Twitter: GeoffShac
Writing And Videos
  • Playing Through: Modern Golf's Most Iconic Players and Moments
    Playing Through: Modern Golf's Most Iconic Players and Moments
    by Jim Moriarty
  • Tommy's Honor: The Story of Old Tom Morris and Young Tom Morris, Golf's Founding Father and Son
    Tommy's Honor: The Story of Old Tom Morris and Young Tom Morris, Golf's Founding Father and Son
    by Kevin Cook
  • His Ownself: A Semi-Memoir (Anchor Sports)
    His Ownself: A Semi-Memoir (Anchor Sports)
    by Dan Jenkins
  • The Captain Myth: The Ryder Cup and Sport's Great Leadership Delusion
    The Captain Myth: The Ryder Cup and Sport's Great Leadership Delusion
    by Richard Gillis
  • The Ryder Cup: Golf's Grandest Event – A Complete History
    The Ryder Cup: Golf's Grandest Event – A Complete History
    by Martin Davis
  • A Life Well Played: My Stories
    A Life Well Played: My Stories
    by Arnold Palmer
  • Harvey Penick: The Life and Wisdom of the Man Who Wrote the Book on Golf
    Harvey Penick: The Life and Wisdom of the Man Who Wrote the Book on Golf
    by Kevin Robbins
  • Teeing Off: Players, Techniques, Characters, and Reflections from a Lifetime Inside the Game
    Teeing Off: Players, Techniques, Characters, and Reflections from a Lifetime Inside the Game
    by Ken Bowden

After this hole of many disastrous memories, the eighteenth need have no great terrors. We drive over the burn, cross by the picturesque stone bridge, and avoiding the grosser forms of sin, such as slicing into the windows of Rusack's Hotel, hole out in four, or at most five, under the critical gaze of those that lean on the railings. BERNARD DARWIN

 

   

Entries by Geoff (19837)

Wednesday
Apr262017

Friedman: "So a Hindu, a Muslim and a Jew are playing golf together in Dubai"

Thomas Friedman is in Dubai and files a New York Times dispatch on his round of golf with "Indian mystic, poet and yogi Jaggi Vasudev, who goes by his reverential name, Sadhguru." (Thanks Ellen and TZ for sending in.)

While Friedman pledges he's not writing a Trump column on this day, and did mention he had to give more strokes to the mystic mid-round, it does end with a less than subtle message for our golf-loving president.

There was this from Sadhguru on golf...

Sadhguru got addicted to golf while visiting followers in America. With about a 15 handicap now, he can hit a drive 220 yards.

As a yogi, it was not surprising that he had probed the deeper meaning of the game: “The simplicity of it makes everyone attempt it, but the subtlety of it makes almost everybody get frustrated with it,” he once observed in an interview with Isha’s magazine. Golf was also just like life (and yoga), he added: People mess up at both when their “interior is not settled.”

Wednesday
Apr262017

UK Golfers Vote: Best Holes In Scotland

Visit Scotland polled over 3,000 UK golfers to "find Scotland's best golf holes and hidden golfing gems," and maybe because I liked the findings so much, wish they had asked and shared even more questions.

Hard to argue with the winning Best View, especially with Kevin Markham's image from Cruden Bay's 9th tee.

The poll asked golfers to vote for the best opening and closing holes, a best Par 3, 4 and 5, as well as the best view and a best overall hole from a selection of shortlisted holes across the country. The poll highlighted both what makes Scotland’s famous courses so iconic and invited entrants to support local heroes and suggest their favourite golf holes.

Here is our list of the best golf holes in Scotland as voted for by golfers across the UK.

This BBC version lists how many votes the winners received.

Wednesday
Apr262017

Stacy Lewis On New Video Rules Decision: “It didn’t really clarify anything.”

Ron Sirak writing for ESPN wonders why the LPGA just doesn't invoke local rules to address call-in rulings and scorecard issues. And after reading the comments from players interviewed by Randall Mell, it's obvious the players might start pushing that option.

While I was left a very confused about where Stacey Lewis stands on the Lexi situation based on her comments to Mell, she was clear in her view that Tuesday's emergency Decision adds confusion from the player's perspective.

Catriona Matthew agreed. From Mell's GolfChannel.com report:

“I think it muddies the water even more,” Matthew said. “That puts the rules officials in a much harder position. What do they call a judgment call?”

If Matthew had her way, viewers wouldn’t be able to call in violations, which would have spared Thompson the penalties.

“I don’t think you should be able to phone in after the fact,” Matthew said.

Wednesday
Apr262017

Padraig & Sergio Agree To No Longer Revile Each Other

One columnist took bizarre exception to Rory McIlroy and Erica Stoll keeping their wedding a private affair but the rest of us will be able to live peacefully ever after knowing that Sergio and Padraig are on "much better footing."

That's Padraig Harrington's quote to the Irish Independent, clarifying that love in air brought the former rivals back to a place where, well, a place.

"Sergio and I are on a much better footing," Harrington said in quotes reported by the BBC. "We've had a chat, because obviously there was a bit of an elephant in the room about what I said.

"I've got to say, Sergio made it very easy. He was exceptionally good about it. He already was well informed, which was nice.

"We have decided that we will look, going forward, at our similarities and the good in each of us rather than any other way."

Ahhhhhhhhhh...next thing you know Padraig will be offering Sergio one of the six cart-driving roles at the 2020 Ryder Cup. Then we'll know all is well between these two!

Tuesday
Apr252017

ShackHouse 34: PGA Tour Commissioner Jay Monahan

New PGA Tour Commissioner Jay Monahan enters the ShackHouse to chat about his new gig, the latest USGA/R&A announcement, future format possibilities, Golf Fights Cancer, his bucket list courses and more.

For a good pre-show primer, earlier this month SBJ's John Lombardo filed this piece on the business matters Monahan is confronting.

Prior to the Commish, House and I kick around the exciting new Zurich Classic format, our favorite teams and set up the Monahan interview with a chat about the current issues facing all sports commissioners.

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

Here is The Ringer's show page.

Same deal with Soundcloud for the show, and Episode 34 is here to listen to right now!

Or listen via this embed:

As always, ShackHouse is brought to you by Callaway, makers of the Epic Driver that is now part of Callaway's very groovy Customs program along with Mac Daddy's and Chrome Softs. Check it out.

Tuesday
Apr252017

President Trump Eyeing Bedminster For His Summer Retreats

The New York Daily News' Andrew Edelman says all signs point to President Donald Trump spending a lot of weekend time this summer at Trump National Bedminster, home of July's 2017 U.S. Women's Open and the 2022 PGA Championship.

While The White House is understandably not saying for security reasons, Edelman says Bedminster is bracing for increased traffic and security issues.

This time, he’s more likely to fly into Newark Airport or the smaller airports in Morristown or Teterboro, and then ride in a motorcade from there, which would still jam up the country roads in Bedminster.

Well, and not to mention the massive summer crowds flocking to Golf House!

Tuesday
Apr252017

Lexi Decision: Player Judgement May Supersede High Def Replays; Golf Gets Another Task Force!

Well, you didn't quite get your wish(es). But golf has a new task force working group. Hooray for Hollywood!

So let's review. In the wake of Chapter 32 of Television-Fueled Rules Controversies, we all pretty much agree that golf does not need at home-officiating or scorecard penalties assessed at a later time (but never after the final round).

Your votes:

For the 46 who voted for reasonable judgement, ding ding, you win!

However, in theory, maybe, quite possibly, I think, should the player's word supersede that of the video evidence going forward, then this should eliminate retroactive penalties for signing an incorrect scorecard. Sorry Dustin, Anna and Lexi, you were ahead of your time. You're still penalized.

At-home officials appear to be neutralized by today's Decision, but not eliminated from wreaking havoc. However, with social media's ability to team up against a player using video evidence, a case could be made that we will still have player demonized by video evidence. So good luck, Lance, Tommy, Tom R, Loomy, Brandt and the other producers who have to sort out what to show and what not to show.

Here's the press release:

New Rules of Golf Decision Limits Use of Video Review
USGA and The R&A Prioritize Working Group to Assess Role of Video 
in Applying Golf’s Rules

FAR HILLS, N.J., USA AND ST. ANDREWS, SCOTLAND (April 25, 2017) -  The USGA and The R&A have issued a new Decision on the Rules of Golf to limit the use of video evidence in the game, effective immediately.

A Decision as we are trying to get rid of Decisions. Kinky!

The two organizations have also established a working group of LPGA, PGA Tour, PGA European Tour, Ladies European Tour and PGA of America representatives to immediately begin a comprehensive review of broader video issues, including viewer call-ins, which arise in televised competitions.

More meetings!

New Decision 34-3/10 implements two standards for Rules committees to limit the use of video: 1) when video reveals evidence that could not reasonably be seen with the “naked eye,” and 2) when players use their “reasonable judgment” to determine a specific location when applying the Rules. The full language of the Decision can be found here.

Happy reading. Hope you have a law degree.

Instead, the USGA's Thomas Pagel explained it better to Golf World's Jaime Diaz:

“We are trying to make sure that players that are on television are not held to a higher standard than others playing the game,” said Thomas Pagel, the USGA’s senior director of rules.

“Television evidence can reveal facts that as a human being you could not reasonably have known in the playing of the game. A player could do everything he or she could to get it right, but video evidence could still show that they got it a little wrong. And the only reason we can know they got it a little wrong is because we’ve been able to slow down, pause, rewind, replay, all the things that the player on the golf course doesn’t have the advantage of doing.”

This will appease those of us who see the Lexi Thompson situation fitting here, but will not satisfy those who believe she was up to something nefarious (concluded after watching the zoomed in, slowed down replay many times...the next day).

Though as Beth Ann Nichols notes here for Golfweek, it's also not clear if Lexi's situation would have ended differently given today's news, but it seems fairly obvious that the Johnson and Nordqvist boondoggles would be avoided going forward.)

Back to the press release:

The first standard states, “the use of video technology can make it possible to identify things that could not be seen with the naked eye.” An example includes a player who unknowingly touches a few grains of sand in taking a backswing with a club in a bunker when making a stroke.

Anna!

If the committee concludes that such facts could not reasonably have been seen with the naked eye and the player was not otherwise aware of the potential breach, the player will be deemed not to have breached the Rules, even when video technology shows otherwise. This is an extension of the provision on ball-at-rest-moved cases, which was introduced in 2014.

The second standard applies when a player determines a spot, point, position, line, area, distance or other location in applying the Rules, and recognizes that a player should not be held to the degree of precision that can sometimes be provided by video technology. Examples include determining the nearest point of relief or replacing a lifted ball.

So long as the player does what can reasonably be expected under the circumstances to make an accurate determination, the player’s reasonable judgment will be accepted, even if later shown to be inaccurate by the use of video evidence.

Both of these standards have been extensively discussed as part of the Rules modernization initiative.  The USGA and The R&A have decided to enact this Decision immediately because of the many difficult issues arising from video review in televised golf.

Fascinating that Lexi's situation forced action, not the two 2016 incidents at USGA events which now might turn out differently under today's Decision.

The standards in the Decision do not change any of the current requirements in the Rules, as the player must still act with care, report all known breaches of the Rules and try to do what is reasonably expected in making an accurate determination when applying the Rules.

Right, right, right, now let's get to the golf!

Video-related topics that require a deeper evaluation by the working group include the use of information from sources other than participants such as phone calls, email or social media, and the application of penalties after a score card has been returned.

But first, we have to decide if we are meeting at Sea Island, Pinehurst, Pebble or Bandon to hash this call-in stuff? Maybe Sand Valley? It's on the way to Erin Hills! Sort of.

Here are the harrumphs...including this endorsement from the LPGA Tour.

USGA Executive Director/CEO Mike Davis said, “This important first step provides officials with tools that can have a direct and positive impact on the game. We recognize there is more work to be done. Advancements in video technology are enhancing the viewing experience for fans, but can also significantly affect the competition. We need to balance those advances with what is fair for all players when applying the Rules.”

Martin Slumbers, Chief Executive of The R&A, said, “We have been considering the impact of video review on the game and feel it is important to introduce a Decision to give greater clarity in this area. Golf has always been a game of integrity and we want to ensure that the emphasis remains as much as possible on the reasonable judgment of the player rather than on what video technology can show.”

The USGA and The R&A will consider additional modifications recommended by the working group for implementation in advance of Jan. 1, 2019, when the new code resulting from the collaborative work to modernize golf’s Rules takes effect.

The proposed Rules are now definitely taking effect January 1, 2019?

Maybe with the speed of this helpful Decision perhaps it's time to discuss moving the implementation date up?

Decisions, decisions.

Monday
Apr242017

Match Play Is Better Files: SEC Conference Fireworks

The SEC decided their men's conference title at match play for the first time this year. Judging by the images and quotes, things went swimmingly under the format.

In Sunday's semi's, both Texas A&M and Vanderbilt advanced on winning putts, reports Golfweek's Brentley Romine.

Freshman John Augenstein made this 15-footer for birdie on the second playoff hole to beat Florida freshman Andy Zhang

 

Augenstein starred again in Monday's final, this time edging A&M's Andrew Paysse in 23 holes, as Romine writes in wrapping up the exciting final.

And there was this quote from Vanderbilt's coach in Ryan Herrington's GolfDigest.com roundup of the first conference championship weekend.

“This match play is like a different sport,” said Vanderbilt coach Scott Limbaugh. “It’s just really special. John makes a lot of those putts in practice. We do some drills at the end of our practices trying to build these scenarios, and he’s the last one standing a lot of times. He’s one of the guys I would have wanted to have that opportunity. It was a lot of fun. It was about as much fun as I’ve ever had at a golf course.”

Match play!

Monday
Apr242017

Mell: Lexi Thompson Has Many Questions To Answer

I doubt anyone wants this Wednesday's Lexi Thompson press conference at the Volunteers of America Texas Shootout to turn into the Grand Inquisition, but given Tuesday's expected USGA/R&A announcement inspired by her ANA Inspiration penalty, it sounds like Lexi will get a lot of questions.

By staying quiet since the penalty and not giving her side of the story after the round or since, she's set herself up for a tough press conference, writes Randall Mell at GolfChannel.com.

So, there will be players and fans alike looking for transparency when Thompson meets with media on Wednesday.

After seeing replays, does she agree she committed an infraction?

Or does she think there may be some optical illusion created in the nature of the camerawork?

And why did she come in from the side of the ball to mark it?

Monday
Apr242017

Allianz Ends PGA Tour Champions Sponsorship, But Not Over Holocaust Survivor Protests

An AP story lays out the (mostly horrifying) details of German insurance giant Allianz's battle to not pay out $2.5 billion in insurance policies to Holocaust survivors. The issue with Allianz even enjoys rare bipartisan support in Florida from Senators Bill Nelson (D) and Marco Rubio (R), along with U.S. Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R) of Miami.

The company says protests at the Allianz Championship in Boca Raton did not impact the sponsorship issue.

''While none of us can undo the past, we must confront it,'' spokesman Christian Kroos said in an email.

''Allianz began its compensation efforts in the 1950s by working in close cooperation with the German government, to try to make certain that restitution was made to those who lost their properties during the Nazi period. Anything else would be enormously disrespectful - especially to those who suffered unspeakable violence at the hands of Nazi Germany.''

Hollis Cavner, CEO of tournament organizer Pro Links Sports, said Allianz told his firm years ago it would not renew its contract when it expired after the 2017 tournament. A new sponsor is expected to be named soon.

Monday
Apr242017

Video: Joshua Kelley's Five Golf Balls At Once And Riser Shot

We may be witnessing Joshua Kelley's version of Picasso's Blue Period, as the self proclaimed trick shot artist is cranking out some classics.

Follow him on Instagram if you aren't already doing so. We discussed his two latest gems on Morning Drive today. Make sure to watch The Riser Shot on a big screen.

Tag some friends that need to see The Riser Shot 😳 #golf #golftrickshot #holein1trickshots #teeithighandletitfly

A post shared by Joshua Kelley (@holein1trickshots) on Apr 22, 2017 at 8:31am PDT


Tag a friend who would still miss the fairway 😂 #5balls #golftrickshot #golf #holein1trickshots

A post shared by Joshua Kelley (@holein1trickshots) on



 

Monday
Apr242017

Poll: What Emergency Lexi Clause Should We Get Tuesday?

Reports from Golfweek's Alistair Tait and Golf World's Ryan Herrington say something is coming, but what exactly is to be determined.

The R&A and USGA have been working overtime to introduce immediate stopgap measures following Lexi Thompson falling victim to a viewer call in, day-after review and post-card signing penalty.

From Tait's Golfweek item reviewing the possibilities:

R&A officials refused to comment on the upcoming announcement at a media day at Royal Birkdale ahead of this year’s Open Championship. However, Golfweek understands the governing bodies will implement a decision Tuesday with immediate effect to make sure no player goes through the same experience as Thompson.

The governing bodies could rule that TV viewers cannot call in rules infractions. Alternatively, they could decree that no retrospective penalties can be added once a scorecard has been signed.

From Herrington's Golf World report:

The changes also might include an early implementation of a proposed Rules change where “the player’s reasonable judgement would be upheld even if later shown to be wrong by other information [such as video technology].” This proposal was part of a larger rules modernization plan that the USGA and R&A had announced in March that would potentially got into effect in 2019.

Another issue potentially to be addressed on Tuesday is whether certain penalties can be assessed after a player’s scorecard has been signed and/or a stipulated round has been finished.

I won't be of much help here, but...

--In the DVR and social media era, I'm having a hard time envisioning how we end call-ins on infractions given how easy it is to watch something on replay. Yet that has been the top "ask" from most fans who often forget that some callers are trying to save the player from signing for an incorrect score.

--Therefore the scorecard signing clause seems the most logical fix, until we have a violation that is not caught and the player's performance is forever considered tainted because the penalty was not assessed. Again, a seemingly obvious and wise move until it's not.

--Expediting one element of the 2019 proposed changes seems simple, but something tells me that adding such a strong intent clause to the current rules will create other headaches. For starters: Lexi would have claimed she did not intend to move her ball closer to the hole. Then the 42% or so who think she did violate the rules would forever see her as having gotten away with something.

So on that helpful note, your votes:

What is the most pressing post-Lexi Rules change?
 
pollcode.com free polls

Sunday
Apr232017

Is Tiger As Fatigued By A Comeback Hopes As (Much As) Some Fans?

With the fourth back surgery in the books and no sign that Tiger Woods will ever play again at a level to his super-human standards, we are left to wonder if he's actually been over this whole competitive golf thing for a while.

Hank Haney, Tiger's former instructor, wondered this out loud on his Sirius show last Friday. From Golf.com:

“I don’t buy a lot of these theories that people have," Haney said. "I don’t buy that...this is the end all be all for him, coming back and beating Nicklaus’ record. That’s never gonna happen. I mean, come on people, get real."

Haney went on to explain that he does believe Woods is capable of winning again, if he can return to the game for an extended period of time. "I'll never give up on that part," he said. The problem? "I don’t believe Tiger is that enthralled by this whole comeback idea. [The media] believe that he's got this burning desire to come back and play. I don't think he does."

Joel Beall at GolfDigest.com wonders if we are looking at a Tiger who is resigned to his place in golf history, but also possibly leaving fans with memories of a figure that is far less incredible than the one we knew in his prime.

Willie Mays' remarkable 22-year-career cannot be encapsulated without mention of his final two seasons, especially as the indelible image of Mays falling down in the World Series has become the go-to comparison for any athlete that's stayed past their prime. (One that was conjured after Woods hit three balls into the water at Congressional last summer.) Evander Holyfield, at 42 years old, was banned in 2006 from boxing in New York due to diminishing skills; his nine bouts following the decision did little to refute that stance, slowly but surely deteriorating his standing in the sport. Brett Favre's annual retirement waffling -- coupled with a nightmarish final season and allegations of workplace misconduct -- turned one of the NFL most popular personalities into a punchline.

I do wonder if there is a generation that has already forgotten how incredibly dominant Tiger was--shoot, even those of us who lived it are starting to forget.

Sometimes I wonder if we long for a comeback to just ensure the legacy that gave us so many thrills? And if so, is that such a bad thing?

Sunday
Apr232017

Sergio's Green Jacket Tour Continues With Lefty Kick 

Sergio Garcia is taking the Green Jacket all over the world and it's hard to imagine a better scene than this one before a Real Madrid-Barcelona match.

Besides appearing to have benefitted from some work by his tailor, Garcia's jacket display features a strong lefthanded kick. But as Golfweek's Kevin Casey notes, this is not unusual given Garcia's lefthanded golfing and left-footed shoe kick (yes, it's aged well!).

Friday
Apr212017

Team Format Almost Back: Zurich Classic Field Set

Next week's much-anticipated PGA Tour return of a two-man team event is almost here and Sheldon Mickles has the commitments, pairings and preview.

As expected--and the fun of the Zurich Classic's team format--there are some strange bedfellows pairings. There is a strong concentration of star power with the Fowler-Day and Rose-Stenson pairings, but no shortage of fascinating combinations personality-wise.

Partnerships that got my attention...

Tyrrell Hatton/Jamie Donaldson

Jason Day/Rickie Fowler

Justin Rose/Henrik Stenson

Jordan Spieth/Ryan Palmer

Jimmy Walker/Sean O'Hair

Bubba Watson/J.B. Holmes

Russell Knox/Kevin Streelman

Hideki Matsuyama/Hideto Tanihara

Patrick Reed/Patrick Cantlay

Daniel Berger/Thomas Pieters

Wesley Bryan/Ryan Blaum

Alex Cejka/Soren Kjeldsen

Cody Gribble/Jim Herman

Smylie Kaufman/Harold Varner

Brooks Koepka/Chase Koepka

Steve Stricker/Jerry Kelly

Hudson Swafford/Harris English

Justin Thomas/Bud Cauley

Geoff Ogilvy/Ian Poulter

Kevin Chappell/Gary Woodland

Jamie Lovemark/Luke Donald

Friday
Apr212017

Post Katrina: NOLA's City Park Reopens As Bayou Oaks

Erik Matuszewski of Forbes fills us in on the long anticipated return of City Park, destroyed by Hurricane Katrina twelve years ago and reopened after a $24 million renovation.

He writes:

The championship-caliber course about 10 minutes from downtown is the centerpiece of a $24 million project in New Orleans City Park, with aspirations it will be on par with prominent public venues such as Bethpage State Park’s Black Course in New York or Torrey Pines outside San Diego. They picked the right man for the job, as Bayou Oaks architect Rees Jones also overhauled both of those U.S. Open sites.

“Torrey Pines plays 65,000 rounds on the South Course a year. With Bethpage Black, you basically have to wait in line to get on it,” says Jones. “I think that’s going to be the same situation here at City Park because it’s going to be the premier golf course in the region.”

Don Ames's story includes a mention of the championship course as a possible Zurich Classic host some day and this on the fees:

"If you're a Louisiana resident, the fees are between $59 and $99, depending on the day, time of year, twilight...all that good stuff," Hopper says. "And, it includes the cart and a bucket of balls. You can still play the park's north course for about 25 dollars."

He says out-of-state golfers will pay as much as $179 to play the new course.

There is also this drone flyover:

 

 

Friday
Apr212017

NGF: "Overall involvement in the game is actually up"

With the addition of Topgolf and other off-course experiences added to their overall counts, the National Golf Foundation's annual study of golf participation reveals a few interesting things.

First, the bad news:

While the latest research indicates a modest 1.2% decline in on-course participation – dipping to 23.8 million (age 6+ who played at least once) in 2016 from 24.1 million in 2015, commitment to the sport in many respects is more evident than ever before.

Now the positives...starting with the committed.

The number of committed golfers – a group that accounts for approximately 95% of all rounds-played and overall spending – rose for the first time in five years, from 19.5 million to 20.1 million.

An 11% increase in "off-course participation" was largely attributable to Topgolf's inclusion in counts...

Driven primarily by the popularity and growth of Topgolf, a non-traditional form of golf entertainment, there were an estimated 20 million off-course participants in 2016. Of those, 8.2 million didn’t play on a golf course.

And the next dreaded but, the conversion factor...

The number of people who say they are “very interested” in taking up golf has doubled over the past five years, growing at an annual rate of nearly 15%. In addition to the 12.8 million non-golfers who said they’re very interested in playing golf, there are another 27.8 million who responded they’re “somewhat interested” in taking up the game. That increase has driven growth in the number of beginning golfers, with those who played on a golf course for the first time jumping to 2.5 million in 2016 from 1.5 million in 2011.

Topgolf is doing its part, with free lessons April 24th as part of National Golf Day. Eric Matuszewski reports in a Forbes roundup of business stories, including the new Seamus golf shoes and other notes.

It's the economy, stupid:

Recent increases in interest (latent demand) and beginning golfers appear to be correlated with increases in consumer confidence, spending and other favorable economic indicators. Just as these measures trended downward along with golf during and following the recession, they are now increasing as interest in traditional green-grass golf builds, and participation in non-traditional golf activity, such as Topgolf, rises.

This is a big number:

Golf’s overall reach remains extensive, and steady. An estimated 95 million people (or one out of every three Americans age 6+) played, watched or read about golf in 2016, the same number as in 2015.

And the big conclusion, which probably has been written, oh, annually...

The game’s challenge remains the same: getting more of those who express interest to actually give golf a try, and converting more beginners into committed participants. The encouraging sign for the industry is that the committed participant group now appears to be stabilized, while the number of players picking up a club at off-course facilities continues to build.

Thursday
Apr202017

Trump Voters Believe Obama Played More Golf In First Months

I’m non-partisan when it comes to U.S. Presidents playing golf and using the golf course to make deals, take in fresh air, or, most importantly, suffer ego slap downs from the Golf Gods.

Still, it’s fascinating to see that President Donald Trump’s many early forays into golf are seen as as less prevalent than Barack Obama’s.

Allan Smith reports for Business Insider that 53% of Trump voters said Obama outpaced the current president with trips to the links.

A Thursday poll from the Democratic firm Public Policy Polling shows that 53% of respondents who said they voted for Trump in November said Obama had outpaced Trump on trips to the golf course during each president's first three months in office. Just 20% of Trump voters said Trump played more golf, while 27% said they were unsure.

And there was this...

Among all respondents, 48% said Trump played more golf, while 28% said Obama did. Nearly one in four respondents said they were unsure.

Thursday
Apr202017

Tiger Undergoes Fourth Back Surgery With New Doctor

I suspect we are all heartened that Tiger did not go back to the doctor credited with the first three (ultimately unsuccessful) back surgeries and, according to TigerWoods.com, this time entrusted his back to Dr. Richard Guyer of the Texas Back Institute.

From the report:

"After he recovers from surgery, he will gradually begin his rehabilitation until he is completely healed," Guyer said. "Once that's accomplished, his workouts will be geared to allowing him to return to competitive golf.
 
"If you are going to have single-level fusion, the bottom level is the best place for it to occur. Some individuals are born with one less vertebrae, which would be similar to someone who had a single-level fusion," Guyer added.

Thursday
Apr202017

SI: "Behind the scenes with CBS on Sergio Garcia's winning putt"

SI's Richard Deitsch gives us a behind the scenes look at how CBS captured Sergio Garcia's winning moment at the 2017 Masters. It's easy to forget the role television production plays when a moment like Sergio's comes off so seamlessly, particularly given the difficulty of covering golf courses.

Add in Augusta National's 18th hole limitations--no crane, blimps, helpful topography--and covering the moment becomes a huge challenge. Oddly, the best shot may have been the view from down the fairway with Sergio and putting surface just a blip amidst the patrons (screen captured).

Deitsch writes:

Milton said during the live coverage of Garcia’s winning putt, he went through a familiar sequence for a golf director: First, you go wide, then you go tight. The goal is to capture every reaction you can from the scene.

“I was lucky in the sense that Sergio gave those primal yells after the putt went in,” said Milton, who also serves as the lead director for SEC football on CBS. “Then he composed himself and we went wide, so you could see all the crowd celebrating. Then he composed himself to shake Justin Rose’s hand. We stayed on Sergio for quite awhile because I did not want to miss any emotion coming from him after trying to win this thing for 20 years.”

Milton said the CBS production compound at the Masters (which sits next to the Par-3 course) had roughly 12 staffers in the main control room working the final holes. There was also an adjacent room with 12 people working on graphics. As the final shot was made, Barrow and Rikhoff were filtering the best replays. Rikhoff watches all the isolation shots directed by Milton and notes what will work for replay; Barrow decides in what order the replays will sequence to create narrative.

The last minute or so of this CBS highlight reel captures the incredible coverage work described in Deitsch's story. Also, seeing these clips again makes you realize (A) how much of a slope the 16th hole cup is on (B) how long Rose's putt was on 17 for par, (C) how close Rose's in-regulation putt on 18 was to going in, and (D) how great Sergio's final putt was both in execution and in ending the Masters on a high note.