Twitter: GeoffShac
  • The 1997 Masters: My Story
    The 1997 Masters: My Story
    by Tiger Woods
  • The First Major: The Inside Story of the 2016 Ryder Cup
    The First Major: The Inside Story of the 2016 Ryder Cup
    by John Feinstein
  • 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
  • Playing Through: Modern Golf's Most Iconic Players and Moments
    Playing Through: Modern Golf's Most Iconic Players and Moments
    by Jim Moriarty
  • 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
  • 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
  • Grounds for Golf: The History and Fundamentals of Golf Course Design
    Grounds for Golf: The History and Fundamentals of Golf Course Design
    by Geoff Shackelford
  • The Art of Golf Design
    The Art of Golf Design
    by Michael Miller, Geoff Shackelford
  • The Future of Golf: How Golf Lost Its Way and How to Get It Back
    The Future of Golf: How Golf Lost Its Way and How to Get It Back
    by Geoff Shackelford
  • Lines of Charm: Brilliant and Irreverent Quotes, Notes, and Anecdotes from Golf's Golden Age Architects
    Lines of Charm: Brilliant and Irreverent Quotes, Notes, and Anecdotes from Golf's Golden Age Architects
    Sports Media Group
  • Alister MacKenzie's Cypress Point Club
    Alister MacKenzie's Cypress Point Club
    by Geoff Shackelford
  • The Golden Age of Golf Design
    The Golden Age of Golf Design
    by Geoff Shackelford
  • Masters of the Links: Essays on the Art of Golf and Course Design
    Masters of the Links: Essays on the Art of Golf and Course Design
    Sleeping Bear Press
  • The Good Doctor Returns: A Novel
    The Good Doctor Returns: A Novel
    by Geoff Shackelford
  • The Captain: George C. Thomas Jr. and His Golf Architecture
    The Captain: George C. Thomas Jr. and His Golf Architecture
    by Geoff Shackelford

Golf is the one game in which the player’s ball is not subject to the interference of the opponent. It is a question of supremacy of accurate strokes without human interference, but there exists interference, nevertheless, and its name is "hazard," which is golfese for trouble.   A.W. TILLINGHAST

 

  

Tuesday
Nov072017

Stevie: Green Reading Books Deskilling The Game

There's a lot to enjoy about Episode 32 of the iSeekGolf Podcast appearance by New Zealander and caddie extraordinaire Stevie Williams who says the green reading books, so heavily used these days and under governing body scrutiny, should not be allowed.

From the pod:

“There’s no doubt that a lot of the information that’s getting provided now is taking a lot of the skill and the art and the natural gift [out] of playing the game."

“I’m totally against greens reading books. I think it’s a skill of the game not to have a book provided that absolutely gives you a detailed description of the green and if you read the book accurately, you know exactly how far your putt’s going to break.”

Tuesday
Nov072017

Match Play! 30 Years Of Tech Head To Head

Nice work by Laz Versalles to piece together his old circa 1987 set and match it against today's stuff only to confirm today's clubs are better and yet, not quite as fun of a game as we used to play.

He sets up his GolfWRX story this way (thanks to reader Peter V for sharing):

Somewhere between my father’s 1987 dismissal of the crucible that was the Rich Acres Par-3 and Koepka’s brutish dismantling of Erin Hills, golf has become a wildly different game. But is it a better game? Is it more entertaining to watch? Does the technology that facilitates the game for the masses belittle the game’s rich history? Most importantly, is today’s game more fun to play? I set off on a crusade to find out.

Short of buying a silver DeLorean and traveling back in time to 1987, my best bet was to try and piece together the clubs I played as a teenager and pit them against my current set to see how they would match up. A Match of The Ages if you will; Teenage Me vs. Middle-Aged Me. The artistry of the late 20th century versus the power of the early 21st century. This was going to be fun.

And to spoil the ending, though I hope you'll hit the link...

Middle-Aged Me may have won the match 5 & 4, but Teenage Me definitely won the fun 10 & 8. A big part of that fun was getting reacquainted with a game I hadn’t played in a while. A game that was less about distance and more about shapes and trajectories. A game light on predictability and loaded with variety where a good drive didn’t mean wedges into every green. I saw the golf course as the architect had intended it to be seen, which let me appreciate more of its features.

Monday
Nov062017

Veteran Looper Explains How A Masters Ball Could Work

When we talk bifurcation and a Masters ball, incredulous golfers always ask, "but how could it ever work?" This, despite living in a country that put men on the moon nearly five decades ago and solving to all but the most basic problems.

Nonetheless, I understand the concerns with multiple manufacturers and the propensity for cheating in today's sports. So I give you John Wood, caddie for Matt Kuchar, keen observer of the game and regular contributor to Golf.com's weekly roundtable.

The gang was kicking around Tiger's distance comments and as most of us bifurcation talkers are prone to do, looked toward Augusta, Georgia for guidance. Here's how Wood thinks it would work:

I’ve been saying this about Augusta for years. "Gentleman, you are cordially invited to participate in the Masters Invitational for the year ____. Under a new Invitational requirement, we have forwarded our specifications for a legal golf ball for our tournament to your equipment companies. Should they like to design a ball for you under these specifications, we would be more than pleased for you to play it. If they choose not to, we will provide you with three options of a ball meeting our requirements. One will launch high, one will launch low, and one will launch in the middle of those two. We wish you the best of luck." The long ball, for lack of a better word, is sexy...to the USGA, to the R&A, to the PGA Tour...and to be honest, it sells tickets, so they aren’t about to do anything about it. Last year, the statistics say the driving distance leader on the PGA Tour averaged 317 yards. That sounds out of control. But anyone who has spent any time at all out here knows that, weather depending, Dustin Johnson, Justin Thomas, Brooks Koepka, Tony Finau and countless others hit their driver 330-plus every time they bring it out of the bag. That’s the truth that statistics don’t show. When Tiger was one of the longest on Tour, averaging around 300 yards per drive, he was way out front, AND he was using a 43-inch steel-shafted driver and what was known to be one of the softest and spinniest balls on Tour. So, yes, hopefully Tiger’s words now will have some impact on the future.

I just hope we can buy them in the shop to show the doubting manufacturers that there can be other markets besides longer and straighter. Some people actually want to play courses as they were meant to be played.

Monday
Nov062017

Chubby On The Rebound: European Tour Challenge Tournament With Par Putting Banned!

John Huggan of Golf World talks to beleaguered 10-percenter Chubby Chandler as the ink dries on his divorce from longtime pal Lee Westwood and other players (Willett, Fox) who left the ISM stable.

While Chandler likens the Westwood split to a divorce--with confidentiality agreements in place to ensure we never know why--Chandler is moving forward and one of his passion projects involves a European Challenge Tour event where par putting is not tolerated.

By way of example, next year’s European Challenge Tour is expected to feature an event that Chandler has a hand in in which par will be every player’s “friend.” In a bid to finally win the seemingly never-ending battle with slow play, every competitor will be banned from putting for par. As soon as a birdie has not been achieved, it will be ball-in-pocket and on to the next hole.

“It won’t just be that par doesn’t count. The players will be banned from putting out once they haven’t made a birdie,” Chandler says. “That way they will all be round in three hours. We will have two points for a birdie, five for an eagle and eight for an albatross. That’s been done before. But no putting for par, which counts as zero. So you can’t knock it out of a bunker to four-feet and putt for par. Not allowed. And that’s where things will speed up.”

Players will also get double points if they hole-out from off the green, and all points will double on the last three holes. “Everybody is in with a chance right to the end,” Chandler says. “That might all turn out wrong. But it could also be really exciting. We’ll see. We’re not changing the game that much. We’re just making it quicker and getting rid of the dull bits. No one really gives a bleep about eight-footers for par.”

 And yet, that's semingly all we ever see. So bring it on!

Monday
Nov062017

State Of The Game 74: PGA Master Pro Billy Dettlaff

The author of the epic Doctors of the Game joins Rod Morri, Mike Clayton and myself to discuss his grand 696 page book and the role of golf professionals in the game. Given the evolution of the professional from degenerate to cherished place in the sport, including some twists you'll be surprised to learn about, Dettlaff helps us understand the role of the pro in shaping the game.

And this wouldn't be a SOG if we didn't discuss Tiger's recent comments on the golf ball (later in the show).

You can read more on Dettlaff's book here, where you can also order.

The book synopsis:

Take a remarkable journey through the history of golf from the unique perspective of the golf profession. Written by a second-generation PGA Professional whose family has been in the game for 110 years, the publication of Doctors of the Game is the culmination of over seven years of writing, research, personal interviews and international travel. This 696-page tome from the author of the 2015 PGA of America Centennial – Celebrating the History of the Golf Professional, is a vastly expanded text that features over 120 profiles and biographies of both well and lesser-known golf professionals highlighting their distinctive personal contributions. The stories of these remarkable men and women are enhanced with 335 historic images and original photography documenting the progress of the game’s development as a beloved worldwide passion.

As always you can listen here, download here via mp3 or wherever fine podcasts stream:

Monday
Nov062017

Rose Has HOF In Mind, Is He The Last Of A Generation?

I'm a baseball fan and when they talk of certain players being "Hall worthy" it adds to your sense of satisfaction in watching a competitor who fans will talk about fifty years from now.

And while golf's Hall of Fame is largely a strong representation of the game's greats--with maybe a need to round out wings recognizing pioneers, architects and media the way baseball has--it's generally a solid representation of the very best to have played the game.

Which is why the inability of recent generations to throw on a jacket and tie to show their respect is so disheartening, especially as they might learn the game was played well (or better) before them. But count Justin Rose in among those using the Hall of Fame barrier as incentive to round out his career, which is still very much in his prime after two wins on top of a near-Masters win in April. But is he the last of a generation?

Rex Hoggard at GolfChannel.com talked with Rose about a goal of achieving HOF status.

In the short term, Rose is within four rounds of winning the European Tour’s Race to Dubai following his back-to-back victories; and another major championship is always the goal, particularly a Masters’ jacket following April’s near-miss.

But there’s an even loftier finish line for Rose, the ultimate benchmark when grading careers that transcend money lists and the kind of week-in and week-out hyperbole that can often blur the bigger picture.

“I've always said I'd like to be a Hall of Fame player, and I guess who makes that determination, I don't know, but that's kind of what I'm working towards,” Rose said. “So is that two major championships and 20 wins? I don't know what it is. Olympic gold will probably be kind of a nice bargaining chip when it comes to that.

Monday
Nov062017

Flashback: Tiger's Been Pro-Rollback For Over A Decade

There has been healthy debate about Tiger's suggestion that "we need to do something about the ball", with many suggesting that an older, shorter Woods is merely hoping to negate the distance edge of younger peers.

While that's a reasonable kneejerk reaction, Wood has been on the record for over a decade that the ball doesn't spin as much and that classic courses are in danger. While he generally tip-toed around the topic, it was fairly clear how he felt: the pro game is less interesting with less spin.

I often felt he shied away from the topic in fear of sounding like someone who saw some of his skill advantage stripped away from the modern ball--though he would have been correct.

Anyway, sadly some of the links I posted on The List are no longer functional a decade past, but that's why we transcribe! From September 2005:

Hey, I am one of the guys that if they did roll the ball back, it would help me out a little bit. I would have an advantage. Any long guy who hits the ball long and high would have more of an advantage because now we're having to hit longer irons in the greens, other guys are having to hit hybrids and woods, so you have an advantage.

From a personal standpoint and competitive standpoint, I won't mind them rolling the ball back because I would have an advantage.

Also, Woods included a lengthy and illuminating chapter in his 1997 Masters book earlier this year that goes into great depth about why he sees the situation not helping the sport. It is not a coincidence that he's reached a stronger conclusion than a decade ago since he's gone into golf course design.

Sunday
Nov052017

Video: Miss A Two-Footer, Scoop And Bank It In

Sunday
Nov052017

Back Sufferers Rejoice: Patrick Cantlay Gets First Win

Bad backs are deadly in golf, so it's especially gratifying see young sufferer Patrick Cantlay return from the depths of physical and mental struggles to get his first PGA Tour win.

Dave Shedloski filed a nice read from Las Vegas where the 25-year-old won the Shriners Hospitals Open For Children in a playoff over Alex Cjeka and Whee Kim. The former college player of the year and longtime top-ranked amateur who lost in the U.S. Amateur final turned pro in promising fashion.

Meticulous, stoic, and adroit, Cantlay heralded his potential a year earlier in the same event when he fired a second-round 60 at TPC River Highlands, the lowest score ever recorded by an amateur in a PGA Tour event, in grabbing the 36-hole lead. That came after finishing T-21 at the 2011 U.S. Open at Congressional.

The kid had the skills and the head for the game. Just not the back.

Cantlay first was sidelined after withdrawing from the 2013 Colonial with a back injury that turned out to be a stress fracture in his L5 vertebrae. Somehow, he came back in the fall for one start in the Web.com Tour Finals, finishing second in the Hotel Fitness Championship to retain his PGA Tour card.

In the next three years he would make just six starts.

The PGA Tour's highlights:

Sunday
Nov052017

Gary Player: No Candy Bars, Even For Baboons! 

John Clarke of the New York Times prepares us for the now-annual gathering of pro golfers and wildlife as the European Tour's Nedbank Challenge returns to South Africa.

Last year play was stopped at Gary Player Country Club twice for mongoose invasions, including a stolen ball for Victor Dubuisson.

Naturally, Mr. Player's advice is to not poison the animals.

Does Player have any advice for golfers navigating wildlife at his only namesake course? “Quite frankly, I wouldn’t give a candy bar to any living thing, not even a baboon, for the damage it does. Sugar is poison,” said the famously fit 82-year-old.

“The animals on the golf course are generally nonthreatening,” Player said. “But you can be lucky to perhaps be on one of the holes bordering the game reserve and see some rhino, giraffes or even a herd of elephants.”

Sunday
Nov052017

Freak Injury Files: Stenson's Rib Injury From HSBC Promo Event?

This makes Rory's kickabout injury look practically heroic. Except, perhaps to European Tour Chief Keith Pelley who has now lost Henrik Stenson for the 2017 Race to Dubai over a rib injury.

According to Rex Hoggard at GolfChannel.com, the injury appears to have been caused by that absurd WGC-HSBC pre-tournament "presentation" in Shanghai.

As to how he injured himself Stenson was also cryptic, suggesting that the injury occurred during a pre-tournament publicity presentation that included the Swede being hoisted into the air by a harness like a “superhero.”

“I’m not superman even though certain people thought I was superman,” he said in Turkey.

Maybe this is why Stenson was in no hurry to mark his ball on the greens!

Friday
Nov032017

Not Even A Due Date Yet: Jason Day Already Expecting To Miss U.S. Open For Birth Of Third Child

Breaking new ground in telegraphing a non-entry to one of golf's major, Jason Day has decided he's likely to miss the U.S. Open next June to witness the birth of his third child. A due date has not been set.

From an unbylined AAP story:

"Although I've had some good results at the US Open, Ellie and I are really excited about our third child and I want to be there to support her," Day told AAP.

"I'm not missing the birth."

Day boasts a superb record at the US Open - finishing runner-up twice in addition to three top-10 finishes and will explore every opportunity to be there.

"Once we know the due date, I would have to see what my options are," he said.

Is this option on the table: not bringing it up again in 2017?

Friday
Nov032017

PGA Of America CEO Bevacqua Gets Second Contract Extension In As Many Years

Last year he was extended to 2021 and at this week's PGA of America Annual Meeting, CEO Pete Bevacqua was extended to 2024.

For immediate release:

PGA OF AMERICA EXTENDS CONTRACT OF CEO PETE BEVACQUA THROUGH 2024

PALM BEACH GARDENS, Fla. (Nov. 3, 2017) – The PGA of America today announced the extension of CEO Pete Bevacqua’s contract through December 2024. Bevacqua has served as CEO since November 2012, and his current contract was set to expire at the end of 2021. The PGA Board of Directors approved the extension at the 101st PGA Annual Meeting in Austin, Texas.

Bevacqua guides the decisions and overall strategy of one of the world’s largest sports organizations, serving the Association’s nearly 29,000 PGA Professionals. Under his leadership, the PGA designed and implemented a long-term strategic plan, focused on the Association’s mission to serve the PGA Member and grow the game.  

The plan outlines the PGA’s strategic vision and eight core Member-focused and business-related initiatives. It also defines the PGA’s constant pursuit of excellence and commitment to innovation and collaboration, the teamwork and talent exhibited in its culture, and a devotion to diversity and inclusion throughout the Association’s programs and practices.

Earlier this year, Bevacqua steered the announcement that the PGA Championship will be conducted annually in May for the first time in 70 years, beginning in 2019. The new May date positions the PGA Championship for continued growth, by providing a strong landing spot on the golf calendar, access to world-class venues in new regions of the country and a consistent major championships rhythm that golf fans can embrace from April to July.

“With tremendous leadership and professionalism, Pete Bevacqua has furthered the PGA’s mission and guided our vision for the future,” said PGA President Paul Levy. “Pete is highly respected throughout the golf industry and the business world. The PGA of America is proud to call him our CEO, as he is devoted to our Members and ensuring that the game of golf extends its reach to everyone.”

This dedication is illustrated by the recent creation of the Association’s first-ever Chief Membership Officer position to oversee the core PGA Member-focused areas of the organization, including PGA Education, Employment, Member Services and Section Business Operations. Bevacqua’s focus also includes enhanced Career Services for PGA Members, highlighted by a significant expansion to 18 Career Counselors nationwide.

In addition, Bevacqua has spearheaded the growth of PGA REACH, the charitable foundation of the PGA of America, and its three key pillars of Youth, Military and Diversity & Inclusion. This includes the successful expansion of PGA Jr. League Golf, which grew this year to a record 42,000 boys and girls; the outreach of PGA HOPE (Helping Our Patriots Everywhere) to enhance the physical, mental, social and emotional well-being of veterans with disabilities; and the development of PGA WORKS to promote workforce diversity in golf.

“I am honored to have received this extension, and am incredibly grateful to our Officers, our Board, our PGA Members around the country and my fellow staff members,” said Bevacqua. “I very much look forward to working well into the future to serve our Members and to grow the game.”

Under Bevacqua’s leadership, the most recent editions of the PGA of America’s premier events – the 2017 PGA Championship at Quail Hollow Golf Club and the 2016 Ryder Cup at Hazeltine National Golf Club – set new standards for attendance, corporate hospitality and revenue, while delivering memorable fan experiences.

During his term, Bevacqua has spearheaded the addition and renewal of official patron sponsors and partners—such as OMEGA, KPMG, KitchenAid, National Car Rental and Chase—while working with Ryder Cup Europe to establish Standard Life Investments as the Ryder Cup’s first Worldwide Partner. Bevacqua also negotiated a transformational, 15-year media rights extension through 2030 with NBC Sports Group for the Ryder Cup, KitchenAid Senior PGA Championship and PGA Professional Championship.

Bevacqua orchestrated a partnership between the PGA, LPGA and KPMG to launch the KPMG Women’s PGA Championship in 2015, the first women’s major championship in PGA of America history. A leadership summit was also established to encourage women to use golf in furthering their careers. Bevacqua also facilitated relationships with state and local governments to bring the PGA Championship to historic public facilities at New York’s Bethpage Black (2019) and San Francisco’s TPC Harding Park (2020).

Previously, Bevacqua served as Global Head of Golf at Creative Artists Agency (CAA Sports). He was also Chief Business Officer for the United States Golf Association (USGA); and served as the USGA’s first Managing Director of the U.S. Open Championship.

A former World Golf Foundation Board of Directors’ Chairperson, Bevacqua is a PGA World Alliance leadership team member. He is the current Chairperson of the International Golf Federation, a group that was instrumental in golf’s historic return to the Olympics. In 2017, Jack Nicklaus announced that Bevacqua was elected as a special advisor to the Captains Club for The Memorial Tournament. Additionally, he is a RISE board member, an alliance of sports organizations that promote racial equality. A former Sports Business Journal “Forty Under 40” honoree, Bevacqua also received the March of Dimes Sports Leadership Award in 2016.  

A native of Bedford, New York, Bevacqua graduated from the University of Notre Dame magna cum laude (1993), with a B.A. in English. He earned a Juris Doctorate from Georgetown University Law Center, where he graduated cum laude (1997). He began his career as a legal associate at Davis Polk & Wardwell LLP in New York City.

Friday
Nov032017

Tiger: "We need to do something about the golf ball."

As we had heard previewed a few weeks ago, Tiger Woods appears on Coach Geno Auriemma’s second “Holding Court” podcast and he gets much more insight than the traditional Tiger television interview.

Woods opens up about everything from technology to fly fishing to how he pays his caddie. Huge props to Coach Auriemma for asking great questions (and knowing the game and Tiger), but also to Tiger for doing a podcast where the conversational atmosphere leads to better insights. More than any interview I can recall, you hear him go into the kind of depth that shows how smart he is and how much thought he gives to all subjects.

I most enjoyed his thoughts on technology and the ball. Transcribed here for proper documentation as I'm sure his support of any effort to create a tournament ball will be very important.

After talking about persimmon and the differences in spin and accuracy of contact for his generation and today's stars, Coach asks "if they had to play with persimmon and the old balata balls, would they still be able to do it?"

No. Because we were taught to knock off spin and the new balls don’t spin a whole hell of a lot. They go a lot further and a lot straighter but they don’t spin. Well, now these guys, let’s say Bubba Watson, who curves the ball a ton with these harder balls. If he played a balata it might be coming back at him. Like a complete boomerang.

Auriemma then asks if Tiger would be in favor of any equipment changes in the game right now?

The only thing I would say is that we need to do something about the golf ball. I just think it’s going too far because we’re having to build golf courses…if you want to have a championship venue, they’ve got to be 73, 7400 yards long and if the game keeps progressing the way it is with technology, I think that the 8,000 yard golf course is not too far away. And that’s pretty scary. We don’t have enough property to be designing these types of golf courses. And it just makes it so much more complicated.

Oh to have been there when one of Tiger's really cool routings was spoiled by having to get more yardage. Welcome to the architectural migraine maker!

Coach asks if there is "any consensus on tour of how, is there some feeling on tour among the guys?"

Some of the guys say yes. The USGA is already looking at it. They’re doing some research on what the world would look like if you rolled it back 10 percent, 15 percent and 20 percent…the game of golf is on the kind of, there’s a down cycle as far as participation. We don’t have a whole lot of new golfers coming into the game. We don’t have any sustainability in the game as well. So, with that being said, you don’t want to give up the amateurs from hitting the ball further and straighter. But with the tour pros you might want to roll the ball back. The talks we’ve had on tour with the Commissioner and our board is where is the line of demarcation. Do we have it at PGA Tour levels, do we have it at the Web.com Tour level, do we have it at the mini-tour level, so there is that debate as well. I don’t see it happening in the near future but at least there’s talks about it now.

Keep talking Tiger, you are helping to make it happen.

Auriemma then talks about the modifications made in auto racing to keep tracks safe and relevant. Tiger offers this Wimbledon analogy:

I think a good analogy, or good comparison would be tennis. Back in 2001, 2000, somewhere in there, Goran Ivanisevic served over 200 aces for the fortnight, since then they’ve rolled the ball back, more fuzzy, a little heavier so the ball doesn’t travel as fast. They did the same thing at the U.S. Open, and the Australian Open. So they’ve made alterations to the ball to accommodate the strength and the power of the equipment and the strings and the racket as well as the pure athleticism of the bigger servers. Well that’s the ball analogy with another sport so why can’t we do the same thing with another ball sport, golf, and slow it down just a little bit.

 

 

Thursday
Nov022017

Someone Posts A 68 To President Trump's GHIN Account

Given the circumstances--a Tuesday, a course rating of 66.1 and the unlikelihood our President posting a score these days even as he tees it up regularly--I'm guessing we'll find out this was a breach of Donald Trump's handicap. Shocking, I know!

Nonetheless, Golf.com's Dylan Dethier has tried to piece together the oddities of the posting, including this:

The round of 68 is listed as an "away" round, suggesting it wasn't played at one of the president's home courses. The course rating is also oddly low: 66.1, a far cry from the ratings and tee boxes Trump normally favors, which range from the low- to mid-70s.

As is often the case with President Trump, the story raises far more questions than answers. Where and when was this round of 68 played? Why did he choose to post this score, and no others since June of 2016?

Thursday
Nov022017

Shirtless Shark's Plan To Shatter The Governing Body "Cast Iron" Comes In The Form Of A Fancier Golf Cart

Greg Norman signed with Verizon through 2024 and has teased us repeatedly with suggestions of forthcoming plan to revolutionize the game. The development price tag has been put at $11 million.

When you read about the big announcement he finally made, remember this prediction from December last year:

“In the middle second quarter of next year, I’ll invite you guys down to my office,” he said. “We will tell you exactly how we’re going to break this cast iron that’s been wrapped around golf for so long. We’re going to shatter it. The institutions (USGA, R&A, PGA of America, PGA Tour) will eventually buy into it because they will have to buy into it. They won’t have a choice.”

Ok, so it was the four quarter.

And there was a press day attended as seen in this Golf.com video showing the huge, huge launch of this game-changing announcement fancy golf cart that will play "your" walk up music, give you game highlights and tips from the guy who would not play golf with the media.

Max Adler at GolfDigest.com got that special call down to the office and was one of four publications to actually acknowledge the much ballyhood announcement.

As fortunes go, I had the unique opportunity of previewing Shark Experience with Greg Norman driving. Last week at the Breakers Hotel Ocean Course in Palm Beach—a fun little 6,200-yard gem built in 1896, though where not long ago Brooks Koepka worked folding sweaters—Norman took turns playing holes with various members of the media. Actually, Greg didn’t hit any shots—he’s played just five rounds since March, and the PNC Father/Son Challenge in December will be his first competitive event in years—but rode with me as I played.

Maybe he just loves the cart so much he can't take his eyes off of it?

Seriously though, the Shark's onto something: the future of golf is not playing, just driving around golf courses listening to music, watching highlights and getting tips if we ever wanted to play!

In this pitch to Golf.com, Norman says it's TopGolf, only in your cart. I certainly can see how the music and opportunity to have a live sporting event on are great additions for those grown folks who like to take carts. Such amenities, depending on the cost, might even get people to play when they otherwise would have stayed home. But given the murky details on cost to golfers or courses, the entire thing feels like a half-baked rollout.

Looking at Google News, the big launch got a total of three listings. There were two additional items not picked up by Google on Golf Advisor and Golf.com:

Clicking on "View all" gets you this...


That said, there is more promotion to come and maybe the entire thing will lead to the PGA of America, USGA, PGA Tour, R&A and others closing up shop and turning the keys over to the Shirtless one.

Speaking of his propensity to disrobe, the Shark appeared in Golf.com's offices to film what appears to be a Sportscenter-like promo. His Shirtlessness earned him a long Daily Mail roundup of his most bizarre Instagram posts as a result of today's posting from Time, Inc:

Had a little fun filming something at the @golf_com offices today...

A post shared by Greg Norman (@shark_gregnorman) on Nov 2, 2017 at 12:29pm PDT

 

Some of my favorite comments on the post:

mattw12  Was it a porno? Where’s your shirt!

dazblenk  For a bloke who has a whole clothing line, you seem a little light on in the shirt department lately

rad_build  Dude, seriously, we get it. We. Get. It.

tv.griffiths  Even Adam Scott in the background is turning around and thinking WTF?! 😂😉

fineartbylorikostur   Looks like a dad fart

Thursday
Nov022017

Olympic Club And PGA Of America To Wed Next Wednesday: '28 PGA And '32 Ryder Cup

Ron Kroichick of the San Francisco Chronicle reports that the PGA of America has agreed with Olympic Club to host the 2028 PGA Championship and 2032 Ryder Cup. I have also confirmed the news with a source and will discuss on Friday's Morning Drive around 10 am ET.

Kroichick notes this:

That’s big news in golf circles, because the club’s Lake Course has hosted the Open five times, from Jack Fleck stunning Ben Hogan in 1955 to Webb Simpson winning in 2012. The United States Golf Association, the organization that runs America’s national championship, offered the 2027 U.S. Open to the Olympic Club, but contract talks stalled over the past several months.

Then the USGA — sensing Olympic might accept the Ryder Cup/PGA offer instead, according to one source — announced Oct. 24 that Pebble Beach would host the ’27 Open.

Here is an analysis of the Pebble Beach announcement that was part of this equation.

Thursday
Nov022017

Bubba: "I'm ball-free."

It's still shocking to wrap our collective brains around Dave Roberts' decision to start I mean, the demise of Bubba Watson's much-vaunted moved to multi-colored Volvik golf balls, but at least we can enjoy his explanation. From David Dusek's item at Golfweek:

“My contract is done with Volvik,” the two-time Masters champion said. “I do not have a ball deal as we sit here today. So I can play with whatever ball I want to. My deal was up, and so I’m ball-free. So I don’t have a ball deal. … I’m just going to go back to what I grew up with, so I’m playing Titleist.”

January:

"I was naturally intrigued by the colors Volvik offers,” said Watson. “Then I started testing the ball and saw what I could do with it. It does everything I want it to: go high, go low, curve, spin and it has the distance I’m looking for. I’m always trying to find new ways to grow the game and have fun out there and Volvik’s approach is the same. I couldn’t be more excited to have a colorful start to the year with Volvik!"

Wednesday
Nov012017

Sports Industry Execs: NBA The Hottest Property For Sponsors, PGA Tour Not So Much

Given that they have one vote, no one would expect a post-Tiger PGA Tour to get many votes. But to get fewer than NASCAR? 

Darren Rovell tweeted the poll results from a September Turnkey Sports Poll of 2000 sports industry executives:

Wednesday
Nov012017

Video: Tony Robbins And Fish-Friendly Golf Balls

H/T to Christopher Powers at GolfDigest.com for catching this Business Insider video piece on Tony Robbins. Besides getting to see what kind of second homes motivational speaking and Mercedes voiceovers will pay for, it's a great chance to see Albus Golf's "fish balls" put into use.

We saw them a few years ago pre-Abu Dhabi championship for a contest between Fowler/McIlroy/Rose and Stenson, but this piece actually shows us how the balls react once in the water. Very, very cool!




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