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 โ€“ A Complete History
    The Ryder Cup: Golf's Grandest Event โ€“ A Complete History
    by Martin Davis
  • A Life Well Played: My Stories
    A Life Well Played: My Stories
    by Arnold Palmer

I've been playing the game so long that my handicap is in Roman numerals.
BOB HOPE


   

Wednesday
Jan112017

Take That, Europe: Furyk Is The 2018 Ryder Cup Captain, Already Names His First Assistant Captain!

The task force "Task Force" Task Force probably had this one and the next four decided, but the rumor mill and Jim Furyk's continued relevance as an elite player injected a little doubt into whether he'd be selected 2018 Ryder Cup captain.

Furyk was named captain Wednesday on quite possibly the worst news day in the 21st century to reveal something, but it happens and the next Ryder Cup remains just under two years away.

Jason Sobel summed up the Furyk announcement this way:

Armed with a self-made swing and no-nonsense personality, Furyk has never been as awe-inspiring as Tiger Woods, or as beloved as Phil Mickelson, or even as admired as his predecessor Love, whom he has already named as his first vice captain.

What he lacks in affability, he more than makes up for with intelligence and sincerity and respect from his peers, qualities that should make him a strong captain for next year's festivities at Le Golf National in Paris.

Rex Hoggard talked to players about Furyk as captain.

After Mickelson, who assumed something of a playing vice captain role last year and is likely slated to captain the ’24 team at Bethpage in New York, Furyk is the most obvious choice to continue the work that began with last year’s victory (and make no mistake, those involved view the ’16 matches as only the beginning).

“Phil and Amy [Mickelson] are big time leaders and Jim and [wife Tabitha] are big time leaders as well,” Spieth said. “That really is important in a Ryder Cup team room, having both sides, having leadership together as a couple.”

In the old boys world of task forces, Furyk already named Davis Love an assistant, putting Mr. 58 on target--as of now--to be the first captain to have an assistant cart driver for every player on the team. 

Love had Furyk as an assistant and apparently wants to spend some time in Paris (can't blame him) in 2018. Or, Love missed driving his own cart at Hazeltine and is hoping to get back to his roots steering a Club Car.

From Doug Ferguson's story on the announcement:

Love will be one of his assistants in France.

"He's going to be a very tough act to follow," Furyk said from PGA of America headquarters in Palm Beach Gardens, Florida. "He put a system in place. He put the players behind it. It won't make my task easier, but it makes it easier knowing there is a system in place. To have him by my side his advice, his experience, two captaincies and one vice captaincy is going to be priceless for me."

System's in place! Now it's just the captain's job to make sure those rain suits don't leak! Or does the system cover that?

Anyway, Furyk will give great press conference and not violate the most important tenets of the job, which John Feinstein and I debated on Golf Central:

Wednesday
Jan112017

Callaway Purchases Ogio, True Spec To Invest In Miura

There were two intriguing moves on the business side of golf that became official this week, with Callaway paying $75 million for luggage, golf bag and golf apparel maker Ogio, while investors and True Spec have purchased clubmaker Miura for an undisclosed sum.

Mike Stachura of GolfDigest.com on the Callaway purchase designed to beef up their soft goods operation. The background on Ogio:

Formed 30 years ago after founder Michael J. Pratt developed a sports locker tote bag called the Travel Cube, Ogio (the name stands for “our gear is organized”) became known in golf circles for its unique problem-solving golf bag designs. Notable technologies included the rugged “SLED” (an acronym that stands for Structural Load Equalizing Deck) feature on its rolling luggage and golf travel bags, a hard plastic base and back panel that adds durability and structure. There was also the ZPB (for “zipperless ball pocket”), a pocket with a hinged opening that allowed users to open the pocket with one hand. Ogio also redesigned its golf bags top opening to create easier access, and in 2015 debuted the Silencer, a bag top that locked clubs in place at both the top and bottom of the bag to prevent the clubs from rattling against each other while riding in a cart.

Ogio also has been a player in skateboarding, motocross and BMX, including sponsoring teams of riders in all three sports. It also has an extensive line of backpacks and work bags, as well as the athletic bags the company was founded on.

The full press release, including quotes from CEO Chip Brewer, who will share more in a Thursday conference call.

Meanwhile, GolfWRX's Zak Kozuchowski follows up on an original report about high-end iron maker Miura being sold, by talking to New Miura Golf president Hoyt McGarity. His True Spec Golf will invest and manage Miura.

If you aren't familiar with True Spec, they are an impressive, brand agnostic club fitting system with locations across the globe. I toured their facility at Turnberry and it's nothing short of jaw-dropping in both vision and presentation. But McGarity insists that True Spec will continue to be brand agnostic in fitting their customers, while preserving Miura's clubmaking process.

“True Spec will always be brand agnostic,” McGarity said. “If [another brand’s clubs] are better than Miura’s, that’s a Miura problem. We’re always going to sell the best-performing clubs to our customers.”

True Spec will act as a “fulfillment center” for Miura, McGarity said, specifically as “a shipping and storage place.”

A few photos from the True Spec space at Trump Turnberry:




Oh, and nothing like having the lighthouse as your fitting target!

Wednesday
Jan112017

The Dunvegan Sold To Golf Enthusiasts

An unbylined Scotsman report says the famed St. Andrews pub and hotel has been sold by the retiring Jack and Sheena Willoughby to Forth Bridge Capital LLP.

The new owners are described as golf enthusiasts.

“We are very happy to be involved with Jack and Sheena who have been a pleasure to deal with and we are committed to ensuring The Dunvegan remains one of golf’s best experiences,” said a spokesperson for Forth Bridge Capital LLP. “We look forward to a long and exciting future for our long-standing patrons, our new friends and golfers from around the world.”

Forth Bridge Capital LLP is a UK-based investment company specialising in sports-related businesses and properties. It is owned and managed by golf enthusiasts, industry executives and tour professionals. During the six months marketing period, property company Pagan Osborne managed an unprecedented volume of enquiries from around the globe for the Dunveygan.

Tuesday
Jan102017

Golf Digest's What People In Golf Make

Golf Digest's annual list of top salaries in golf took a Parade magazine-style twist this year with the inclusion of more than just overpaid execs. We've got coaches, caddies and other random jobs in the game. It's instructive to see these other jobs worked in given how many lavishly-paid pro-golf executives there are and how lightly paid folks are for prestigious jobs in other sectors.

I did, however, find some of the numbers mentioned by Alan Pittman to be low for positions like General Managers, superintendents and architects at leading clubs. A few even need to be doubled, at least. ($500k for a "leading architect" fee and $100k for a leading architect remodel might have been accurate in the mid-1980s.)

Also peculiar: how many executives listed are retired or gone from their organizations, including one high up the list who has been gone so long he's already been fired from his next non-golf industry job! Another execs name was wrong, but his $407k salary will soften the blow. Shoot, he might even like his salary not being Google-search friendly.

Tuesday
Jan102017

The Fascination With What's In Rory's Bag

Rory McIlroy tees it up in South Africa to start 2017 and the continued intrigue over his clubs...intrigues.

Is it that he's a masterful ball striker and therefore folks are curious about what he uses?

Is it because he's trying a hybrid approach to his bag this year, courtesy of Nike who still pays him to wear their clothes and to fulfill a contract spoiled by their equipment-business exit?

Or is it that he actually is one of the few players who genuinely moves the needle and therefore, affects sales?

I vote for the last option. Either way, brace for no shortage of stories about what McIlroy uses, especially given the initial reaction to No Laying Up's report and news this week that McIlroy is suggesting his bag may be a revolving door, as Ryan Lavner notes.

“They are picked for this week but that could change week to week,” he told reporters Tuesday. “This is my first event with those clubs, so we will see how it goes this week.

“You never really know until you have a card in your hand, and at the end of the day, the person swinging the club is more important than the club itself.”

McIlroy said he tested clubs pre and post Christmas but then "wanted to go into the bush for a few days" on safari.

His bag is sporting Callaway irons and the Epic driver, Vokey wedges and an Odyssey putter. David Dusek with the bag details here and GolfWRX posted these images.

Dusek also profiled the O-Works putter that is believed to be under McIlroy's putter cover. And Matt Adams explained the technology behind the Epic driver on Morning Drive.

Tuesday
Jan102017

Golfweek Debuts Monthly Issue, New Attitude

The bad news first: another print publication has contracted. Golfweek, the trusted weekly serving the game over 40 years, will now be published 12 times a year.

The good news: Golfweek's new monthly issue, available as a print and/or digital edition for just over $20 a year, successfully targets golfers who eat, sleep and love golf. Plus, they will continue with a weekly digital issue that keeps the "week" in Golfweek as relevant as ever.

Editor Gerry Ahern, brought on board by publisher Dave Morgan when Gannett purchased Golfweek last fall, explains the changes and new attitude in this post today. He even reaches out to readers for feedback:

Serious golfers, Golfweek is your magazine. We aim to be bigger, better and more compelling than ever. You can help us get there. Share your thoughts on the new look and feel of the print magazine, the digital magazine, the email newsletters and the website. How can we serve you better? Send your ideas, comments and suggestions to gahern@golfweek.com.

While I've gone through just some of the stories in the 82-page issue, I'm looking forward to reading this in print even more. The January issue appears to have a good blend of the traditional Golfweek franchises, only with some meatier features that might have been shorter in the weekly format. There is a sense of discovery with each page your turn and a feeling that Golfweek is aggressively trying to serve smart, core golfers who enjoy reading about the business of golf.

The table of contents:


A Donald Trump feature by Martin Kaufmann and Bradley Klein gets plenty of space, a list of the top 40 influencers in the game is sure to generate some discussion (and probably some hurt feelings). Other welcome editions include mental game coverage from Dr. Bob Winters, guest columnist Brad Faxon, a short profile of caddie John Wood, a review of Tiger's Bluejack National, an instruction piece from Ariya Jutanugarn and player profiles on junior golfer Noah Goodwin and LSU’s Sam Burns.

The design does not drift far from the current Golfweek look, but printed on higher quality paper, should provide something you can put on a coffee table. That is, if you don't mind looking at illustrated versions of Donald Trump and Tiger Woods this month.

Monday
Jan092017

Commish Monahan Pledges Tour Return To Miami, Shorter Playoffs

New PGA Tour Commissioner Jay Monahan sat down with Golf Channel's Rich Lerner at Kapalua, with part one of their chat airing on Monday's Golf Central (part two is set for Tuesday's Morning Drive).

He touches on slow play at the 7 minute mark and the answer isn't encouraging given that he cites the tour's ability to sign off on time for television as a sign that things are okay.

But of more immediate note were remarks on trying to return to the Miami market, but probably not to the president-elect's Trump Doral.

“Like any relationship, we’re committed to finding a way to get back there.”

Monahan said the Tour continues to seek a new sponsor for the Miami stop, which has been a Tour stable since 1962, and that it’s “highly likely” that the circuit would return to South Florida.

But at Trump Doral? Monahan was not that specific.

As for the impact Trump’s presidency...

“We see president-elect Trump as being probably the best golfer to ever sit in office and probably the most golf knowledgeable,” he said. “For the game, that’s a tremendous thing.”

Best golfer to ever sit in the White House? They say the president from Massachusetts was pretty good.

He seemed to lower expectations for a potential PGA Tour schedule ending by Labor Day, but did confirm that if the PGA of America moves its championship to May and all other dominos fall, that the playoffs will be shortened by one tournament.

Monahan said no decisions on possible changes have been made and that the other players in the mix, most notably the PGA of America which would give up its spot as the year’s last major, would need to see the value of a possible makeover.

“It’s not as though we’re going to say this is the schedule, everyone has to adapt,” he said. “Our responsibility is to work very closely with the PGA of America and it’s got to work for everybody.”

Another piece of those changes would likely be a reduction of the number of FedEx Cup Playoff events, from four to three, and Monahan confirmed postseason contraction is a consideration. “If we were to execute the schedule that I just mentioned I think it’s likely,” he said.

Based on sponsorship contracts, that would likely mean the end of the Boston stop, leaving New York and Chicago/Midwest as the two "playoff" events.

Part one here:

Monday
Jan092017

Thomas: Impressive ShotLink Stats From His Kapalua Win

The ShotLink team provided some very solid stats (below) on Justin Thomas's season-opening win at Kapalua. With the course soft and playing long, it was his precision on longer approaches that made the difference. (Notwithstanding the doozy on 15, which Golfweek's Jeff Babineau noted was one of the few mistakes all week.)

The 17th hole approach was a standout. According to Doug Ferguson's game story, this was a, gulp, 8-iron:

Here's what ShotLink crew found in the numbers:

The full round highlights:

Monday
Jan092017

Web.com Tour Plays In Weather Only The Bishop Could Love

Tommy Gainey was understandably peeved that play wasn't halted in the season-opening Bahamas Great Exuma Classic (how about that name?).

Will Gray on the first round weather.

"There's no strategy," Tommy Gainey told Golf Channel after playing his first 13 holes in 8 over. "Name another tournament where they do play in 40 mph winds."

Well, The Bishop did, though it wasn't a tournament.

The video, shot by one seriously tough cameraman.

Sunday
Jan082017

Telegraph: Furyk To Be Named 2018 Ryder Cup Captain

Warhorse Fred Couples was flying from the clouds late to duel Jim Furyk down the stretch, but James Corrigan says Furyk will get to the wire first this week.

While hardly a surprise, the late interest in Couples added mild intrigue to the biennial chase for lead cart driving duties. Though in the 2018 case, you get to spend a lot of time in Paris, so it's a particularly attractive gig.

If nothing else, Furyk deserves the gig for sitting through all of those rigorous task force meetings. All two of them.

Sunday
Jan082017

Rory: "I hate that term 'growing the game'...golf was here long before we were, and it's going to be here long after we're gone."

Part 1 of Rory McIlroy's open and engaging chat with the Independent On Sunday's Paul Kimmage is worth a read, and while his comments about the Olympics got most of the attention, the grow-the-game views and his comments on Tiger stood out.

On the Olympics, he explains himself well and, in hindsight, probably would not have had to wheel out Zika if he'd just said what he tells Kimmage. Then again, his grow the game remarks might have gotten him a lecture from Mssrs Dawson and Finchem.

RM: Well, I'd had nothing but questions about the Olympics - 'the Olympics, the Olympics, the Olympics' - and it was just one question too far. I'd said what I needed to say. I'd got myself out of it, and it comes up again. And I could feel it. I could just feel myself go 'Poom!' and I thought: 'I'm going to let them have it.'

PK: (Laughs)

RM: Okay, I went a bit far. But I hate that term 'growing the game'. Do you ever hear that in other sports? In tennis? Football? 'Let's grow the game'. I mean, golf was here long before we were, and it's going to be here long after we're gone. So I don't get that, but I probably went a bit overboard.

PK: They were goading you.

RM: Yeah, but maybe I shouldn't have reacted in the way that I did. But Olympic golf to me doesn't mean that much - it really doesn't. I don't get excited about it. And people can disagree, and have a different opinion, and that's totally fine. Each to their own.

PK: There was a lot of blow-back for you afterwards. When you were asked about it after the opening round you said: "I've spent seven years trying to please everyone and I figured out that I really can't do that, so I may as well be true to myself."

RM: Yeah, I mean when it was announced (that golf was to be an Olympic sport) in 2009 or whatever, all of a sudden it put me in a position where I had to question who I am. Who am I? Where am I from? Where do my loyalties lie? Who am I going to play for? Who do I not want to piss off the most? I started to resent it. And I do. I resent the Olympic Games because of the position it put me in - that's my feeling towards it - and whether that's right or wrong, it's how I feel.

Ok, so we won't pencil you in for Tokyo 2020.

As for the tired "grow the game" phrase, it's wonderful to see a player single it out.

May I propose "sustain the game," which would allow McIlroy and others not look hypocritical when working to inspire kids to take up the game, something he clearly enjoys. Because we know the "grow" is merely a product of fear that the numbers have, gasp, flatlined.

On Tiger:

RM: I’m drawn to him, yeah. He’s an intriguing character because you could spend two hours in his company and see four different sides to him. When he’s comfortable and he trusts you — and his trust (sensitivity) is way (higher) than mine — he’s great. He’s thoughtful. He’s smart. He reads. He can’t sleep so that’s all he does — he reads stuff and educates himself on everything. But he struggles to sleep, which I think is an effect of overtraining, so I tell him to calm down sometimes. He’d be texting me at four o’clock in the morning: ‘Up lifting. What are you doing?’

PK: Really?

RM: Yeah, yeah, yeah.

He's never dull!

Sunday
Jan082017

New Commish Likes Tiger's Energy And "Countenances"

Look, he just spent the last two years as Tim Finchem's fixer. We're talking about a now-retired Commish who probably wears a blue blazer and grey slacks in lieu of pajamas and who speaks in lawyerly jargon like few others. So it'll take time for Jay Monahan to flush a few of these out of the system.

Speaking about Tiger's comeback to Rich Lerner in an interview set to air on Monday's Golf Central and Tuesday's Morning Drive, this preview quote had me running for a dictionary:

“I don’t think it’s just the performance he had at the Hero World Challenge,” Monahan said. “I think the way his energy, his countenances ... the joy that he had that week lends itself for all of us.

“It’s very exciting to think about what he could potentially accomplish in the coming weeks.”

Sunday
Jan082017

PGA Tour May Add LPGA Winners To Season-Opening TOC?

Randall Mell at GolfChannel.com says a joint season-opening tournament of champions is one of the main revelations from an extensive Rich Lerner sitdown with new commissioner Jay Monahan.

The interview airs in two parts, Monday on Golf Central and Tuesday on Morning Drive. The key quote:

“You could see men and women here at the Tournament of Champions,” Monahan told Golf Channel’s Rich Lerner as part of a wide-ranging interview that will air Monday on Golf Central and Tuesday on Morning Drive. “That is something we are thinking about and talking to Mike and the LPGA about. We would like to see that happen. We have some interest from sponsors.”

News of efforts to rejuvenate that opening event comes at a good time, as this year's SBS at Kapalua has (so far) felt flat despite a nice field and leaderboard. Perhaps Kapalua playing soft has made the proceedings less compelling. After all, no course on the PGA Tour is more fun to watch when it's firey and players are feeding the ball to the hole.

Perhaps adding the winners of LPGA events and a second tournament conclusion could inject some fun.

Friday
Jan062017

Tribunal Rules European Tour Unfairly Dismissed Scott Kelly

The Daily Mail's James Dunn reports on the ruling against the European Tour and new chief Keith Pelley on the issue of unfair dismissal, but sided with the defendant on the issue of age discrimination.

A monetary reward will be decided in a February 6 hearing.

This was interesting on the topic of age discrimination:

David Mitchell, representing Mr Kelly, said the claims were 'concocted' fabrications after the legal proceedings were started, producing transcripts of emails and meetings where Mr Pelley said he wanted to employ 'millennials' and that another senior director kept his job 'with the support of two 31-year-olds - offering fresh legs'

Presiding Judge Andrew Gumbiti-Zimuto, in a reserved judgement, said: 'The reference to retirement was not any indication of the reason why his employment was terminated but a matter of positioning it as retirement for presentation only; to preserve the claimant's dignity by avoiding people knowing that he had been dismissed.'

Kelly has been described as a key figure in securing the tour's partnership with Rolex, but how much of that involves the recently announced Rolex Series events is unclear.

Thursday
Jan052017

Trailer Released: Tommy's Honour (U.S. Edition)

As I watched a few minutes of Tin Cup today prior to the start of the 2017 season, I became wistful thinking that some day soon it will only run 20-30 times a year on Golf Channel instead of 400.

That's because Golf Channel has the television rights to Tommy's Honour, directed by Jason Connery, written by Pamela Marin and Kevin Cook and based on the novel by Cook. The film stars Jack Lowden, Peter Mullan, Ophelia Lovibond and Sam Neill.
 
Roadside Attractions will release Tommy's Honour in theaters on April 14, 2017. This newly-released trailer gets the juices flowing if you love the book or simply would like to go back in time to see the early glory days of golf.

The trailer:

Thursday
Jan052017

Jim Herman Opens With 67, Has An Inauguration To Attend Too

Dave Shedloski does a nice job sharing Jim Herman's incredible backstory with president-elect Donald Trump, including how he was encouraged to keep going for a PGA Tour card.

But after an opening 67 in the SBS Championship at Kapalua, it's Herman's recent golf with Trump and his inauguration plans that are of particular note.

Herman has played several times with the President-elect, including two days before Christmas at Trump International in West Palm Beach, Fla. As is their custom, they play as a team. They took on three other members, and won.

“We had a pretty good win,” Herman said of his game with Trump, who also played a round with Woods last month. “I think he's wanting to go four-on-one one of these days and ditch me, but he wants to have three other people with him. So we'll see what happens. But it's a fun time. He's a competitor and he loves to play the game of golf. He can drive it very well and he can putt it. I mean, I can't believe the putts that he makes when we're playing our game.”

Thursday
Jan052017

Nike Rolls Out Jason Day In A $90 Polo

The new Nike man wore the orange on white combo in round one at Kapalua. Personally, I love that Nike is trying to re-imagine the collar but I'm not so sure about the super tight fit or the Hot Dog On A Stick colors.

Ironically Nike is promoting the shirts' ability to adapt to a long round with many changes in body temperature in the same week Day pronounced his intent to not hit a shot until he's darn well ready. Perhaps he's been emboldened by the Aeroreact technology!


Darren Rovell says the shirt will retail for $90.


The shorts and compression leggings look is still trying to hang around...

Thursday
Jan052017

NBC Golf Viewership Up 27% In '16, Golf Channel Up 8%

Erik Matuszewski of Forbes reports the final golf viewing numbers for 2016, with NBC/Golf Channel seeing substantional viewer increases thanks in part to adding The Open Championship and golf's Olympic return.

Given the declining numbers in most sports television, the increases appear especially positive, as Matuszewski notes:

While many major sports networks saw viewership declines in 2016 – ESPN, ESPN2, ESPNU, NFL Network and MLB Network among them -- Golf Channel viewership rose 8% over a year ago while NBC Sports Network saw a 14% audience increase. Golf Channel matched its highest-rated year ever, tying its record numbers from 2013 when Tiger Woods won five PGA Tour titles, including two at events with highly-visible Monday finishes on the network.

“With most of the media world seeing declines, seeing double-digit increases like this is important and it proves that our investments are paying off,” Mike McCarley, the President of Golf for NBC Sports Group, said in an interview.

In 2017 live golf will account for 37% of Golf Channel's programming, up from 18% in 2011.

The full press release:

NBC’S GOLF COVERAGE DRAWS LARGEST U.S. AUDIENCE IN 2016
WITH 71 MILLION UNIQUE VIEWERS, UP 27% YEAR-OVER-YEAR
Golf Channel Matches Highest-Rated Year Ever in 2016
 
Millennial Audience Grows 33% Year-over-Year, Doubles over Past 2 Years
 
Golf Channel Digital Scores Best Year Ever Across All Platforms
 
ORLANDO, Fla. (Jan. 5, 2017) – NBC Sports’ Golf Channel on NBC coverage drew the largest U.S. broadcast golf audience in 2016 with 71 million unique viewers, +27% vs. 2015 and NBC Sports’ largest total audience for live golf coverage since 2013. Building upon NBC Sports’ slate of marquee PGA TOUR events, viewership growth was driven by the addition of long-term partnerships with The Open and Ryder Cup, as well as golf returning to the Olympics. With the most live hours of coverage in network history, Golf Channel also drew its largest total audience with almost 45 million unique viewers. As a result of a continued investment in high-quality, live programming, Golf Channel matched its highest-rated year ever for the third consecutive year (.08 U.S. household rating, 24-hour total day 6AM-6AM) since the network was founded 22 years ago by Arnold Palmer. After joining NBC Sports Group in 2011, Golf Channel has scored its six best years ever and has increased ratings +60% and viewership +53% over that span,  according to data released by The Nielsen Company. Additional highlights include:
·       Golf Channel one of four sports networks experiencing 2016 viewership growth
·       The Open, Ryder Cup propel Golf Channel to most-watched day ever record, twice
·       Golf Channel posts seventh consecutive quarter of year-over-year growth
 
“NBC Sports’ golf coverage had a transformational year in 2016 with the addition of robust, multi-platform coverage of The Open, Olympics, and a U.S. hosted Ryder Cup – all in a 12-week span. These high-quality, live events coupled with an affluent, loyal and younger audience across all platforms helped fuel the success of golf within the NBC Sports Group,” said Mike McCarley, president of Golf, NBC Sports Group. “With more live coverage than ever before, including more live golf coverage than all other networks combined, Golf Channel has experienced tremendous growth since joining the NBC Sports Group in 2011 and now provides more live coverage than ever before. With this growth, we firmly believe the best is yet to come.”
 
TELEVISED GOLF REACHES 89.7 MILLION VIA NBC SPORTS LINEAR CHANNELS
In 2016, Golf Channel and NBC reached nearly 90 million unique viewers by providing more live tournament golf coverage than all other U.S. television networks combined. Golf Channel televised 139 events that reached more than 500k viewers (+83% vs. 2010) and 13 events that reached more than 1 million viewers (+117% vs. 2010), representing double-digit growth since joining the NBC Sports Group in 2011.
 
1 OF ONLY 4 SPORTS NETWORKS WITH VIEWERSHIP GROWTH IN 2016
Golf Channel’s  8% growth for average viewership and 11% growth for persons 25-54 ranked third among all sports networks, which in 2016 only saw four networks experience growth:

GOLF CHANNEL TWICE SETS RECORD FOR MOST-WATCHED DAY IN NETWORK HISTORY
Golf Channel first set its record for most-watched total day in network history on Friday, July 15 with second round coverage of The Open (584k average viewers), which included 14 consecutive hours of live coverage from Royal Troon, Scotland. Then on Friday, September 30, Day 1 coverage of the Ryder Cup propelled the network to a new record for most-watched day in network history (673k average viewers), which included 10.5 hours of live coverage.
 
7 CONSECUTIVE QUARTERS OF YEAR-OVER-YEAR GROWTH
Golf Channel has posted seven consecutive quarters of year-over-year growth, including second and third quarters posting all-time quarterly high marks in 2016 (125,000 and 121,000 average viewers, respectively), and fourth quarter being the most watched since 2011 (72,000 average viewers). Ultimately, Golf Channel posted its second most-watched year ever (107,000 average viewers, 24-hour total day 6AM-6AM, +8% vs. 2015), surpassed only slightly by 2013 (108,000 average viewers).
 
KEY YOUNG & AFFLUENT DEMOS CONTRIBUTE TO CONTINUED GROWTH
Viewership growth was driven in part by millennials with impressions for persons 25-34 increasing +33% in total day, a mark that has doubled over the past two years, as well as +43% in primetime. Also in 2016, Golf Channel continued as the No. 1 most-affluent ad-supported television network in both total day and primetime for the third consecutive year with the highest median household income.
 
RECORD GROWTH FOR GOLF CHANNEL DIGITAL
Golf Channel’s success extended across all platforms, including more than 264 million live streaming minutes (+96% vs. 2015) via Golf Channel Digital, which also saw best-ever results in key metrics for video starts (48 million, +19%), page views (894 million, +2%), and unique devices (4.9 million, .5%). Golf Channel also helped connect more golfers to the game via its portfolio of digital lifestyle brands, including GolfNow, which utilizes technology to encourage more golfers to play more golf.

ADDITIONAL 2016 GOLF CHANNEL VIEWERSHIP HIGHLIGHTS
·       Growth Throughout the Year (average viewers, 24-hour total day 6AM-6AM)
o   First Quarter                 +15 % YOY     Most-Watched Feb. & March since 2013
o   Second Quarter             +1 % YOY       Most-Watched 2nd Quarter Ever
o   Third Quarter                +6 % YOY       Most-Watched 3rd Quarter Ever
o   Fourth Quarter              +16 % YOY     Most Watched 4th Quarter since 2011

The Open
o   NBC Sports’ first-ever live coverage of The Open finished as the most-watched final round since 2009, and finished +20% vs. 2015. Overall, coverage reached 20.8 million unique viewers across NBC and Golf Channel, +10% vs. 2015 and highest since 2012.
o   Golf Channel’s first-ever live coverage of a men’s major championship at The Open propelled the network to be a Top-5 cable network during Thursday and Friday coverage with total viewers and the No. 1 cable sports network with both average viewers and persons 25-54 (6 a.m.–2 p.m. ET).
o   Live streaming of NBC Sports’ coverage of The Open delivered 51.3 million minutes on 606k unique devices across all platforms, marking all-time highs for an NBC Sports golf event.

Ryder Cup
o   NBC Sports’ first-ever comprehensive coverage of the Ryder Cup from a U.S. venue across both NBC and Golf Channel reached 22.2 million unique viewers.
o   Golf Channel was the No. 1 cable sports network by 319% and the No. 2 cable network from 8:30 a.m. to 7 p.m. ET on Friday.
o   Across all NBC Sports Digital platforms, live streaming of the Ryder Cup delivered 35.1 million minutes on 487k unique devices and an average-minutes audience of 22k, which is the highest average-minutes audience ever for an NBC Sports golf event.

Olympics
o   For the first time in more than 100 years, golf returned to the Olympics, and 24.5 million unique viewers watched coverage across Golf Channel and NBC, including 21 million unique viewers who watched the men’s competition on Golf Channel and NBC and 5.5 million unique viewers who watched the women’s competition on Golf Channel.
o   Golf Channel and NBC both aired the conclusion of the men’s competition and this was the second highest-rated 90 minutes of golf in 2016, only behind the Masters, with a combined 5.6 U.S. household rating and 8.578 million average viewers.

 

Additional Golf Channel Programming

o   Golf Central viewership +5% vs. 2015 for average viewership and persons 25-54. This is Golf Central’s most-watched year since 2013.
o   Morning Drive’s average viewership was even vs. 2015, but +27% with persons 25-54, the highest performance with this key demo since 2013.
o   Feherty posted its best season ever with total average viewers. March premieres featuring Jordan Spieth (Part 1: 325k average viewers, Part 2: 351k average viewers) and Jason Day (279k average viewers) were the most-watched premieres since the series debuted in June 2011 (Live+Same Day DVR). Both Jordan Spieth premieres became the most-watched Feherty episodes ever, averaging more than 430k average viewers on a Live+3 basis.
o   Golf Channel’s primetime delivery overall was +2% vs. 2015 (123k average viewers)

Thursday
Jan052017

Tiger Blogs 1500 Words: Kids Courses, Hero Assessment & Golf With President-Elect Trump

Tiger Woods took to his TigerWoods.com blog to confirm he's playing in Dubai (four events in five weeks!?) and to cover a bit of everything. He did so in uncharacteristically frank style, acknowledging his fatigue issues in his first start back and his hearbreak over Derek Carr's injury.

But more exciting than anything is his advocacy for short kids courses, something no great player in the history of the sport has ever done (Bobby Jones had mixed feelings about "kindergarten" courses).

Woods, who has now done two par-3/short courses in his short design career, writes:

I am also excited about the opening of The Oasis Short Course, our new 12-hole par-3 design at Diamante Cabo San Lucas. With this design, I'm trying to go back to my roots. I grew up playing Heartwell, a par-3 course in Long Beach, California. That's how I got introduced to golf.

Golf now is almost impossible to play in less than five hours, so why don't we open things up? We can play faster and have more fun in an entertaining environment -- like a short course -- where everyone can participate, practice and learn the game, and kids can play without being overwhelmed by a big golf course.

Keep preaching!

Interesting that he opened up about the first tee shot at the Hero, which to me indicates just how much pressure he was feeling.

That first tee shot was a little weird to me because it was left to right, and the wind was howling off the left. I had just seen Matt Kuchar slice the ball into the desert on the right, and he never misses a fairway. I decided to go for a low, pull-cut up the left side and hit a straight money ball right between the bunkers.

From there, I had a pitching wedge from 150. I played for a flyer and it came out perfectly. From then on, I was fine. I was back at a tournament again, no problem, no issues. At the second hole, I stuffed it in there and felt comfortable the rest of the way.

On playing with President-elect Trump, Woods writes:

Our discussion topics were wide-ranging; it was fun. We both enjoyed the bantering, bickering and needling. I also shared my vision for golf and what I'm trying to do.

Oops...and The Donald doesn't get too excited about growing the game efforts, so hopefully we moved on from that quickly!

We didn't have a match and played for fun. I was testing drivers and fairway woods, and changed some settings. I think he enjoyed seeing the difference in shots when you experiment.

Let's hope this wasn't the President's first exposure to adjustable drivers.

Thursday
Jan052017

PGA Tour, Twitter Team Up For 70 Hours Of Weekday Coverage

Bloomberg's Scott Soshnick with details of a new PGA Tour-Twitter broadcast partnership that covers 31 events and 70 hours over the course of the season.

Essentially they will provide 60 or 90 minute pre-game show coverage before PGA Tour Live and Golf Channel's weekday coverage commences.

PGA Tour Live has been providing coverage in the pre-Golf Channel window and will continue to be there for its subscriber(s). Theoretically this deal will encourage more to sign up for the paid PGA Tour Live service and gives the Tour more of the digital presence new Commissioner Jay Monahan telegraphed in this Q&A. There is also the big-picture effort to create new distribution channels for eventual Golf Channel negotations when that deal expires in 2021.