People Still Complain To The FCC About Overheard Golf Course &^$-Bombs

Screen Shot 2018-12-18 at 9.41.42 AM.png

Nice work by Golf.com’s Josh Berhow to obtain the uptick in FCC complaints over 2018 on-course obscenities. Instagram subscribers to Bob Menery, these are not.

Interestingly it was not Tiger or Justin Thomas but the gentle Xander Schauffele who earned the most complaints for his Open Championship swearing.

“On SUNDAY, my family was treated to a golfer saying the word ‘s—‘ during The Open on NBC Golf,” wrote the viewer from Paradise Valley, Ariz. “Don’t they have a delay to cut that sound out? Seriously, a Sunday morning shouldn’t have programming with indecent language.”

LOL Alert: Vijay Says Lawsuit Settlement Was "Good For Both Sides"

Screen Shot 2018-12-18 at 9.31.12 AM.png

And you thought he was not a humorist!

Speaking to Golf.com’s Michael Bamberger about the five year PED case’s settlement as a trial neared:

“It was good for both sides, I guess. I’m glad it’s over. It lingered on and on and on and it’s nice to just finally have it behind me. The PGA Tour has always been a great organization. It was just a [PED rule] that didn’t pan out. Everybody knows about it, I’m glad it’s over.”

Singh, 55, also outlined his plans to keep taking up a spot on the PGA Tour by playing a full West Coast Swing schedule. Charming.

In the last two PGA Tour seasons, Singh has missed 17 of 28 cuts. His best finishes came at the 2017 Players (T16) and 2018 Masters (49th).

PGA Tour Live On NBC Sports Gold: Christmas Price While Supplies Last!*

PGA Tour Live moves to a new U.S.-only platform in 2019 and purchases before January 20th are $49.99, jumping to $64.99 or $9.99 a month when coverage begins at the Desert Classic.

The package again includes all pre-Golf Channel or pre-network coverage as well as Featured Group coverage until network coverage begins. For those with a cable subscription, the app will be updated to include Golf Channel and NBC coverage for an easy switchover when the events are on the network (see photo above). For CBS weeks, you’ll have to switch over to the CBS or PGA Tour apps.

For Immediate Release below. Most noteworthy is the pledge to have tracer technology on all holes, a huge increase in hours and a lot more featured group coverage:

PGA TOUR LIVE LAUNCHES BIGGER & BETTER PACKAGE ON NBC SPORTS GOLD IN 2019

Now with Four Days of Coverage, PGA TOUR LIVE to Provide Nearly 900 Hours of Premium, Live Tournament Programming, More Than Doubling Total from Last Season

Exclusive Live Coverage of the Best Players in the World From 28 PGA TOUR Events, Including THE PLAYERS & FedExCup Playoffs

PGA TOUR LIVE Now Accessible via Double the Number of Supported Platforms: Roku, Chromecast and More, in addition to Apple TV, and Android and iOS Devices 

PGA TOUR LIVE Season Pass On Sale Now on NBC Sports Gold for Early-Bird Season-Pass Price of $49.99; Regular Price $64.99; Monthly Pass $9.99

ORLANDO & PONTE VEDRA BEACH, FLA.  December 17, 2018 – The PGA TOUR and NBC Sports Group announced that PGA TOUR LIVE, the PGA TOUR’s direct-to-consumer subscription video service that live streams extensive Featured Groups coverage of the best golfers in the world, has been enhanced and is now available for purchase in the United States on NBC Sports GoldNBC Sports Group’s direct-to-consumer live streaming product. PGA TOUR LIVE season passes are on sale now for an early-bird price of $49.99, available through the Desert Classic (Jan 17-20), while a monthly pass can be purchased for $9.99. After January 20, a season pass will cost $64.99.

In 2019, PGA TOUR LIVE will present the most robust service in its history, now with four days of live coverage from 27 PGA TOUR events, new 10-minute “Speed Round” recaps for Featured Groups players, expansive VOD content, and integrated scoring and statistics. It is also available on double the number of supported platforms vs. 2018.

“The demand and growth of PGA TOUR LIVE has been incredible since we launched in 2015,” said Rick Anderson, Chief Media Officer of the PGA TOUR. “In 2019, we are thrilled to announce that our live coverage will be more robust, more accessible and significantly better for subscribers of PGA TOUR LIVE on NBC Sports Gold.”

In 2019, fans can get the gift of an unprecedented amount of PGA TOUR coverage across more platforms than ever before,” said Mike McCarley, President, Golf, NBC Sports Group. “Building upon years of partnership, NBC Sports and the PGA TOUR are enhancing PGA TOUR LIVE by more than doubling the live hours and number of platforms and expanding live coverage from two to four days. Fans will benefit from the addition of PGA TOUR LIVE to NBC Sports Gold.”

A complement to the hundreds of hours of televised PGA TOUR programming, PGA TOUR LIVE will provide exclusive, live Featured Groups coverage during all four days from 27 PGA TOUR events, including THE PLAYERS and FedExCup Playoffs, after kicking off with Thursday-Friday coverage at the Desert Classic on January 17, 2019. New for 2019, PGA TOUR LIVE has expanded Featured Groups coverage on Saturdays and Sundays, beginning at approximately 9 a.m. ET and running until the start of the PGA TOUR’s NBC and CBS coverage windows in the afternoon. Additionally, PGA TOUR LIVE will provide free Featured Holes coverage complementing NBC and CBS broadcasts every weekend.

Through NBC Sports Gold, PGA TOUR LIVE is now on more supported platforms than ever before. In addition to web, iOS, Android and Apple TV, the subscription service is available for the first time on Roku, Chromecast, and more. In July, the PGA TOUR and NBC Sports Group announced a multi-year digital partnership to carry PGA TOUR LIVE on NBC Sports Gold. PGA TOUR Entertainment produces all live coveragefor PGA TOUR LIVE.

PGA TOUR LIVE on NBC Sports Gold includes:

o   870 Hours of Premium, Live Featured Groups Coverage: up from 414 hours last year – including expanded Featured Groups coverage across four days at 27 PGA TOUR events;

o   Integrated Statistical Feeds: users never have to leave the action with integrated live leaderboards and player scorecards;

o   Speed Rounds: fans can get caught up on the day’s action with new condensed rounds from each player in the Featured Groups coverage, allowing them to watch every shot in approximately 10 minutes;

o   Event Recaps: watch an event recap in an hour-long cut down show that highlights the best of that week’s tournament;

o   Expanded Integrated Statistics and Scoring: viewers can explore stats at their fingertips while watching live coverage;

o   Shot Tracing Technology: used for every hole on the golf course;

o   Video On Demand: upon launch, PGA TOUR LIVE will be stocked with the following archival programming: 2018 PLAYERS Official Film; 2018 FedExCup Playoffs Official Film; and 2018 PGA TOUR Rewind of 16 tournaments.

"Deadline Looms" On Golf Digest Sale

Screen Shot 2018-12-17 at 10.24.10 AM.png

Keith Kelly files a New York Post update (of sorts) on the attempt by Conde Nast to sell three magazines, including Golf Digest. Though as he notes, the Newhouse family having sold its cable operations to Charter Communications for $10.5 billion a while back should buy more time if needed.

That deal is one reason that the Newhouse family, which controls Advance, is not under the same pressure as the profitable but eroding Time Inc. was in recent years before ultimately selling to Meredith.

But the family is clearly getting impatient with losses after domestic Condé Nast lost $120 million last year and is still bleeding red ink this year.

State Of The Game 86: Richard Gillis And The PGA Tour’s Dance With Discovery

Screen Shot 2018-12-16 at 10.54.46 PM.png

Richard Gillis, sport business writer and consultant joins us to discuss the PGA Tour’s new partnership with Discovery to deliver international audiences GOLFTV, launching in select countries January 1.

Rod Morri, Mike Clayton and yours truly break down the potential ramifications with Gillis, who has joined the pod before upon publication of The Captain Myth, which also comes up in the show.

As always, you can listen wherever podcasts are streamed, download or listen on iTunes, or below:

Big Timer Charlie Rymer Hangs Up His (Studio) IFB

After six years of waking up way too early, Charlie Rymer has dished out his last Watch-And-Learn tip to Morning Drive viewers.

The Forecaddie with the report on Rymer’s final show.

Charlie’s Tweet with some really stellar replies from many in the golf world:

Having had the privilege to work with (and needle) Charlie, I can’t speak highly enough about his knowledge and passion for the game. Furthermore, watching him work and sound-out a segment was always a joy in person, and I’m not sure golf fans realize just how astute of an observer he is. Happy TV trails my friend!

Bubba Targets 15 Wins And The Hall Of Fame, But Uh...

Screen Shot 2018-12-13 at 8.08.15 PM.png

…it’s a popularity contest now.

And while I know Bubba doesn’t read golf media coverage that would have told him a player’s likability to Hall committees is a prime piece of the puzzle, he might want to reconsider his desire to get to 15 wins in hopes of making his career HOF worthy.

Bubba, from Doug Ferguson’s AP golf notes column:

''Am I Hall of Fame worthy? I'm going to be dead honest with you - it would be the most joyous occasion in my life when it came to the game of golf,'' Watson said. ''I can't tell you if that's in or not. But my new goal is three more, see if I can get to 15.''

Given that he could not get picked for a 2016 Ryder Cup team he would have made on points had there been no Captain’s picks, Bubba may not pass the Hall’s new popularity criteria.

Either way, I’m just happy one of the few players who can shape the ball both ways is going to keep playing and reminding us what we are missing on a more consistent basis.

Titleist Distance Questionairre: Who Knew Filling Out A Survey Could Be So Fun(ny)?

Screen Shot 2018-12-13 at 7.37.26 PM.png

It appears our favorite ballmakers in Fairhaven are gearing up for a fight as the PGA Tour driving distances have jumped more in the last two years than in the previous dozen or so.

With the governing bodies surveying golfers on distance, the folks at Titleist are fearful of losing market share are asking their beloved fans, customers and others to fill out at wonderfully misleading survey on distance.

For starters, they suggest the governing bodies of golf have suggested a distance rollback percentage of 15-25%. They have not. This comically dishonest chart is inecessary to see just what lengths they’ll go to in order to scare golfers filling in answers to questions:

Screen Shot 2018-12-13 at 7.56.51 PM.png

Despite the sheer fictional nature of the chart, the apparently embarrassment of making stuff up did not stop Titleist from posting the hilariously misleading chart atop pages essentially reminding the survey-taker of the dastardly deeds looming from the USGA and R&A:

Screen Shot 2018-12-13 at 7.43.22 PM.png

So besides the sight of the fake rollback numbers, the notion of listing them above questions probably would not pass muster at most legitimate polling organizations. But as we know, this isn’t really about getting honest answers from core golfers.

Rory's Back On The European Tour He Never Left, It Seems...

Screen Shot 2018-12-12 at 7.03.19 PM.png

The Forecaddie says Keith Pelley got on European Tour 1—or British Airways—and pitched Rory McIlroy on making sure to play four non-major/non-WGC events to retain his membership. With it, presuming Rory follows through, is the right to some day Captain a Ryder Cup team. Had he let his membership expire, no cart in Rory’s future and even more unnecessary drama than he’d already created.

It’s almost cinematic imaging Pelley—in somber black frames—pleading with Rory in his childhood home to find two events he hasn’t committed to!

Tiger On His 2018 And The Game Changing Dramatically

Screen Shot 2018-12-11 at 7.43.12 PM.png

Evan Priest scores a year-end Golf.com exclusive with Tiger and this answer got me wondering if any other all-time great player experienced more dramatic equipment advances during the course of his or her career? I don’t think so.

Well, it depends. In that era, 280 was a long drive. Now it’s, “Hey, can you carry it 320 in the air?” The game has evolved and, I was telling some [people in Melbourne], when I came down here to play the Presidents Cup in 1998, some of the guys were transitioning out of persimmon. The game has changed dramatically since then.

Video: Players Starting To Ponder The Impact Of Golf's New Rules

Interesting to see we are finally getting some reactions to the upcoming new Rules of Golf as they near a January 1 debut.

Not shockingly, a few (Steve Stricker) are wondering about players getting to massage their lines and what that’ll do to speed of play (the play it as it lies debates will come eventually).

From Golf Central:

The Forth Worth Light And Shopper Is Alive And Well, Files

Screen Shot 2018-12-11 at 7.22.26 PM.png

Fans of Dan Jenkins beloved Fort Worth Light And Shopper days will love this one right out of Jim Tom Pinch’s most forgettable copy desk horror stories.

From Michael Bamberger’s enjoyable weekly roundup of seven things in golf this week, go to #4.

The photo below, taken in connection to George Bush’s funeral last week, appeared in the Fort Stockton (Texas) Pioneer with this caption: “Left to right: Paul Marschand, Ben Crenshaw, Tim Finchem, Freddie Couples, Blaine McCallister, Brad Faxon, Jim Nantz, Jack Nicklaus, Phil Mickelson, Albert Pujols, Chris Everett, Mike Kryzyzewski, Hale Irwin, Peyton Manning, Tony Larussa, Next guy is PGA Pro from Mass. Where the President was a member and Pam Shriver.”

As they say in tennis when the ball goes rolling one court over, “Little help, please.”

Thankfully, Bamberger does the copy desk work for them.

ESPN's Most Dominant: Brooks Koepka Still Feeling Snubbed And He Certainly Has A Point

Screen Shot 2018-12-11 at 7.04.46 PM.png

There have been some odd media-related slights of 2018’s two-time major winner and Floridian Cup champ, Brooks Koepka, including at the U.S. Open, PGA Championship and Tour Championship.

The winner of two majors and three of the last seven has rightfully been a bit peeved. The latest snub came with publication of ESPN The Magazine’s list of Most Dominant Athletes of 2018 not including Koepka, he simply posted the list on Twitter:

With Ariya Jutanagarn winning one major to Koepka’s two, he’s understandably annoyed at the lack of respect given to his year.

Underrated in his season is how late he started due to a wrist injury. While “dominant” isn’t the first word that comes to mind, his play given the inactivity the first four months of the year suggests it could have been even better.

Best Trick Shots Of 2018 And One Fun Entry After The Deadline!

Screen Shot 2018-12-10 at 9.23.29 PM.png

On Monday’s Morning Drive, we covered just five of my favorites after a painful vetting that left some amazing creativity on the cutting room floor. So we whittled the best down with a theme of harder-than-it-looks! Or in the case of winner Joshua Kelley’s, crazier than it looks.

Well done all you tricksters!

And a fun late entry after Academy chimed in!

CCR Votes Down USGA Event...

Screen Shot 2018-12-10 at 8.14.46 PM.png

Country Club of Rochester, longtime supporter of women’s golf, put an invitation to host the 2020 U.S. Senior Women’s Open before its membership

Sal Maiorana of the Rochester Democrat and Chronicle reports that the vote was close. Nonetheless it has to be a blow for hopes of landing future U.S. Senior Women’s Open venues where a vote is involved.

One member who voted to bring the tournament to CCR, wrote in an email to the Democrat and Chronicle, “a minority of small-minded, selfish and elitist members have ensured this opportunity to have a women’s tournament in 2020 (wouldn't happen). It is a loss for our club and the City of Rochester.”

Club president Jeff Mapstone penned a letter to the membership on Thursday, and in it, he said, “We understand that there are mixed emotions throughout the club. We do respect that there are many differences of opinion among our 540 members.”

Not clear is just how much hosting would cost the club financially. Amateur events generally can run up to $1 million in expense to the host.

Preview: Exonerated Valentino Dixon Sees His First Golf Course After 27 Years In Prison

Screen Shot 2018-12-10 at 3.26.42 PM.png

Golf Channel Films is debuting a swiftly but beautifully compiled documentary on the release of Valentino Dixon after 27 years in prison. Dixon, a non-golfer who’d never seen a course, painted famous and imaginary golf holes while passing the time until a group of Georgetown undergrads, Golf Digest’s Max Adler and Golf Channel’s team (including Jimmy Roberts) exposed his story.

The film includes Dixon’s first-ever visit to Pebble Beach, a frequent subject of paintings.

The summary for the film’s Tuesday, December 11 debut at 8 pm ET:

For 27 years, Valentino Dixon had been serving a 33 1/3 years to life sentence in prison for a murder he claims he did not commit. This past September, Dixon was released from prison following a series of events that began with a sketch depicting one of golf’s most iconic holes. Golf Channel’s latest Golf Films project, 27 Years: The Exoneration of Valentino Dixon unravels how Dixon’s drawing ultimately led to newly-discovered evidence pointing toward his innocence, and follows Dixon as he visits picturesque Pebble Beach, the first golf course he’d ever seen in person.

Here is Adler’s recent story on Dixon’s release and the original Digest story.

The preview:

Banner Time For Fairway Mowers, Strengthened Cores! PGA Tour Distance Average Up 6.1 Yards Over Two Years

Screen Shot 2018-12-10 at 3.04.41 PM.png

GolfDigest.com’s Mike Johnson reports on the rather astounding jump in 2018’s PGA Tour Driving Distance average (4 yards) on top of 2017’s healthy jump (2.1) yards.

The governing bodies have relentlessly pointed to a flatlining since the old Statement of Principles days, but maybe the nation’s superintendents and physios worked behind the scenes to push distances forward the last two years. (Sarcasm emoji goes here.)

As you may recall the distance number was at an amazing 294.7 through June’s Travelers Championship, meaning the average spiked nicely in just the final two months or so of the season when things warmed up and the nation’s maintenance mechanics conspired to sharpen mower blades. Because, you know the game is played on the ground so much these days!

And as noted here on the eve of the Tour Championship, things were looking rather historic as far as increases go which Johnson affirms.

He reports last year’s 2.1 yard increase prompted the Distance Insights study and he included this curious description of the survey.

Though some who have participated feel the questions have been biased toward a negative impression of distance, there’s no denying at the elite level that the game’s best have gotten longer. Fourteen players averaged 310 yards or more this past PGA Tour season and 60 topped 300 yards compared to 7 and 40, respectively, the year before.

I haven’t heard of any negative bias from those who participated in the survey. Maybe there needed to be a few warm-up questions where people get to share their most intimate, fondest recollections of gaining distance off the tee? Or of the manufacturers? Or of their Trackman relationships?

Lake Merced Making Modifications For Steph Curry's PGA Tour Event

Screen Shot 2018-12-09 at 8.20.04 PM.png

Ron Kroichick reports that it’ll be a busy year at Lake Merced Golf Club, hosting by the LPGA and the debut event of Steph Curry’s PGA Tour stop in September.

Either before the LPGA or in between, Rees Jones will work more of his magic in taking what once looked like a pretty stellar design and injecting his unique gift for extreme blandness to get the range and course to PGA Tour modern-athlete standards. Still, as Lake Merced displayed last year, it should make for a player-friendly stop.

Too bad there was no mention of putting back some of the lost MacKenzie…

LakeMercedPar3.jpeg

Dr. Alister MacKenzie "Shall Not Grow Old"

MacKenzieTheyShallNotGrowOld.jpg

Maybe you’ve heard: acclaimed director Peter Jackson and his team of digital wizards have created a stunning new form of digitization that takes old films and brings them to life in ways we’ve never imagined: colorization, optimization and incredible sound.

Well, golf architecture aficionado Martin Bonnar watched the film during its recent BBC premiere and spotted someone who looks very much like Dr. Alister MacKenzie. Given that the doctor wrote of his many encounters with battle matters as a military physician and the timing fitting with what we know if his life’s work, there is a very high likelihood that the architect of Cypress Point and Augusta National makes a cameo in this groundbreaking film.

Here’s our discussion on Morning Drive today, with some keen technical analysis from Charlie Rymer.

The documentary trailer is below. The film is only in U.S. theaters two days: December 17 and 27th before presumably another form of release.

Go see Dr. MacKenzie and many other brave soldiers who shall not grow old!

Amazing: LPGA Purses Top $70 Million in 2019 With 33 Starts And New Formats, Too

Screen Shot 2018-12-06 at 9.01.56 PM.png

It wasn’t that long ago the Brand Lady was steering the LPGA Tour into the ground with her marketing obsession over substance.

With that in mind, congratulations to Commissioner Mike Whan, his team and the players for another incredible milestone announced today: $70 million in 2019 LPGA Tour purses.

As Beth Ann Nichols writes for Golfweek, the tour is also introducing some exciting new formats, including a team event and a co-sanction of the groundbreaking Victoria Open in Australia. That’s the event where men and women play separate events at the same time for the same purse.

From Nichols’ report, after reporting on the tour’s new tournament of champions even in Orlando:

Also new to the LPGA, the groundbreaking Vic Open on Feb. 7-10, the only professional event in the world where men and women compete concurrently on the same course for equal prize money.

The year’s Vic Open, held at 13th Beach Golf Links in Barwon Heads, Australia, will be sanctioned by the European Tour and ISPS Handa PGA Tour of Australasia (men’s) and the LPGA and ALPG (women’s).

And finally, this summer’s Dow Great Lakes Bay Invitational will be the first official team event in tour history. With a pair of sister acts winning on the LPGA in 2018, it’s sure to offer plenty of compelling teams and storylines.