Medinah Carved Up: A Par 5 Almost Averages Under 4 On The PGA Tour

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I know these guys are good, they’re armed with silly-great equipment, they’re playing a beautifully-maintained Medinah No. 3 and playing all of the par-5’s there as 5’s.

And scoring should absolutely not be a primary barometer to question the role of technology on skill given how many factors influence red numbers.

Still, in looking at the BMW Championship round one scoring, where only two of the 69 players finished over par and the field averaged 69.275 on the once fearsome layout, play at the 536-yard par-5 fifth almost reached a place I never thought possible: averaging under 4.0 on a par-5.

In round one, the 5th averaged 4.087, with 12 eagles, 39 birdies, 18 pars and no bogeys.

On the day, the field made 16 eagles, 296 birdies, 793 pars and 134 bogeys, with just three double bogeys.

As for comparisons to recent PGA Championships there, I’ve been unsuccessful finding the course stats. The PGA of America has bricked their website from functioning, so all links to past PGA Championship stats at Medinah are showing up in searches but not on their site. However, I did find this in my 2006 PGA wrap up post illustrating how tough Medinah was not that long ago:

Comparing the scoring average at Medinah Country Club 1999 and 2006

 Year    Rd 1        Rd 2     Rd 3       Rd 4    Cumulative    36-hole CUT

1999    73.557    73.336    73.581    73.781    73.524        146 (+2)/74 players

2006    72.723    72.591    72.071    73.186    72.635        144 (E)/71 players

Latest In Tournament Hospitality: $15,000 Tiny House Set Up At Medinah

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And the BMW Championship has a taker!

Michael LoRe of Forbes explains the concept and sale of a $15,000 (and very architecturally sophisticated) mobile home on Medinah’s 14th tee. The “Tiny House” was rented for the week and the “glamping” experience features a surrounding area outside for entertainment.

Organizers of the BMW Championship wheeled in a “Tiny House” hospitality venue located at the 14th hole on Course 3 of Medinah Country Club in Medinah, Illinois. The 320-square-foot abode sleeps up to six people and comes equipped with electricity, running water and air conditioning. Other amenities in this unique offering include a kitchen area, closet organizer and bathroom.

A Medinah Country Club member spent $15,000 to stay in the “Tiny House” from Thursday’s opening round through Sunday’s final round.

“We’re always looking for unique ideas and different types of hospitality options, so we said let’s put one on the golf course and have it as a hospitality venue,” said Vince Pellegrino, senior vice president of tournaments for the Western Golf Association, which plans and manages the BMW Championship. “We put it up and had a member who purchased it for the week. It’s glamping at a golf tournament."

Tiger: "Felt good this morning so I thought I'd give it a go."

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From Steve DiMeglio at Golfweek on Tiger arriving in Chicago to play the BMW:

“I feel good,” Woods said as he got out of the courtesy vehicle. “Feel a lot better than I felt last week. Felt good this morning so I thought I’d give it a go.”

Woods needs a solo 11th or better according to the numbers crunchers to move on to East Lake where he is the defending champion.

Here he was arriving at the course Tuesday:

BMW: A Medinah CC And No. 3 History Refresher

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While it’s not my favorite piece of architecture in the greater Chicago—or even in the top 10 courses in that ridiculously golf-rich region—entertaining and bizarre things just seem to happen at Medinah No. 3. (It still pains me thinking of Mike Donald leaving there without a U.S. Open after playing so beautifully.)

That should add up to an entertaining BMW Championship where 69 will be whittled down to 30 for the FedExCup/Tour Championship in Atlanta.

Ben Everill at PGATour.com does a nice job with this recap of past events and club lore, including a pair of legendary pros and that magnificent architectural gem of a clubhouse.

WSJ: "Hurry Up! Sports Has a Time Problem"

Thanks to reader Todd for this column by the WSJ’s Jason Gay on the time problem all sports are grappling with.

Somewhat tongue-in-cheek, he writes:

These are hard days for unhurried athletes. Take too long to putt, to pitch, to pass, to kick, to serve, and you’re going to be targeted for impatient ridicule. This is a world, after all, where people pay extra to cut the line at the amusement park. This is a world where people buy gin and tonic in a can. That’s right: we’re all in such an urgent scramble, we don’t have the two seconds it takes to mix gin with tonic. 

Sports say they are trying to get better. They’re installing time clocks and cutting commercial breaks to lop minutes off the game. 

They might want to get more aggressive. We’re on the go, barreling around, barely tapping the brakes. There’s no more luxurious leisure anymore. The era of the meandering sporting event is over. There’s a pre-made gin and tonic waiting at home. And I think that movie has finally loaded. 

We’ve known this has been looming for some time and many golf writers have addressed (ad nauseum) the various slow play issues on both pro and recreational levels.

Other than the European Tour’s one-off event and more aggressive enforcement by their officials than the PGA Tour—but less than what the USGA and AJGA are doing most weeks—the sport has yawned at any substantial effort to adapt to the times. And this is all long before other sports went into their current panic modes, where some pretty radical changes are on the table.

Take the suggestion of nine hole matches at the Olympics, where rapid fire competition and head-to-head matches within pool play decide medals? That’s generally scoffed at and ridiculed because no championship is currently decided that way or it’s not normal, even though it would have shown the world a shorter, faster, more economical and dynamic side of golf.

How about more match play in general, as golf audiences of all ages are drawn to its better pacing, emotions and strategy? Nope. The TV networks get blamed there even as television networks fueling the passion for more match play.

Until last weekend’s social media fueled outrage over Bryson DeChambeau taking his sweet time, there have been few seminal moments to point to as evidence that we’ve lost the plot. Now the sport has one, it’s just a shame that Bryson is the poster child as he’s a good-hearted soul who genuinely loves the game. While spectacularly immodest at times, he’s also incredibly sensitive to the health and perception of the sport more than most professional golfers.

He just has no support system in the form of penalty strokes to make him play faster.

Oh, and no golf professional should be put on the spot about their role in controversy moments after an 18th hole bogey.

So the bickering will continue, ShotLink will be leveraged and pro tours will stall on the most pressing issue in the sport, the real concern should be about fans both in person and watching at home. I haven’t heard much concern for them, only what would happen to a golf professional’s bank account if we were to penalize them.

If the professional’s livelihood continues to be the focus, the insular world of professional golf will quickly lose fans for not adapting quickly to the times.

Kumbaya Monday: Pepperell Walks Back His Twit Jab; DeChambeau Vows To Solve Golf's Pace Of Play Issue

Eddie Pepperell called out Bryson DeChambeau when he was taking forever to hit a simple putt.

Eddie has now apologized for labeling Bryson a twit, while Bryson has apologized for acting like a twit.


2.0: 2019 Northern Trust Playoff Opener Ratings Up

Austin Karp reports that the 2019 Northern Trust was up to a 2.0 final round rating on CBS in spite of fan not-favorite Patrick Reed, compared to 2018’s 1.6, but down from 2017’s overnight 2.4 when Dustin Johnson and Jordan Spieth so memorably dueled.

Those events were played later in August than the newly placed Northern Trust, so the comparisons are tricky, at best.

PGA Tour Vows To Tackle Slow Play By "Leveraging Our ShotLink Technology To Assist Us"

If there was any doubt about the gravity of pushback received at PGA Tour headquarters over Bryson DeChambeau’s slow play boondoggle, look no further than the operation’s first significant comments on slow play in decades.

After Commissioners Tim Finchem and Jay Monahan have both done their best Heisman pose to slow play questions for two decades now, they issued quotes from the Tour’s Chief of Operations Tyler Dennis in a house-organ piece by “Staff” as The Northern Trust played out.

Not often you get a major change in position from a sports organization in the middle of a playoff game, but that’s what occurred Sunday as Patrick Reed was en route (and on the clock) to winning the 2019 playoffs’ first leg.

Let’s get to the story and then assess what this says of the Tour culture after.

Staff writes:

The TOUR’s current pace-of-play policy only addresses players whose groups have fallen out of position. The TOUR is now exploring whether to expand its policy to also address players whose groups are in position, but who take an excessive amount of time to hit a shot.

“We know that the individual habits of players when they are preparing to hit a shot can quickly become a focal point in today’s world, and our players and fans are very passionate about this issue,” said Tyler Dennis, the PGA TOUR’s Chief of Operations. “We have leveraged our ShotLink technology to provide every player with a pace of play report that they can access which breaks down the varying parts of their game and gives feedback on the amount of time on average that the player takes to hit a particular shot.

“We are currently in the process of reviewing this aspect of pace of play and asking ourselves, ‘Is there a better way to do it?’ We think technology definitely plays a key role in all of this and we are thinking about new and innovative ways to use it to address these situations.”

Publishing those numbers would clean up the problem via simple exposure of slow pokes and incentivizing to not be at the bottom of the list.

Those numbers have been compiled for thirteen years, yet only now the Tour is looking at using them to make meaningful change.

I’ve wrote a column in 2010—2010!—suggesting that a sponsor wanting to be associated speed could put up a bonus pool purse and it’d be watched a lot more closely than Wyndham Rewards chase, that I can assure you. The data and ShotLink 2.0 technology has only made the information more accurate since.

The story took on an Onionesque tone when it went to this comedy:

“We have learned over the years that pace has a lot of factors that play into it, and it’s actually quite complicated,” he added. “The overall time to play a round is affected by things like the number of players on the course, tee time intervals, amount of daylight, course set-up and the weather. Some of these are things we can influence, and some are not.”

The amount of fans and media following a group also can impact the pace of play, said Justin Rose.

“The crowds are a lot bigger here and a lot more vocal and there's a lot more movement and distraction, I think which obviously creates the atmosphere that we want to play in front of,” Rose said. “You can't have it both ways. You can't have it fun and rowdy out here and yet expect guys to hit shots on a clock through situations where the environment isn't ready for them to play.”

This generally impacts one player and one player only. But a fine try to soften the blow of the DeChambeau debacle which was at least explained in detail. Then touted the best players in the world, in a limited field event, playing in 4:51 with people carrying their clubs, volunteers finding lost balls and playing lights-out great golf.

DeChambeau’s group still played in 4:51 on Friday. That was just one minute slower than in Round 1 and consistent with other groups in the second round.

The TOUR has seen positive results from increasing the intervals between tee times this year. “We are seeing great improvements to the flow and in particular to the speed with which we can recover following an issue with a group that results in a momentary slow-down in pace,” Dennis said.

Of course, the issue is not these understandable bits of logjamming, but the pure selfishness of some entitled by a lack of significant penalty strokes or bank account-damaging fines.

And there was one more plug for ShotLink…

“We are really focused at the moment on leveraging our ShotLink technology to assist us with these factors,” Dennis said. “This year, we have rolled out version 2.0 of an application which allows the officials to monitor every group in real-time, from their positions out on the course, and respond more quickly when a group is getting behind.”

The PGA Tour referees, the best in the business when it comes to knowing the players, knowing how to time, understanding complications and keeping an eye on pace, do not need ShotLink to assess a slow player. They need the backing of the players and Commissioners to dish out a few penalties to those who everyone knows are taking too long to hit golf shots, with a workable policy that lets them target repeat offenders.

As for what the Tour’s method of breaking news, keep in mind that Dennis was not made available to press at the Northern Trust or in a conference call, and no statement was sent to media as is the case with things like failed drug tests, quotes about the passing of legends or other significant PGA Tour news.

But as the social media firestorm and ensuing player backlash proved in forcing this policy “review”—mainstream media was not the cause—slow play is the sport’s biggest perception and business matter and has been for decades.

Brooks And Brandel A (Lighter) Sparring Item Again

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I’ve missed these two lovebirds chirping at one another, so naturally Brandel Chamblee had to go and pick on Brooks Koepka displaying improper etiquette by standing ahead of Rory McIlroy during their Northern Trust round.

While Bryson v. Brooks could have turned ugly Sunday—it did not but gave Eamon Lynch a fantastic start to a slow play column—I still have hope for eternal sniping between Brooks and Golf Channel’s Chamblee.

Josh Berhow of Golf.com pieces together the latest manspat, this time Chamblee trying to suggest walking ahead was a greater breach of etiquette than a slow player.

Team Koepka alerted their man, who replied on Twitter (above) with a little less bite than some of other recent jabs back at Chamblee, which date back to the Masters when Chamblee questioned Koepka’s toughness and quality of his major wins.

The 2019 FedExCup "Playoffs" Are Off To Pretty Rough Start

Just to review the week in case you weren’t watching the commencement of the 2019 PGA Tour “Playoffs”...

Tiger WD’d and it’ll take a major improvement for him to defend his title at East Lake.

PGA Tour Live’s Featured Group coverage exposed horrendous examples of slow play masked by normal golf tournament coverage that jumps around a course full of players. The clips go viral and highlight Bryson DeChambeau’s slow play. The episode is a reminder of how unappealing it is to see every shot of every player sometimes, much less pay for such a privilege as the Tour believes will happen starting in 2022.

The Northern Trust’s weekend was totally overshadowed by a slow play controversy.

The PGA Tour added to the distraction by issuing a fluffy Staff-reported story during the final round, prompting more on the news of a ShotLink-leveraged solution to this problem instead of the playoff event playing out.

Patrick Reed won in an oddly flat final round despite a great leaderboard. The shockingly lukewarm applause after Reed’s final putt summed up the flat finish.

Reed jumped from 50th to 2nd in the FedExCup points, a silly leap if we are to believe claims of season long points and rewarding early season play mattering.

The CBS team sounded giddiest talking about their final broadcast of 2019 and Saturday night goodbye party.

But hey there’s time and a new, wacky format awaiting at East Lake—Patrick Reed, one win and four top 10’s, would be only two strokes back of Brooks Koepka if the Tour Championship started today, even though Koepka won three times and went T2-1-2-T4 in the majors.

The whole 2019 playoff thing could work out well and get way better. It better.

The Best Evidence Yet That Green Reading Books Need To Go

We were sold on rangefinders as a pace of play godsend and anyone who has seen their use in college and amateur events knows they sometimes help move things along. More often the use of a rangefinder just adds another step in the “process” of hitting a shot.

Green reading books were never billed as time savers by the governing bodies when allowing them to stain the game, and the only people who really benefit from them are the people selling them.

But those who have watched players use them sense that sometimes extra time is spent looking at a putt because the book says one thing and their eyes say the other. I’ve had the privilege of hearing a player whine that a putt did something different than the book, as if his caddie was responsible.

Which brings me to the best evidence yet that they need to go and are a silly crutch only adding time to the length of rounds. From Bryson DeChambeau’s whirlwind Saturday press conference at the Northern Trust:

Q. On 8 green. It took like two minutes and 20 seconds?
BRYSON DeCHAMBEAU: Correct.

Q. That obviously is one --
BRYSON DeCHAMBEAU: Five percent, where we looked at it, it was a very difficult read. It was on a bit of a crown, trying to read it, best of my ability. Couldn't figure out a way to play it four inches out because that's what the book said. That's what it looked, or that's what it said in the book. Didn't look like that to my eyes. We walked around, took a little bit of time. I was ready to hit. My caddie pulled me off because he saw something different. That's just what's going to happen every once in a while. You have guys that sometimes that does happen. Is that every time? No. That's one -- probably 1 percent of the time that I take over two minutes.

I would couple this amazing admission with what I felt was a reduction in how much players are openly relying on the books, and that I’ve yet to encounter anyone who thinks of the decision to keep them in the game and says, “so, so glad the USGA and R&A caved on that one.” But I don’t hang with those profiting from selling a page full of arrows, either.

Bryson Sticking With I-Walk-Faster-To-The-Ball Justification For Glacial Pace, Criticism Of His Pace Turns Ugly

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One of the many downsides to the PGA Tour turning a blind eye to slow play all of these years: eventually the glacial practices would become sacrosanct. The process of hitting a ball, in the wrong hands, is an act of entitlement, not a privilege.

While the loathsomely slow and inconsiderate Ben Crane will always be leader in the PGA Tour slow play clubhouse, Bryson DeChambeau’s making a strong push to be known as the PGA Tour’s slowest and least considerate player.

After two episodes on PGA Tour Live went viral—Featured Group coverage can not jump to another hole to mask how long some players take to figure out a shot—DeChambeau was blasted by many, including fellow pros. (You can also watch the episodes in question, if you can carve out the time).

Following his round Saturday at The Northern Trust, DeChambeau opened his press conference with a diatribe that essentially returned to his views shared earlier this year that he gets to his ball faster than most, therefore earning rewards of a sort in the form of extra seconds to contemplate.

“A lot of it’s the caddies. A lot of it’s the other players,” DeChambeau said. “They don’t care about walking fast. I play a different way out there. I take my 40 seconds that’s allotted, sometimes over, absolutely. Totally agree. It’s maybe 5 percent of the time. But I’ll tell you that it’s really kind of unfortunate the way it’s perceived because there’s a lot of other guys that take a lot of time. They don’t talk about this matter and for me personally, it is an attack and it is something that is not me whatsoever. People don’t realize the harm they are doing to the individuals.”

Imagine what he’d think of the harm of being put on the clock and it ended in penalty shots.

But back to the original issue at hand: the PGA Tour’s inaction over the years. It has led to this festering situation where top players Koepka and McIlroy are speaking out, where players are calling each other names and where fans are responding in droves on social media that DeChambeau is the poster child for why they watch less golf.

All of the avoidance of penalty strokes, to protect a player’s brand and keep golf out of the headlines with negative press, has led us to a point where the bickering is getting louder, uglier and more expensive for the PGA Tour if nothing continues to be done.

The Revamped Rules Of Golf Still Have An Intent Problem, Files: Rory Absolved, Webb Stuck With Cracked Driver

Hard not to scratch your head at the two episodes arising at The Northern Trust, each involving intent, long verboten in rules discussions (unless you knock a ball off the tee accidentally).

Andy Kostka on Webb Simpson playing with a cracked driver (featuring undesirable results) and why a crack is not enough to allow him to replace the wounded weapon. Under the old rules he could have. And if his driver shatters, breaks in half or explodes he could have sent for another mid-round.

David Dusek points out that since April 9th when the broken club rule was clarified, there still has been no clarity to explain why an unintended crack is deemed different than a club that shatters. Both are not usable.

On April 9, the USGA and the R&A released a clarification of Rule G-9 and a Local Rule, “allowing players to replace a broken or significantly damaged club, except in the case of abuse.”

Under the change, clubs are defined as being “broken or significantly damaged” if specific criteria are met, like if the shaft breaks into pieces or splinters, the face or clubhead deforms, the grip is loose or the clubhead detaches or loosens from the shaft.

After the series of bullet points that lists those circumstances, there is a sentence that makes absolutely no sense.

“However, a player is not allowed to replace his or her club solely because there is a crack in the club face or the clubhead.”

But alas, no further explanation why cracks do no measure up to the standards of other club breaks. If the player intentionally broke the club or intentionally swatted it against their bag, they should not be allowed to get a new one mid-round. But unintentional cracks do not get the same treatment even as the club is all but lost?

Meanwhile, Rory McIlroy thought he was moving a pebble, as he’s now allowed to do under the new rules. Turns out, it was a clump of sand. McIlroy reported it to officials and after it was determined he did not intend to improve his lie—even though the new rules allow for the moving of rocks to, uh, improve your lie—he was determined to not be deserving of a penalty.

From Bob Harig’s ESPN.com story:

"The reason I called someone over is I don't want anything on my conscience, either. I feel like I play the game with integrity and I'm comfortable saying that I didn't improve anything. I thought it was a rock; it wasn't. I moved my hand away and then I was like, I don't know if I've done anything wrong here.''

While McIlroy played the last four holes -- he birdied the 15th -- PGA Tour rules official Slugger White conferred with officials at the USGA and determined that there would be no penalty after all. They told McIlroy of the decision after consulting with him at the conclusion of his round.

His intent was considered and powerful enough to absolve him. Common sense.

Why that does not apply to a cracked driver head, remains unclear. And clarity is vital. The inconsistency of “intent” questions continues to undermine the stature and credibility of golf’s rules.

Early Playoff Exit Looms: Where Did Tiger's Fight Go?

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If you’re a Tiger fan there are a couple pieces worth reading after his opening 75 at the 2019 Northern Trust, all but setting him up for a playoff exit next week, barring a resurgence. **And now a WD Friday morning.

ESPN.com’s Bob Harig considers everything we’ve seen since the Masters and concludes that odd decisions may not be helping his back.

Why fly overnight to The Open last month, arriving in the early hours at Royal Portrush right off the plane, to practice? With his own jet, Woods can fly when he wants, get the proper rest and treatment, and make sure he prepares and warms up properly. From the moment Woods set foot in Northern Ireland, he never looked right.

This week, Woods arrived on Tuesday afternoon, and soon was playing a practice round with Dustin Johnson and Brooks Koepka, trying to launch his drives with the longest hitters on tour. He barely warmed up, had just come from the plane, and rushed to get in putting practice before heading to a planned Presidents Cup dinner that lasted well into the evening. Then there was the quick turnaround to Wednesday's 7 a.m. pro-am time, and again he struggled.

Harig also notes that Tiger no longer travels with the physio of years past.

Eamon Lynch of Golfweek seizes on the lack of fight in Woods and concludes that Tiger’s season may have ended when he achieved his goal of winning another major. And Tiger’s just fine with that.

Woods has immense pride — even in the darkest of times that never changed — but that famous passion is gone, for now at least. He admitted this week to aches and pains that make high-level golf next to impossible some days. But there have also been days when he insists his balky back is fine and that he simply played poorly. “It’s a little bit stiff, yeah, but that’s just the way it’s going to be,” he said with a resigned realism.

And this…

No matter how poorly he played Thursday, or how truncated his run in the FedEx Cup playoffs may prove to be, there exists no measure by which Woods’ year can be deemed a failure. He carries himself with the air of a man who knows as much. 

Weird Is The Operative (Revamped) PGA Tour Playoff Word So Far

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As week one of the three week playoff-run is underway and we build up to the finish at East Lake, flaws in the new Tour Championship finale are becoming more evident as it is explained to fans. (For a full explanation of the format, Mike McAllister has it here for PGATour.com.)

Adam Schupak calls the entire thing “weird” in this MorningRead.com piece, setting up the final structure at East Lake when the first two events have whittled the field to 30. I guess I missed a memo, but I wasn’t aware just how much the new setup waters down performance from the regular season or a dominant playoff run. In particular, the perks of finishing 11th to 20th on the season.

…change is that instead of a points reset before the finale, the powers-that-be have concocted a staggered start by which the FedEx Cup leader begins the tournament at 10 under, No. 2 at 8 under, No. 3 at 7 under, No. 4 at 6 under and No. 5 at 5 under. Players 6-10 will be at 4 under, 11-15 at 3 under, 16-20 at 2 under, 21-25 at 1 under and 26-30 will start at even par. Under this new scoring system, only one winner will be crowned on Sunday: the overall FedEx Cup champion.

I can’t quite figure out how anyone outside the top 10 gets any kind of scoring head start. Shoot, why aren’t Nos. 21-30 starting over par?

Do places 11-15 really deserve to be within seven of the FedExCup leader, who had a far more successful year? And if No. 20 makes up eight shots, is that person really deserving of winning a season-long race?

It seems the handicapping system here is flawed, maybe fatally.

Think of it from the leader’s perspective: he could have a wildly dominant season and playoffs, but still have that domination wiped down to a five-stroke lead over someone at No. 5 who wins the Tour Championship and the $15 million first prize?

No wonder so many top players played such light schedules. They incentive to build a war chest of points just isn’t there.

Schupak also writes:

And here’s guessing that in a few years’ time, the Tour will be tweaking the format again.

The players have $60 million reasons to sing the praises of the new way of keeping score – “At least people know where they stand,” is the best McIlroy could muster – but here’s all you need to know about what they really think of this change: Their precious world-ranking points will be based on how players perform in the 72-hole tournament at East Lake without the handicapping. No trophy, no dollars and no public scoreboard, but a prize to play for, all the same.

Weird.

Playoff Focus Turns To...Slow Play As Brooks, Rory Talk "Out Of Hand" Problem

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One symptom of not acknowledging the slow play problem is that it is prone to rear its head at all the wrong times.

Say, when the sun is setting and a network is past enjoying the whole lead-in audience thing as a non-star sets up camp debating the merits of going for a green.

Or, I don’t know, any tournament where the sponsor wants the focus to be on the event instead of a problem ignored for too long.

Sorry Northern Trust.

Andy Kostka of Golfweek has the blissfully honest remarks and context of FedExCup top contenders Brooks Koepka and Rory McIlroy from Wednesday at Liberty National. Both players have the credibility to vent given their amazingly quick pace.

Koepka:

“I get that you can take a long time for your thought process, but once you’re done thinking about it, just go. What else is there to do? That’s been the problem I have,” Koepka said Wednesday. “It’s just gotten out of hand. It seems now that there are so many sports psychologists and everybody telling everybody that they can’t hit it until they are ready, that you have to fully process everything. I mean, I take 15 seconds and go, and I’ve done all right.”

Don’t forget agents, physios, short game instructors vs. long game instructors, launch monitor technicians, Soul Cycle instructors and dietitians, too.

This has actually been an issue for decades—do not hit until you are committed—but the lack of support from Tour HQ to enforce the rules has prevented real action.

Rory has a simple solution:

“For me, I think the guys that are slow are the guys that get too many chances before they are penalized,” McIlroy said. “So, it should be a warning and then a shot. It should be, you’re put on the clock and that is your warning, and then if you get a bad time while on the clock, it’s a shot. That will stamp it out right away.

Deducted FedExCup points have been mentioned as a sound solution, too. And it would get the FedEx mentions up, too!

But Koepka ultimately hit on the most problematic issue of all for golf: the game just takes too long to play at all levels, but it’s especially hard o watch at over 5 hours for a round. The days are too long for fans, volunteers and TV, and it’s hard to see how that time span isn’t deadly. Especially when you put it the way Brooks did:

“Five and a half hours to play golf is a long time. Everybody’s going to get bored,” Koepka said. “There’s not much action in golf. If you really think about it, you’re probably only playing for about five minutes — maybe six, seven minutes total — and the rest of the time, I’m just walking. You try walking by yourself for four, four and a half hours, and see how boring it gets.”

Hey, on that note, coverage of the Northern Trust starts with PGA Tour Live Thursday and no galleries until 10 am after a nasty storm blew through Liberty National.

Tiger Takes Cautious Approach To Pro-Am Round; Has Concerns For Possible Playoff Run

From Bob Harig’s ESPN.com report at the Northern Trust, where Woods played nine pro-am holes than chipped and putted for the second nine, a day after he was feeling great:

"Yes, there is concern, hopefully because of the pressures I'm going to be facing, hopefully put myself in contention,'' he said. "That's why it gets difficult. If you're missing cuts, who cares. You're taking weekends off and a couple extra days of rest.

"But I'm trying to get myself where I'm in contention, where it takes a toll on you, and that's what I want to feel. I want to feel that type of tiredness, where I have a chance to win. That's a good feeling.''

The desire is there, but the body is not cooperating.

Ratings: Women's British Most Watched Women's Pro Event Since 2014; Wyndham Final Round Down

Great news for the thrilling AIG Women’s British Open Sunday broadcast on NBC: a 1.0 rating despite the midday slot on the east coast (11:30 am to 2 pm ET). The 1.67 million average audience was the highest rated LPGA telecast since the 2014 U.S. Women’s Open won by Michelle Wie at Pinehurst.

From Golf Channel PR:

According to SBD, the Saturday broadcast earned a 0.7.

The PGA Tour continued a rough ratings run since The Open, with the 2019 Wyndham earning a 1.4 overnight rating, down sizably from 2018’s final round 1.9.

The third round’s 1.0 was down from 2018’s 1.1.

Playoffs, Top 125 Missing Some Familiar Names

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But hey, that’s what exemptions, Korn Ferry Playoffs and other stuff are for.

Still, the top 125 chase to get into The Northern Trust and to secure a card for 2019-20 is over and as Adam Woodward notes here, there are many names missing, including two tournament winners from this year.

The live points page for those worried about the playoffs, but more likely, those worried about favorite players who were on the cusp.

The Top 125 Chase And Hovland Add Intrigue To Wyndham Sunday

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While many across America—frankly, the world—will undoubtedly be looking to see if Paul Casey and Webb Simpson can crack the Wyndham Rewards top ten, Sunday’s final round of the Wyndham Championship is the last event a player can assure himself top 125 status and a tour “card” for next year (well, this September).

While the 126 and beyond crowd still has the Korn Ferry Tour playoffs and partial status, etc.., as Beau Hossler noted in a heartfelt tweet after missing this week’s cut, the 125 number has real meaning.

The 125 number also retains a certain romantic and historic significance given that there is a life-altering quality to the drama that playing for playoff money has yet to capture. Plus, getting in that 125 class is the difference between possibly playing the Northern Trust and playoff events and not battling for career relevance. Andrew Landry, Austin Cook and Shawn Stefani’s names stand out for Sunday at Sedgefield.

Here is the best way to follow the 125 chase here, with several projected to move in and several more potentially bumped according to the PGA Tour’s live tracker.

Speaking of the Wyndham Rewards, much hyped and a total non-story this week, The Forecaddie says there is an easy adjustment that could make the money meaningful in more ways than one.

But for most fans of pro golf, the emergence of Morikawa, Wolff and Viktor Hovland over the last couple of months can be capped off Sunday with Hovland finishing in a two way tie for second or better to secure his card, reports Helen Ross for PGATour.com.

Your tee times and TV coverage windows here, with Golf Channel starting at 1 pm ET and CBS taking over at 3 pm.