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

As I go back over the years of my golf there are many faces which come before me, and they are not alone of those with whom I have constructed courses, for to learn golf architecture one must know golf itself, its companionships, its joys, its sorrows, its battles--one must play golf and love it.
GEORGE THOMAS

 

  

Friday
Jul212017

Lexi Mocks LPGA Dress Code In Grand Victorian Style

Very clever spoof of the new LPGA dress policy by Lexi Thompson. Maybe she took some inspiration from this (thanks reader LC).

 

Friday
Jul212017

2017 Open Championship Round Two This And That

It was an above average day at Royal Birkdale in terms of scoring, storylines, shotmaking and a course in peak condition.

Day two may not be such a graceful display if the forecasters are to be believed.

Ian Poulter has kept the momentum going since his Players win and in returning to the site of his best Open finish. (Tallentire/Guardian)

Jordan Spieth added a few twists to his game and looked focused. (Shackelford/Golfweek)

Matt Kuchar opened with 67 and admitted after that he should have won more in his career. (Huggan/GolfDigest.com)

Kuchar is crediting his Scottish Open appearance to feeling comfortable here. (Hoggard/GolfChannel.com)

Rory McIlroy got a pep talk from is caddie...well, it was a bit more PG-13 than that. (Tait/Golfweek)

The Tommy Fleetwood-return-to-Southport didn't go as planned. (Mitchell/Guardian)

Brooks Koepka didn't miss a beat since taking off a month after his U.S. Open win. (Babineau/Golfweek)

Jon Rahm went from a disastrous day to a merely eventful opening 69 after he was cleared of an infraction. (Romine/Golfweek)

Aussies aren’t real thrilled with Dan Jenkins after taking a jab at Ian Baker-Finch. (Walten/AAP)

Justin Thomas gave detractors 67 reasons to stop talking about a pretty swell retro outfit. (Romine/Golfweek)

“It’s nice definitely to get people to stop talking about that,” said Thomas, who shot 3-under 67 while sporting a navy tie as part of his Polo Golf/Ralph Lauren scripting for Thursday’s opening round. “Obviously, I knew it was probably going to get a lot of publicity and be out there, but I didn’t come here to dress well.”

Jason Day's joggers and white hi-tops didn't fare well either with fashionistas. (Romine/GolfChannel.com)

Fashion got lots of overall attention. (Romine/GolfChannel.com)

Alfie Plant displayed no fear. England's least known, best hope at the moment.

First day TV hit and misses. (Kaufmann/Golfweek)

Russia has apparently infiltrated the list of Open winners. (Miceli/MorningRead.com)

Monty's bluster brought life to the Golf Channel telecast. (Elling/MorningRead.com)

To kick off round two, the R&A announced Andrew Johnston as "Beef" Johnston. Somewhere Ivor Robson just flinched.

TheOpen.com for all of your basic needs.

Tee times.

The traditional leaderboard at TheOpen.com.

I'm not sure if it works in the States, but Open radio is a fun way to enjoy the action if you have other tasks to tend to. Inexplicably, the R&A no longer sells radios to spectators.

Golfweek's Live Blog will keep you up to date.

The Guardian's Live Blog will give you the UK perspective.

Friday
Jul212017

ShackHouse 42: Open Championship Pop-Up

A quick recap of a lively day one at The Open, some Jordan Spieth talk, the weather, Rory and Ricky, the online coverage and the players to watch going forward (26:00).

Links to the two shows referenced worth checking out: Vice Sports on Henrik Stenson and Matt Ryan on Callaway Live.

Thursday
Jul202017

About The Passing Ship That Is The Royal Birkdale Clubhouse

Having inspired several other clubhouses and several homes in the neighborhood, the Royal Birkdale clubhouse influence is unmistakable.

Though as David Owen noted in this piece, with accompanying image, the original design vision was pretty swell and needs restoration.

The club has monkeyed with the building since it was built, by removing a number of the original Art Deco details and adding boxlike extensions, but the basic idea is intact. The building’s design influenced other architecture in the region, including this house, which is just up the road from the club:

These days, the exterior just lacks a few too many of the fun nuances that articulated the original vision and yet I still love the concept and the vision.

We at Morning Drive took the question to the people and here's what they said...

Thursday
Jul202017

2017 Open Championship Round One This And That

We started it out with positively hideous weather but things have improved notwithstanding a huge drop in temperature compared to the practice rounds.

TheOpen.com for all of your needs.

Tee times.

The traditional leaderboard at TheOpen.com.

I'm not sure if it works in the States, but Open radio is a fun way to enjoy the action if you have other tasks to tend to.

Justin Thomas has stuck to the expected scripting and his cardigan/tie combo is definitely classing this place up.

Golfweek's Live Blog will keep you up to date.

The Guardian's Live Blog will give you the UK perspective.

Round one hole locations at Royal Birkdale appear mostly generous.

Thursday
Jul202017

Bifurcation: R&A Chief Opens Door To The B-Word

After yesterday's press conference where he acknowledged movements in driving distance averages, R&A Chief Executive Martin Slumbers opened the door to rules bifurcation. Slumbers seems to see the wisdom in letting average golfers enjoy the benefits of technology while making changes to maintain skill in the elite game.

Alex Miceli at MorningRead.com reports:

“When we look at all the options we’ve got, it [bifurcation] will have to be one of the options we look at,” Slumbers said. “Whether that’s the right thing to do, who knows the answer. Up to date, we have had a view of one set of playing rules, one set of equipment rules, and I think that served our game extremely well, but we must make sure we get the skill and technology right, as a balance for the good of the overall game.”

Even considering another set of rules for the elite game is a milestone moment for the R&A. The organization has resisted such a concept, even when the notion was suggested to deal with anchoring.

Couple this with the USGA's Mike Davis suggesting a variable distance ball concept as a possibility and we appear to be on the road to bifurcation.

Wednesday
Jul192017

Roundup: Final Reads And Notes For The 2017 Open

After the bleak forecast almost was proven wrong, an afternoon storm dropped some moisture on the firm fairways of Royal Birkdale. The weather forecast remains bleak unless you like to see wind and rain.

The latest odds.

Bob Harig wonders if length matters and talks to players on both sides of the aisle. Bill Haas had this to say:

"You can play as safe as you want, but then your next shot is that much tougher to the green,'' said Bill Haas, whose tie for ninth last year at Royal Troon was his best Open finish. "Can you compete by hitting short irons off tees? Yes. But I remember Louis Oosthuizen when he won at St. Andrews [in 2010]. He hit driver everywhere. Just piped it. He hit sand wedge into every hole. No wonder he won.

Brandt Snedeker has withdrawn from The Open with a rib injury. James Hahn gets in.

Brian Wacker on Paul Casey's cycling preparation and contentment with his life.

The players are noticing the bunker difficulty, namely the heavy sand and potential for awkward stances. Brentley Romine with the social media round-up.

The R&A press conference elicited a few bits of news. Drug testing is in, reviewing the anchoring ban is not.

Bradley Klein takes you hole by hole at Royal Birkdale.

David Dusek on the emergence of driving irons this week.

Driving irons used to be fairly standard on the PGA Tour, but they started to vanish in the 1980s. The popularization of hybrids in the 1990s and 2000s pretty much were the nail in the coffin for 1-irons and 2-irons. And as clubs and balls improved with technology – and lofts became stronger on iron sets – strong players were hitting their 3- and 4-irons as far as the previous generations hit 1-irons, anyway.

Maverick McNealy says his game is trending in the right direction and he's likely turning pro later this year, Ryan Lavner writes.

Rory McIlroy made anintriguing remark in his press room interview today, Jeff Babineau notes in his Golfweek story considering McIlroy's chances.

“I want to win this week. I don’t need to win,” he said. “A second Open Championship isn’t going to change my life. But I want to win. I’m still as ambitious now as I was starting off my career, if not more so now because I know what I’ve achieved and I know what I can achieve. So it only makes you want to do that even more.”

If you'd like a little history, Michael Bamberger considers the influence Arnold Palmer's 1961 win here had on The Open.

I filed this Golfweek.com piece on The Artisans and their fourth green clubhouse. Nothing like clubs within a club!

This Todd Lewis helmed live piece offered a rare look inside the Birkdale clubhouse. Really cool stuff!

And I visited the food vendors...

And one more reminder for US viewers, all of your telecast times here starting with Wednesday's Midnight Drive at 9 pm PT and leading into Open coverage that commences for 14.5 hours at 10:30 pm PT.

Wednesday
Jul192017

R&A Chief Concedes "Movements" Seen In '17 Driving Distance

Nice to ask a distance question and not get the usual suggestion that things have leveled off, but maybe R&A Chief Martin Slumbers knew after this year's U.S. Open's driving distances that such a stance would not fly.

From today's R&A press conference at the 146th Open Championship.

Q. Several of the players have noted that they are hitting very few drivers. Some players may not even have driver in their bag. In the context of the statement of principles from 2003 regarding skill, does it concern you that that club is not a factor this week because of the distance the players hit the ball?

MARTIN SLUMBERS: Well, you can look at it two ways, the golf course is set up 17 yards shorter than it was played in '08. The great thing about links golf, as many of you know, if you're as much an aficionado of this game as I am, course management is one of the most important things about links golf. It's pretty firm out there. It's running hard. The rough, if you run out in the wrong direction, can be pretty penal. And certainly the conversations I've had with players is that they are really enjoying the challenge of trying to work at how to get the ball in the right place. And at times that will lead them to hit irons as against drivers or woods. I think Phil was talking yesterday about maybe not putting a driver in the bag, and I think we'll see quite a few irons, especially if the wind stays in the quadrant that it's in in the moment.

The broader question on distance that you raise is we are very -- I spend a lot of my time and the R&A's time looking at distance. We are very focused on setting it up in two ways, one is around transparency, which is what we did two years ago - started to take the PGA data and take the European Tour data, put it together and publish that. Some people don't like that. Others say it's great to have the numbers.

The second thing that I'm looking at and spend probably as much time doing it is this balance between skill and technology, and whether how much the technology and skill, are they in balance, is it good for the recreational game? Is it the same for the elite game? And those two issues are what we are looking at at the moment. And if you look at the data over the last 18 months, we are seeing this year movements, only halfway through the year. We will take a full look at the end of the year, and then come back and make sure we analyse and think about it very carefully.

Wednesday
Jul192017

R&A Turning Fairway Into OB Zone Highlights Distance Issues

Here's the notice to competitors:

I opine for Golfweek.com on the many issues surrounding the bizarre idea of turning the 10th hole fairway grass into out-of-bounds. Yes the safety issue was legitimate. But the concept that anyone would think of playing down another fairway to avoid their own speaks to how narrow the course is.

This also summarizes a number of other issues including the overall lack of appetite to hit driver this week, as best summarized by Phil Mickelson's plans.

Wednesday
Jul192017

Callaway Live: Falcons QB & Links Golf Lover Matt Ryan

Yours truly was promoted as the guest on Callaway Live with Harry Arnett this week, but in a bit of television magic (me shuttling to Carlsbad from The Open), I happily step aside for suprise guest Matt Ryan.

Not only did he lead the Falcons to last year's Super Bowl, but Ryan is a terrific lover of golf. I think you'll enjoy his discussion of his annual trip to enjoy links golf, how the game helps him retain his flexibility and why it's his off season passion.

But only after certified Falcons fanatic Arnett gets in a few Super Bowl questions...

Wednesday
Jul192017

BBC To The Rescue! PGA Wants Eyeballs On Its Championship

That was quick!

The PGA Championship appears headed to the BBC even after Sky Sports just started a dedicated golf channel. However, with few eyeballs and rights situations about to become golf's big battleground, Ewan Murray reports for The Guardian that this year's PGA will be on the open, free airwaves of BBC.

Sky losing the Masters and PGA surely must make the R&A uncomfortable given its long term deal with Sky. You may recall the debate from a few years ago involving the R&A moving to pay television and away from longtime partner BBC.

**In Wednesday's state of the R&A press conference Chief Executive Martin Slumbers took a swipe at the BBC coverage approach:

I think when we moved last year we took what was frankly a fairly tired and outdated broadcast and turned it into absolutely world class and raised the whole level of the way it was shown. And I think that was a combination and a partnership of those organisations with the R&A that I think has truly improved how people are watching golf.

And a testament to that was that we won, or Sky and ETP, won a BAFTA for sport. And they were up against the BBC's coverage of the Olympics and Paralympics, and also the Six Nations. So I think that was a fantastic testament to what we did last year at Royal Troon, and really shows what you can do with TV. We're building on that this year.

The world of media has changed out of all recognition in the last 20 years. I think the world of TV has changed and is going to change even more, and I don't think anyone knows exactly where it's going. But we're very comfortable working with a partner that really understands the technology, they understand golf, and they understand how they can help us showcase this fantastic championship to the world.

**This Tweet sums up the Slumbers take.

Tuesday
Jul182017

Birkdale: Phil Going Driverless, For Now

From what I've seen of the course, I'm not surprised by this move reported on by GolfChannel.com's Rex Hoggard.

Mickelson arrived early on Tuesday to tinker with a modified 3-iron, a Callaway Epic model, that has been bent to 16 degrees, which is closer to a 2-iron loft.

He also had a 3-iron in the bag with standard loft as well as his normal 3-wood during his practice round with Jon Rahm, Jordan Spieth and Justin Thomas.

Things may change for many players should the winds get going and tomorrow's forecasted rain slow the course down, but even then it's just hard to imagine with the rough and lack of width that most of today's players need their driver at Royal Birkdale.

He spoke to Golf Channel:

Tuesday
Jul182017

Some Theories On Seven Straight First Time Major Winners And Why We May Get Another This Week

In the July issue of Golfweek I took a crack at why we have had seven straight first-time major winners and suggest that because of money, technology and increased risk of injury, we need to get used to more players not dominating.

As we prepare for the 146th Open at Birkdale after a Wimbledon that featured geezers Roger Federer and Venus Williams in the finals, Derek Lawrenson of the Daily Mail offered thoughts on why golf has gone the opposite direction of tennis, where a small group still dominates.

Jack Nicklaus, Lee Trevino, Seve Ballesteros and Tom Watson also won 11 between 1970 and 1984, but a clean sweep of all 15? How on earth can the two pastimes be so far apart? If truth be told, such domination shouldn't happen in a popular individual sport.

During all his years at the top, it's amazing to think Federer has met only two high-calibre players from America in Andy Roddick and Andre Agassi and two from Australia in Mark Philippoussis and Lleyton Hewitt, and none at all from South Africa. Contrast that to the picture in golf.

Indeed, Tiger Woods's unwitting gift to Federer for his dotage must be the fact he turned so many impressionable sporting teenagers in his own nation and others away from tennis and into golf. Hence the reason why the queue of talented twentysomethings at Birkdale this week stretches down the corridor and out the door while in tennis you could count them on the fingers of one hand.

Jordan Spieth was asked about the matter Tuesday at Birkdale. John Huggan analyzes the answer for GolfDigest.com and wasn't impressed.

Spieth took the field depth angle:

“I think it's a really impressive stat and it speaks to the state of the game. There are a lot of tremendous young players right now. And then you've got guys like Henrik (Stenson) and Dustin (Johnson). They are still young, but they have been around in contention many, many times - and sooner or later it was going to happen for them. And it did. It was just a matter of time for them.”

Tuesday
Jul182017

2017 Open Championship: American Viewing Schedule, Options

For U.S. audiences, The Open viewing options are plentiful: Thursday and Friday you can watch via cable or your Golf Channel and NBC Sports apps (with subscription login).

The weekend will continue that coverage on NBC only, with news and programming surrounding the telecast on Golf Channel.

New this year is even more first day coverage with "Midnight Drive" lead-in coverage that starts at 9 pm Pacific Wednesday (yours truly will be there bright and early so tune in!).There is also exclusive digital coverage of the 1st and 18th holes (details below), Marquee Groups and Featured Holes (12, 13, 14).

Here goes:

Tournament Airtimes on Golf Channel (Eastern):

Thursday         1:30 a.m.-4 p.m. (Live) / 10 p.m.-Midnight (Replay)

Friday              1:30 a.m.-4 p.m. (Live) / 10 p.m.-2:30 a.m. (Replay)      

Saturday          4:30-7 a.m. (Live) / 10 p.m.-2 a.m. (Replay)

Sunday            4-7 a.m. (Live) / Midnight-4 a.m. (Replay)

 

Tournament Airtimes on NBC (Eastern):

Saturday          7 a.m.-3 p.m. (Live)

Sunday:           7 a.m.-2 p.m. (Live)

 

NBC Sports Digital Complementary Feeds to the Broadcast

NBC Sports Group will offer several ancillary digital feeds to complement its linear broadcast, including: Marquee Group, Featured Holes (12, 13, 14) and The Open Spotlight, which will include coverage of the 1st and 18th holes, along with look-ins at players on the driving range, press center interviews and highlights. Digital coverage will include Golf Channel hosts Ryan Burr, Cara Robinson and Damon Hack, along with analysts Justin Leonard, Colin Montgomerie, Curt Byrum, Tom Abbott, Billy Ray Brown, Jerry Foltz, John Cook, Trevor Immelman and Billy Kratzert.

Golf Channel and NBC Sports digital platforms also will provide fans will full round replays, made available within the NBC Sports and Golf Channel Apps immediately following live coverage.


DirecTV to Simulcast Live Broadcast, Ancillary Feeds

DirecTV will simulcast the live tournament broadcast on Golf Channel / NBC throughout the tournament via their Mosaic, which also will include the feed from the Marquee Group, Featured Holes and The Open Spotlight. Other offerings on the Mosaic include an expanded leaderboard function, detailed player scorecards, and an ability to create a “favorites” list top the Mosaic leaderboard. The Mosaic Channel and interactive menu will be available to DirecTV subscribers during broadcast hours all four days, Thursday-Sunday.


News Coverage:

Wednesday, July 19  6-10 a.m.      Golf Central Live From The Open
                                            
10 a.m.-Noon                               Morning Drive

Noon-2 p.m.                                Golf Central Live From The Open


Thursday, July 20 

Midnight-1:30 a.m.                       Midnight Drive

4-5 p.m.                                      Golf Central Live From The Open

Friday, July 21                      

4-5 p.m.                                      Golf Central Live From The Open


Saturday, July 22                  

3-4 p.m.                                      Golf Central Live From The Open


Sunday, July 23                    

2-4 p.m.                                      Golf Central Live From The Open
                                            
7-9 p.m.                                      Champion Golfer of the Year (highlights show)

Tuesday
Jul182017

More Mood For Birkdale Flashbacks: Baker-Finch, Rose Win In The Roaring 90s

Ian Baker-Finch played a brilliant final 36 holes to win the 1991 Open here.


It is still incredible to see 17-year-old amateur Justin Rose's hole-out finish at the 1998 Open. And that sweater.

 

 

 

Monday
Jul172017

ShackHouse 41: 2017 Open Championship Preview

In the first of three ShackHouse's this week, House and I get right to the only thing that matters: Royal Birkdale and handicapping a wide open, fascinating Open Championship. I also briefly discuss my golf in Scotland and House teases us on House of Carbs while committing to a crossover episode soon!

Those who listened all the way to the end know what we're looking for in the comments section. Make sure to leave your email with the prediction that will win you a new Steelhead fairway wood.

As always, you can subscribe on iTunes and or just refresh your device's podcast subscription page. (I'm an Overcast fan, still.)

Here is The Ringer's show page.

Same deal with Soundcloud for the show, and Episode 41 is here to listen to right now.

ShackHouse is brought to you by Callaway, makers of the Chrome Soft, which I've shared with some of the finer fescue roughs of Scotland over the last week. And of course, the new Steelhead fairway woods along with Odyssey as well.

Get on it at CallawayGolf.com!

Monday
Jul172017

0.6: U.S. Women's Open Final Round Overnight Lowest Since '96

Whether it was the leaderboard, the low energy (and small) crowds or a Trump effect...or bits of all elements, the U.S. Women's Open appears set to lose its place as the top rated golf telecast of the year.

Not since the 2002 Dinah Shore has the USGA's premier women's event ever lost to another women's major, as noted by Sports Media Watch, but that appears to be likely this year with the KPMG LPGA expected to out-rate the Open.

This year was the fifth of seven in which the U.S. Women’s Open has failed to crack a 1.0 overnight rating. The only exceptions were last year and Michelle Wie‘s win in 2014 (1.7). Wie was forced to withdraw due to injury at this year’s tournament.

Monday
Jul172017

Handicapping The 2017 Open Championship!

Oddschecker is sensational for up-to-the-minute (literally) prices.Full disclosure: I've placed each-way bets on Rickie Fowler (18-1), Alexander Levy (250-1) and intend to add Wesley Bryan at 300-1.

My ten players to watch at Golfweek.com. Note: this was filed before Rory posted another missed cut at the Scottish and Stenson, the defending champion, all but declared his chances are slim.

The Golfweek staff makes fantasy picks including for those in various formats.

Wednesday's weather is bleak, so look for a softer course Thursday. The Met Office expects pretty steady winds all day Thursday and the same for Friday's play.

On the upcoming ShackHouse, we will be discussing the course and who it favors, plus working through some prop bets for those attempting to handicap a very wide open Open.

Monday
Jul172017

Video: New And Incredible #ArnieWould Ad For The Open

Given that he won here in 1961 and in doing so, re-validated The Open at a time when it was not at peak strength. And still so soon after his passing, this is obviously a sentimental week for Arnold Palmer fans who have two nice tributes to enjoy.

The R&A has a tribute to him at the 18th (and to Roberto de Vicenzo), while the club has commemorated his epic shot at the 16th (then the 15).


And this new Mastercard ad set to run during The Open is especially well done.

 

Sunday
Jul162017

Summer Of '76 Preview: Q&A With Rich Lerner

Golf Channel Films unveils its next project – Summer of ’76 – Tuesday, July 18 at 9 p.m. ET and, if you've seen the promos, there is no shortage of 70s fun and funk. But that's a mere teaser for what is the most unusual and spunky production Golf Channel has put on the air.
 
While the film centers around the Johnny-Seve duel at the 1976 Open, it's also a film about 70s. Narrated by actor Tim Matheson and co-produced by Israel DeHerrera, Golf Channel host Rich Lerner and James Ponti, it is written by Lerner who answered a few questions in advance of Open week and the film's Tuesday debut.

GS: You’re credited as a writer and co-producer with Israel DeHerrera on this, so tell us how this project came about and what inspired you to add more work to an already full slate as Golf Channel’s lead announcer?

RL: As part of our relationship with the R&A, we’re producing one documentary film each year.  With The Open returning to Royal Birkdale, we began to look closely at 1976 because of the two principal characters, Johnny Miller and Seve Ballesteros, both charismatic and even transcendent figures. But what really excited me was the chance to explore the 1970s, with all those legendary tough guys with homemade swings, the cool style, wood and steel, and so the piece is as much about that period as it is the Open of 1976 and I think people are going to really enjoy it.

In terms of the additional work, it’s always a labor of love.  Plus, I need projects to pass the time with all my travel!  And Izzy DeHerrera, who’s dogged and brilliant, did a lot of the heavy lifting along with James Ponti and Max Miller.  Also, I’d done long form specials years ago, like New York Stories, in which I followed five people, involved in some way in golf, who were impacted by the events of 9-11;  Se Ri Pak, A Champion’s Journey; and an hour on the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina.  In terms of storytelling, I wanted to get back to that sort of depth.

GS: How was the process of a film like this different than your day-to-day job covering live golf and did you enjoy it?

RL: It’s similar in some ways to doing a long feature story, though in this case you’re constructing six and trying to keep them connected over the course of one hour.  We lay out a storyboard and get busy, knowing we’re going to do an entire segment on what the golf scene was like in the 1970s, another on Europe’s inferiority complex with Americans having dominated, another on Seve and who he was and where he came from, another on Johnny and just how ridiculously good he was at that time.  The interviews were a blast, talking with Johnny and Peter Jacobsen and Roger Maltbie.  That was their time, and they light up and get totally engaged when you take them back 40 years. 
 
GS: The promos have some great footage and music for fans of the 70s, was part this to highlight the culture once lampooned and now better appreciated from an arts or sports perspective?

RL: Look, we all have the same reaction when we look at our old pictures from the ‘70s.  What was I thinking?  But that’s what it was, big hair and platform shoes and wide collars and Sansabelt slacks.  I mean, even Jack Nicklaus, who came of age in the brush cut 1950s, let his hair down.  People weren’t so buttoned up.  In fact, they were showing chest hair!  We try to capture the vibe in interviews with among others, Peter Frampton and one of my all-time favorites, Walt “Clyde” Frazier.  And yes, it’s easy to poke fun at that decade but what also made it great was that it wasn’t so corporate.  It was looser and boozier, with stiff shots on and off the course.  Think too about how good it was musically with originals like David Bowie, The Allman Brothers, The Ohio Players and golf had plenty as well like Trevino, Floyd, Wadkins, Miller and of course, Seve.  They don’t make ‘em like that anymore, do they?  So yes, I do think people will come away with a renewed appreciation for that time, or at least smiling at the memories.

GS: What in particular are you most pleased with in how the final product came out?

RL: From the start, we approached this with the idea that we were in a Mustang with the top down and an eight track cranking tunes.  Let’s just have some fun.  And I think that’s what I’m most pleased about, that it’s a good time.  Plus, it’s “golfy” in plenty of places.  I love the Seve back story, coming as he did from a farm in Spain.  And when Johnny explains that he actually mimicked several different swings from several other legends, it’s just a fantastic insight into the way high level performers approach their craft.   
 
GS: The Open returns with a bit of chaos at the top of the sport, with seven straight first time major winners and a few who’ve already seem declines in their games immediately after winning. After putting this film together and exploring that generation, do you think we have the potential to enjoy a similar decade with a group of stars or do you sense the amount of money in the game will make careers shorter?

RL: Both Johnny and Tom Watson are adamant that the 10 best from the ‘70s would be tough to beat in a head-to-head against the 10 best from today.  Why?  Because you had to win back then to really earn.  Guys knew how to close.   Now, we all agree there’s far more depth of talent today. 

But when you’re 23 years old with 7,000 square feet and an ocean view you might be inclined to say, “This is good enough.”  That said, I do think today’s great young stars want it as badly as those from previous generations.  And I also think about Arnold Palmer after he won The Open in 1961 at Royal Birkdale.  He arrived back home in Latrobe to a big celebration.  His father, Deke, said, “Congratulations son, now the back nine needs to be mowed.”  Arnie put down the Claret Jug and hopped on the tractor at the club where he grew up.  There comes a time when a man, no matter how rich and how famous, needs to get back to work.

The trailor: