Twitter: GeoffShac
Writing And Videos
  • Tommy's Honor: The Story of Old Tom Morris and Young Tom Morris, Golf's Founding Father and Son
    Tommy's Honor: The Story of Old Tom Morris and Young Tom Morris, Golf's Founding Father and Son
    by Kevin Cook
  • His Ownself: A Semi-Memoir (Anchor Sports)
    His Ownself: A Semi-Memoir (Anchor Sports)
    by Dan Jenkins
  • The Captain Myth: The Ryder Cup and Sport's Great Leadership Delusion
    The Captain Myth: The Ryder Cup and Sport's Great Leadership Delusion
    by Richard Gillis
  • The Ryder Cup: Golf's Grandest Event – A Complete History
    The Ryder Cup: Golf's Grandest Event – A Complete History
    by Martin Davis

I guess everything will be all right as long as Arnold Palmer is playing golf. That way, we’ll never get old. It’s always 1964 or so. Things were better.



Storylines Galore At Tour Championship! And FedExCup Too!

The points have been reset again, the algorithms are working on 10 days rest and the lamest competition in all of sport has just four, cut-free days to go. On the list of storylines this week, who wins the cup lands a solid fifth.

As I note in this week's Forward Press, the tenth anniversary of the ResetCup has brought many salutes to how far this grand competition has come and how far it still could go with more tweaks. Shoot, by year twenty we might even stop discussing the greatness of the playoff concept because will be so big, it won't play second fiddle to Notre Dame football. We can dream!

As great as the whole thing supposedly is, the playoff concept faces an uncertainty, writes Brian Wacker. With the change in Don's, new PGA Tour leader Jay Monahan is expected to rethink the timing of the playoffs.

It was nice reading a player quoted (William McGirt) who sees the big picture issues created by too many events in a short span, with the big conclusion coming when people want to be watching other sports...

“What do you think the ratings are going to be this fall?" McGirt continued. "Nobody is watching these events. Eventually you water down your product.”

But at least we have reversed nines at East Lake to possibly make for a better finish, a great field and the Ryder Cup pick to make this interesting!


Playing Through: NBC Sports Answering The DVR?

Long overdue in sports coverage too obsessed with cord cutters and not enough with the DVR have been counterpoints by networks to deal with digital video recorders. We've seen test runs at some changes in how golf tournaments are delivered and now NBC will be all-in on a NASCAR/Indy 500 style split screen approach to commercials at its big upcoming events.

For The Tour Championship, the final nine holes will be presented free of national ads, according to this press release.

Sponsors Coke and Southern Company can be thanked for going along with this, which will give us more time for the points race explanations too!

At the Ryder Cup, NBC will be going full split screen as an an ad with its audio runs on one side, while the golf coverage continues on the other side of the screen. This will spoil some "just a moment ago" drinking games and also make watching via DVR a bit tougher.

Here is the look:


Today In Unnecessary-But-Highly Entertaining Ryder Cup Drama: Westwood Questions Tiger Role, DJ Says Pair Me With Anyone But Phil

You know you're living in peculiar times when Bubba Watson is saying all the right things to Golf Channel's Todd Lewis as he hopes to play well enough to land a captain's pick.

Thankfully, otherwise sane individuals (who should know better) are offering up plenty of pre-match fodder, starting with Lee Westwood. Talking to ESPN radio, the veteran presence sought by Darren Clarke inexplicably questioned the influence of Tiger Woods as one of several Team USA cart drivers. The remarks had nothing to do with Tiger's driving ability, but instead, with is presence.

Leo Spall of transcribed the comments and put them end, which didn't stop multiple outlets from rightly picking them up.
"I don't know what impact there will be from having Tiger around," Westwood said. "They [the U.S. team] have always struggled to find a partner for Tiger that's been successful.

"He could have an adverse effect in the team room. People have always seemed to try to do too much when they have partnered him. It might be different if he's one of the vice-captains -- you don't know."
I could certainly see a young player finding themselves a bit star struck or even intimidated if Tiger comes driving up in his Club Car and asks if he wants his water flat or fizzy. But Westwood insinuated that the team room presence could be the issue. Wow.

Meanwhile Dustin Johnson surprised the gang at East Lake by saying he's ready go with whoever the analytics tell Davis Love is a good partner. Except Phil Mickelson, Johnson's buddy.

Jim McCabe reports for that Johnson said, “I think I can partner well with pretty much anyone,” Johnson said. “Except for Phil.”

R&A Lowers The Open Prices For (Some) Millennials!

Last year they rolled out their festival housing concept to not much enthusiasm while still charging a lot for tickets. For the 2017 Open at Royal Birkdale, the R&A is hopefully setting the stage for more organizations to target younger ticket purchasers. Now, if we could just get the R&A to also offer a nice weekday ticket for seniors...

For Immediate Release:


21 September 2016, St Andrews, Scotland:  Tickets for The 146th Open at Royal Birkdale will go on general sale tomorrow, 22 September 2016, at 9:00 am with a variety of different ticketing options and early season prices available.  For under-25s, The Open is more accessible than ever with Youth Tickets extended from 16 – 21 years of age to 16 – 24 year olds and The R&A is once again providing free camping accommodation for Youth Ticket holders.

Sports fans should have 16-23 July 2017 firmly in their diaries as Champion Golfer of the Year, Henrik Stenson will look to defend the title he won in record-breaking fashion following a gripping duel with Phil Mickelson at Royal Troon in 2016. The world’s best golfers will join him next summer at Royal Birkdale as they compete for the most coveted prize in golf, the Claret Jug.

More than 200,000 spectators are expected to come together across the magnificent dunes of Royal Birkdale, arguably The Open’s best viewing course.

Spectators can secure their place at The Open from tomorrow at and take advantage of early season pricing. Adult daily tickets will be available from £15 for Practice Days (16-19 July) and £60 for Championship Days (20-23 July).

Fans will enjoy £5 off the price of their ticket if they purchase with a MasterCard – the official card of The Open.

Weekly tickets, covering the whole Championship - Sunday 16 to Sunday 23 July - are available for £230 before 28 February, a saving of £105 on the daily ticket prices for the full week.

A limited number of Twilight Tickets will also be on offer providing access to the evening action from 4:00 pm onward on Thursday and Friday of the Championship for only £25.

The Open offers a number of incentives to welcome the next generation of golf fans to the Championship, including the Kids Go Free initiative, which provides free admission to children under the age of 16.

Johnnie Cole-Hamilton, Executive Director – Championships at The R&A, said: “We are very much looking forward to another exciting Championship next summer when The Open returns to Royal Birkdale for the tenth time. The course offers a tremendous viewing experience for spectators and it has produced many of The Open’s finest Champions including Arnold Palmer, Tom Watson, Peter Thomson and Padraig Harrington.

“Our aim is to deliver the best possible experience for golf fans and to ensure that the Championship remains affordable and accessible. There are few sports events in the world where fans can get so close to the star names. Innovations including the Sky Open Zone practice area and player Autograph Zone will return in 2017. Reduced early season pricing, our Kids Go Free policy and free camping accommodation for under-25s are also part of that commitment.”

A limited number of official hospitality packages are also available providing the very best on-course locations to experience The 146th Open, including the exclusive Claret Jug Pavilion at Royal Birkdale’s first tee and the stylish, relaxed atmosphere of the Champions Club.  For more information visit

Tickets will go on sale from 9:00 am BST tomorrow, Thursday 22 September. For more information, to purchase tickets and for full ticket terms and conditions please visit


State Of The Game Podcast 68: The Captain Myth, Richard Gillis

He's back for a second time on SOG and Richard Gillis has a timely new book to discuss.

The Captain Myth: The Ryder Cup and Sport's Great Leadership Delusion
explores the modern fascination with leadership in sports and in particular, the idea that a coach, leader or captain is pulling all the strings.  We had a long and most enjoyable chat about his book's premise, this year's Ryder Cup and other ways society is over-inflating the role of coaches in big time sports. If you love sports you'll love The Captain Myth.

You can check out the book here. Kindle and hardcover editions are available.

Here is the podcast, here is the MP3, the show 68 permalink, and as always you can find it on iTunes or wherever you get your podcasts.


Finchem's Final Presser: Samples Some B-Speak Classics, Declares Tiger The Greatest Ever

He's revving the engine, kicking up a dust storm and not going quietly! Even though Tim Finchem has asked Jack Nicklaus for no shortage of favors, has been holding back the B-Speak of late, the Commish let out a shocker: Tiger is the greatest player ever!

Steve DiMeglio on Finchem's farewell Tour Championship press conference where the B-speak was flowing, including a surprise unfurling a new nautical-themed aphorism!

“I'm proudest about the quality of our team and the interface with the players,” Finchem said.

Interface, oh how I missed you.

Finchem admitted to feeling a little sad to leave at a time with much upside. (I know, I know, upside is so 1995.)

“The only negative about stepping aside is the fact that it's a really, really exciting time for the sport. There's so much potential out there, more than ever. The global (nature) of the sport that we just saw manifested in the Olympics is out there in front of us to take advantage of. The quality of the young players coming up today is so much different than 20 years ago in terms of, not just their capability of playing, but their unbelievable focus on reaching fans, communicating. They handle themselves so well. It just creates more value for the business model, and that's happening around the globe really. So the next 25 years are going to be awesome.”

As for the Tiger declaration, I know Jack Nicklaus won't care a bit about this, but it's still a surprising thing to say-shocking?-from someone who is generally very sensitive to diplomacy. And who will be bugging Nicklaus to help with some First Tee fundraiser in the near future.

“Well, he's the only living player to win 79 times, and only one player has ever won more. He's the only active player to have won 14 majors, and only one player has won more. I love Jack Nicklaus beyond belief, but I have to put Tiger down as probably the greatest player to ever play, and the way he did it and his domination at a time when you're bringing more and more good players along, is incredible. It lifted all boats,” Finchem said.

According to Wikipedia...

The aphorism "a rising tide lifts all boats" is associated with the idea that improvements in the general economy will benefit all participants in that economy, and that economic policy, particularly government economic policy, should therefore focus on the general macroeconomic environment first and foremost.

Works for me! Though there is something particularly first-world about nautical and tidal references. Then again, this is golf.

Here's the video from related to the Tiger mention.

On international expansion, this unbylined Reuters story suggests Finchem laments not getting accelerating the PGA Tour overseas.

"We've done a lot of great things globally. I would have liked to have seen a little bit more acceleration there but ... there were other factors at work that impacted that situation globally."

Rex Hoggard used the opportunity presented by what sounds like a Commissioner winding down quickly, to review the Finchem reign. And there was this:

Never much for jokes, Finchem wrapped up his final formal press conference with a similarly out-of-character smile, “It's time for the organization to continue to morph. That's more important.”


Video: Finchem Reads Mean Tweets (And Other Mentions)

Lifting from the Jimmy Kimmel Show's occasional Mean Tweets segments, PGA Tour Commish Tim Finchem chose what appears to be his final Tour Championship news conference--no 10,000 word intro on the state of the tour, taking a back seat to Monahan on Instagram!--to read some of the mean Tweets sent his way.

I smelled a few words typed on this blog making it into the bit, including some that were obviously longer than 140 characters. My life's work is complete.

I'm impressed how many height jokes he weaved in, which, to be clear, are not mine!

I draw the line at hair coloring an insomnia-inducing jabs.

Tim Finchem reads mean Tweets:


Only At The Ryder Cup: Tom Lehman, Meterologist

Third Vice Captain and former Captain Tom Lehman has been doing recon work in Minneapolis as the de facto host cart driver.

The Star Tribune's Jerry Zgoda says weather research was part of Lehman's duties. Vice Captain Tom's forecast:

“I looked up the Farmer’s Almanac, the history of that week,” Lehman said. “Historically, it will be cool in the mornings, decent in the afternoons. The wind was all over the map. The years I looked up — over 30 years, it was — it’s going to have some breeze. You may get lucky and have one of those beautiful 80-degree, 5-mile-per-hour weeks, but those are pretty rare. Blowing 10 to 15, 16, 17 [mph] was pretty normal, about 65 to 70 degrees was pretty normal. It will be cold in the morning, though.”

And here I was planning to debut my new collection of shoulderless golf shirts.


Then There Were Three: Bubba, Berger, Thomas At Hazeltine

T.J. Auclair reports on the Team USA practice session at Hazeltine National and concludes from the appearances that all of the Ryan Moore, Kevin Na, Kevin Kisner and Tiger Woods as captain's pick talk, may rest in peace.

(Yes, Rymer's making the Tiger case, here is our debate on Morning Drive. I will admit he made a better case than I thought.)

Auclair writes:

So with the Hazeltine invitation extended to Berger, Thomas and Watson, is that a sign that those are the three U.S. Captain Davis Love III is contemplating for that final pick during halftime of Sunday Night Football in six days?

Here are the team members out playing Monday.

Reader Jim has provided a wonderful service: he has given us the Ryder Cup team on points if you just took the 2015-16 wraparound PGA Tour schedule. He's added the bonus points for majors, as the current two-year list does. But note the location of Justin Thomas vs. Zach Johnson if the Ryder Cup points list was based merely on the last season of tour golf.

Click to enlarge:


Jarrod Lyle: “I haven’t played well enough to keep my status.”

Catching up on my reading and put this one off for the obvious reason: two-time cancer survivor and inspiration to so many, Jarrod Lyle, is out of status options on the PGA Tour and Tour (except for some past champion possibilities). He's considering a career in broadcasting or the family belt-making business.

Brian Wacker catches up with Lyle for

Lyle returned to play the PGA Tour in October 2014 and had 20 starts to earn $283,825 to fulfill his medical extension and keep his card. While he made the cut in each of his first two starts, he missed the cut in 13 of his next 15 and eventually fell short.

“If I played half decent the whole thing could’ve been avoided,” Lyle said. “I haven’t played well enough to keep my status.”


Golfsmith: “Forces outside the game and inside the game and just inside their own organization worked against them.”

Excellent reporting on multiple fronts from Mike Stachura here at on the Golfsmith issue, and besides covering all elements to the bankruptcy filing, Stachura shows why I found the reporting in respected business publications so lacking.

Make sure to read to the end with the part about PGA Tour Superstores and their bullishness.

And there was this:

To the first point, it’s clear from a read of the Golfsmith bankruptcy filing and those familiar with the company both internally and externally that Golfsmith expanded to its current 109 stores in the U.S. too aggressively, in the wrong way (as far as store formats go) and most likely without proper capital to support such expansion.

Said a source close to the situation speaking on background, “Golfsmith has markets where there are simply far too many stores where the coverage is too great, and in other markets there might be the right number of stores but perhaps the size of the stores was larger than they needed to be. That over-investment in bricks and mortar costs quite a bit of capital.

“Golfsmith has a cost structure with its store base that is far too great and also a debt load as a result of some of those investments that is too high.”

How high? The bankruptcy filing indicates nearly $200 million in outstanding loans or credit facilities. In addition, Golfsmith’s list of its 30 largest individual creditors, including major equipment companies, totals more than $33 million. For example, Callaway is owed nearly $5.5 million, TaylorMade $5.1 million, Nike $3.5 million, Acushnet (parent of Titleist and FootJoy) $3.9 million and Ping $2.3 million.


Eulogy To A Golf Course: Hillview Edition

Most course closures are met with very little in the way of media coverage, so its when you read something like Joel Beall's salute to his quirky-but-lovable Hillview and the soon-to-die Weatherwax that you realize...

A) how much a golf course can mean in shaping lives and attitudes toward the game

B) how we've already lost too many well-situated, affordable and comfortably simple places to learn the game

C) how vapid the "grow the game" phrase can be when so many of these places are allowed to die while millions are funneled to grow the game programs.

Beall writes:

More personally, Hillview was where I met one of my best friends through freshman year tryouts. During winter breaks, I would chop firewood at the club for beer money; when I was making peanuts at my first post-college job, the owner let me cut the greens in the morning for pocket cash. I was far from the only beneficiary: Hillview was magnanimous towards local elementary and high-school programs for matches and practice time, and every year management would donate its course and resources for a charity outing for a family who had lost a firefighter in the line of duty.

Hillview was everything the USGA's "Grow the Game" mission aspires to be.

I'm not sure what the answer is, since the various groups spending on their PSA's are not equipped to step in every struggling course situation. But it sure seems odd that we can't go a day without hearing the GTG phrase and then watch as the most vital places to that mission are allowed to pass away.


East Lake's Nine Reversal: Heresy Or Overdue?

The AJC's Chris Vivlamore considers the sensitivity of reversing the East Lake nines for this week's Tour Championship and given the course's traditional routing, says there are concerns about upsetting the legacy of Bobby Jones.

Why, I'm not entirely sure, given that Jones did not route the course or declare its design sacred in any writings. And as Viviamore points out, Jones and MacKenzie flipped the nines at Augusta National early on because sometimes it just makes sense.

In the case of East Lake, the switch means the island green 6th becomes the 15th and the reachable par-5 9th is the finishing hole. So while the previous configuration did produce it share of moments, it's hard to say that the old sequencing was particularly sacred.

Viviamore writes and quotes tournament chairman Rob Johnston:

"It came down to two things," Johnston said. "One, we wanted more hospitality venues and more friendly patron viewing experiences. We think it does this by reversing the nines. The second thing is, if you just look at raw scoring, there is very little volatility on the old Nos. 16, 17 and 18 versus what we think the new Nos. 15-18 will be. It's the drama, the excitement and the fan experience."

Finishing on a par-5 likely will bring more leaderboard movement with the tournament on the line. Since 1998, the former 18th hole had a scoring average of 3.169 (plus-.160) and yielded zero eagles and 153 birdies. The new 18th had a scoring average of 4.677 (minus-.323) and yielded 16 eagles and 700 birdies.

Excitement has never been a word associated with East Lake, so why not?


Euro Ryder Cup Team After Italy: Willett Up, Westwood Down

The Italian Open provided a final tune-up for some European Ryder Cuppers and one of the team's biggest questions marks had his best week in months.

Danny Willett played his final 69 holes without a bogey, finishing second.

There was this roundup posted by the European Tour of other team members. Everyone flashed moments of decent golf except Lee Westwood, who missed the cut.

Westwood may have a brewing distraction (thanks reader David). According to the Daily Mail's Amie Gordon, the Lee Westwood School is being countersued by families who were sued for leaving early.

Westwood is cutting ties with the school, according to the report.

It was a great finish in Italy, here is Francesco Molinari wrapping up his home nation's Open on the last hole in grand fashion:


Congratulations @chiccogolf 🏆🏆

A video posted by European Tour (@europeantour) on Sep 18, 2016 at 10:01am PDT



Vin Scully's Golf Digest My Shot

It's been a few years but with just ten games left in Vin Scully's legendary broadcast career, worth another look is the Dodgers announcer (67 years!) and sometimes golf broadcaster's Golf Digest My Shot with Guy Yocom.

On silence:

AH, THAT 1975 Masters. When Tom Weiskopf and Johnny Miller had putts on the last hole to tie Jack Nicklaus, I said at the time, "So it comes down to this..." and briefly outlined the scene as clearly as I could. At that point, I swiveled the microphone on my headset over my head, away from my mouth. I did that so I could resist the announcer's temptation to say something else. There really is nothing to say at that point. The silence as Tom and Johnny prepared to putt was profound. Thousands of people encircled 18, yet I could hear birds chirping in the trees. Not a sound from the patrons, and it was that silence that was the star. It conveyed all the tension, expectance and suspense. To me, there is nothing more magical in golf than the nothing sound of silence.

And on his reading...I forgot that likes him some Dan Jenkins!

I'M A BIG READER. I buy a lot of books, but I get a lot of books sent to me. They accumulate like you wouldn't believe. When we moved from the Palisades to Hidden Hills, I donated close to 400 books to a local library. I do enjoying reading a lot. For a realistic view of baseball at the major-league level, get Three Nights in August by Buzz Bissinger. If you want to know how sports can impact a man and his family for better and worse, get When Pride Still Mattered: A Life of Vince Lombardi by David Maraniss. If you want a highly entertaining, funny golf novel, get Dead Solid Perfect by Dan Jenkins.


Jack: Task Force Puts Pressure On Young Players To Win

USA Today's Roxanna Scott reports that Jack Nicklaus spoke at length at the Creighton Farms Invitational about the state of the Ryder Cup and reiterated his view that the task force Task Force "Task Force" is "overkill".

But I thought this was a particularly shrewd point given the desire to inject the team with youth over veterans.

“I don’t really see the necessity to put the pressure on the young guys to win the Ryder Cup,” Nicklaus said. “They’ve got enough pressure on them week after week. When I was playing we had four major championships. Now we have four major championships, four world championships, the Players Championship, we’ve got the Olympics. We’ve got other significant events, they play all around the world.”


The Bubba Backtracking Begins! To Practice With Team USA

I'm not sure if Davis Love finally realized that he could go to Hazeltine National with no headaches or a giant, throbbing one, it seems he's warming to Bubba Watson as his last captain's pick.

Tim Rosaforte reported that the world no. 7 and third highest-ranked American will join six members of the U.S. Ryder Cup team for a pre-Ryder Cup Hazeltine practice session this weekend.

Love said Watson is "the opposite of that," Rosaforte reported, and is a popular presence in the team room. "He's quirky, but so is Phil [Mickelson,]" Rosaforte said Love told him.

"I told Bubba after the Olympics, remember, there's a pick after the Tour Championship," Love said he told Watson.

That's a weird one given that Watson finished ahead of Rickie Fowler, who has already been picked.

The full report:

Love does have quite the notecard collection to stare at Bubba's name amidst the options:




Today In The Tiger Rumor Mill: Buying Taylor Made And Restoring A South Shore Course For Free?

Both rumors center around someone not known for opening his wallet or doing anything for free, so pinch those grains of salt!

But here goes, starting with the Taylor Made purchase rumor as Tweeted by Rick Young at Score Golf.

More realistic though still going very much against the grain of his tendency to not donate services is the possibility that Woods will be the architect restoring/redesigning Jackson Park, with developer Mike Keiser in a consulting role. 

Teddy Greenstein reports for the Chicago Tribune on the latest involving Mark Rolfing's well-intentioned dream of restoring Jackson Park for both golfers and maybe tour pros.

Rolfing cautioned that Woods' hiring is "not a done deal," but he told the Tribune the 14-time major winner visited Chicago in the last month to tour the property. An announcement could come later this month at the Ryder Cup outside Minneapolis. Woods is an assistant captain for the U.S. team.

"There are so many tentacles to the project," Rolfing said. "There may be room for more than one person."

Woods' spokesman, Glenn Greenspan, said via email: "At this time, we have no new design projects to announce."


Ian Poulter Is Ready For His Hazeltine Cart Driving Duties 

While he may not know yet how to get from the 15th tee to the 18th green to consul his losing team, the injured Ian Poulter is all set to join four other Team Europe shuttle drivers after years of Ryder Cup success.

Doug Ferguson catches up with Poulter, a 14-time point winner in 18 matches, in advance of the Ryder Cup as he nurses arthritis in his foot.

''The role is a big one,'' Poulter said Tuesday. ''As a player, you're sheltered from what goes on behind the scenes because you don't have much time to think about what's going on apart from playing golf. That role has changed significantly. I'm going to be experiencing something very new.''


Golfsmith Coverage: As Usual, It's All Golf's Fault

Nothing is positive about the Golfsmith news because people will lose jobs and some golfers will undoubtedly lose favorite stores.

The news of Golfsmith's bankruptcy filling also offered a disconcerting window into business journalism. I am always mystified how easily such respected names fall back on the lazy "golf is declining" storyline when reporting on entities not succeeding for a number of reasons.

It started off okay yesterday, as WSJ's first story on Golfsmith likely filing dated September 14th at 12:21 am ET authored by Lillian Rizzo and Jacquie McNish makes mention ten paragraphs in about "golf participation levels" declining. Most of the story pinned the bankruptcy on business decisions, bad luck, golf slowing down and general retail sector problems.

The Canadian chain is healthier than its U.S. counterpart because it has a larger market share in a less crowded golf retail sector.

U.S. stores have suffered because of either over saturation in certain markets or being too large in general, said a person close to the matter.

And there was this as well:

Golfsmith’s planned breakup comes four years after it was acquired by Toronto-based Golf Town for about $97 million, a deal that was backed by the private equity arm of the Canadian pension fund OMERS. Following the merger, Golfsmith launched an ambitious expansion across the U.S. with large golf emporiums, some of which featured indoor putting greens and golf simulators.

The strategy quickly unraveled as U.S. golf participation levels declined and increased competition from big box and online retailers eroded profit.

It's a real estate and lease story as much as it is a golf one, and we almost got that.

But then in the second "updated" story posted by the same authors at 4:51 pm ET, the above paragraphs have been deleted with the blame-golf diagnosis for Golfsmith's issues starting in paragraph seven.

While the assessment isn't as bleak as Bloomberg's story, it was nonetheless odd to see the business side of the story deleted in favor of the usual game of blaming consumers.

Golf’s popularity has waned since the heyday of last decade’s Tiger Woods era, and those who have been hitting the links have, until recently, been playing fewer rounds. The National Golf Foundation, an industry research and consulting group, said about 24 million people played the game last year, down from a peak of 30 million in 2005.

There are hopeful signs for a turnaround, with some four million aging baby boomers expected to retire in the coming years. Golfers older than 65 play 80% more rounds of golf than those between the ages of 50 and 64, and the NGF projects that this increase in the number of retirees will boost golf’ popularity.

Unlike the WSJ, Bloomberg's reporting didn't even offer a glimmer of hope for the game, continuing a recent trend by the entity in blaming the sport for causing the issues at Nike, Adidas, Dick's, Sports Authority and if we wait around long enough, probably Walmart and Target too.

Bloomberg's Steven Church and Lauren Coleman-Lochner threw golf under the bus in their lede, saying Golfsmith was "hoping to reorganize or attract a buyer who can save the golf-gear retailer as the sport’s popularity fades in North America."

And of course, it's all Tiger's fault too.

The golf industry hasn’t recovered the popularity it enjoyed at the turn of the century, when Tiger Woods dominated the sport and attracted hordes of new fans. Millennials in particular haven’t embraced golf’s slow pace and hours-long time commitment. The number of U.S. players declined to 24.1 million last year from 25.7 million in 2011, according to the National Golf Foundation.

Nike Inc. has said it will no longer sell equipment for the sport, and Adidas AG is trying to divest most of its golf brands. Sports Authority Inc. filed for bankruptcy in March with a plan to survive by closing unprofitable stores and wound up in liquidation.

I had not seen golf blamed for Sports Authority's undoing, but what hell, why not?

The blame-golf bashing by Bloomberg dates back at least two years now, with nary a mention of unrealistic expectations or retailers wanting golfers replacing clubs biannually or, heaven forbid, suggesting some of the products weren't good or the strategies behind them examples of poor decision-making.

Here were Lindsey Rupp and Lauren Coleman-Lochner in May, 2014:

Once the go-to activity for corporate bonding, the sport is suffering from an exodus of players, a lack of interest among millennials and the mass closure of courses. The tangled personal life of Tiger Woods, who for years was golf’s biggest ambassador, also hasn’t helped. All that has taken a toll on the companies that make and sell golf equipment, including Dick’s Sporting Goods Inc. and Callaway Golf Co.

Both Dick's and Callaway have rebounded. Does anyone know of a golfer giving up the game because they found out Tiger liked going to Perkins?

Here's another example not just of the extreme language, but also the complete disregard for the business side of the golf business decline story.

Bloomberg's Stephanie Hoi-Nga Wong wrote on August 5th, 2016 after Nike said it was getting out of golf:

Millennials, the key to the sport’s future,

the key!

are shunning the expensive and time-consuming game in favor of more instantly gratifying pursuits like Pokemon Go and Netflix binges. That’s bad news for companies like Nike and Adidas AG, which said in May that it was starting talks with potential buyers for the bulk of its golf unit, TaylorMade, which generates about $1 billion in annual sales.

No one is going to deny that golf is facing a slowdown and issues with a generation consumed by pastimes that require less time and effort. But it's incredibly discouraging to read the respected publications charged with covering business lazily falling back on an easy blame game that ignores some very basic concepts and facts.

As Allan Freeman at Northeast Ohio Golfer best summed up in this response to the Golfsmith coverage:

Here’s another idea on the ‘why’: if big box retailers carrying inventory worth multiple millions of dollars at each location hadn’t expanded to multiple stores in many cities that could never support it — and if the club manufacturers hadn’t pushed those retailers into making multiple new product introductions every six weeks — then maybe those big box golf retailers wouldn’t be looking for bankruptcy protection now.

Perhaps a better business model would be far smaller golf stores with far less carried inventory offering primarily custom-fit golf clubs and related products…

The Bloomberg coverage is particularly disappointing given the namesake's love for the game and quality of their coverage. But the namesake also laid off the regular golf business writer in last year's cost cutting. Maybe golfers not buying new drivers every 9 months are to blame for Bloomberg's lean times too?