Twitter: GeoffShac
Writing And Videos
  • Tommy's Honor: The Story of Old Tom Morris and Young Tom Morris, Golf's Founding Father and Son
    Tommy's Honor: The Story of Old Tom Morris and Young Tom Morris, Golf's Founding Father and Son
    by Kevin Cook
  • His Ownself: A Semi-Memoir (Anchor Sports)
    His Ownself: A Semi-Memoir (Anchor Sports)
    by Dan Jenkins
  • Players: The Story of Sports and Money, and the Visionaries Who Fought to Create a Revolution
    Players: The Story of Sports and Money, and the Visionaries Who Fought to Create a Revolution
    by Matthew Futterman

There should be names for golf holes, but let them be significant and unique. The plains Indians never named their children until some incident in the child's life suggested fitting one. Frequently the real name waited until the individual was advanced in youth, or even a warrior, as was the case with Plenty Coups and Young Man Afraid of His Horses…there must be some outstanding feature or incident that will give to a hole an individuality that none other may enjoy.  A.W. TILLINGHAST


    

Sunday
Aug212016

Luck Will Have It! Aussie Curtis Wins U.S. Amateur

Lucky because even Curtis Luck is a tough name for USGA President Diana Murphy to rearrange as only she can!

Not that he cares, as Luck wins golf's most prestigious amateur title and all of the perks that go with it. He becomes the third Aussie (Travis, Flanagan) and first wearer of a manbun to win the Havermeyer Trophy.

Sure, Luck dashed hopes for a trophy ceremony Grand Slam by President Murphy, but alas, the damage on the USGA leadership front has been done.

Ryan Herrington at GolfDigest.com writes about Luck's secret weapon on the bag, dad Curtis, who kept things light, allowing for a turnaround of epic proportions.

Rather than risk doing more damage with his putter, he conceded the par putt of his opponent, Brad Dalke, and walked off 1 down.

At that moment, Luck heard a voice offer some meaningful, albeit straightforward, advice.

“OK,” said Stuart Luck, Curtis’ 46-year-old father who doubled this week as his caddie, “now we need to play some good golf.”

The brief moment of levity—“He usually likes being very obvious with his statements out on the golf course,” Curtis would say later—helped the No.7 ranked amateur in the world shrug off the stumble and re-set himself.

Jeff Babineau at Golfweek.com notes in his game story that Luck will remain an amateur to enjoy the scheduling benefits that come with the title.

Luck, who will now stay amateur, can fill out his 2017 schedule with starts at the Masters (traditionally, the U.S. Am winner gets invited), U.S. Open and British Open, as well as traditional starts in PGA Tour events such as the Arnold Palmer Invitational and The Memorial.

As for holding off on turning pro? As they say back home in Australia, no worries, mate.

“It was something I always was thinking might happen,” Luck said. “I’m very happy with staying amateur.”

Herrington also wrote about a fun touch by the Oakland Hills chef Dan Vallone.

Here are the USGA highlights.

And an interview with the winner.


Sunday
Aug212016

Women's Olympic Ratings Wrap: Nice Final Day

In spite of a forecast-driven tee time change that killed chances for a lengthy NBC look-in, viewers tuned in to Golf Channel for the medal day of women's Olympic golf. Hopefully some international numbers will trickle in at some point like they did with the men.

For Immediate Release...

Golf’s Return to the Olympics Posts Record Viewership for Women’s Golf
 
Golf Channel schedule for the Olympics featured the most live coverage ever for a women’s golf event (34.5 hours), which was bolstered all week with an additional 35.5 hours of live news coverage with Golf Central’s Live From The Olympics and Morning Drive. In total, Golf Channel dedicated 124 hours of programming to this week’s women’s golf competition and as a result, generated record-breaking viewership. Wrap-up of Men’s Final Round is below.
 
Saturday, August 20: Final Round

Golf Channel’s coverage of the conclusion of the Olympics’ women’s final round is the highest-rated and most-watched in more than six years for peak 90-minutes of coverage from any women’s stroke-play event on cable in any daypart, including primetime (11:15 am-12:45 pm ET; 0.54 US HH rating, 803,000 average viewers), dating back to the 2010 Women’s British Open on ESPN (8/1/2010; peak 90 minutes, .59 US HH rating, 824,000 average viewers).

Coverage peaked with 924,000 average viewers (12:15-12:30 pm ET), the most-watched peak finish for any women’s golf event on cable in more than six years since the 2010 Women’s British Open on ESPN (8/1/2010; peak finish, 1.275 million average viewers)

Despite leaders teeing off earlier than plan on the account of potential bad weather, average viewership for the final round (691,000 average viewers) was +77% vs. Friday’s comparable 3rd round coverage (390,000 average viewers)
 
Friday, August 19: Round 3

Golf Channel’s afternoon coverage of the third round is the most-watched third round in more than five years for any women’s stroke-play golf event on cable in any daypart, including primetime (Noon-3:36 pm ET; 0.28 US HH rating, 390,000 average viewers), dating back to the third round of the 2011 Women’s British Open on ESPN (7/30/11; 476,000).

Golf Channel’s Friday afternoon coverage of the third round was up 212% among average viewers and up 180% for U.S. household rating vs. the same Friday in 2012 opposite the London Games.
 
Thursday, August 18: Round 2

Golf Channel’s second-round coverage is the highest-rated live weekday round of any women’s golf event (at the time, now second behind Olympics Round 3) in more than two years in any daypart, including primetime (Noon-3:14 pm ET; 0.23 US HH rating, 316,000 average viewers), dating back to the second round of the 2014 U.S. Women’s Open at Pinehurst (6/20/14; 0.44 U.S. HH rating on ESPN2).
 
Wednesday, August 17: Round 1

Golf Channel’s coverage tied as the highest-rated round one of any women’s golf event in 2016 (Noon-3:54 pm ET; 0.17 US HH rating, 217,000 average viewers), matching the rating for coverage of the ANA Inspiration Major Championship, which aired in primetime (3/31/16, 7:12-9:12 pm ET).

In general ratings news, New York's Eric Levit considers the fall in overall Olympic viewership numbers by the most important generation to have ever live, and wisely notes that even they get it wrong sometimes.

Sunday
Aug212016

Six Ways To Make Olympic Golf Better

With our attention spans soon putting Olympic golf aside until Tokyo in four years, now is the time to consider a few tweaks, enhancements and bold ideas to make the next Olympic golf competitions better. My colleague Jaime Diaz made the shrewd point that things went so well, the IGF will have more wiggle room with the IOC to propose improvements.

It should be noted that organizers ran a golf tournament that professional in nearly every way to the players. Officials from all over the world contributed, though it was largely a PGA Tour operation.

Media and scoring issues were expected, partly a Rio situation and mostly a first-time-for-golf-in-the-Olympics situation. Some of the telecast issues were also related to the Olympic Broadcast Services following IOC guidelines, perhaps combined with telecast windows that were incredibly long given the field size.

But in the name of making golf more interesting to more people, here are a few suggestions:

—Introduce A Team Format. Golf wants to “grow” but how about a more modest goal of trying to sustain and entertain? In randomly polling those who were in Rio attending other sports, two words came up most when considering golf's four-day 72-hole format in the context of Olympic competition: team format. Since the IOC does not want to give up more than 60 spots to prevent Olympic Village overpopulation, we are likely needing to keep the format at two-person teams consisting of the current fields. Another word that came up repeatedly: “disciplines” that expose skills other than playing 72 holes for oneself. The consensus for team is there, now we have to find the best format.

—Alternate the order of play. That means women go first in 2020 and men first in 2024 should golf return to the Games. Cases could be made for either order having benefits for both genders, fans and the global tours. However, the IOC will pick the order based on scheduling demands*.

—Do not schedule competing tournaments by tours during Olympic week. Every tour complied on this front in 2016, except the PGA Tour. The John Deere Classic, an event that has grown in prominence, took an unnecessary backseat this year.  Two players skipped the Games for the Deere because their careers were on the line, and they didn't regret the decision, but also lamented not being in Rio. The FedExCup “race” was even impacted, as Justin Rose lost ground in this points race because he played in the Olympics. The LPGA's Commish noted that this was a concern for his tour, and his tour set aside a nice window for Olympic golf. If the PGA Tour wants the world to take a competition they worked hard to successfully produce, next-Commish Jay Monahan has to tell his members, sponsors and TV partners he'll be shutting down his tour one week every four years.

—Convince the IOC to allow for the latest cut-off date possible.
The Tokyo games in 2020 will be played just two weeks after The Open. This means there is no chance of that Open impacting the field. But hopefully the U.S. Open will be allowed to count toward ranking points prior to a cutoff. 


—Even more blatantly patriotic uniforms. Seeing the Rio golf course dotted with splashes of national colors made for an unusual sight. Some of the uniforms were quite distinctive, like H&M’s subtle stamping of Sweden on Henrik Stenson’s final round shirt. The Adidas effort was distinctive for the Great Britain team, downright strange for the USA women. Let’s see even more color, nation branding and emphasis on athletic cuts. How great was it to see the golfers looking like athletes in official team medal tracksuits?

—Get Golf In The Paralympics. We’ve seen what the game has done for wounded warriors and how heroes like Dennis Walters inspire. It’s somewhat mind-boggling that the Paralympics, contested next month in Rio, do not include golf. Get on this IGF. Chop chop!

—Start making the case for Long Drive as a separate sport for inclusion by 2024.
If you want higher, stronger, faster then long drive is the sport. Imagine Long Drive under the lights in an exotic locale. Say, the Champ de Mars at the foot of the Eiffel Tower or in a refashioned portion of the soon-to-be reimagined L.A. River facing the downtown skyline? Long drive would be the beach volleyball to traditional golf’s indoor volleyball. Music, screaming, athleticism and a strength-meets-skill discipline that would appeal to an entirely different audience.

Sunday
Aug212016

Remembering The Late Photographer Jules Alexander

There are a couple of fine reads on the passing of photographer Jules Alexander, best known for his images of Ben Hogan seen in The Hogan Mystique.

Sam Weinman at GolfDigest.com on the iconic image that captured Hogan's style and gravitas.

The most celebrated picture in the Alexander collection is the one above of Hogan leaning against his putter on the green, head turned to the side, a cigarette in his right hand. When Alexander told the story of that photo, he recalled Hogan holding his position just long enough for the photographer to make it work.

"I sit at my desk and I can see the picture every day, and just recently I began to think, ‘Why did he stand there just long enough for me to take all these frames with three different cameras?’” Alexander said in 2006. “You can’t do that in two minutes. But he’s looking across the green at Claude Harmon. And I’m going to have the temerity to think that he posed for me by saying to himself, ‘I’m going to give this guy a shot.’ ”

Adam Schupak at Golfweek files a very personal remembrance of Alexander, who he profiled in 2007.

In August 2007, I spent the day shadowing Alexander as he photographed the third round of The Barclays at Westchester Country Club in Harrison, N.Y. But we had become friends several years earlier. He could spin a story, and I loved to listen to them. He told me that when he flew, he never checked his camera – he loved the Leica – and always booked a window seat and kept his camera on his lap, just in case he ever saw something good, “like a UFO,” he said, before adding, “I just like to have a camera in my hands.” Whenever he booked a hotel, he asked whether it had a pool so he could swim laps. That was his secret to keeping in such good shape.

That day at the tournament was a 90-90 day — 90-plus degrees, 90-plus-percent humidity — and still ranks as one of the muggiest days I’ve had to cover golf. Yet Alexander lugged his equipment like a man half his age. He said to me after we sat down for a drink at the tail end of the day, “It’s as hot as I remember, but not as hot as Okinawa.”

Saturday
Aug202016

Inbee Park Wins Olympic Gold!

Lydia Ko takes silver and Shanshan Feng the bronze on an intriguing final day, where no shortage of players had a chance to medal.

We can kick around winners, losers and format soon enough, but for now congratulations to the women who played the Rio Olympic course with class and who did their part to make golf's return to the Games a success.

Friday
Aug192016

Women's Olympic Golf Set Up For Grand (And Starting Earlier For Weather) Saturday Conclusion

After years of wondering about possible medal scenarios, we're set up for a fun finish to the women's Olympic golf, assuming the thunderstorms hold off and a few more fans show up. Friday's high winds produced some stellar golf and separated the leaderboard.

Steve DiMeglio sets up the concluding day, where Inbee Park looks to add to her Hall of Fame career with a gold medal, and who knows, possibly her last significant appearance on a grand stage. American Gerina Piller, still searching for her first pro win, played what she called a possible career round to get herself in the final group and in medal contention.

Park will also be pursued by Lydia Ko, vaulted herself into the medal race on the back of an 8th hole ace, her first ace ever in competition. Rex Hoggard on Ko's hopes to medal and face off with Inbee Park.

Here is the video.

China's Xiyu Lin previously made the first hole-in-one in women's golf history on Friday at the same hole, which, I can say having seen it in person, is no easy hole location to get to.

Bob Harig explains what happened to first round leader Ariya Jutanugarn, who was +12 thru 13 Friday before WD'ing with an injury.

Aditi Ashok was hanging in nicely through 10 but the winds and a tough stretch of holes took the Cinderella story out of contention. However, India's 18-year-old representative has nothing to be ashamed of.

Marianne Skarpnord found herself in a DJ-oscillate situation and it was all caught on camera along with the conversation with an official, all picked up thanks to an aggressive audio technician. Hoggard explains what happened and why the ruling went the way it did.

An unbylined IGF story ID's all of the family members caddying in the women's competition, and it's a long list.

Speaking of caddies, Mike Clayton is on the bag for Australia's Su Oh, who posted a 66 and moved to within five strokes of the bronze position. An unbylined Australian Olympic Committee story includes quotes from Oh mentioning her golf architect looper.

Here's the Golf Channel lowdown on Saturday's tee times, which were moved up due to an ominous afternoon weather forecast. :

-Live final round coverage of the Women’s Olympic Golf competition gets underway at 6 a.m. ET on Saturday morning on Golf Channel, immediately following Golf Central Live From the Olympics, airing from 5-6 a.m. ET.
 
-In order to avoid potential inclement weather in the afternoon, groups will be going off split tees on Saturday (No. 1 and 10), with the leaders beginning their final round at 7:39 am ET. Barring any playoffs, the expectation is for golf to conclude around 1 p.m. ET, with the medal ceremony immediately following.

Here is the latest on ratings:

Golf Channel’s second-round coverage is the highest-rated live weekday round of any women’s golf event in more than two years across all dayparts including primetime (Noon-3:14 pm ET; 0.23 US HH rating, 316,000 average viewers), dating back to the second round of the 2014 U.S. Women’s Open at Pinehurst (6/20/14; 0.44 U.S. HH rating on ESPN2). Additionally, the Olympics round two is the most-watched Thursday of women’s golf coverage since round one of the 2014 U.S. Women’s Open on ESPN2 (6/19/14; 437,000 average viewers).

Friday
Aug192016

Cinderella In Rio: India's Aditi Ashok Contends For Medal

While a grow-the-game mantra turned a lot of people off from enjoying golf's Olympic moment, a story like Aditi Ashok may make one of the biggest countries in the world take notice of golf. Even if she fades over the final two days, India's 18-year-old, world No. 462 has opened with two 68s.  She sits just four strokes back of Inbee Park and in some impressive company as the women's competition has a very solid leaderboard.

Mike McCallister at PGATour.com did a fantastic job of piecing together Ashok's story along with the role her caddie father plays, and her mother, who is back home and as dad says, "is the pillar of her whole golfing journey.”

Read the full piece, it's really special, especially given that no one in her family played golf and she was naturally drawn to the sport when the family breakfasted near a driving range.

Her name, which means “boundless,” is appropriate given her eagerness to learn and desire to improve.

“Golf every day is different,” she said. “You never hit the same show twice. So every day is a new experience, and you can’t really come with any expectations. The game is bigger than all of us, so that’s what I like about it.”

Four years ago her mother, a former radio disk jockey, realized there was a chance Aditi could qualify for the Olympics, so they focused their energies and schedule toward that. This week, Aditi and her mother have Skyped every night. Their conversations last about an hour.

“Sometimes we’re both talking,” she said, “and then we can’t hear each other.”

Aditi tees off at 10:47 am local time in the third-to-last group with Minjee Lee and Candie Kung.

Friday
Aug192016

Olympic History For Brazil! First Slow Play Penalty

You know Victorial Lovelady had to be taking her sweet time if they IGF official on the case, Grant Moir, was going to give the first slow play penalty in Olympic history to a host country participant.

After a dreadful pacing the first day that could be attributed to nerves, a tougher course and the overall slow play problem that plagues the game, players were warned to pick it up in round two. The difference was noticeably early on, but according to Alistair Tait, Brazil's Lovelady did not do enough after a 10th hole warning.

Lovelady, playing in the company of Tiffany Chan of Hong Kong and Swiss amateur Fabienne In-Albon, already had been warned for wasting time on the 10th hole. She was adjudged to have picked up a second bad time for taking too long on the par-4 15th, turning what should have been a par into a bogey.

Lovelady suggested she had to back off some shots because home country fans unaware of golf etiquette were making noise at the wrong times, prompting her to back off.

As Tait notes, some will see inequity given that the men were playing at a consistent 5 hour clip each day, which would seem to put a dent in the traditional player excuse that size of field is the problem. The field is more than half the size of the usual major golf event.

Shoot, even green speed can't be blamed, as the Rio Olympic course surfaces are in the 11-11.5 range, a good foot slower than a typical PGA Tour event or major.

Thursday
Aug182016

Slow Start: This & That From Day One Of Women's Olympic Golf

There was plenty of good news coming out of day one from the women’s competition. Just not enough to overshadow the impossible-to-ignore pace of play.

As Alan Shipnuck notes at golf.com, there were 25 rounds under par and all of the elite women in the world posted decent enough scores to stay in the medal hunt. The quality of play was excellent. But not at a watchable clip.

Thailand's Ariya Jutanugarn established a new course record for women, posting 66, reports Doug Ferguson for AP.

I wrote for GolfDigest.com that Inbee Park (-5) made a bold proclamation about a gold medal becoming a "career highlight" a day after saying it was hard to put the Olympics into a golf context.

What changed? We don't know. But we also will never know the pressure she's facing from Korean media and officials.

The 5:30 pace for later rounds that had people taking and wondering why the women were taking 30 minutes longer on such a benign, beautiful day at the Rio Olympic course. As I noted for GolfDigest.com, the course is speeding up with the daily mowing regimen, and played a stroke tougher for the women. But ultimately that’s not enough to explain the pace.

The pace issue is made worse in person by the speedy nature of most Olympic sports people are consuming. Golf would be wise to make speed an element of its presentation and disciplines going forward in 2020 (we’ll kick that around more next week).

Hopefully by Saturday they will have clipped some time off the rounds so pace does not become the story.

Steve DiMeglio reports on the slow beginnings and strong endings to the rounds of Americans Lexi Thompson and Gerina Piller.

Rex Hoggard seized on the comments of Stacy Lewis, who noted the slow start by the Americans last week and how the men ended up finishing.

There has been much chatter on social media about the poor announcing from the Olympic Broadcast Services. Neil Midgely notes this of the BBC coverage, which reportedly had a huge audience for the men's golf final round.


Why did the BBC have to rely on Olympic Broadcasting Service golf commentary, as Justin Rose won gold soon after, instead of sending their own commentator? (The BBC has dispatched 455 people to Rio – surely just one of them could be a golf expert?)


In the golf-continues-to-look-great-to-the-IOC, files, we have no Ryan Lochte's! Michael McCann with some sharp insights into that mess. Oh and boxing officials were sent home after a controversial ruling. Take that Slugger!

 

BTW there is money on the line this week. Ryan Ballengee has the stipends athletes receive for medaling from their countries.

Thursday
Aug182016

Video: Tom Watson & Caddie Struggle Over A Simple Yardage

I heard about it on social media and mercifully some brave soul posted it on YouTube. Undoubtedly the USGA will try to take it down, but I've been assured by all who know caddie Neil Oxman, his job and longtime friendship with Tom Watson is more than safe.

ProGolfWeekly.com sets up the situation from Scioto last week where Watson finished T54.

Here's the full clip on YouTube:

Wednesday
Aug172016

Video: Michelob Ultra Welcomes Golf To The "Games"

Skirting all sorts of legal issues that they'll undoubtedly apologize for at some point after taking down this ad, Michelob Ultra cut a pretty clever spot featuring a Scott Langley putt set to some lively football play-by-play.

Enjoy while it lasts...

Wednesday
Aug172016

Women's Olympic Golf Is Here: First Round This And That

They've been all in from the beginning. Player enthusiasm, a Commissioner who cleared the schedule and an intense desire from some nations to establish themselves through Olympic golf brings a potentially fun mix to the women's competition.

Olympic Broadcast Services has the action all day--glorious weather to start, so glorious the smells have even subsided--so check your local listings. In the U.S., Golf Channel will be on for nearly nine hours, starting with the opening 7:30 am (6:30 am ET) tee shot by Brazil's Miriam Nagl. According to this unbylined IGF story, she's proud to follow in the foosteps of Adilson da Silva, who gave such an inspired performance for the host country.

Not surprisingly, Lydia Ko is excited about playing for Olympic gold this week. With her ball striking and scrambling ability, she's an obvious favorite. Steve DiMeglio of USA Today on Ko's Monday media chat.

“I love my sleep and I don’t know if I’ve ever gotten up at 7 a.m. to watch someone else play,” Ko said about her alarm going off Sunday so she could go to the golf course and watch Team New Zealand’s duo of Danny Lee and Ryan Fox in the final round of the men’s tournament.

Inbee Park, the top ranked Korean and only Hall of Famer in the field, sounds more and more like her playing days are finished. Will this be her last start in a significant event? She wasn't saying, but she also made clear what her priorities are, as I file for GolfDigest.com.

The American contingent gave a great impression in their pre-Olympic press conference, and Bob Harig details the thoughts of Stacey Lewis, Lexi Thompson and Gerina Piller coming into the competition. (All three felt good about the course, Rio and the chance to go to the Closing Ceremony Sunday.)

Lexi Thompson's dad Scott is on her bag this week, Rex Hoggard reports.

Bill Plaschke notes that these games have been dominated by the American women, which would bode well for golf if golf ever made sense.

Jay Coffin on the room LPGA Tour officials made for the Olympics, with this nice zinger from Commish Mike Whan.

“I have a difficult time looking at somebody who is 25th on the money list and say ‘great job at the Olympics but now you’re 29th on the money list,’” Whan said. “That didn’t seem like it was going to play for us.”

Will there be another gold for Britain? Catriona Matthew and Charley Hull are strong medal contenders and are inspired by Justin Rose's win.

7 things you need to know about the competition from Golf Digest.

Your leaderboard watching can be done here.

Here is an IGF overview of the tee times.

And the groupings along with other info at the official Rio website.

Wednesday
Aug172016

Long Driver Sadlowski Retiring To...Play Pro Golf

As much as I'd love to mention how the World Long Drive athletes and their form of higher, faster, stronger would fit in these Olympic Games in Rio, because it's a conversation to be tabled for another day.

However, Canada's Jamie Sadlowski is taking an unconventional path to pro golf: transitioning from elite (2-time) World Long Drive champion to Web.com Tour school. A.J. Voepel explains:

Sadlowski began competing in long drive events when he was 14 (he hit it 370 in his first qualifier). But there’s no questioning his overall game: he’s 3-for-4 in cuts made on the Web.com Tour, (the latest coming earlier this year and in 2015), and is also 1-for-2 in cuts made on the Mackenzie Tour- PGA TOUR Canada (his latest in 2013).

He explained on last night's Callaway Live:

Tuesday
Aug162016

This & That After Justin Rose's Gold Medal Win

As the women prepare to take center stage, everyone at the Rio Olympic Golf Course is still buzzing about the men's competition.

If you're still interested in the men's side of things, here are just some of the stories that caught my eye in the aftermath of golf's return to the Games...

Golfweek.com with an excellent wrap up of the social media posts by players who teed up in Rio, starting with Justin Rose's Tweet. "Best week" would make for a relentless drinking game.

Rory texted Justin Rose a congratulations, Alistair Tait reports.

“I did get one from Rory. Absolutely. He said he was very, very proud, and said he was pulling for me. He said he could see how much it meant to me and congratulated me. He was very complimentary. Obviously, he watched.

“He made the point that he really wants golf to succeed as an Olympic sport. He has some opinions that are very personal to him, and that’s fine, but as a whole, he’s very, very much behind golf succeeding in the Olympics.”

Teddy Greenstein of the Chicago Tribune says Sunday's finish earned golf its place in the Games.

Doug Ferguson with notes, including how a two-man aggregate team competition would have ended, how Jason Day watched one hole of the Olympics and Rickie Fowler's quick departure to go accrue points in North Carolina.
 

Rose won the gold but dropped two spots in the FedEx Cup points standings because the PGA Tour couldn't take a week off. Shoulda played the Deere Sir Justin!

Mike Johnson with Rose's clubs that won the gold.

Jay Coffin with Rose's thoughts on how he will display the medal, possibly.

Matt Kuchar will have to pay taxes on his USOC bonus money, oh, and he fell asleep with the bronze around his neck. Alex Myers with the explanation.

Henrik Stenson could be understood for feeling less excited about silver than Kuchar is about his bronze. Sam Weinman explains at GolfDigest.com.

I really hate dwelling on the number of golf pros who lacked the vision or love of sport to make the journey here. But, we must give them their due!

Joe Posnanski lets the absentees know that they "blew it" when it came to sitting out the Olympics, an easy thing to do now. Nonetheless, some of the slaps are enjoyable.

Interesting his memo is directed at Jordan Spieth, with others CC'd:

You blew it in two ways. One of those ways has been discussed at length but it remains true – you blew it for golf. It seems that in the countless warnings and cautions and bad omens leading into these Rio Games, you forgot something basic: Just how BIG the Olympics really are. Leave it to USA Boxing coach Billy Walsh, in his glorious Irish brogue, to explain: “There were, what, 40 million people around the world watching Pacquiao-Mayweather?” he asked. “We have 3.5 BILLION people watching the Olympics. Forget everything else. This is the biggest (bleeping) show on earth.”

The biggest (bleeping) show on earth, guys, and you had a chance to be a part of it.

Strong reactions from Nick Faldo and Rich Lerner on Golf Channel's Live From.

Analyst Nick Faldo: “The gold medal is bigger than our game of golf. This was putting golf on the biggest stage in the world, the Olympic Games, where we are just part of it.”

Host Rich Lerner: “This was a fresh breeze that blew right through the sport, and it couldn’t have come at a better time. There were far too many grim press conferences with some young golfers the last couple of months and there was just an awful a lot of negativity. And I think this is about the happiest I’ve seen the sport in a long, long time.”

 

And I explain at GolfDigest.com what happened to Justin Rose's winning ball. You won't believe where it sat for 45 minutes, or where it's headed.

A volunteer assigned to golf finally heard from Rio2016 that she was needed. Unfortunately she was still home in Spain, having never gotten a reply.

Tuesday
Aug162016

USGA Prez Keeps Grand Slam Hopes Alive!

Apparently Gene Sauers only got the partial Diana Murphy treatment upon winning the U.S. Senior Open, as she nailed his poentially botchable name and yet somehow mispronounced the trophy name, which memorializes one of the top three most revered USGA champions.

This is great news, as this week's U.S. Amateur takes on even greater meaning. Will Murphy be the first USGA President to win the Grand Slam (Of Trophy Ceremony Butchering) after less-than-subtle mishaps at the U.S. Open, U.S. Women's Open and U.S. Senior Open.

The first-year president made up for the Ouimet mistake with this epic trophy handoff. If only we knew what Miguel Angel Jimenez was thinking?

 

 

Tuesday
Aug162016

Flashback: Gene Sauers And His Miraculous Return To Golf

With Gene Sauers winning the U.S. Senior Open over Miguel Angel Jimenez, John Strege notes that his return from Stevens-Johnson Syndrome is one of the more miraculous in golf history.

For a great read on Sauers, check out Bill Fields' 2014 story on his return to form at the U.S. Senior Open from the rare skin disease.

Ron Driscoll's game story from Scioto is also worth a read.

Monday
Aug152016

2016 Olympic Golf Ratings Exceed All But The Masters

The U.S. numbers are in and they are staggering given the apathy expected for men's Olympic golf.

Just after NBC PR's Usain Bolt numbers from Sunday night, NBC's press release goes with simulcast with Golf Channel, which delivered the second largest golf audience of the year.

NBC and Golf Channel both provided coverage of the dramatic closing holes of the men’s Olympic golf tournament (1:12-2:49 p.m.). Aside from the final round of the Masters, this ranks as the highest-rated 90-minute window of final round golf coverage in 2016 with a combined 5.6 household rating and 8.8 million average viewers. Additionally, streaming of the men’s competition ranks second to The Open in every metric for NBC Sports’ golf events on record, including Live starts: 873,025, Live minutes: 27,463,315, Uniques: 483,616 and Visits: 692,472.

Afternoon coverage on Golf Channel (Noon-3:12 p.m. ET) earned a 1.02 household rating with 1.6 million viewers, marking the best performance in the time period for total viewers and Adults 25-54 (495,000) since the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am featuring Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson in February of 2012. Golf Channel coverage peaked at a 1.22 household rating and 1.845 million viewers (2:30-2:45 p.m.). Early coverage (6 a.m.-Noon) is Golf Channel’s best performance in the time period in more than eight years since the Dubai Desert Classic won by Woods in February 2008 for both total viewers (556,000) and Adults 25-54 (174,000).

Just astounding numbers given the competition, time of year and window the golf aired.

But for golf in the Olympics, I'd contend these numbers from Sweden are even more incredible:

 

 

Monday
Aug152016

ShackHouse 18: Rio 2016 Men's Golf, Spain's Azahara Muñoz

This week we talk about the exciting Rio men's golf gold medal effort by Justin Rose and his peers. The course, the fans, the fun are all included and we might even talk about House's favorite True Detective.

Even better, the talented and intelligent Azahara Muñoz joined us to discuss her Olympian status. Muñoz has been staying in the Olympic Village with husband/caddie Tim Vickers, taking in various sports and rooting on Team Spain's various teams. She was there for Rafael Nadal's gold in doubles and discusses her first impressions of the Games and the golf venue.

You can follow her here on Twitter.

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

Same deal with Soundcloud for the show, and Episode 18 is here to listen to right now!

The ShackHouse Stitcher page.

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

As always, special thanks to Callaway, The Ringer, Avion and Athlete's Collective, who had me ready with long sleeves for Rio's mosquitos. Only, there aren't any.

Sunday
Aug142016

Behind The Scenes After Golf Awarded Olympic Medals

What a stellar day at the Rio Olympic Golf Course, and while the folks behind it and the players might have dreamed up the best case scenario that unfolded, the chances of things playing as well as they did were pretty slim.

But as I note in this piece for GolfDigest.com, Justin Rose's gold, Henrik Stenson's silver and Matt Kuchar's bronze proved to be a great moment for so many behind the scenes people. While I could only touch on a few of them, here are a few observations from a great day.

I also shared this about Matt Kuchar's 63 and his (understandable) post round daze given that it was the lowest final round score he'd ever posted. Nice time to do it.

More roundup items and images tomorrow, but for now I'm resting up for Morning Drive and Live From discussions and of course, a ShackHouse recap.

Tune in to Golf Channel for more at 6:00 am ET, where I chat with Cara Robinson and maybe let her gloat about Great Britain's epic Rio Olympic Sunday.

Sunday
Aug142016

Justin Rose Wins Olympic Gold In Golf: Your Reactions

I'm busy penning some observations about the scene after the golf, which certainly was different than any I've seen.

In the meantime I'd love to hear how the golf came off, how tense did it feel, was the network coverage of note in any way and whether you heard of anyone seeing golf in a different light due to the way things played out.

Fire away!