Edoardo's Whistleblower Tweets Instigated European Tour's Slow Play Crackdown

Screen Shot 2019-08-20 at 7.50.26 PM.png

Edoardo Molinari’s Tweets earlier this year exposing Europe’s slow pokes was the final straw for European Tour Chief Keith Pelley and his Tournament Committee.

Luckily for Molinari, they agreed with his views that something more drastic needed to happen. From Phil Casey’s report:

The former US Amateur champion was true to his word and published the data, even though his brother Francesco, the 2018 Open champion, was among the offenders.

“I spoke to Edoardo shortly afterwards and while I didn’t necessarily agree with his chosen method, he was entirely right to confront the problem and it prompted a discussion at the next Tournament Committee meeting, held at the Betfred British Masters in May,” said Pelley, pictured.

“Thankfully, our Tournament Committee shared Edoardo’s belief that enough was enough, and they were prepared to make some hard decisions, accepting the need to be more punitive.”

So no matter what happens, he’ll always have this.

Will Name Players Get Policed Like The Rest Under New European Tour Policies?

Screen Shot 2019-08-19 at 8.13.16 PM.png

I was excited about European Tour Chief Keith Pelley’s rollout of enhanced speed of play techniques and do believe they will make a difference until I read what Golfweek’s Alistair Tait wrote.

While he liked many of the changes—including the name shaming of showing groups where they stand in terms of on-course positioning—Tait has been on the pace of play situation for years and will not be surprised if little happens. This was interesting…

My other fear is that “name” players will escape censure while others will take the brunt of the action. Appearance fees are still a regular occurrence on the European Tour. Sponsors pay large amounts to lure stars to places like Abu Dhabi, Dubai, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, etc. Some sponsors won’t be happy if the guy they’ve spent a small fortune on is put off from returning because of a one-shot penalty for impersonating a tortoise.

Jordan Spieth played in that 2016 Abu Dhabi tournament and was warned for slow play. The Tour was correct to implement the pace of play rules, but sponsors weren’t happy. It’s a moot point if that slow play warning is the reason Spieth has never returned to Abu Dhabi, but it clearly hasn’t helped.

We shall see soon enough as the policies announced Monday will see a trial run at the 2019 BMW PGA in September. But given the precedent set with Sergio Garcia’s non-suspension for vandalizing greens during competition in January, Tait’s concern is legitimate.

Slow Play Wars! European Tour Ups The Stakes In Policing And Ridding The Game Of Rude Slow Pokes

Screen Shot 2019-08-18 at 8.54.01 PM.png

You know they’re serious—they’ve developed a four point plan! And put it in writing.

 Let’s take a look: 

1. Regulation

» When players are out of position and either being monitored or timed, a one-shot penalty will be incurred after two bad times – currently a player would be ‘monitored’ and if he breaches the time allowance (50 seconds for first to play, 40 seconds for second or third to play) he will then be ‘officially timed’ and would then have to breach twice more before being given a one shot penalty. Players will, however, have the option to request one time extension per round, giving an additional 40 seconds to hit a shot on this request.

One “extension” is needed for those random moments when you have to wait on a crowd to move or one fairway over or it’s crunch time. Shoot, I’d start with two extensions just for fun and chip it away later if proven one is enough.

» In Position timing, introduced at the same time as Monitoring, has been strengthened. The time allowed to play a shot when being monitored in position (currently double the out of position times above), will be reduced by 15%, from 100 and 80 seconds down to 85 and 70 seconds respectively for first and second/ third to play.  Referees are now mandated to be proactive in targeting known slow players for in position timing. 

I’m sure they got a raise for what essentially makes their job much tougher.

» Fines for consistently slow players who are regularly officially timed during the season will increase significantly. For example, a player who is timed 15 times in the 2020 season will have to pay £26,000 in fines as opposed to £9,000 this season.


2. Education

» All new members will be assigned a dedicated referee to help educate them on pace of play at the start of their European Tour career

Ok that’s just treating them like children.

» As part of retaining their membership, every member will be required to pass an interactive online rules test with this being implemented for existing members towards the end of the 2019 season and all new members early in the 2020 season. This will be repeated every three years for existing members.

Interactive…meaning lots of pictures and video!

 » Regular educational videos will be produced by the European Tour’s social media team on key rules and pace of play policies and shared with the players throughout the season in an effort to avoid unnecessary rulings and ensure they better understand the Pace of Play policy.

 Oh, funny pictures and videos!

3. Innovation

» A trial Pace-of-Play system will be conducted at the BMW PGA Championship from September 19-22, 2019. This will provide referees with the times for every group through every hole to make sure that no gaps are missed.

 No crack will go unfilled!

» As part of this system, and in a ground-breaking development, on-tee displays on a minimum of three holes will provide groups with their position in relation to the group in front.

 Now we’re talking. Sign shaming.

4. Field sizes

» Field sizes at fully sanctioned events will be reduced from 156 to a minimum of 144 so long as all entered players in Category 18 (the final 111-125 on the previous season’s Race to Dubai) and above make it into the event. This will create space for referees to push groups over the Thursday and Friday rounds.

 144 is enough anyway, but good to see playing opportunities being cut as this gets the attention of players over everything.

You want to let distances keep swelling and backing up all the par-5s and drivable 4’s? Fine, 12 fewer of you will get the privilege. Carry on…

» Larger starting intervals will be built into play on Saturday and Sunday to create a better flow between groups.

Yes well that should have happened a long time ago.

Overall, a pretty impressive effort. Will the PGA Tour follow suit?

European Tour Originals: New Guinness Record For Fastest Hole Played!

Screen Shot 2019-07-31 at 9.06.18 AM.png

Given all the slow play talk of late, here’s some much needed therapy and another gem from the European Tour Originals team, this time as Thomas Detry, Sean Crocker, Guido Migliozzi and Paul Dunne all take a shot at the 1:33 record. The fine print:

The rules of the attempt dictated that the par five tenth hole had to play a minimum of 500 yards with each player required to finish the hole carrying the same number of clubs they started with.

After some highly respectable – and often dramatic – attempts, it was 26 year old Detry who succeeded in breaking the standing record, going from tee to green in just one minute 29.62 seconds.


Sergio's Star Power Protecting Him From A Much-Needed Suspension For On Course Antics?

Screen Shot 2019-07-30 at 9.08.04 PM.png

That’s what Golfweek’s Alistair Tait alleges of the kid-glove treatment for the pouting, golf course vandalizing Spaniard and possible future Ryder Cup captain following his latest pitiful on-course display.

Truth is, he can do almost anything he wants and not get a two-week ban. No way the European or PGA Tours are going to take serious action, especially the European Tour. The Euro circuit won’t want to alienate one of its biggest stars.

If true, that’s an amazing statement about where we are in the game: stars can behave badly before our eyes because they are star.

Then again, in February he vandalized greens mid-tournament and only got disqualified, so after that boondoggle, it’s no small wonder he continues to get a pass from the European Tour and PGA Tour for bad behavior.

Too Soon To Wonder If The New Major Season Is Too Condensed?

Screen Shot 2019-07-28 at 8.20.35 PM.png

That’s the question posed by Eamon Lynch for Golfweek as we are 250 days from the next major. But one thing we can all agree on: the fall schedule is anchored by a team event in December this year.

The Fall schedule ought to be more than an opportunity for journeymen to get a head start on FedEx Cup points before the stars return from vacation at Kapalua in January, but it lacks an anchor event. The Tour created this barren expanse on the calendar to protect the FedEx Cup playoffs — which is fair enough, since that’s where the bankroll is — and could remedy it by moving the Players Championship to the Fall. It won’t happen, of course. Even being the biggest event of the early wraparound season would still be seen as diminishing the Players, and ratings might suffer against the pigskin. So the highlight of our Fall will be a broadcast from Royal Melbourne in the middle of the night after all, this one the Presidents Cup.

A few have questioned this publicly and quite a few more privately for a variety of reasons. Players are not seeing the wisdom in the tighter major window and have played less around the majors. With some high profile defections at the WGC FedEx St. Jude and an even bigger no-show rate for the Wyndham Championship (you know, to help your playoff position), cracks have appeared in the new schedule concept. Namely: it’s weakening the very “product” it was meant to strengthen.

I think we need a little more time to mull the question as the only meaningful reversal will come after a new TV deal starts and the various majors have considered how the schedule plays out. The 2019-20 schedule is due out any day now and 20-21 won’t change much either.

But my initial take as a supporter of the new schedule’s tighter structure? The majors are stronger for it despite what players may legitimately think is too short of a window. The surrounding professional events on all tours have been weakened instead of strengthened as players conserve energy, and the PGA Tour Playoffs arrive too close on the heals of the majors. Given that the entire thing was built around avoiding football season and making the PGA Tour playoffs a bigger deal, the early reactions may force a re-thinking or even a scrapping of the wraparound schedule concept entirely.

The 21st Century's K Club? 2026 Ryder Cup To Adare Manor

Screen Shot 2019-07-25 at 8.10.32 AM.png

Apparently we’re far enough removed from the K Club Ryder Cup to have forgotten the lessons of that forgettable experience to award JP McManus and Adare Manor the 2026 event.

Harry McGee reports for the Irish Times on Thursday’s announcement plans.

I understand that cold, hard cash is all that matters in European Tour Ryder Cup venue selection. Especially these days. But this still doesn’t mean we have to be excited by yet another inland, American-style course hosting in Europe. Just one links or mildly historic/interesting venue in this lifetime would be nice. Just one!

Feherty: Hatton's Violent Club "Throw A Better Swing"

Screen Shot 2019-07-13 at 11.39.40 PM.png

Good to see David Feherty and friends are in fine form heading into next week’s Open coverage on NBC/Golf Channel, with some fantastic commentary on Tyrell Hatton’s splendid club hurl.

And as a few Twitter-posters noted, wait for the delayed vocal hurl if you’d like to be haunted by Hatton’s rage! Lovely consideration for his playing partner.

Coverage Reminder: Scottish Open From East Lothian

Screen Shot 2019-07-11 at 10.33.35 AM.png

I’m overseas now and seeing some Sky coverage, but for those in the U.S. the Scottish Open accelerates the run-up to The Open. This year from the Renaissance Club, where architect Tom Doak and Sam Torrance are scheduled to make booth visits today.

Martin Dempster sets the table for The Scotsman, where the focus is understandably on Rory McIlroy. He’s kind of big over here in Ireland too, just based on the 14 questions I’ve gotten at customs, the taxi, the bartender, the…

Anyway, your Golf Channel Scottish Open coverage details that include network coverage on NBC during the weekend…

Aberdeen Standard Investments Scottish Open

Dates: July 11-14

Venue: The Renaissance Club, North Berwick, Scotland

Tournament Airtimes on GOLF Channel (Eastern):

Thursday         5:30 a.m.-1:30 p.m. (Live)

Friday              5:30 a.m.-1:30 p.m. (Live)

Saturday          10 a.m.-12:30 p.m. (Live) 

Sunday            10 a.m.-12:30 p.m. (Live)  

Tournament Airtimes on NBC (Eastern)

Saturday          12:30-3 p.m. (Live)

Sunday            12:30-3 p.m. (Live)

Broadcast Notes:

New venue: The Renaissance Club is hosting the event for the first time, and also will stage next month’s Aberdeen Standard Investments Ladies Scottish Open.

Final opportunity to earn a spot in The 148TH Open: The event will present the final opportunity (for those not already in the field) to gain entry into next week’s 148TH Open. The top-three finishers inside the top-10 (not already qualified) will earn a spot into the field.

Stone defends: Brandon Stone finished four shots ahead of Eddie Pepperell to claim his third European Tour victory.

Headlining the field: Rory McIlroy, Justin Thomas, Rickie Fowler, Matt Kuchar, Kevin Kisner, Graeme McDowell, Si Woo Kim, Martin Kaymer, Matt Wallace, Henrik Stenson and Ernie Els.

NBC Sports Broadcast Team:

Play by Play: Rich Lerner

Analyst: David Feherty

Tower: Curt Byrum / Tom Abbott / Matt Adams

On-Course: Jim “Bones” Mackay / Warren Humphreys

Interviews: Damon Hack

First Look: Renaissance Club, Host Of The ASI Scottish Open

The UK Golf Guy gives a nice review and details about playing The Renaissance Club, Jerry Sarvadi and friends’ upscale course and club next to Muirfield and host to this week’s Scottish Open.

As for going to a private club in the grand East Lothian region, Martin Dempster explains that options are limited in the area due mostly to yardage and space.

Here is a good teaser clip on the club’s backstory from the European Tour’s social account.

Rahm: “I’m playing definitely the most consistent golf of my career."

Screen Shot 2019-07-07 at 8.31.20 PM.png

All sorts of good stuff can be found in Phillip Reid’s Irish Times game story on Jon Rahm’s impressive Dubai Duty Free Irish Open win at magical Lahinch where the crowds came and the course delivered. A huge congratulations to Paul McGinley, the European Tour, Lahinch and Dubai Duty Free for pulling it off.

Reid writes.

By the time he reached the 18th green, he was ready for the coronation and the acclaim of those supporters among the final day crowd of 20,477 who took him to their hearts.

“Every time I come, I feel like part of history is being made, and it’s just a humbling experience to come and play in front of this crowd. The list of winners, Faldo, McIlroy, Olazabal, Seve, the champions at this event, and to put my name on there is really special,” said Rahm.

“I’m playing definitely the most consistent golf of my career. It’s my 11th Top-10 this year, I believe, on both the PGA Tour and European Tour. It’s not doing anything necessarily better or special, really, compared to my first two years before. But I think I’m just a little more level-headed, a little bit more mature, slowly growing up and all that helps. Yeah, just mature, maturing. Still 24, so there’s a lot of growing up to do up to this point and a lot of growing up to do from now on. That’s the main difference in my golf game in this year and years past.”

At 16-1 he’s at a nice price for The Open, very near his other Irish Open win at Portstewart.

A couple of other cool social items, starting with the magnificently captured approach to the blind 4th, aka the Klondyke:

And I’d say the festival vibe McGinley hoped for with the town happened…

60: If You Thought Robert Rock Was Moving Into Instruction, You Weren't Entirely Wrong

From Phillip Reid’s Irish Times game story after Matt Wallace instructor Robert Rock—best known for his hair and a heartbreaking loss in this tournament a decade agao—posted a 60 at Lahinch, the lowest in Irish Open history and a new course record. His putt on 18 just missed for the second 59 in European Tour history, but it’s been his move toward teaching that makes this so shocking:

In truth, Rock’s round came from nowhere. He’s effectively a part-time tour professional these days, sharing his playing workload by coaching Matt Wallace among others, and his best performance so far this season was a tied-25th finish in the British Masters. At 147th in the Race to Dubai and ranked 333rd in the world, few saw this score coming.

Also on the line: three spots in The Open, with several contenders needing to play well to get in, including Cormac Sharvin of Co. Down, who is currently one of three that would entry via the Open Qualifying Series.

Rafa On Links Golf: "You almost have a new, different course every single day"

Screen Shot 2019-07-06 at 10.11.20 PM.png

They are set up for a fun finale at Lahinch, with several top players in the hunt, including Rafa Cabrera Bello following a 63. He is one back of Robert Rock (60!) heading into the final round and offered this appreciation of links golf:

“I really like links golf," he said. "I enjoy playing it, even with bad weather, I do embrace the challenge. 

"The fact that golf was invented on links, that's special for me.

"The fact that there's not just one way to play the course or every hole. You almost have a new, different course every single day and it brings out all your imagination around the greens. 

"I really enjoy that and maybe it helps me focus more and perhaps that's why I play all right around here."

A fine player to keep on your Portrush radar’s as well…

63: Padraig On Father Time, Knowing How To Get Around A Links

Screen Shot 2019-07-04 at 8.39.03 PM.png

After an opening 63 and Lahinch course record, Padraig Harrington spoke at length to reporters at the Dubai Duty Free Irish Open.

From Phillip Reid’s Irish Times game story on what could be, with more stellar play, one of the more fan-friendly wins in a long time:

Links golf is in his DNA and Harrington showcased it with a round that brought back old glories, but aware that it was only one step in the right direction on a journey that doesn’t reach its destination until Sunday. But playing on links again has reinvigorated him. “I know how to work my way around this golf course, links courses, clubbing and things like that, picking the right shot at the right time, what to go for, where to play shots. You know, that’s how you get around. That’s my specialty.

“I just was keen to not waste these three weeks (Irish, Scottish and British Opens) and be thinking, ‘oh, well, I always have next year’. I was kind of thinking, ‘well, maybe I don’t, maybe the Ryder Cup will be in the way next year’. That’s part of it. I’ve said I feel I’ll play this year and have a bit of time out next year (with the captaincy), but I’d better go play.”

If there is any doubt about his popularity in Ireland, Harrington had an audience everywhere he went. Well, almost everywhere.

(Mid-Round) Interview: Rahm On Ireland Golf, How Blind Holes Can Simplify Things

Screen Shot 2019-07-04 at 8.30.49 PM.png

Tim Barter’s mid-round interviews for Sky Sports always remind that players respond well to good questions and that they are capable of sharing wisdom mid-round without threat to world peace or rankings points.

Jon Rahm’s comments about links golf and blind holes added to the immensely enjoyable day one proceedings from the Dubai Duty Free Irish Open.

Rahm’s comment that blind holes simplifying things for the player could be the best reverse thinking and positivity I’ve ever heard from an elite player. Really neat:

Irish Open At Lahinch: Course Setup And Broadcast Notes

Screen Shot 2019-07-02 at 8.41.41 PM.png

Brian Keogh at the Irish Golf Desk talked to Dubai Duty Free Irish Open Tournament Director Miguel Vidaor about Lahinch and his course setup options.

In short, Vidaor loves the course and his enthusiasm will only add to your interest in the week. He has no plans to trick up the course, but they have options.

 “If conditions are really calm, we can tuck the pins away and we have some cracking hole locations, like back right on six, long on 13. Nine! We have a 50-yard long green. We have cheeky ones on 10, short ones. We can do all sorts of things.  We can really play with it here.”

Vidaor also notes that the Dell’s left side is just nine paces deep. Old Tom strikes again!

The broadcast times and team, with Golf Channel sending an A-team:


Dubai Duty Free Irish Open

Dates: July 4-7

Venue: Lahinch Golf Club, Lahinch, Ireland

Tournament Airtimes on GOLF Channel (Eastern):

Thursday         5:30 a.m.-1:30 p.m. (Live)

Friday              5:30 a.m.-1:30 p.m. (Live)

Saturday          7 a.m.-Noon (Live) / 3-5:30 p.m. (Replay)

Sunday            7 a.m.-Noon (Live) / 3-5:30 p.m. (Replay) 

Broadcast Notes:

Three spots available into field at 148TH Open: The top-three finishers (in the top-10) not previously qualified for The Open at Royal Portrush later this month will earn an exemption into the field.

Knox defends: Russell Knox defeated Ryan Fox with a birdie on the first playoff hole to claim his second European Tour victory.

Headlining the field: Jon Rahm, Tommy Fleetwood, Matt Wallace, Ian Poulter, Martin Kaymer, Graeme McDowell, Louis Oosthuizen, Eddie Pepperell, Tyrrell Hatton and Padraig Harrington.

GOLF Channel Broadcast Team:

Play by Play: Rich Lerner

Analyst: Curt Byrum

Tower: Tom Abbott

On-Course: Jim “Bones” Mackay / Warren Humphreys

Interviews: Jay Townsend

Looking Like A Light Links Season Turnout From World's Best

Screen Shot 2019-07-01 at 8.38.13 PM.png

Martin Dempster of The Scotsman says the Irish Open is still a world class event but the absence of top Americans or other top-10 players is a shame and surprising. The Scottish Open features no real big surprises in star power, with the usual suspects (McIlroy, Fowler, Kuchar, Stenson, etc) turning up there to prepare for The Open (and good for them btw).

In comparing the events, he writes:

For the record, the Scottish event boasts the strongest line-up for the second year running, with two top-ten players and 17 from the world’s top 50, compared to none and 12 respectively in Ireland.

However, what actually matters most is that two world-class events are about to be staged in the build-up to the final major of the season and most of the European Tour’s biggest names are teeing up in one or the other

Maybe the players were spoiled (and spent) by that charming stop in Saudia Arabia earlier this year?

Just 12 and 17 of the top 50 for two Rolex Series purses in the build-up to the final major suggests the world of golf may have too many lucrative possibilities in too short a time span.

The European Tour’s five things to know about the Irish Open, including Niall Horan turning up for the pro-am and more.

Thankfully, the setting is the star this week. Richard Fitzpatrick on the stage that is Lahinch while Brian Keogh at the Irish Golf Desk details the interesting (and well-paying) Monday qualifier for the Irish. He also endorses the setup at the Dell:

The Dell is a throwback to golf from another era with players forced to hit to a green completely hidden between two huge dunes — a hole almost untouched since it was laid out by Old Tom Morris more than 125 years ago

Fans will be able to watch the action from a grandstand erected in front of a home on the Liscannor Road. 

And with a whitewashed stone on top of a dune the only indication of the line to the pin, both spectators and the players will be able to see where the ball lands on a big video screen.

We previewed and discussed on Morning Drive.

The setting set by the European Tour:

Q&A With Paul McGinley, Dubai Duty Free Irish Open Host

In recent years we’ve celebrated many venue selections that defied common wisdom about who could host a modern pro golf tournament. From Gullane to Castle Stuart to even places like Detroit Golf Club last week, the game has visited some pretty special spots.

Other than the Old Course, I can’t imagine there is a more unusual golf course in tournament golf history to host than this week’s Irish Open venue, Lahinch Golf Club.

Paul McGinley is the longtime European Tour player and former Ryder Cup captain who will host this week. As a traditionalist and lover of all things Ireland, he’ll be the perfect ambassador. He explains how the idea came about, what will happen to the goats and how he anticipates the blind par-3 Dell will work thanks to an innovative setup.

GS: How did Lahinch’s selection happen?

Paul McGinley: In the South of Ireland, we've always played Lahinch historically. So we're all very familiar with it and we’ve all won around there. The irony is, the only guy of all the Irish guys on tour, other than [Shane] Lowry, that hasn't won there is Rory. All the rest of us have won around Lahinch. So we're all very familiar with it growing up. And the second thing is, everybody seems to love Lahinch.  The fact that the 18th and the golf course goes right up to town, with the town nestling around it, and you’ve got the ocean framing the other side. So when I was asked to host by Rory, I went away and I thought okay, now where are we going to go what venue are we going to? Knowing that The Open was going to be at Portrush and knowing that the commercial market as well as the spectator market was going to be very much gravitated to the south while the top half of the country gravitated towards the Open Championship, we started looking around at potential venues and I thought, “you know what, the one outstanding one here is Lahinch.”

It haven't been held before and I think that's a golf course certainly worthy of hosting. We could make it a par 70, instead of 72, and then the other box that we ticked is of course the people of Lahinch. And there's three people there that I’ve known very well for a long period of time, Padraig Slattery former captain who was very successful in the PR world, John Gleeson who is a retired oil trader and very successful, and Paddy Keane who is the director of golf there.  

I've known these guys personnel for a number of years and I thought, wow, the personnel, combined with the golf course, combined with the opening of the new commercial market, is a package that I believe would work best. Then it was a question of presenting that to the European Tour and the sponsors, Dubai Duty Free, and I became convinced that this is the right place. 

GS: Is there anything comparable that you can think of in terms of design that professional golf has visited in the modern era?

PM: That's a good question, I mean it's old, it's historic and it’s fun.  I always loved Castle Stuart as a Scottish Open venue even though I know it's a modern style golf course,. And I'm a great believer that difficult doesn't mean great.  Lahinch is not the most difficult golf course,  but it's a really fun golf course to play. And that for me is the most important thing. It's a bit like Prestwick, I have to say. In Ireland we refer to it sometimes as the St. Andrews of Ireland. It's quirky in some ways. And then you put in the fact that it's always in great condition and you get quality people down there that will ensure putting on a really good show.

GS: Have you talked to players much about what to expect in terms of holes teeing off across other holes, the Dell and other design elements like that? 

PM: I’m wearing many hats so I’ve put on my players cap and tried to imagine how are player's going to react and how are they going to feel, so the condition of the golf course is important in terms of keeping a close eye and communicating with the R&A as to what they're doing up in Portrush last week. Fairway widths, rough height, green speeds, how the bunkers are going to be raked, the firmness of the greens, really all the things that they’re doing. I'm trying to mirror those down at Lahinch so the players get a really good brief going into Portrush.

GS: So you’ll be involved in the day-to-day golf course set up as well?

PM:  I've overseen it with Miguel Vidaor, who is one of our best tournament directors, of the European Tour. Miguel and I have been keeping an eye on what the R&A have been doing at Portrush. Not that what we’ll do is an exact copy because obviously hole designs are different. But particularly in terms of green speed, we’re trying to mirror it. But I also don’t want to break the guys’ back. I don't want a level par or two or three or four under par winning. I expect a winning score hopefully between ten and fifteen on the par with good weather conditions. If the weather conditions are poor it'll be five to ten under par. That's really good prep in my mind for the guys who are going on to play the Open two weeks later. And also would provide a great champion on a true links course with the really good quality field that we have.  

GS: Will you be camping out at the Dell to see who the guys deal with a hole unlike anything they’ve played in the world of golf?

PM: I've been a bit worried about that, and I’ve been thinking a long time about what are we going to do with the Dell. How am I going to convince the players that this is not a bad idea?  A par-3 where you hit over a stone on top of a hill to a green that is about eight yards wide. So what we've done is with the European Tour’s ok, is rent the house behind the tee box. And there's a huge big front garden where we've put a grandstand in there and to the right of the tee box we've put a huge big TV screen.

So as the players hit the shot, they’l see the ball taking off and their heads will then move to their right hand side, they'd be looking away from where the ball is. The ball will be tracked by a TV camera as it goes over the hill and whether it’s on the green or not. So if they have a hole in one they will know before they leave the tee that it's been a hole in one. So it's just creating a little bit of showbiz around a very traditional hole in the golf course, and also taking away a little bit of the edge of the criticism they might have.

GS: Last thing, will the famous goats roaming the property be present during the tournament?

PM: Unfortunately not. With twenty 25,000 people a day out there and hopefully sellout crowds, their safety would be in question. It would have been nice to have them and we inquired about that, even maybe corralling them just to have them there, but the animal rights groups said no, lets not go there with the crowds. Because if something were to happen it would be a travesty.

GS: And the town will play a major role in the week?

PM: It’s a town and golf course everyone loves. It’s your favorite aunt. And more than anything I wanted to unite the two of them and make it a fun festival for families. Sure, there’s going be a few pubs and the lads like to drink, but there's also going to be lots of fun activities to make it a family day out. The local council have been great, as have the local police in terms of one way systems around the town these small quirky Irish roads. The local council have agreed to close down the town each evening from four o'clock to eleven o'clock for pedestrians only, so you can walk to town where there’ll be a stage with Irish music and food outlets on the street, face painters for the kids and just a real festival with golf being in the middle of it all.

A preview Tweet on the Dell, playing as the 5th this week:

And one more photo…

State Of The Game 96: Paul McGinley And The Irish Open At Lahinch

Screen Shot 2019-06-27 at 2.48.43 PM.png

Rod Morri, Mike Clayton and yours truly chatted for a bit with longtime European Tour player and 2014 Ryder Cup captain Paul McGinley about the upcoming Dubai Duty Free Irish Open at Lahinch Golf Club.

This is arguably the boldest venture yet by the European Tour to an exotic and historic work of architecture, surpassing even Gullane in terms of sheer audacity. McGinley and his foundation host this year.

The iTunes link or you can listen below, or wherever you get podcasts.

Matt Wallace Berates Caddy, Does Not Earn Plaudits For His Performance

Screen Shot 2019-06-25 at 9.53.57 PM.png

Actually, the rising star from Europe’s on-course temper and behavior has quietly been a thing that surfaced in new ways at the BMW International last weekend.

Whether this is a trend or just the product of better on-course sound, I’m not sure.

Dylan Dethier does a nice job compiling comments and Tweets from this and Matt Wallace’s erratic actions at Pebble Beach.

There was this:

The behavior was the second time in as many weeks that Wallace has run hot on the golf course. Despite a strong T12 finish at last week’s U.S. Open at Pebble Beach, Wallace was captured in several moments of frustration, tossing a putter on one occasion, turning his hat backwards on another. The behavior drew pointed criticism from SkySports analyst Rich Beem. “I’m sorry but I just don’t enjoy watching that,” he said. “I know you’re intense, but get over yourself.”

The Munich moment: