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

On two-shot holes it is highly desirable in many cases to compel the player to place his tee shot so that his shot to the green may be clear, and if not properly placed, the shot to the green may to some extent be blind. DONALD ROSS

 

  

Wednesday
Sep202017

Video: Stewart Cink's Payne Stewart Award Speech

If you're looking for some nice listening while paying the bills, the eloquent Stewart Cink accepting the Payne Stewart Award might do the trick.

Cink also talked to Golf Channel's Todd Lewis after his speech in Atlanta.

Tuesday
Sep192017

Need For PGA Tour's Gambling Focus Making More Sense

Between Commissioner Jay Monahan's comments and a few smart takes, we have a better sense now why the PGA Tour is taking a proactive approach to any potential gambling related matters.

The obvious issue involves daily fantasy and the potential to hop on any sports better legalization trains. From Rex Hoggard's GolfChannel.com take:

In fact, Monahan said the policy, and partnership with Genius Sports, is part of the Tour’s ongoing analysis of online betting websites like DraftKings.

“That's something we have been and we'll continue to take a hard look at, but as of right now I would say two things. One, that's not the reason we've made this move, and two, you have to continue to see how daily fantasy continues to evolve,” Monahan said. “We're intrigued by daily fantasy, we're intrigued by gaming. Fan engagement I think it’s important for any sport and you look at the activity in other sports and you look at the activity in golf, it's significant.”

This is especially significant given that Commissioner Smails has never shown much interest in using fantasy or gambling to grow the sport. But given the state of ratings, the push for legalization and the potential to use betting to retain eyeballs, Monahan is right to explore the possibilities.

Now, a less understood issue may involve the potential for match fixing or real time gambling practices,  as Brian Wacker notes in covering many sides to this for Golf World.

According to a handful of players and caddies, wagers are made regularly by those on the “inside” (caddies, for example) and often done so in real time with up-to-the-second information being used in markets where live betting is permitted.

One real-life example provided by a caddie is knowing that an injured player is poised to withdraw and therefore loading up on his opponent in a match bet. In short, it’s the equivalent of insider trading on the stock market.

Such live betting is enormously popular in the United Kingdom, among other places. It’s also gaining traction in Nevada, where some sports books already offer mobile apps to customers who are inside state lines.

Here are Monahan's comments from Atlanta:

Tuesday
Sep192017

PGA Tour's 2017-18 Schedule Last Of An Era

No real shockers on the 2017-18 schedule, though it was encouraging to see the Houston Open and D.C. stops kept on the list without sponsors. Amazingly, what's left of the Florida swing is still interrupted by the WGC event in Mexico, the strangest travel sequence on the 2016-17 schedule.

The 2018-19 PGA Tour schedule figures to be much different if the vision of a Labor Day finish is executed, so in the meantime one last go-round of the current structure.

For Immediate Release, with the full schedule here.

PGA TOUR releases 2017-18 Season lineup of 49 FedExCup events

Includes new tournaments in the Dominican Republic and Korea

PONTE VEDRA BEACH, Florida (September 19, 2017) – The PGA TOUR today released the full 2017-18 Season schedule of 49 FedExCup tournaments, representing an increase of two events with the previously announced additions of THE CJ CUP @ NINE BRIDGES at Jeju Island, Korea, and the elevation of the Web.com Tour’s Corales Puntacana Resort & Club Championship in the Dominican Republic. Total prize money for the season will be a record of more than $363 million.

THE CJ CUP @ NINE BRIDGES, Korea’s first official PGA TOUR event, debuts October 16-22 at The Club at Nine Bridges as one of eight tournaments in the 2017 portion of the schedule, which was released in August.

The Corales Puntacana Resort & Club Championship, which was held for two years on the Web.com Tour, will debut on the PGA TOUR March 19-25, 2018, the same week as the World Golf Championship-Dell Technologies Match Play. The Tom Fazio-designed Corales course will continue to serve as the tournament course.

The Puerto Rico Open, in turn, moves from Match Play week to February 26-March 4, coinciding with the World Golf Championships-Mexico Championship. With the addition of the two new international tournaments, the schedule includes nine tournaments in eight countries outside the United States.

Other significant changes relate to venues. The AT&T Byron Nelson (May 14-20) moves to the new Trinity Forest Golf Club in Dallas, while two FedExCup Playoffs events change courses: THE NORTHERN TRUST (August 20-26) returns to The Ridgewood Country Club in New Jersey and the BMW Championship (September 3-9) visits historic Aronimink Golf Club near Philadelphia for the first time, marking only the second time in the tournament’s 115 years of play that it will be held in Pennsylvania (1959 being the other).  

Additionally, the U.S. Open (June 11-17) returns to Shinnecock Hills Golf Club in Southampton, New York, for the first time since 2004; The Open Championship (July 16-22) rotates to Carnoustie Golf Links in Scotland and the PGA Championship (August 6-12) will be held at Bellerive Country Club in St. Louis for only the second time (first being in 1992).

One final change sees the open week during the 2018 FedExCup Playoffs shifting by one week. The first three events will be held consecutively – THE NORTHERN TRUST, the Dell Technologies Championship at TPC Boston (August 27-September 3) and BMW Championship. Then comes the open week, followed by the season-ending TOUR Championship at East Lake Golf Club in Atlanta (September 17-23).

Tuesday
Sep192017

ShackHouse 48: FedExCup Fixes, East Lake And More

House and I are back after a brief break to talk about the Tour Championship in Atlanta and the FedExCup finals.

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 48 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.

Monday
Sep182017

Golf Datatech: Online Equipment Orders Up 50%

Mike Stachura parses the latest Golf Datatech numbers for GolfDigest.com and spots a few interesting trends, including online orders increases but also points out some numbers that suggest retailers will still sell most golf clubs for the time being.

According to the survey, online shopping for golf equipment was up more than 50 percent over a year ago. In addition, half of the survey’s respondents say they go online daily to get information about golf. In a 2016 GPAU study, when answering the question where they were most likely to make their next golf equipment purchase, respondents said an online retailer 13 percent of the time.

Monday
Sep182017

"Absent Friend Casts a Shadow Over a Rookie’s Tour Milestone"

The New York Times' Karen Crouse revisits the story of Patrick Cantlay and the friend/caddy he lost in Chris Roth, but there's an added dimension to Cantlay reaching the Tour Championship Sunday.

Crouse writes of Roth's parents trailing along in the gallery.

Roth’s parents hung back as Cantlay played the 7,208-yard layout Sunday. During his third round, they had peeled away for the exit with one hole left because, as Michelle Roth explained, “Patrick’s not here to entertain us. We don’t want to bother him.”

She added, “I’m not sure it helps him having us here, and I worry that it hinders him because it makes him remember Chris.”

Cantlay dismissed those concerns. “I’m just happy to have them here,” he said, adding, “They really just remind me of someone who was a great guy.”

Monday
Sep182017

PGA Tour Implementing New "Integrity Program" In 2018

For Immediate Release...

PGA TOUR implementing new Integrity Program in 2018

Genius Sports to monitor global betting markets, provide educational services

PONTE VEDRA BEACH, Florida (September 18, 2017) – The PGA TOUR has announced that it will implement a new Integrity Program effective January 1, 2018, to protect its competitions from potential outside influences related to gambling.

Ah, only the outside influences? What about inside ones?

While the TOUR has a longstanding policy prohibiting players from betting or related activities at TOUR-related events, the new Integrity Program is more comprehensive. It will cover all facets of competition and operations on the six Tours overseen by the PGA TOUR, including players and their support teams, all tournament staff and volunteers, the entire PGA TOUR staff and the PGA TOUR Policy Board.

There goes the Policy Board's legendary fantasy league!

The Program’s stated mission is: “To maintain integrity and prevent and mitigate betting-related corruption in PGA TOUR competitions – ensuring competitions always reflect, and appear to reflect, the best efforts of the players, while protecting the welfare of the players and others involved with the PGA TOUR – through clear policies and regulations, ongoing education and training, and effective and consistent monitoring and enforcement functions.”   

To assist with the implementation of the program the TOUR has engaged Genius Sports, the global leader in sports integrity services, to provide several key services. This includes its state-of-the-art bet monitoring system which tracks real-time betting activity and utilizes proprietary algorithms to identify potentially suspicious patterns occurring in global betting markets. 

“The bedrock of PGA TOUR competition are the inherent values of golf and the honesty and integrity of our members,” PGA TOUR Commissioner Jay Monahan said. “We recognize, however, that no sport is fully immune from the potential influence of gambling. So, we felt it was important to move forward with an Integrity Program to further protect our competition from betting-related issues. Genius Sports will provide essential support as we roll out the Program across the entire PGA TOUR.”

The TOUR has worked with Genius Sports to develop a tailored educational program that will help players, caddies and officials to identify, resist and report incidents of potential betting corruption.

Oh those will be real barnburners.

Educational workshops will reinforce the PGA TOUR’s regulations and highlight the potential consequences related to betting corruption.

Good news: undisclosed fines and suspensions!

Additionally, custom-made e-learning modules will be available on a worldwide basis to all PGA TOUR players in multiple languages.

Mark Locke, CEO at Genius Sports Group, said: “We are delighted to partner with the PGA TOUR to drive its integrity initiatives. Protecting the integrity of sport has never been of greater importance and it requires forward-thinking organizations such as the PGA TOUR to proactively invest in both proven technology and education driven by true expertise.”

Translation: integrity isn't cheap.

The TOUR will receive important insight into global betting activity on its tournaments across the PGA TOUR, PGA TOUR Champions, Web.com Tour, Mackenzie Tour-PGA TOUR Canada, PGA TOUR Latinoamérica and PGA TOUR China, covering approximately 140 events per year. The Program will be administered by a PGA TOUR Integrity Officer, and investigations will be conducted by an independent group with experience in law enforcement.

On a serious note, this is a wise area for the Tour to address should sports betting be legalized. Given what we've seen in tennis, coupled with the bizarre trend of players blatantly assisting their peers by leaving balls down as a backstop or sideboard, getting out in front of these matters will be important in protecting the Tour's image.

Monday
Sep182017

Congressional Action: Tiger's DC Event Ends Contract With Club

You never want to see a tournament go--especially one that's provided some wonderful memories--but the PGA Tour calendar will need to lose a few events to make a Labor Day conclusion work. The sponsor-less D.C. area stop seems to be near an end after eleven playings that also included at stop in Philadelphia.

JP Finlay was first to report the letter to Congressional members notifying them to expect no tournament in 2018 or 2020.

Rex Hoggard reports some of the letter language for GolfChannel.com:

“The Tiger Woods Foundation currently has no title sponsor for their PGA Tour golf tournament. Because of that circumstance, the PGA Tour has exercised its right to terminate our facilities agreement with them for 2018 and 2020, while they seek a title sponsor for The National,” the letter from club president Richard Sullivan Jr. read.

Monday
Sep182017

Sergio's 20-Minute(!) Ruling Explained

I've heard from a few of you who were not sure what took 20 minutes for Sergio Garcia to get a ruling at the 2017 BMW Championship's last hole. In a nutshell: with a playoff spot at East Lake on the line--the pressure!--Garcia's ball in the hazard could be played except for the movable (grandstand) obstruction.

Will Gray's GolfChannel.com report explains the issues involved, in particular the difference between a movable and immovable obstruction for a ball in the hazard, with insights from the official on the scene, Stephen Cox.

While Rule 24-2 does not allow a player to take relief from a movable obstruction when in a hazard, Cox explained that the temporary nature of the obstruction made Garcia eligible to receive a free drop, provided he remained inside the hazard.

“(If) the player’s ball lies in a water hazard, he would not get relief from an immovable obstruction for like a sprinkler head,” Cox said. “We have very large structures which are situated very close to the water hazard which ordinarily wouldn’t be there, so the rules allow a player to get relief when his ball lies in a water hazard.”

While that all is fun and interesting, sadly lost to history is the conversation between Garcia playing partner Phil Mickelson and Pat Perez, held up in the group behind. Oh to have been a fly...

The video:

Sunday
Sep172017

What To Do With This Evian Championship Mess? 

I suppose the best takeaway from last week's well-documented Evian Championship fiasco is that sponsors should be careful what they wish for.

Elevated to "major" status by the LPGA Tour to sustain the sponsorship, everything has backfired. Stacy Lewis passed this year. The weather was once again awful. The play was its traditionally horrible pace (six hours Sunday!). The event was a 54-hole playing after a false start Thursday.

It all looks especially bad when coupled with the Evian's forced major status implemented after years of being a player favorite, the LPGA Tour's equivalent of The Players or BMW PGA Championship. (BTW, kudos though to winner Anna Nordqvist for surviving in awful final round conditions and playoff weather, Beth Ann Baldry writes here for Golfweek.)

The SI/Golf.com guys were not kind.

Michael Bamberger, senior writer, Sports Illustrated: I am fine with it but then I don't consider the Evian Championship a major. Just a nice event, played at a painfully slow pace on Sunday. The women have four real majors and I will use the historic names: U.S. and British Opens, the LPGA Championship, the Dinah Shore/Mission Hills.

Alan Shipnuck, senior writer, Sports Illustrated (@alanshipnuck): Agree that the Evian is not even on par with the Players, and the latter tournament is miles from being a major. It was a bad call and the wrong one to wipe out so many scores but at least that was on Thursday. The ensuing three days featured lotsa good golf and the final round was tightly contested by a bunch of top players. So, in the end it was an okay result, if we're grading on a curve.

The mess is for LPGA Commish Mike Whan and Evian to sort out, but the bad press alone should remind companies that sometimes having a really swell event is a nice thing and trying too hard to force elevated status can backfire.

Sunday
Sep172017

The Strangest (And Longest) Hole Ever Played

Julian Bennetts of the Telegraph writes about the par 14,000, 2,000km Mongolian golf hole Adam Rolston played with friend Ron Rutland tagging along--joined by a stray dog for the last 1500km--and all for a good cause.

The goal was to set the Guinness record for longest hole played. Mongolia was the setting.

The idea was to finish on the 18th green of the one golf course in the country, and to tee off from the western most point of Mongolia. He calculated it would take him 14,000 shots - and set that as his par. 

Rutland agreed to be his caddie, and eight months later, they were raising money for Laureus, which runs children's sports charities worldwide, and were at the base of Khüiten Peak, the highest as well as the most western point of Mongolia.

“We have had dozens of people telling us we were mad or crazy, with comments ranging from: ‘That’s impossible” to ‘Do you not have anything better to do?’” says Rolston, who hails from Northern Ireland.
“That first week was the hardest of my life. To get to the first tee we had to take a Russian jeep through a national park for five hours. From there, it was ridiculous."

Sunday
Sep172017

An Incredible Decade Of Rory Winds Down With Winless Season And Fulfillment Of "Expectations Elsewhere" 

The Daily Mail's Derek Lawrenson writes on the 10-year anniversary of Rory McIlroy's decision to turn pro and says "if the last decade has shown us anything, it is there's nothing in golf quite like the sight of McIlroy in full flow."

Suggesting McIlroy's first decade fell short only to those of Palmer, Nicklaus, Woods and Ballesteros, Lawrenson wonders what will happen to turn things around.

McIlroy has certainly got some serious issues to address, beginning with his health. We're told the persistent rib injury that has prevented him from practising properly for much of this season will be put right with two months of rest and we can only hope this proves the case.

While he's doing that in October and November McIlroy will begin the search for a new caddie, and you only have to look at the contribution Michael Greller makes to Spieth's success to illustrate the importance of the right choice.

On the course, McIlroy might have few peers when it comes to his work off the tee but it's not much use when it's accompanied by stats showing his wedge game and putting are way below a level to allow him to take advantage. The plan is to spend much of December working on a solution.

One of the more interesting comments from McIlroy at the BMW Championship was reported by GolfChannel.com's Will Gray. Discussing why he played the PGA Tour Playoffs after suggesting he might pass to rest a nagging rib injury, McIlroy said he ultimately played at someone else's request.

While he explained that playing the last three events hasn’t made any further impact on his existing injury, he also hinted that the decision to tackle the playoffs was not entirely his.

“Some decisions aren’t completely up to the individual,” McIlroy said. “There was outside expectation from elsewhere. I played these events for two reasons: thinking that I still had a chance, but for trying to fulfill obligations elsewhere. So there was two parts of it.”

McIlroy became a free agent of sorts when Nike exited the equipment business but signed with Taylor Made mid-season. Whether it was one of those two companies or the PGA Tour pressuring McIlroy to play despite his health issues, is not clear. But given the potential for harm, the resulting mediocre playoff run and the loads of potential McIlroy possesses to be a dominant player, it sounds like priority number one is getting some of his obligations in better order heading into 2018.

Sunday
Sep172017

PXG Suing Retailers Over Taylor Made Irons Sets Bizarre Precedent Worth Watching

Having been rejected by courts in stage one of a patent fight over irons, PXG's Bob Parsons has taken his fight to the retailers selling Taylor Made's P790 irons, as multiple outlets reported.

From Mike Stachura's excellent Golf World analysis where he names Worldwide Golf (Edwin Watts, Roger Dunn), PGA Tour Superstore, Golf Galaxy and Dick's Sporting Goods as unsuspecting parties brought into the case by Parsons. But they apparently should not be shocked!

According to Allan Sternstein, professor of intellectual property and director of the IP and Entrepreneurship Clinic at the University of Arizona, “Those that infringe a patent are anyone who makes (manufacturers), uses (consumers), sells or offers to sell (retail outlets, golf shops, etc.) a product that falls within the scope of one or more claims of the patent. Accordingly, suing a retailer for patent infringement is totally appropriate under the law.”

Still, Al Morris, president of Worldwide Golf, said he was “blown away” when he learned Friday morning that he’d been sued by PXG. Morris was part of a team that successfully invalidated patents in a case filed by Max Out golf over clubfitting patents, a more than two-year struggle that cost Morris "hundreds of thousands of dollars" but ultimately culminated with victory in a review by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office last month.

“I don’t understand it,” he told Golf Digest late Friday. “This shocks us. I think he’s doing a disservice to the industry. I just don’t get it.”

Chris Nickel noted this at MyGolfSpy:

By suing retailers, PXG is taking the road less traveled, but it is a road other have taken with some success. Strategically, the move might make sense, although it’s certain to draw the ire of the retail chains targeted, and likely the mainstream wing of the industry as a whole. The reality is these chains won’t ever be part of PXG’s business plan, so there’s no risk of PXG losing sales directly, and we suspect that PXG Founder, Bob Parsons, doesn’t much care what his competitors think.

It's stating the obvious: Parsons is going after retailers at a time they are struggling and yet still providing a more cost effective option for buying fitted clubs. Not everyone can afford the PXG experience and club, so feel free to think little of Parsons for dragging the good folks in retail into this fight. He certainly is entitled to protect his patents but if he cared about golf, he wouldn't drag the retailers into this.

Here is another angle worth noting: if we get to the "variable distance ball" or distance rollback stage where a product designed to be used on classic courses comes to market, patent wars may develop in an effort to slow down the manufacture and sale of such a ball.

Parsons may have set the stage for other manufacturers to go after retailers or even golf professionals who would sell a product designed to make a course more safe or to play as intended. 

Sunday
Sep172017

Still The Best Grow The Game Gimmick, Pro Golf Edition: KLM & European Tour's Beat The Pros

It was great last year when KLM and the European Tour played up this Thursday-Saturday gimmick and it remains a great way to attract eyeballs and interest on days not called Sunday. The concept is simple: hit your ball inside the pros at the 14th hole and earn a nice pair of flight tickets from KLM.

Though the reaction of the pros who got beat by Dutch amateur Lauren Hillebrand, a repeat winner, was a tad awkward:


The pros had more fun almost getting beat by sweet-swinging 8-year-old Tom Hendricks:

He may not have won #BeatThePro but eight year old Tom Hendricks certainly won over the crowd at the #KLMOpen today.

A post shared by European Tour (@europeantour) on


And check out 11-year old Matthias Henke beating Chris Wood and Max Albertus.

Now I know this shouldn't become a weekly thing on tours as it'd lose some luster. But at the occasional LPGA, PGA Tour Champions and yes, PGA Tour event, this would be a fun gimmick to employ for a little free press.

Thursday
Sep142017

Step & Tilt: Swing Of Wheatcroft's Pro-Am Partner Goes Viral

Steve Wheatcroft thankfully recorded his playing partner's swing from Wednesday's Albertson's Boise Open pro-am. The as yet unnamed member of Wheatcroft's group stripes her drive 200 yards and is in a good place at impact.

The rest, however, is fantastic. Including the cape effect of the follow through with what I assume is just a sweater tied around her waist.

It's sort of Moe Norman meets Happy Gilmore.

The original Tweet (click on the link if the play button is stubborn and also to read the comments):

 

 

The analysis has begun:

Thursday
Sep142017

Irma Impact: TPC Sawgrass Loses 200 Trees

With millions impacted in various ways by hurricane Irma, the status of golf courses is pretty far down the list of priorities.

Nonetheless, with the huge hit to Jacksonville, the TPC Sawgrass is on many minds. No photos have emerged--just a fake from a few years ago as noted by Joel Beall and Alex Myers at GolfDigest.com--but in two items Garry Smits has updates on Jacksonville golf.

In this item Smits notes that First Coast courses took the greatest hits, with an image of a huge lost tree at Timuquana and this on TPC Sawgrass:

Among the courses sustaining the most damage were the two at the TPC Sawgrass, the Players Stadium Course and Dye’s Valley. Although the PGA Tour said on Thursday that it was still assessing the situation, it did report that 18 inches of rain fell on the property between late last week and Monday, with 200 trees lost on the Stadium Course and 100 at the Valley

The TPC did post this statement on Twitter:

Thursday
Sep142017

Evian's Move To 54-Holes Locks In Permanent Fifth Major Status

Keeping sponsors happy is no easy proposition given the premium they are paying, but when it comes to majors we rarely have to deal with the bill payers. In elevating the Evian to major status, even when the tour already had four, the Golf Gods have worked dilligently to make that decision look bad.

After first round play of the 2017 Evian was called at 10 am due to rain and the slate wiped clean, the understandable griping began.

Beth Ann Baldry for Golfweek:

This was the best decision, Whan said, to “have the cleanest, fairest competitive round that’s still going to finish on a Sunday with somebody jumping from an airplane with a flag behind them.”

That last statement, which refers to the elaborate 18th green celebration that includes a parachutist, shows the importance to the sponsor of having a Sunday finish. No tournament on the LPGA schedule has more glitz and glamour than Evian, where there are galas and cocktail parties and fireworks that rival Disney World throughout the week. Evian rolls out the pink carpet here, and it’s lovely to see.

But, as one player put it, “it’s never been about golf here.”

Ryan Lavner at GolfChannel says this is a credibility killer for Evian as a major, if it had much to begin with.

If you want the Evian to be viewed like a major – and, to be fair, its worthiness was debated long before this week – then you have to treat it like one. Every attempt should be made to play 72 holes.

And Steve Eubanks at Global Golf Post talked or texted with many and no one was pleased with the Commissioner.

He’s was right about that last part. Whan has seldom blundered in his tenure as commissioner. If anything, he’s worked far more miracles than he’s made mistakes. But this was a whiff. Yes, the golf course was wet (although by 4 p.m. in France, the sun was shining and there was very little wind).

While this is a credibility killing moment for the Evian and LPGA Tour's bid to force unwanted major status on us since 2013, but the episode also reminds us that for all of our quibbles with the various majors, they have earned credibility by insisting on playing 72 holes and never shaping the conclusion around a parachutist.

Wednesday
Sep132017

What PXG Must Prove To Win Its Taylor Made Suit

Golf.com's Michael McCann tries to decipher what PXG must do to prove its patent suit against TaylorMade says this will come down to a battle over "new" and "existing" designs.

The lawsuit referenced by Parsons was filed in the U.S. District Court for the District of Arizona and is embodied in a 277-page complaint authored by attorneys from the law firms Loeb & Loeb and Jennings, Strouss & Salmon. The complaint asserts that TaylorMade has infringed upon multiple patents related to PXG's "revolutionary iron," which purportedly contains "an expanded sweet spot, having an ultra-thin club face, and an elastic polymer material injected in the hollowbodied club head."

PXG contends that the design of TaylorMade's P790 irons copies patent-protected designs for PXG's clubs.

Wednesday
Sep132017

When Will We Have Brand Team Play?

Alan Shipnuck has an extra fun Golf.com mailbag this week and is asked a fair question asked before in other suggested tweaks to PGA Tour event formats, this time from @AlexDunlopGolf: "When are the golf brands going to do a team event? Titleist vs TaylorMade vs Ping vs PXG Callaway vs Cobra…" 

Shipnuck responds:

This is so craven it’s genius. The companies would surely flood the event with hype and build in huge bonuses for the players. I mean, the Tavistock Cup was a pretty fun event and those teams are based on an absurd idea: real estate subdivisions! Tour players have a deep and personal relationship with their equipment and the technicians who help them maximize their games — to say nothing of the huge checks that pay for their Porsches — so this event would definitely have some juice.

I do wonder if the event would, though well intentioned as a way to raise awareness of the companies, become impossible for media to cover due to brands griping over the tiniest of coverage imbalances?

Wednesday
Sep132017

Paris & LA Olympic Golf Venues Bring Stability And...No Buzz

With the finalization of Paris for the 2024 Olympic Games and Los Angeles for 2028, Rex Hoggard writes at GolfChannel.com that the penciling in of proven tournament venues is a good thing.

While Rio was a unique success story, for vastly different reasons, consider the game’s best going head-to-head on a course in Versailles just minutes outside of Paris’ city center, or at Riviera, which is wedged between San Vicente Road and Sunset Boulevard in Brentwood (In a related note to 2028 athletes: traffic could be an issue).

It’s always the play on the field that makes a competition special, but having fields with established reputations and proven logistics can only enhance an event that exceeded many expectations in ’16.

While there is certainly something to be said for going to the home of annual European and PGA Tour events, there is also a case to be made that the Olympic golf will fizzle on the back of lackluster formats and been there-done that venues. Particularly if both courses host tour events the year of the Games.

Yes, Rio was difficult and caused headaches, there was a hoped-for payoff that showed the world a new venue with sustainability elements and wildlife diversity bringing added attention. To this day, some still don't get this, but for all of those point-missers there were many who saw golf in a fresh light.

With no venue cache for the next two golf events in the Games--three if the sport survives beyond 2024--tweaks to the format had better be really, really good.