Remind Me Again: Why Did The PGA Tour Give Up On Labor Day?

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Since the new schedule was announced, I’ve long moaned about the lack of a Labor Day Monday finish as a strange abandonment of a solid day for sports watching. Networks generally concede the day to travelers and vacationers trying to get back home, and yet the ratings tell a slightly different story.

Reader KD reminded me of this odd abandonment today, writing:

So let me get this straight the PGA Tour thinks its a better idea to end its Fed Ex Playoffs the week before Labor Day? I am looking at the TV offerings on the east coast this afternoon on the major channels---they include a strong man competition, some non-descript Indy Car race and X Games. Granted the US Open is being shown on ESPN but it is being contested by a couple of lesser known players.

Yep, the offerings are slim and Monday has networks showing their usual weekday shows when in the recent past, the Dell Technologies (formerly the Deutsche Bank Championship) was finishing on Labor Day Monday. The day’s primary competition come from Flushing Meadows and Louisville, where Notre Dame is visiting at 8 pm ET.

The ratings from the last two Dell’s:

2017: 1.8 for Saturday’s third round, 2.2. for Sunday’s final round

2018: 1.8 for Saturday, 2.3 for Sunday

The 2019 Tour Championship played one week ago drew a 2.9 overnight and 1.5 for Saturday’s rain-suspended round. All broadcasts were on NBC.

While the ratings were higher for this year’s tour finale played a week prior to Labor Day, it’s easy to picture this year’s format, stars and promotion drawing a similar rating on Labor Day Monday (and a higher rating if played on the west coast).

Buying an extra week would make players happier after a pretty compacted finish following The Open.

And yes, Labor Day weekend in Atlanta means competing with other things, and the combination of sponsors and proud partners need to be on board (a big if). But reclaiming the last free Monday of summer still seems worth exploring in the next television contract.

I’l leave the last word to reader KD:

Even if they stay in Atlanta how can they not play on the last holiday weekend of the summer when many people will be home tomorrow either sending their kids off to the first day of school or preparing to start the work week. Is Atlanta that small of a sporting city that they cannot handle two major sporting events on the same weekend (happens here all the time here in New York).

They can own the "end of summer" by just pushing things back one week and starting the Fall Season a week later.

Poll Help: You Felt The $15 Million Tour Championship First Prize Was...

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I know Labor Day is supposed to be a day off, but a funny thing has happened since the Tour Championship ended at East Lake: I keep hearing from people how offended they were that the winner received $15 million and that it was such a prevalent part of the broadcast.

Frankly, either I’m numb to the figures or naively thought fans would love see what happened with that kind of money on the line. Because I’ve been stunned not only by the volume of complaints about the portrayal of this year’s increased purse, but from the sources: folks who get all warm and fuzzy inside just thinking of Gordon Gekko utterly “greed is good” and abhor anyone daring to suggest golfers are overpaid.

I’m still collecting my thoughts on what this means for the sport, Tour Championship and parties involved, but would love to put you all to work and tabulate some votes for help crafting this column (and to see if I’m just hearing from an annoyed minority).

You felt the $15 million Tour Championship first prize was...
 
pollcode.com free polls

Who Made The Biggest Leaps With Their Driver In 2019?

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With so much attention given to the driver and it’s place in the game, Golfweek’s David Dusek uses the year-end down time to look at who made the biggest gains in strokes over their PGA Tour peers.

There is a fun interactive chart for mouse users, but this was really a standout stat:

Conversely, Phil Mickelson finished the year ranked T-165 in strokes gained off the tee with an average of -0.307. That means the 49-year-old, five-time major winner’s driving cost him about one-third of a shot against the average player. But over the course of a 72-hole tournament, if everything else were equal, McIlroy would typically beat Mickelson by about six shots because his driving was so much better than Lefty’s.

McIlroy made the sixth best improvement in 2019 strokes gained off the tee. And it’s not like this was a weakness in his game.

Video: Bodenheimer Recalls Arnie's Iconic Sportscenter Promo

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As part of ESPN’s 40th anniversary celebration, former president George Bodenheimer is interviewed about Arnold Palmer’s ESPN visit to shoot the iconic, icea-tea-and-lemonade mixing “This is SportsCenter” commercial also featuring the late Stuart Scott and Scott Van Pelt. Of course Arnold delivered the greatest of all Sportscenter ads, though oddly I found this one flat the first few times. But, like most great masterpieces, it’s the repeat viewings revealing the genius behind them!

Add Rory To The List Of Players Not Liking The New Major Championship Pacing

Justin Rose was the first to voice concern about the spacing of golf’s majors, and now Rory McIlroy wisely left the country before suggesting he agrees with Rose’s concerns.

Nick Menta reports on McIlroy’s pre-Omega Masters press conference where the comment was made.

“If they are spaced so closely together will fans only care from the second week of April to the third week in July?” he added to the BBC. “I’d like to see them spaced out like tennis does. With the Australian Open in January and the US Open going on now, they’ve a nice nine-month window of relevancy.”

To now have two of the top players in the world essentially declaring the new schedule not working—and two players who think long and hard before they speak—the new tighter schedule is showing signs of cracks before the PGA Tour enters television contract negotiations that will lock in the schedule for a decade or more.

Rose felt the time to reset between majors wasn’t long enough, while McIlroy may feel that way as well, but his primary point that golf is truncating the main focus of fans would suggest he agrees that surrounding events have no been strengthened, nor is there a sense that it works for players.

Both players were not reared on American football, so their interest in the American sports viewing calendar is not high.

I’m not sure what the tipping point is, but if more top players suggest that new schedule is dysfunctional, will there be a reconsideration of he calendar going forward? Golf certainly can’t spread out to a nine-month window due to available daylight, unless it moved the PGA Championship on occasion to Australia or Asia in January or February. But an expansion back to April to August would restore at least some of the spacing. Developing…

Scottish Open Returning To Renaissance Club, After Changes Are Made

The European Tour and Renaissance Club have exercised an option for a second Aberdeen Standard Investments Scottish Open(s) at the course despite lukewarm reviews from male competitors. While the modern Tom Doak design had tough shoes to fill after recent events at Gullane and Castle Stuart, players bemoaned the lack of a proper links test in advance of The Open.

Nonetheless, it’s never great to hear of changes in response to a tournament, unless they are largely revolving around improving firmness or setup.

Martin Gilbert, Chairman of Aberdeen Standard Investments said: “We’re looking forward to returning to The Renaissance Club in 2020. The facilities Jerry and his team offer both sets of players, on and off the course are second to none. The feedback we’ve received is that the location works well with the golfing public as well as our colleagues.

“We’ve also listened to the professionals who played the course this year and collectively we will be implementing a number of changes based on their feedback. We look forward to welcoming back the world’s best players to Scotland’s golf coast, for what is sure to be another memorable two weeks of golf next summer.”

The men’s Scottish Open drew its strongest field ever, while the Ladies event several weeks later was unfortunately placed the week after back-to-back majors.

Did The New Schedule Make The Majors Stronger?

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As a fan of The Players in May, I had doubts the new tighter PGA Tour schedule would flow well and protect the place of the majors. Yet a rejuvenated Florida swing and more balanced spacing of 2019 majors seemed to strengthen golf’s four majors.

I’m not really sure how such a thing is measured, but on anecdotal evidence, the majors are stronger than ever.

Justin Rose did suggest the downtime between majors was too short—and he may have been speaking for many of his peers—but the fan perspective seemed to relish the new tighter pacing between the big four.

Check out this fine ratings wrap for 2019 from Robopz that confirms, even with some numbers down, the strength of the big four stands out in an overall (slightly) down final round ratings year (like all sports):

Another sign of majors as the most important events in golf came in Doug Ferguson’s AP case for Rory McIlroy as player of the year over Brooks Koepka.

It's a strong case for McIlroy.

Except for the majors.

Along with winning the PGA Championship for the second straight year - Woods is the only other play to win back-to-back at the PGA in stroke play - Koepka finished one shot behind Woods at the Masters and chased Gary Woodland to the end at Pebble Beach before finishing second at the U.S. Open.

He tied for fourth in the British Open, nine shots behind Shane Lowry.

McIlroy had only a pair of top 10s in the majors, and the biggest blow was missing the cut at the British Open at Royal Portrush in his native Northern Ireland.

Majors matter. All four of them.

This is not to downplay the enjoyment derived from other weeks of the year or the great efforts of players in non-majors. It’s just a reminder that players, fans and media care a lot more four times a year. Maybe more than ever thanks to the new schedule.

Doral's Airport Adjacency Finally Coming In Handy!

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Always perceived as a bit of a hindrance to genuinely relaxing on the links or by the pool, Trump National Doral’s location near the Miami airport is now a national news story.

That’s after President Donald Trump offered up his resort as the likely locale for the 2020 G7 because, on top of the lovely weather in August, it’s airport adjacent.

And every world leader can have their own villa!

From Bloomberg:

“Each country can have their own villa, or their own bungalow” if the meeting is at Doral, Trump said Monday at the end of the G-7 summit in Biarritz, France. The U.S. is next in the rotation to host the annual meeting of world leaders, which will occur in the middle of the 2020 presidential campaign.

“I don’t want to make any money,” said Trump, who also said that he’s losing $3 billion to $5 billion just by serving as president.

Earlier in the day, Trump ticked off advantages of holding a global summit in the Sunshine State of Florida. “It’s very big,” and it’s Miami, “so it’s a great area.” He told German Chancellor Angela Merkel, sitting next to him, that she’d have just a three-minute helicopter ride from the airport to the site.

“People are really liking it,” Trump said.

Doral members are trying to get out and get some of their money back, revenue is plummeting and the PGA Tour no longer goes there.

Let The Debate...Oh Forget It, Brooks Koepka Wins PGA Of America Player Of The Year On Points

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We did all of this debating on Morning Drive today and there is still hope for the poor souls trying to make the FedExCup the next Masters, but for now the PGA of America has given their player of the year award to Brooks Koepka on the back of its points system. How civilized.

Congrats to both players on sensational seasons. But as I’d like to reiterate from today’s debate below, Brooks got Rory by 21 strokes in the three majors where Rory made the cut.

Tour Championship Down From Tiger's Historic Win, Up Over 2017 But No Comparison To August PGA Championships

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The 2019 Tour Championship moved up the schedule a month to avoid the NFL and college football, while the PGA Championship moved to May.

In year one of the revamped schedule, both events lost ground in the ratings chase.

May’s 2019 PGA at Bethpage drew a 3.9 and was down 36%.

The 2019 Tour Championship’s final round 2.9 overnight was down substantially from last year’s Tiger Woods return to glory (5.1 overnight), but up from 2017, reports SBD’s Austin Karp. The Tour Championship was played in late September last year against NFL football.

While the 2019 Tour Championship was played a little later than a typical August PGA Championship, it’s worth noting that PGA’s in August drew some big numbers in recent years:

2018: 6.1

2017: 3.6 and lowest since 2008

2016 3.4 but still one of the bigger golf ratings of the year

2015 5.1 at Whistling Straits

Going back later, you’ll find plenty of 6’s, 7’s and 8’s for PGA Nielsen numbers and there is certainly the chance a PGA in May will have some big years.

But in year one of the new schedule, the PGA lost a lot of eyeballs—but kept audience sizes similar to the Players it replaced—and the Tour Championship/PGA Tour Playoffs essentially held it’s own against late summer Tour broadcasts of the past.

Meanwhile, Saturday’s Tour Championship suspension of play meant the Little League World Series’ USA final (2.1) easily beat the golf (1.5), while Sunday’s championship game drew a 2.0 to the Tour Championship’s 2.9 while going head to head.

McIlroy Closes Our 2018-19 Season In Grand Fashion And Now Mercifully We Don't Have To Hear About The FedExCup For A Month!

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The Tour Championship was mostly a fantastic culmination to the season—unless you had a brush with death Saturday as a few people did including one poor young lad knocked unconscious who can’t get on a plane back to Northern Ireland. and I believe I speak for most who are very pleased to see the FedExCup season over.

The marketing gurus will love all the mentions, impressions and other measurements to justify the shipping corporation’s huge spend. But judging by social and most fans, there is an exhaustion level of hearing about this important competition that sadly will make many happy to see the PGA Tour go away for a while.

Not to worry, the big boys will be back in action a month from now.

In the meantime, Rory McIlroy won the Tour Championship and $15 million, capping off a sensational season outside of a few bad days in the majors.

As Steve DiMeglio writes for Golfweek, the numbers show McIlroy doing it with both his driving prowess and incredible short game play (second in SG scrambling for the week).

While the money is nice, Rory sounds like he was most tickled by facing down Brooks Koepka and prevailing with ease, writes Brian Wacker.

Bob Harig dug deeper into McIlroy’s dominating performance where he started the event five back of Justin Thomas for those still keeping track at home. As Ryan Herrington explains, McIlroy would have won this one under any format.

Koepka chalked the day up to not feeling comfortable, writes Dan Kilbridge.

Joel Beall declared the new format a success though it still has some loopholes.

The threat of runaway winner endures under the new format; the 10-under pre-tournament leader starting 65-65 as No. 2, 3 and 4 falter would produce a snoozer. And as much as cash is supposed to be the storyline, it continues to be a disconnect with fan.

What exists is not perfect. But it is a notion acknowledged by officials and players.

“It's been an evolution since Day 1,” Rose said. “We're trying to figure it out.

Remember, it was the players who signed off on this scoring chassis, and although not universal—count McIlroy as one of its early week detractors—many cited the conversion of points to strokes as a positive.

As for the near-disaster Saturday, the PGA Tour issued this statement updating the welfare of those injured and the all important ShotLink equipment damaged.

Updated PGA TOUR Statement, 9 a.m., Sunday

The Atlanta Police Department and Atlanta Fire and Rescue have confirmed that five individuals were injured and transported to nearby hospitals; a sixth person was treated and released at the scene.  All were released from the hospital last night.

The safety and well-being of our fans and players is our highest priority, and we were with those being treated until they were released from area hospitals.  We are deeply grateful that the injuries were not more serious, and we’re proud of the collective efforts of the on-site team to quickly care for our fans during this frightening incident. 

Furthermore, late yesterday afternoon, officials were brought on site to assess the integrity of the pine tree that was struck and determined it to be safe. Additionally, several pieces of ShotLink equipment were damaged by the lightning and were replaced overnight. 

The lone comment from PGA Tour Commissioner Jay Monahan came during the 18th green trophy ceremony and was met by lukewarm applause. Hopefully a more comprehensive response and plan of action will be forthcoming.

If you weren’t watching here are Rory’s final round highlights:

Questions Abound After Tour Championship Lightning Strikes

Saturday’s unfortunate Tweet from the Tour Championship’s @playofffinale account

Saturday’s unfortunate Tweet from the Tour Championship’s @playofffinale account

A pair of lightning strikes at East Lake left six people injured from flying debris, darkening the mood for Sunday’s Tour Championship and FedExCup conclusion. 

Dan Kilbridge with the details from Golfweek and this quote from U.S. Open champion Gary Woodland summing up the reaction of many:

“It’s frustrating that they didn’t move tee times up,” Gary Woodland said. “You saw the weather, you saw it was 80 percent (chance) at 4 o’clock. I’m sure with 30 players they thought they could get it in. But obviously now wish they would have moved them up. Now you just hope people are OK.”

The PGA Tour’s official statement:

At 4:17 p.m., the third round of the TOUR Championship was suspended due to inclement weather in the area. At 4:45 p.m., there were two lightning strikes at East Lake Golf Club; a tree near the range/15 green/16 tee was hit, and debris from that strike injured four people.

EMT tended to those fans and two others immediately and transported them from the property via ambulance for further medical attention. Our latest report is that their injuries do not appear to be life-threatening.

Due to these circumstances, the third round has been suspended for the day and play will resume on Sunday at 8 a.m. ET.

The safety of our fans, players and partners is of the utmost importance. We will provide further updates as they become available.

As we have seen since a spectator was killed at the 1991 U.S. Open, golf has largely taken an abundance of caution by moving up tee times, or moving people off of courses well in advance of possible storms.

Unfortunately in this case, poor weather was forecast all week for Saturday afternoon. Yet, the 1 pm start of round did not budge even after play was delayed 80 minutes on Friday.

Hhere was the Monday long range forecast from Dark Sky putting the possibility of Saturday precipitation—and therefore in the south in August, electricity—at 90%.

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Next is Saturday’s forecast at 8:19 pm ET/5:19 pm PT Friday, the same as it had been for days. This displays the Saturday window where the chance for thunderstorms were in the 60 to 80% range.  Leaders vying for a $15 million first prize and what has been billed as one of golf’s most important championships, were set to begin at 3:30 pm ET even as the forecast called for likely storms with electricity. (The Apple weather app allowing anyone to slide on over to see the next 24 hours (area circled).)

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Had a revised tee time window accounted for the forecasts and moved up to 8 am—still a civilized hour in golf—the last group would have teed off at 10:30 am. On a four-hour pace, they would have been finished by 2:30 before the forecasted ugly stuff. While NBC’s third round telecast would have been on tape, it’s something that has occurred many times in recent years in the interest of fan and player safety, and getting a tournament played by Sunday.

In the case of this championship where a $15 million first place check is on the line, leaders would have played a continuous third round. Now they restart at 8 am after play was wisely called once the strikes occurred and fans were injured.

Even as the day progressed, it was apparent storms were coming. Here is a National Weather Service future cast captured at 12:20 ET showing what conditions would look like at 2:30 pm ET close to East Lake, with projections of the activity popping up all over the area and when moving, to the north.

Play was called at 4:17 pm ET and lightning struck East Lake less than 30 minutes later.

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If anyone is ever to feel safe attending a PGA Tour event again, the organization will likely need to expedite and couple its slow play policy deliberations with an enhanced, more detailed weather warning system. While the current system in place has worked well since the awful events in 1991 at Hazeltine (a USGA event), something went terribly wrong Saturday when times were not even moved up some to allow for plenty of time to vacate the course.

Just a few questions that likely will need to be addressed by the PGA Tour:

—What will instigate the moving of tee times in the future? The Tour’s Tyler Dennis is quoted as saying in this ESPN.com story by Bob Harig, "And so we have a lot of scenarios throughout the year where we look at it, and there's a very high degree of certainty that there will be storms coming. And there's a lot of other days when we look at it and we see, as it was today -- I believe it was a 50 to 60% chance of storms from 3 to 6 this afternoon -- and we just have to evaluate it and make our best decision when we make the schedule. Obviously when it comes down to suspension of play, we don't leave any room for error there. Safety is a huge priority for us.''

An error was made and it would seem that as a data-driven organization these days, they may need to set a forecast number for tee time shifts. 50% and up seems like a no-brainer.

—Will more time be allowed to evacuate. A half hour ahead of when storms are projected, may not be enough.

—Can this event return to the south In August? The notion of electricity in the air came as a surprise to no one in the region or maybe the country. East Lake always envisioned itself as hosting fall events, but now moving to August, is this date sustainable given weather patters in Atlanta in August? As Mark Russell said Saturday, "I think if we did that every time we had a possibility of thunderstorms in the Southeast, we'd do that basically every time we played golf.''

—Were any outside forces part of the decision to not move tee times and expose the tournament to a situation like Saturday’s? Finally, the most sensitive of all questions.

Having seen how the names mentioned above work along with the talented rules staff and meteorologists, and knowing how much they consider safety, I’m struggling (as are many) with the idea that the traditional decision makers went the route they did. It seems entirely plausible that the circumstances around this event—first year under new format, big boost in prize money, determination to sell this as a significant championship—somehow might have influenced the decision to keep tee times in place to show live golf as late as possible.

A forceful statement from Commissioner Jay Monahan will be needed to assure fans, players and partners that this was simply a mistake, bad luck or a terribly unfortunate event, with strong pledges made to update or strengthen weather policies.

Howard Milstein (Already) Shaking Up Golf Magazine

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The New York Post’s Keith Kelley reports on a firing frenzy at Golf Magazine only months after a print and website reboot.

Kelly says five on the editorial side were recently let go, while two sales executives brought in at the start of Milstein’s reign were recently let go (Kelly reports that they were holdovers from Meredith, the magazine’s seller to Millstein, though Cooney joined the operation in March, 2018 while Keating joined in February, 2018, the same month as Milstein took over.)

Milstein has also already forced out the CEO he installed who also brokered the sale, longtime magazine and digital publishing veteran, Tom Beusse.

And after a much ballyhooed rollout of new columnist Paige Spiranac in November, 2018, her column and masthead presence ended in March 2019.

The magazine countered Kelly’s story with this claim:

A spokesman for Golf said he could not comment on personnel matters but said that at the time of the takeover a year and a half ago, the media property was down to only 22 employees and has since grown to 50. He also said ad revenue is up 50% and web traffic has doubled.

In other news, Golf recently announced the hiring of GolfClubAtlas.com founder Ran Morrissett to head it’s course ranking panel. A debut podcast included this social media spelling mishap that has made the rounds (it’s Cypress in case you were wondering):

Nantz On Whitaker: "He had a unique ability to blend peak thought with context in perfect prose."

What a grand tribute from Jim Nantz to his friend and mentor Jack Whitaker.

The Athletic kindly made this available to non-subscribers and it’s well worth your time, even if you are of a vintage that does not recall the days of Whitaker and the ABC golf team.

He first met Whitaker at Pebble Beach when his roommate that week, Bob Drum—oh that Chirkinian humor!—took Nantz down to Club XIX for a nightcap. It was a somber day after the space shuttle Challenger had exploded earlier in the day:

Upon entering the restaurant, there was Jack Whitaker, leaning against the bar, a martini filled to the top, perfectly poured. He had on a tweed jacket with a turtleneck underneath and he was just the personification of elegance, a man well-traveled. I honestly could not believe I was shaking his hand, feeling as though I had just been introduced to Ernest Hemingway.

His short essays often concluded the biggest sporting events around the world, and he had a unique ability to blend peak thought with context in perfect prose. Though there were no words that could soften the shocking horror of the day, Jack, with his gift, was somehow able to bring some solace and perspective to an otherwise unexplainable event.

The Sports Broadcasting Hall of Fame tribute piece has now been added to YouTube:

New Look Tour Championship Off To Great Start, But Issues Loom

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As far as first rounds go, the 2019 Tour Championship did not feel like a Thursday.

More like Saturday of a big-time event when every Justin Thomas mistake added drama and his -10 lead to start the day slipping away. Combined with some stellar opening rounds from top players, and it was a lively opening day.

That’s the fantastic news for the FedExCup, and as Mike McAllister noted for PGATour.com, from here on we have clarity with the leaderboard and hopefully very few tutorials on the format going forward.

Now, for the less peachy news. It appears that leadership lacks the privileges some projected Justin Thomas would enjoy in getting to start -10 after winning the BMW Championship.

From McAllister’s story:

A hot start could have deflated the field. “If he came out with five straight birdies, it would be like, OK, we’re done,” Casey said.

Instead, with Thomas shooting even par, the field is now bunched. Five players started the tournament within five shots of the lead; after the first round, there are now 12 players in that position.

“If I were Justin Thomas, I would be more upset than me in my position,” said Charles Howell III, who opened at even par (10 shots off the lead) but shot a 68 to cut his deficit to eight. “Justin’s played phenomenal golf and has done what he’s done, and he could theoretically fall quite a bit, and I could move up, and he’s played better than I have.”

And ESPN.com’s Mark Schlabach in his game story notes how quickly the FedExCup lead turned “meaningless”, notes how the leader may not have enough of a lead, and how quickly it went.

What was perceived as a big advantage for Thomas -- he started the tournament with at least a two-shot lead over every other player in the field -- didn't prove to be much help at all because of the way he played the first 18 holes.

Thomas had two bogeys and one double-bogey with four birdies. He hit only six of 14 fairways.

"Coming in six shots back, I have a lot less pressure than J.T. does," Schauffele said. "J.T. has a two-shot lead [going into the tournament]. Everyone's assuming he should just start running away with it. It's a hard golf course. You can play great golf and shoot even par, 1 under, and vice versa."

The overall sense after day one: the importance of the season long points race was severely negated by the first two playoff events. And now the advantage gained from playing well in those events also feels a bit muted. That’s great for viewers wanting a fun finish this Sunday, but has deeper ramifications for incentivizing more starts from top players. There is also the matter of subjecting fans to meaningless cup points updates in January. Or even July.

Brooks Fires Back At His Body Shaming Critics: "They don't have the balls to do it"

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Arnold Palmer surely lashed out at his critics when he wore an extra tight shirt for a Sports Illustrated Sportsman of the Year spread.

No, we’re in uncharted territory here.

This week’s Team Koepka bulletin board apparently consisted of Tweets and Instagram comments responding to Brooks baring all. Wait until Brooks hears where Matt Kuchar’s mind went. (If you don’t want to know, let’s just say he’s seen some of the leaked Vonn image portfolio.)

From JuliaKate Culpepper’s Golfweek story:

“It’s one of those things where all these people that talk crap and whatever on social media, they don’t have the balls to do it, and they wouldn’t look that good,” 

No argument there! Was anyone arguing it? Anyway…

“It was something I enjoyed,” Koepka said of the shoot. “I was looking forward to it for months. It’s something I definitely don’t regret doing. It’s been enjoyable to see the pictures over the last couple of months and see, I guess, all the hard work I put into it and see the results.”

On newstands now! Oh wait, they don’t print it anymore. But you can read this Kevin Van Valkenburg story with Brooks and there is this video below where there is no holding back on the nudity front. Well, except the part Kuchar mentioned.

And Here Is Why The PGA Tour Is Taking Their Time Changing Slow Play Rules...

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Joel Beall followed Bryson DeChambeau during round one of the Tour Championship, and like Andy Johnson did earlier this year, timed DeChambeau.

In neither case was it very pretty.

However, this East Lake timing at the 2019 Tour Championship comes as the PGA Tour announced it was reviewing some of its pace of play policies, with the possibility of using data to time individual players.

I encourage you to read how fast Bryson played up to the point when his green reading book came out and the task of putting was involved. But here’s Beall’s conclusion, which explains why the Tour won’t be rushing out any four point plans anytime soon.

If that theoretical shot clock existed, DeChambeau would have racked up 10 over-50-second violations through his first nine holes, 14 if the bar was 40 seconds.

After the Northern Trust, DeChambeau welcomed possible penalization. "I am not opposed to it one bit, because if it is my issue and I'm taking too long a time, absolutely penalize me," he said. "I've got no issue with that. That may come as a shock to a lot of people, but I'm okay with that because it's my fault, if it's warranted, and that's where we've got to talk about that and see what happened and when we are timing and how things are going along."

Brooks Koepka Body Issue Pic Surfaces: Countdown Begins On The, Uh, Homages

The camera adds ten pounds and the ESPN Body Shoot calls for losing thirty. Or so the old saying goes.

Forget that Brooks Koepka posted an image from his long-rumored shoot that prompted him to go on a strange, golf-game affecting diet. Which then set up his first of several manspats with Brandel Chamblee, who called it “reckless self-sabotage.”

More important than manspats on a global stage though: who will be the first to shed thirty pounds for a photo shoot, get waxed and then emerge from a light spritzing to post a spoof version of this? (Which will then inspire Brooks Koepka to win three majors next year.)

Dufner? Mickelson? Caliendo?

Anyway, I’m glad he’s eating cheeseburgers again. And giving good press conference, as he did this year at East Lake after not even getting invited in last year. Eamon Lynch of Golfweek dissects the deadpan jabs delivered in Koepka’s lastest sitdown with the scribblers and content creators.

Rory Asks Rhetorically Of FedExCup Finale: Is This Really The Best Way?

Rory McIlroy, holder of 13 top 10 finishes in 18 starts, two of the more prestigious non-major titles in golf and unofficial title of 2019’s most consistent player week to week, is entitled to be a little annoyed with his fifth place FedExCup status.

McIlroy had his usually wise take on big picture items, not surprising since he’s one of the few players who will step back and ponder questions beyond his game or life. Brian Wacker reports for GolfDigest.com on McIlroy’s doubts about, well anything related to this reimagined FedExCup finale at East Lake, aka the Tour Championship.

“If the FedEx Cup really wants to have this legacy in the game, like some of these other championships do, is people starting the tournament on different numbers the best way to do it?” he said.

Of course not.

He also brought up the increase in overall winner’s take, to $15 million.

“One of the things that I’ve talked about over the past couple of years is I don’t think the money needs to be front and center, because I don’t think that's what the fans care about,” he said. “Players might care about it, and we want to be rewarded and paid for what we do. But at the same time, competitively, it’s not about that. It’s about trying to win golf tournaments.”

And that he will do, just starting five strokes back before he puts his peg in the East Lake grounds.