Kuchar Digs In: It's A Social Media Issue, Won't Lose Sleep And Even Throws Steiny Under The Bus For Trying To Mop Up His Mess!

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Matt Kuchar spoke to GolfChannel.com’s Will Gray Wednesday at the Genesis Open and FedExCup leader, all-time leading money winner without a major who won last fall’s Mayakoaba event after a four-year winless drought with his “lucky charm” local caddie, is digging in.

Mooooooooooch!

Kuchar confirmed he paid “El Tucan” $5000 and the Golf.com report that his agent has since offered an additional $15,000 refused by Ortiz. And he’s not happy about that either. But more on that momentarily.

The graciousness ended fairly quicklky in the chat with Gray.

“I kind of feel like unfortunately some other people have got it in his head that he’s deserving something different than what we agreed upon,” Kuchar said.

He’s certainly correct that he paid $1000 more than they agreed upon, but given that it was Kuchar’s first win in __ years and that a winner’s bonus usually comes with the PGA Tour territory, he’s been blasted for not paying more.

“I ended up paying him $5,000 and I thought that was more than what we agreed upon,” Kuchar said. “I kind of think, if he had the chance to do it over again, same exact deal, that he’d say yes again.”

Good to see he learns from his mistakes!. And that he has shrewd sounding boards all around!

This may be the fatal quote…

“It’s done. Listen, I feel like I was fair and good,” he said. “You can’t make everybody happy. You’re not going to buy people’s ability to be OK with you, and this seems to be a social media issue more than anything. I think it shouldn’t be, knowing that there was a complete, agreed-upon deal that not only did I meet but exceeded.

“So I certainly don’t lose sleep over this. This is something that I’m quite happy with, and I was really happy for him to have a great week and make a good sum of money. Making $5,000 is a great week."

Glad he’s not losing sleep. But in digging in, he’s certainly losing fans and at some point, endorsement income built on a “good guy” image.

Another interview with Golf.com’s Michael Bamberger comes off even worse, suggesting “someone got in his ear”, referring to El Tucan, and says the attempt to make a payment was the idea of his agent. But he didn’t exactly approve of the idea.

Kuchar seemed slightly embarrassed that the additional sum had been offered, as he felt his financial obligation to Ortiz was complete. Asked how it came to be that the additional sum was offered, Kuchar said, “That was the agency.” He was referring to Excel Sports Management, which represents him. Kuchar’s agent there is Mark Steinberg, who also represents Tiger Woods and Justin Rose.

And in case those legendary cheapskate cred wasn’t strong enough…

Kuchar smiled and said, “It’s not coming out of Steinberg’s pocket.” In other words, Kuchar would be paying. He said the additional proffered payment was Steinberg’s effort at damage control.

Given that when you start typing Matt Kuchar into the Google Machine “Matt Kuchar El Tucan” pops up, the issue will, fairly or not, define his career.

"Tiger Woods’ biggest moment didn’t last very long"

One highlight of Tiger’s pre-Farmers Insurance Open press conference was the revelation that he’s gone back and savored the final round NBC telecast of the Tour Championship, as well as many of the photographs from his 80th PGA Tour win.

Doug Ferguson of AP pieces together how the iconic moment in a career full of them felt to Woods and those around him.

Was there a more indelible image than Woods walking up to the 18th green, red shirt blazing, as thousands of fans rushed under the ropes and followed him down the fairway to create a stage worthy of the occasion?

“It gives me chills almost every single time I see it,” Woods said. “At the time, it didn’t seem like that because I didn’t really look back. I only looked back a couple times over my right shoulder. … I got on the green, I looked and I’m like, ‘Holy cow, there’s a lot of people out there.’

“But the rush and the commotion that happened … I’ve experienced things of that nature, but not that energy.”


The highlights:

Gillis Tracks Down Duped Looper El Tucan: Kuchar Actually Paid $5000 After Mayakoba Classic Win

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The bad news for pro golfer Tom Gillis is that he has been in contact with Matt Kuchar’s caddie El Tucan from last fall’s Mayakoba Classic and it was not $3000, as he accused while Kuchar was contending in the Sony Open.

The good news for Gillis is that the number El Tucan shared was $5000, incredibly low for a winning caddie effort in a PGA Tour event where the winner took him $1.3 million.

Good news for Kuchar! His quote after third round play is accurate: “It’s wasn’t 10 percent. It wasn’t $3,000.”

Take that Gillis!

Of course, $5000 could be viewed as a worse story because that is certainly more than the agreed-upon fee for a week involving a last-minute pickup. But it’s still painfully little as a fee plus-win-bonus amount.

Because as far as win bonuses go, it’s below the minimum, especially when you had not won in years.

Let’s just say if you’re a waiter and Matt Kuchar is in your section, don’t count a little extra something for the, you know, the effort. Or total consciousness.

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

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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.

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

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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?

Trophy Wrap: Rahm Wins Hero, Smith Aussie PGA, Kitayama The Mauritius And One Seriously Bizarre Trophy

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Jon Rahm ended 2018 on a strong note by winning the Hero World Challenge and with the title, one of Tony Montana’s old bookends.

Kevin Casey’s Golfweek roundup.

Cameron Smith has set the stage for a big 2019 with another great week in his native Australia, this time winning the Australian PGA after a T10 at the Australian Open and runner-up finish at the World Cup of Golf with Marc Leishman, his competition at the Aus PGA. Tony Webeck reports for Golf Australia on a showdown of Australia’s two best players.

Kurt Kitayama might have trouble getting through airport security with looted security gate remnants from a displaced dictator’s palace. But hey, he’s the 2018 Afrasia Bank Mauritius Open winner so he doesn’t care, especially since it was his first win in just his third start. Alistair Tait with the details of the ex-UNLV golfer and his breakthrough week.

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How Molinari's Big (Distance) Gain Led To His Big Season

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Francesco Molinari’s breakout 2018 will forever be remembered for his final round Open precision. Paired with Tiger Woods, Molinari never wilted on an unrelenting Carnoustie that exposed the slightest mistakes.

Yet as Sean Martin notes in this PGATour.com look at Molinari’s numbers, a sacrifice of some accuracy for distance gained through a combination of fitness and fitting allowed Francesco to pick up enough off the tee to make huge leaps.

His tee shots covered 64 percent of the yardage on par-4s and par-5s this season. That's nearly 5 percent more than three seasons ago. He ranked 27th in that statistic in 2018 after ranking 168th (out of 184 players) in 2015.

That’s pretty amazing. So was this after his fitting work with Taylor Made and fitness came together. The numbers don’t lie:

In May 2018, he was up to 114 and 169 mph. He was now carrying the ball nearly 290 yards, more than 25 yards longer than that October 2016 testing session.

Molinari’s story is even more fascinating given what an established player he was and what a bold move he made given the number of players who have tried to pick up distance and lost their games. Best of all he did it through a combination of art, science and hard work. Given the direction of the game toward a speed emphasis at younger ages, Molinari may be one of the last we’ll see to make such a big mid-career adjustment.

Mothers, Don't Let Your Sons And Daughters Grow Up To Be Average Length Straight Hitters

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If there was any doubt that learning speed and launch is vital to future PGA Tour survival coming off a season when the driving distance average jumped from 292.5 to 296.1 yards, Golfweek’s David Dusek provides all of the analysis (and charts) you’ll need to know that the money is in distance. There was a day when this kind of imbalance bothered the USGA and R&A and maybe even the PGA Tour:

As a group, the 20 longest hitters on the PGA Tour averaged more than $3.5 million in prize money last season, which was 164 percent more than the Tour average.

As massive as that percentage may seem, it falls within a range that goes several years. In 2017, the 20 longest hitters on the PGA Tour averaged 123 percent more prize money than the PGA Tour average. In the three seasons before that, they earned about 150 percent more, which tells us that as distance off the tee has increased over the last few years, the longest hitters have maintained an edge in terms of earnings.

There should be an advantage to hitting the ball a long way, but one would hope the numbers also show some kind that the game also still rewards those who show other skills besides an ability to hit the ball supreme distances. Right?

Tiger Gets His Calamity Jane, Takes To Social To Share The Spoils Of Win No. 80

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One of the coolest—dopiest to the kids reading out there—trophies in golf arrived at Tiger’s house and he promptly posted multiple shots of the 2018 Tour Championship’s Calamity Jane trophy.

Because the world revolves around FedEx and the gobs of money they are paying for the FedExCup, the Calamity Jane may be a 2019 casualty of the Tour Championship shifting to a handicap tournament resolving only the FedExCup.

So enjoy!

5.1: Tiger Delivers 206% Increase In Tour Championship Final Round Rating

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Big numbers!

For Immediate Release:

TOUR CHAMPIONSHIP FINAL ROUND BECOMES HIGHEST-RATED FEDEXCUP

PLAYOFFS TELECAST EVER AS TIGER WOODS WINS FOR FIRST TIME IN FIVE YEARS

5.21 Overnight Rating Becomes Highest-Rated PGA TOUR Telecast of 2018 

18.4 Million Minutes Streamed on Sunday (+561% YoY); Most-Streamed

NBC Sports Sunday Golf Round Ever (Excluding Majors) 

ORLANDO, Fla., (Sept. 24, 2018) – NBC Sports Group’s final round coverage of the TOUR Championship on Sunday (3:00-6:15 p.m. ET) earned a 5.21 Overnight rating, as Tiger Woods claimed his 80th career victory, and his first in five years. The telecast is up 206% vs. 2017 (1.70).  It also becomes the highest-rated telecast in the history of the FedExCup Playoffs (2007-’18) and the highest-rated PGA TOUR telecast in 2018 (excluding majors). Coverage peaked from 5:30-6p (7.19) as Woods finished his round and as Justin Rose was being crowned the FedExCup champion, only trailing the peaks for The Masters (11.03) and PGA Championship (8.28) in 2018. The extended coverage window (1:30-6:15 p.m. ET) posted at 4.35 Overnight rating, which is the highest-rated TOUR Championship telecast on record (2000-’18)

“Tiger Woods’ win at the TOUR Championship was an unforgettable event in golf,” said Mike McCarley, President, Golf, NBC Sports Group. “The massive gallery following Tiger up the 18th fairway was matched by record viewership across NBC Sports’ platforms. Golf is experiencing a surge in momentum with Tiger and the young stars of the Tiger-inspired generation atop leaderboards. We look forward to this momentum continuing this week at the Ryder Cup.”

Sunday’s Final Round saw 18.4 million minutes streamed across NBC Sports Digital platforms (+561% year-over-year), and becomes the most-streamed NBC Sports’ Sunday round (excluding majors) on record (2013-’18).

Sunday’s lead-in coverage on Golf Channel (Noon-1:30p) also earned a .74 Overnight rating to become the highest Sunday lead-in telecast of the TOUR Championship ever (2007-’18).

Tiger Wins His 80th PGA Tour Title, Completes A Comeback For The Ages

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By most measures, Tiger’s comeback is one of the finest in sports history. In golf terms, there’s always Hogan and his six majors after getting hit by a bus, but nonetheless, second best in this category is just fine.

Either way, who cares where this comeback really ranks. We as sports fans get to ride along for a few more years of history.

Bob Harig opened his ESPN.com story, as did AP’s Paul Newberry in this piece, with the coronation scene at East Lake’s 18th.

Steve DiMeglio opens his USA Today story with Tiger’s confident arrival to the course. Lebron in a Tom Ford, it wasn’t. But as he notes, the old confidence is back.

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Tiger was the biggest story in sports Sunday, as he should be, writes ESPN.com’s Ian O’Connor.

David Dusek with the emotions and the numbers behind Tiger’s over 1800 days outside a winner’s circle.

Rex Hoggard at GolfChannel.com says that as wonderful as Tiger’s return win seems, it may now just be one of many fine days in a career that once again has room to add incredible feats.

Cameron Morfit at PGATour.com sums up a great day and also features quotes from caddie Joe LaCava.

Tiger talked with Scott Van Pelt on Sportscenter and sounded pretty spent from the energy and emotions required to win again.

The final round highlights from PGA Tour Entertainment:

Algorithm And Reset-Decided FedExCup Goes Out With A Resounding Thud

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For over a decade we were annually told that what we saw before us was not as bad as most suspected: the FedExCup was wonderful and not the most poorly constructed competition in sports. It was even exciting—Bill Haas!—and beyond the massive bonus money, was so much better than merely ending the season with a fall Tour Championship.

Which was true, if you were a PGA Tour player or executive cashing a bonus check.

Mercifully, the final version of the points-reset, algorithm-decided iteration ended with Justin Rose’s clinching 73 Sunday at East Lake. Rose made just 18 starts in 2018, killing the notion that season-long play starts were rewarded.

Questions loom about the purity of the next format with $15 million now on the line, but Tiger Woods thankfully helped everyone forget about that issue until we get to next August. But in reading David Dusek’s Golfweek account of the 2018 conclusion, it’s pretty easy to envision a scenario where anything will be better than what we’ve long been told was so exciting and fun to follow.

I explain more in this column for Golfweek on the pros and cons of the new format, one that sadly keeps clinging to attempts at rewarding season-long play in an effort to get players to tee off more often.

Also, The Forecaddie chimed in on the math behind the new Wyndham Rewards program and figures most will have to play six weeks in a row to get stars to the Wyndham Championship. Good luck with that!

Does Tiger Have To Win The Tour Championship To Make The Comeback "Complete"?

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A couple of stories on Tiger’s three-stroke lead heading into the Tour Championship final round left me uneasy. After all, should he wake up not feeling it, shoot 72 to someone else’s great round, there will be declarations that he’s never going to be the same golfer we knew.

To be clear, he’s never going to be the same golfer we knew but he’s certainly been close enough of late to give us hope for a legitimate chase of the all-time majors record over the next five years.

But as Dan Kilbridge notes in this review of the comeback, it’s incredible how far Woods has come and also how much his putter—not the often scrutinized ballstriking—has made the difference this year. Or prevented victory.

There will, however, be pressure today given his status as the greatest frontrunner the sport has ever seen, as Bob Harig notes for ESPN.com:

Woods has been money with third-round leads, especially of 3 shots or more. He has never failed to deliver, 32 times going on to victory when holding this wide of a margin.

Woods' overall record of 53-4 on the PGA Tour with at least a tie for the lead is mind-blowing itself. Imagine getting to this position 57 times. 

But Tiger has also seemingly peaked in the third rounds in 2018, opening up the possibility that he’s not as sharp today and gets passed. That would be a shame given how perfect of a final bow a win at East Lake would put on his steady 2018 comeback. But there also needs to be some perspective that he’s still coming back and has also far exceeded expectations given where his game was a few years ago.

Thankfully It's Still 2018: Tiger Opens Tour Championship With 65, Tied For Lead

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Golfweek’s David Dusek has the details of Tiger’s first round at East Lake in five years and it was a beauty.

“This was by far better than the 62 at Aronimink,” Woods said, referring to his opening round at the BMW Championship two weeks ago. “Conditions were soft there. It’s hard to get the ball close here. There’s so much chase in it. If you drive the ball in the rough, you know you can’t get the ball close.”

If this were 2019 and Tiger came into the Tour Championship/FedExCup finale 20th in the standings, things would have been different after round one given the new “strokes-based” handicap system announced this week. As Joel Beall notes for GolfDigest.com, “thank the golf gods the system doesn't come to fruition until next fall.”

Beall posts the full top 8 and Tiger would be five back of Justin Rose after one round.

Of more note for those wanting to consider how the system will work for the Cup leaders, there is Bryson DeChambeau—winner of two playoff events and the FedExCup leader—already three back following an opening 71.

Weird: Justin Thomas Sums Up New FedExCup Format

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The PGA Tour faced one major dilemma in trying to improve the FedExCup: how to make sure FedEx gets full value for their sponsorship.

Players make a lot off the cup race, as do executives when bonus season comes around. In theory, it makes sense as a way to bind the season together.

Had the FedExCup continued next year as expected—three events down from four, with points awarded based on finishes—no one would have called that weird.

Throw in a bonus fifth round at East Lake, a day after the “third” playoff stop produced a Tour Championship winner before advancing a top four or six players to a final day shootout for the big (FedExCup) prize, and no one would have called that weird.

Maybe unfair to the season points leader, but playoffs aren’t fair.

So to have recent FedExCup champion Justin Thomas calling the new 2019 system “weird” right out of the chute, with the social media reaction suggesting he gave the perfect summary of how most feel, comes off as pretty weird given all of the brainpower put into the latest FedExCup overhaul.

From Bob Harig’s ESPN.com story:

"It's something that is very, very weird and going to be hard to get used to,'' Thomas said. "We talked about it, and it's ... never going to be perfect.''

Thomas, the reigning FedEx Cup champ, is part of the tour's players advisory committee. It means he has a voice in how business is conducted. And yet he doesn't seem sold.

Weird, however, is not fatal, and as I noted in our Golf Central chat today, the new format is a huge improvement. Granted, the bar set by the current format was low. As in, the worst playoff format in all of sports and has been over eleven years despite all of the efforts to defend it.

Still, as weird as the new format may seen, there are many positives



Ranking The 11 FedExCup Finishes: Kyle Porter Deserves Time-And-A-Half

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Maybe he just wanted to inflict pain upon himself during the bye week or maybe some editor was annoyed with Kyle Porter of CBSSports.com, because I can’t fathom anyone wanting to relive the eleven FedExCup finishes in much detail. Though Porter has provided a service to anyone wanting to know why the format will be changing.

A glance at the list yielded one quibble for me—Furyk’s backward cap year is only 6th!?—and mostly sympathy for Porter’s plight in trying to find the beauty in what has to be one of the drearier sets of championship-concluding memories.

The stars are aligned for a grand finish this year regardless of format, so keep those fingers crossed!

Perhaps starting in 2019 we’ll get a new format that yields something more satisfying. I’m confident it won’t take much of a change to get there, but still unsure about the floated concept. From Morning Drive:

Spieth: The Thin Line Between Success And Struggle

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As Joel Beall notes in this Golf World op-ed, the line between struggle and success in today’s game has grown ridiculously thin given the ascension of younger players and lofty standards set by the likes of Jordan Spieth.

In considering Spieth’s failure to make the PGA Tour’s top 30 and a spot in the Tour Championship field, Beall points out the ways Spieth toed the line between success and struggles in a 2018 he’ll ultimately try to forget.

And there's the rub. Spieth has fumbled away his share of titles—the '14 and '16 Masters, the '15 and 18 Opens, darn-near the '17 Open—proving he's no stone-cold assassin. They're falters that warrant criticism. Continuing to put himself in positions to win, though, also deserves a share of acclaim.

Especially at his age. Arnold Palmer, after all, didn't win his first major until 28. Phil Mickelson, 33. Though arguments can be had when a golfer "peaks," there's no debate that careers, thanks to training, medical and equipment advancements, have been extended longer than ever. Also in that vein: unlike the game's of his fellow young guns, Spieth's is predicated off precision, not power. While that occasionally works against him, his attributes should age gracefully in the next two decades. The sport has cruelly proved that you can't count on anything as a guarantee for the future … but save for injury or off-the-course issues, Spieth is on pace to be one of the greats.

Which, unfortunately for him, is part of his current problem.

AP’s Doug Ferguson reports that Spieth will be getting married this November and likely adding a couple of fall starts to get out of the rehearsal dinner tasting dinner, or something like that.

PGA Tour Driving Distance Average At 296, Rory Has Chance To Be First To Average Over 320

Since the Ryder Cup will distract us from the final tallies post-Tour Championship, I thought I’d offer a refresher course for those interested in the distance debate.

To recap: the triathletes of the PGA Tour head to the 2018 finish line with their foam rollers and four-hour workouts fueling distance gains. However, as any player paid by Titleist will tell you, it’s not the amazing equipment advances made by engineers and coaches cleverly using launch monitors to improve their students, but instead the purity of athletes who may get called at any time by NFL teams looking for mid-season injury replacements.

In May 2002, the USGA and R&A drew a line in the sand and said any distance increases, no matter the cause, were not sustainable.

The PGA Tour driving distance average in 2002 was 279.84 yards.

279.8.

Since then, the governing bodies have eroded their credibility by claiming their rules have capped distance and things have flatlined.

The 2018 PGA Tour Driving Distance average heading to East Lake is at 296.0 yards, up over three yards from the 2017 numbers and over 16 yards from the sand-line drawing.

296.0.

More impressive is Rory McIlroy’s shot at history, with a current driving distance average of 320.0 yards heading to East Lake. The previous high for a season was by Dustin Johnson in 2015: 317.7 yards.

Back in March I noted this year’s spike and if we use the 295 barrier as another high water mark, we see another big leap in 2018.

2013-14
Honda:  45 players averaging 295 or higher
End of season:  49 averaging 295 or higher

2014-15
Honda:  50 players averaging 295 or higher
End of season:  53 averaging 295 or higher

2015-16
Honda:  65 players averaging 295 or higher
End of season:  55 averaging 295 or higher

2016-17
Honda:  63 players averaging 295 or higher
End of season:  77 averaging 295 or higher

2017-18
Honda:  111 players averaging 295 or higher
Heading to the last tournament:  108 averaging 295 or higher

So since 2014, we will have doubled the number of players averaging over 295 yards off the tee. Averaging.

While these numbers would be relevant if anyone actually believed in the governing bodies or had faith their ability to act in a credible way, we know the ship has sailed. The USGA and R&A can’t overcome years of saying things have flatlined when the numbers (and eyeballs) say otherwise.

More interesting to me, as a longtime distance student, is that eye-test element and just how many people continue to realize how distance does not make professional golf more entertaining.

Look at poor, defenseless Aronimink last week or even Bellerive. No one watching felt like the courses could pose the questions and strategic dilemmas intended by their designers, even after both layouts had received updates to address the changes that aren’t happening. The question before the PGA Tour and PGA of America, supporters of distance gains to “grow the game,” is whether such a brand of golf is interesting to watch and will captivate the younger audiences they obsess over. They’ll point to 2018’s ratings as evidence, but we all know that’s largely Tiger-driven.

And in case you don’t know, Tiger supports an end to the distance chase madness via bifurcation, just as Jack Nicklaus, Arnold Palmer and Bobby Jones have before him.

Happy (long) driving boys! I have full faith you can keep the average over 296 yards next week.

What To Make Of The Mixed PGA Tour Playoff Ratings News?

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Maybe the numbers do not matter with the PGA Tour Playoffs(C) moving to a late-August finish in 2019. Or perhaps a couple of golf-loving Nielsen viewers took the family to the Catskills Northern Trust Open weekend. 

Either way, with Tiger Woods lingering around and getting lots of coverage, the Northern Trust saw a drop in ratings while Labor Day's final Dell Technologies saw a nice boost from Woods. 

From Paulsen at Sports Media Watch:

Final round coverage of the PGA Tour Northern Trust, the first event of the PGA Tour playoffs, earned a 1.9 rating and 2.75 million viewers on CBS Sunday — down 10% in ratings and 12% in viewership from last year (2.1, 3.14M) but up a tick and 5% respectively from 2016 (1.8, 2.63M).

The news was better for Monday's final round at the TPC Boston, where a 2.1 rating was up 8% from 2017 on Tiger's back. The Monday coverage also faced little competition, again making it an attractive coverage day for some other tour to jump on now that the PGA Tour is abandoning Labor Day Monday's going forward. 

Paulsen also updates his Woods Effect numbers from the season with the Northern Trust being just the second tournament to not see an increase. Lead-in numbers are included for Golf Channel and those are also huge, with the 1.34 million average audience for Sunday's coverage. 

Tiger Shoots 62 Day After Skipping Pro-Am...

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A permanent lifetime exemption from pro-ams is in order, no?

From Ryan Lavner's GolfChannel.com item after Tiger Woods opened the BMW Championship with a 62, tying Rory McIlroy for the lead and continuing to progress in his return from back surgery.

“I needed it,” he said Thursday. “I really did. I’ve played a lot of golf in the last six weeks, and I needed a day off to recover and make sure I was fresh today.”

To pass the time Wednesday, Woods said he went to the gym, received treatment and watched “a lot” of U.S. Open tennis. He felt even better about his decision when the temperatures soared over 90 degrees, and Hideki Matsuyama and a couple of caddies had to pull out of the pro-am because of heat exhaustion.

Of course there was also the Scotty Cameron coming off the 60-day DL that might have helped, too, as Tiger noted after the round.