faldo and Seve and Sam Torrance.  And to add insult to injury, it was in Jack's home town of Columbus, Ohio.

It seemed that the more the Euros beat the U.S., the bigger the Ryder Cup became.

To me, the Matches that defined the Cup are fairly recent.  Captain Ben Crenshaw's furious comeback in 1999 at The Country Club and then Captain Jose Maria Olazabal's equally strong comeback to win at Medinah in 2012. Both of those were fiercely fought, passionate and golf at its very highest level.

 
GS: As much research and reading as you’ve done, and having taken in where we are now with almost as many Vice Captains as players, the profiteering, the lousy courses played in Europe in the name of cash, is this a healthy place from where Samuel Ryder started things?

MD: You're really correct about the profiteering and lousy courses for a while.

But we're at a great spot now.  We're going to France for the next Cup at a course just outside of Versailles (Let me be the first to say, "Let them eat cake."  Sorry, I couldn't resist.) at what should be a wonderful venue.  Next up for us is Whistling Straights and then my favorite Tillinghast course of all, Bethpage Black.  (If you think it's going to be a little raucous at Hazeltine, wait until we get to Long Island for the Cup!)


GS: Best and worst courses to host the Ryder Cup?

MD: Best - Muirfield in Scotland

Worst - The Belfry, perhaps Thunderbird and Eldorado in Palm Springs in 1955 and 1959


GS: Best captaining job, USA edition? (Win or lose).

MD: U.S. - Walter Hagen in 1927, 1929, 1931, 1933, 1935, 1937 and don't forget 1926 and the two teams he was named to captain during World War II that only played exhibition matches in the States.  The Haig could have been captain for life.  (I'd give a close second to Ben Crenshaw or 1999.)


GS: Best captaining job, UK/Europe edition? (Win or lose).

MD:  Europe - Without question, Tony Jacklin who brought Europe back and set the standard for them.  (A close second to Jose Maria Olazabal and also to Paul McGinley for the incredible organizational and motivational job he did at Gleneagles in 2014.)


GS: Your book reminds us that the Cup has been to some strange and amazing courses, but lately we’re sort of stuck in Europe with the highest bidders and in the states with only places large enough to host the infrastructure. Setting aside corporate tent space and TV demands, your dream Ryder Cup venues?

MD: U.S. - Augusta National (I think Bob Jones would have considered it; there were several close connections between Jones and the Ryder Cup in the book.) or Pine Valley.  Definitely National Golf Links of America, only if the players are required to play with hickory shafted clubs. More realistically, Oakmont or Shinnecock.

Europe - St. Andrews (Unbelievably, the Ryder Cup has never been played there!)

Tuesday
Sep272016

Bubba Should Be Lauded For Becoming A Shuttle Driver

Thats the point Jason Sobel makes on ESPN.com, saying the World No. 7, who buzzed around Hazeltine to many ovations from the tremendous fans here, should be lauded for "selflessness" instead of castigated.

Love Bubba or not, this line from Sobel is a keeper:

He did none of this. Instead, he asked captain Davis Love III if he could still be part of the team as a vice captain, a request that Love quickly obliged.

Think about it: That's like getting dumped by your girlfriend and then happily helping her move into a new apartment with another guy.

Tuesday
Sep272016

PGA Introduces Ryder Cup Fan Pledge: We Are (Lucky #) 13!

Because American fans have been so dispassionate, quiet and largely forgotten in domestic Ryder Cups, they now have a pledge program complete with PSA messages from Alison Lee, Michael Phelps and Tom Brady asking you to support maybe, maybe the best team ever assembled.

There is actually a pledge to read too. And a shirt you can buy in merchandise "on-site at Hazeltine National Golf Club, online at underarmour.com and at select Dick’s Sporting Goods stores across the country with all proceeds going to support the PGA REACH Foundation and youth golf initiatives across the 41 PGA Sections."

USA! USA!

For Immediate Release (PSA's there too if you must):

PGA of America Officially Launches “We Are 13” Fan Campaign at the 2016 Ryder Cup
Athletes Michael Phelps, Tom Brady and Alison Lee join celebrity Anthony Anderson as “First Fans”

CHASKA, MINN. (Sept. 27, 2016) – Looking to amplify fan support behind the 2016 U.S. Ryder Cup Team, the PGA of America today officially launched the “We are 13” fan campaign at Hazeltine National Golf Club. Created to encourage fan support and excitement for the 2016 Ryder Cup, the premise for “We Are 13” is to unite the entire nation behind the 12 U.S. players in their quest to reclaim the Ryder Cup.
 
In developing the campaign, U.S. fans will be asked to support the “We are 13” pledge:

PLEDGE:

We are 13.
12 players plus 1 nation.
This is the Ryder Cup.
Our country. Our course. Our team.
We’ll rep the red, white and blue on the green.
We’ll go big, get loud and show respect.
We’ll see golfers become legends, moments become memories and can’t wait to see what’s coming next.
We’ll be watching.
We’ll be cheering.
We are 13!

When you put it that way, it's almost poetry. Almost.

Tuesday
Sep272016

PGA Tour Ratings Decline Streak Finally Ends!

Paulsen at Sports Media Watch notes the 15-straight PGA Tour telecast ratings decline streak ended with the Tour Championship scoring a 1.9 overnight Sunday on NBC, the same as 2015 and up 12% from 2014.

Paulsen writes:

Sunday’s telecast, which saw Rory McIlroy win both the tournament and the FedEx Cup in a playoff, ended a streak of 15 straight declines for the PGA Tour on broadcast — a stretch that dated back to the British Open. Other than the British Open, it was the first PGA telecast on NBC or CBS to avoid a decline since the St. Jude Classic in June.

Third round action on Saturday pulled a 1.2 overnight, down a tick from last year (1.3) and down a third from 2014 (1.8).

Tuesday
Sep272016

Davis: Maybe "The Best Team Ever Assembled" Is Only Something Coaches Say To Fire Up Their Team

Davis Love sought to clarify his eye-opening comments on Fairways of Life and, maybe, maybe he did not offer the best clarification ever. But on thing is clear: he no longer is saying the 2016 Ryder Cup Team USA is the best ever assembled.

Here is what was said last week in response to a question from Matt Adams:

“We don’t have to do anything superhuman, we’re a great golf team,” Love said. “This is the best golf team, maybe, ever assembled.”

The clip again:

Love was asked about the comments Tuesday at Hazeltine and said the line was lost in the context of the %$#@!& coaches tell teams in motivational speeches.

Q. Your comments last week about potentially the best team ever assembled raised some eyebrows. What went into saying that, kind of a bold statement, and was there any concern about kind of adding a little motivation to the European Team room, because there's been some back and forth since then regarding that.

DAVIS LOVE III: Yeah, it raised some eyebrows around our team, too, because if you listen to the interview, or it wasn't really an interview, it was a send-off that Matt Adams does for the American Captain, a very nice guy from Canada called in and said, I'm supporting the U.S. Team, I just think they need a little bit more swagger when they go out and play. And I said, I agree with you, we've got to get these guys going.

And I told a story that Tom Kite always told me, just out-drive them and walk faster than them, get to your ball first and dominate. Every time you get 2-up, you know what's better than 2-up?

I said, No, what?

He goes, 3-up.

He was trying to give me an attitude of, you're better than them, let's out-play them. Let's show them that you're better.

Then Matt Adams was asking me, What are you going to tell your team?

And I said, I would tell my team they're the best team ever assembled. Let's go out and show off and play and have fun.

That's what Nick Saban would tell his team when they're getting ready to go play Ole Miss. He wouldn't say, You guys have done a pretty good job this week, and you're a pretty average team, let's go out there and just give it a good shot. No, he's going to say, You guys have worked hard, you're the best team I've ever seen, let's go crush these guys.

By revealing to the world that he comes from the coaching school that says throw out any superlatives to fire-up a team, doesn't that make the words ring hollow when the team knows this?

Oh wait, right, pro golfers don't read. Oh, and golf isn't a team sport. But go on...

So the question wasn't, how do you rank this team in history. It was, what are you going to tell your team to fire them up. So I would still tell them the same thing, you're a great team, let's go out there and have some fun, play your game, don't get in your own way.

I think we try to be -- especially like our top players, five or six guys, whether it's Davis Love and Tiger Woods and Justin Leonard in '97; we try too hard to be better than we are or to do something extraordinary, and I think we get in our own way doing that sometimes. And we just need to understand that we're a really good golf team, they are a really good golf team. If we just go play our game, the results will take care of themselves.

It's just unfortunate that, you know, in that nice conversation, that it got misconstrued.

Backtracking alert! Maybe the best team, emphasis on the maybe.

Obviously that comment and to the other extreme, the comment about The European Team, is not what this is all about. So Darren and I have already talked about both of those things, and that's just part of The Ryder Cup. And our team's happy, their team's happy. We're out there working hard and moving on.

On another note, the best team comment popped up in Rory McIlroy's comments on motivation today...

 Whenever we are going up against one of the greatest teams ever assembled, that's motivation enough, just to say, how good a victory would this be if we go out and beat these guys on their home soil that, you know are -- look, they are a very, very strong team. But at the same time, we have so many strong players.

Tuesday
Sep272016

"Ultimate gesture players can make is living like Arnie"

The timing is bold but the topic has been on the minds of many who follow pro golf: too many of today's lavishly paid stars act in sharp contrast to Arnold Palmer in character, actions and passion for the game.

Ryan Lavner at GolfChannel.com says the passing of Mr. Palmer puts the onus "on the players to decide for themselves how to honor his legacy."

That’s why these days, weeks and months ahead are an important period of reflection for the current pros.

There is an ever-widening divide between fans and the stars of our game, the mega-millionaires who are safe in their cocoon, protected by managers and publicists and image specialists. The money has never been greater – Rory McIlroy deposited $11.44 million Sunday; Palmer made $1.86 million in his career – and the lifestyles never more different. Each year, it seems, they only drift further away, the connection becoming more tenuous.

And so, moving forward, will our stars use their fame, their fortune and their status to shield themselves from the public, from the fans that enriched their fabulous lives? Or will they stay grounded and humble and relatable – will they stay connected – the way Palmer did?

The Olympic Zika virus fiasco this summer opened the door to this discussion and while the debate is not something that should overshadow the remembrances of The King, but throwing the point out seems fair as we hear from the players over the next few days about how they view Palmer's legacy and their places in the game.

Monday
Sep262016

Roundup: Some Initial Arnold Palmer Reads And Listens

Just some of the best stuff I've come across so far...

Steve DiMeglio with more extensive thoughts from Tiger Woods on Arnold Palmer, including this about the time he played the Par-3 at the Masters with Nicklaus and Palmer:

“They just said come with us,” Woods said. “So we just walked over there and we didn’t have to wait and we were on the box. … I’ll never forget we all birdied No. 9. That was probably the most nervous I’ve ever been. They had hit it close and now I’m looking out and seeing a lot of water and just a sliver of green. I was lucky enough to take it off the backboard on the green and have it roll back to the hole. So we all made 2.”

Here is Tiger's chat with Golf Channel's Steve Burkowski where he shares some stories and debuts a new facial hair motif which, if it goes uncut, may hurt his cart speed aerodynamics this week.

In lieu of an emergency ShackHouse (recording Wednesday), Joe House and I offer our thoughts on Palmer for The Ringer crowd and athletes who take for granted what Palmer meant to the sports business world.

Jack Nicklaus's phone interview on Golf Channel's non-stop coverage today.

Players and celebs, includng Chris O'Donnell, Mark Wahlberg and Jim Nantz are interviewed in this Golf Digest video.

Brian Wacker with a personal experience involving Palmer and the letters he so famously wrote.

Jaime Diaz joins Sam Weinman to discuss Palmer on the Golf Digest podcast.

From James Corrigan's Telegraph remembrance:

Timing was everything for Arnold Palmer. The player they were to coronate The King came along at the perfect moment to start a golfing and yes, marketing revolution and although his passing, whenever it came, was always going to be classed as premature, nobody could deny that he left the stage just as the spotlight was zooming in.

That was Palmer, for you. Always the idol they were talking about long after he had made his gracious exit.

Rick Reilly on how Palmer liked people, liked life and liked being a star.

Here was Arnold Palmer: When he'd see you, he'd grab your right hand and shake it, your right shoulder and hold it and say, "How the hell are ya?" Then the left hand might move up to behind your neck or maybe he'd pull you sideways and walk with it draped over your right shoulder, as though you were childhood chums. Ben Hogan was an icicle, Jack Nicklaus was a god, but Arnold Palmer was your poker buddy. The man went out of his way to make sure you knew he liked you. Tiger Woods? Just the opposite.

Mr. Palmer somehow kept Carson Wentz off SI's pre-midseason NFL review's preview issue off the cover of this week’s SI.

Unlike that SI cover, so many of the photos and clips I've seen of Mr. Palmer are of him in his older years because (A) he aged incredibly gracefully and (B) he's been captured in so many modern mediums.

But I love this "What's My Line" appearance as he was becoming a national sensation.

Monday
Sep262016

Fifth And Final: Bubba Watson Gets Keys To Ryder Cart!

Ewan Murray says it could be a "motivational masterstroke or a needless act of compassion," but either way, world No. 7 Bubba Watson will be at Hazeltine National as the highest ranked shuttle driver in Ryder Cup history.

Note the "fifth and final" designation...

CHASKA, MINNESOTA (Sept. 26, 2016) – United States Ryder Cup Captain Davis Love III today appointed Bubba Watson his fifth and final Vice Captain for the 2016 Ryder Cup, which will take place Sept. 30-Oct. 2 at Hazeltine National Golf Club.

The 37-year-old Watson is a three-time Ryder Cup veteran (2010, ’12, and ’14) that played for Love during the 2012 Ryder Cup at Medinah, finishing 2-2-0.

Watson has also represented the United States in the 2016 Summer Olympics and in two Presidents Cups (2011, ’15).   

This is Watson’s first stint as a Vice Captain. The two-time Masters Champion joins fellow United States Vice Captains Jim Furyk, Tom Lehman, Steve Stricker and Tiger Woods, each of whom was appointed by Love last year.

I'm just hoping Watson has time to study how he's going to get Erin Walker to the 16th tee from the clubhouse in under five minutes!

Oh, and Bubba, Ryan Moore like his water room temperature Bubba, with no moisture on the outside please.

Here's your cart Bubba! Leave the one with heated seats, lumbar support and Tiger's name on it for the Big Cat!