A 65 by Devon Bling and six-under-through-16 by Viktor Hovland sets up a battle of two prototypical modern stars in the making. The first 18 commences at 7:30 am PT with streaming coverage at USGA.org starting at 9:30 am PT prior to Fox network coverage of the afternoon 18 from Pebble Beach (1:30 PM PT/4:30 PM ET).
Ryan Lavnerreports on Isaiah Salinda's win over former US Mid-Amateur champion Stewart Hagestad. Salinda cracked a driver head but helpful technicians on hand were there to help with a replacement. Stanford's Salinda recently won the Pacific Coast Amateur and is from South San Francisco.
Mercifully, the Riley-Bling match starts off the afternoon and should finish inside Fox Sports 1's allotted broadcast window. The network signed off on Thursday's action with two matches All Square to rack up a tape of some sort of U.S. Women's Open mini-documentary. I'm told an on-time sign off with action still going also occurred Wednesday.
So to recap: do you go with prime time match play golf from Pebble Beach or save an hour of overtime pay? Fox execs went the save-money route for their USGA partners.
It's little wonder then that fans do not make an effort to find USGA-Fox broadcasts. Overnight ratings for Thursday's Round of 16 coverage were down 29% from last year's Thursday play at Riviera, drawing a .05 despite the prime time slot and Pebble Beach.
Golf Channel's Jaime Diaz pens an interesting look at the evolution ofTiger Woods' driving and feels we may be seeing a change in driving philosophy. Diaz argues that Woods should commit to a stronger pursuit of accuracy over distance in the face of a Brooks Koepka world, but I'd gently disagree that in the last few months the decline in clubhead and ball speed suggests he's already transitioned to an emphasis on rhythm and shot-shaping over yardage.
As always, I'd encourage a full reading for context. But in the interest of discussion and before Diaz makes that case, I thought this was interesting:
But those numbers started to decline, in part because Woods never really quite felt as comfortable with oversized titanium heads and lightweight shafts as he had with a smaller metal head and heavier steel shaft.
Regarding Tiger's shifting approach:
In his post-round interview on Sunday, he twice – unprompted – pointed out that there is a level of drivers above him – not only longer, but straighter.
“He’s a tough guy to beat when he’s hitting it 340 in the air,” Woods said of Koepka. “Three-twenty in the air is like a chip shot. And so that’s the new game … Dustin’s done it now, Rory’s doing it … Those guys, if they’re driving it well, they have such a huge advantage because of the carry.”
It was a rare concession from Woods. In former days, if another player was better than he was at some part of the game – be it distance control with short irons, bunker play, lag putting – he would quietly make that strength a target to match or exceed.
The more distressing question for the game--given its history of older, more accurate players maintaining relevancy against young long hitters?
Whether giving up some power for accuracy is feasible given the extreme distances we're seeing. I believe so on a baked Carnoustie or Old Course, and maybe if Augusta National were firmer and faster, but otherwise it's hard to see the current emphasis on power providing us age and style-diverse leaderboards.
Thankfully for Tiger's fans, his "short" drives are still long enough to compete. For now.
My account for Golfweek onJack Nicklaus' return to the scene of a U.S. Amateur and a U.S. Open win to watch his 49-year-old son Gary play the 2018 U.S. Amateur.
While there are so many great stories at the U.S. Amateur, seeing the greatest ever walking 36 and treating the other competitors with his usual touch of class, added something special to this year's U.S. Amateur.
A few of my shots of the Golden Bear out spectating where he won this championship 57 years ago:
The USGA and The R&A to Engage Global Golf Community in Distance Insights Project
Sports Marketing Surveys Inc. appointed to conduct research to secure feedback and perspectives this fall
LIBERTY CORNER, N.J. AND ST ANDREWS, SCOTLAND (Aug. 14, 2018) - In an effort to thoroughly inform the Distance Insights project through the lens of the global golf community, the USGA and The R&A will engage with golfers and a wide range of golf’s stakeholders to gather perspectives on the potential causes and impacts of increased distance, beginning in September.
The Distance Insights project began in May as part of the governing bodies’ overall efforts to ensure the long-term sustainability of the sport. Primary and third-party research is currently being conducted to review historical data and ascertain the past, present and future implications of increased distance on how the game is played.
In this latest phase of the Distance Insights project, research will be conducted with a series of golfers and stakeholder groups worldwide, banded into 12 general categories. Each group will be asked a series of universal questions to elicit broad perceptions of distance in golf, as well as group-specific questions relating to their area of expertise. The findings of the global perspectives research are expected to be a vital component of the full Distance Insights report, scheduled to be released in 2019.
Sports Marketing Surveys, Inc., an independent and international full-service sports research consultancy, has been selected through a global RFP process to provide multi-layered research and insight expertise for this phase of the project.
Stakeholder categories are as follows:
Course Facility professionals/managers
Facility maintenance providers, including superintendents/greenkeepers
Golf administrative organizations
Golf course architects/construction professionals
Golf equipment retailers
Golf equipment manufacturers
Tournament golf spectators
The SMS Inc. research will be conducted throughout the world and in several languages, including Chinese, English, French, Japanese, Korean, Portuguese, Spanish and Swedish, and involving golfers and those working in the industry in both established and emerging golf communities.
The work will principally focus on gaining an understanding from various stakeholder groups into how distance in golf has impacted them over their full golf experience, if at all, and its projected impact into the future. It will include analysis of feedback received to date from the global golf community, following the project’s initiation earlier this year.
The PGA Tour andPGA of America have partnered at significant cost to provide ShotLink at the PGA Championship.
So a thank you as always to the crew on site and the volunteers documenting shots for helping us better understand the big picture.
If only Brooks could chip better...he'd win by ten as evidenced by the above embed.
Then there were these numbers suggesting a driving exhibition like few others. A 25-yard advantage over the field average is pretty staggering given how soft the landing areas were following Tuesday's rain. And check out his starts in this year's majors.
Tiger Woods should have another gift basket waiting on his doorstep today, this time from Sean McManus to go with the ones from Mark Lazarus, Mike McCarley and Fred Ridley. Okay, maybe The Masters doesn't do gift baskets.
Anyway, Tiger helped deliver a 6.1 overnight final round rating for the 2018 PGA Championship. The audience peaked at 8.3 late in the round.
Sunday’s final round of the PGA Championship earned a 6.1 overnight rating on CBS, up 69% from last year (3.6), up 56% from 2016 (3.9) and the highest since 2009 (7.5). The previous mark was a 6.0 for the 2014 final round.
The 6.1 is tied as the highest golf overnight outside of the Masters since the final round of the 2012 U.S. Open (6.6).
Some might point out that the 6.1 much better than 2014's 6.0 at Valhalla featuring the unforgettable Rory-Rickie-Phil finish. However, sports ratings have been on a decline and sizable numbers have moved to streaming, making the rating that much more impressive for CBS.
Also worth noting: the strong final round means the U.S. Open was the lowest rated final round of the four majors this year. The overnights for 2018:
Well it was a heartbreaker for Tiger Woods fans and a history-making performance for Brooks Koepka in winning his second major of the season to join Sarazen, Hogan, Nicklaus and Woods as the only players to win the U.S. Open and PGA in the same season (a feat that will grow tougher when the majors are played back-to-back next year).
House is in surprisingly fine spirits, perhaps as a few of our prognostications worked, outside of birdie machine Tony Finau.
The pod is available wherever you subscribe or available here:
Oh we still have to suffer though the dated, ordinary and blandness at Torrey Pines, and Rees will surely do his best to shield attention from being given to Tillinghast at Bethpage next year. Otherwise, the Jones family run has finally expired.
Eamon Lynchalso took on the Bellerive matter and noted how it was hurt by being given a 100th PGA for reasons no one will ever quite grasp. That put another target on the course's back and mercifully, history will look past that decision thanks to a great finish.
The same organization whose board deemed Ted Bishop's "little school girl" social media reference worthy of a lifetime ban and forced removal from office, wheeled out recent DUI offenderPaul Levy to front the CBS telecast and 2018 PGA Championship trophy ceremony Sunday.
Levy was otherwise not seen all week at Bellerive other than at a PGA Board meeting and no comment was made about his lack of presence at the PGA media conference Wednesday. The PGA President traditionally sits in that news conference.
Levy is also the first PGA of America President to not actually have a job at a golf facility, or any current job. But he retains his position atop the PGA for a few more months until Suzy Whaley (right) takes over. Whaley, who strongly supported Bishop's ouster, is supporting Levy despite his having possibly committed a felony.
Moral of this story: DUI's are ok, perceived sexist comment on Twitter with 28 days to go in office? Lifetime ban.
All props, accolades and respect for Brooks Koepka in winning the 2018 PGA Championship. He had everything imaginable thrown his way in the form of a TigerWoods charge and crowds respectful but certainly favoring the Woods pairing with Gary Woodland.
Nonetheless, on the heels of another near-miss at a major and this one with rounds of 66-64, there is nothing to complain about in terms of performance. Two putts were agonizingly close to going in and he saved multiple pars on top of eight birdie putts.
Oh but let's complain!
Hey Golf Gods, what gives? We've been teased enough. Stop it!
Alright, I had to get that out. Your feelings. Let them flow...it's therapeutic.
We have a fantastic final round on tap for Sunday at Bellerive outside St. Louis, with Brooks Koepka leading Adam Scott by two, with Rahm-Fowler-Woodland three back, and a big group at four back. Westgate's Jeff Sherman has Koepka as the even-money favorite.
As John Stregewrote yesterday for GolfDigest.com when none of Rickie Fowler's opening 65 could be seen, TNT was airing episodes of Charmed and Supernatural. And there was this:
In the nearly 30 years that Turner Sports has been telecasting the first two rounds of the PGA Championship, it has always employed the same six-hour window. (Incidentally, its current broadcast rights contract with the PGA of America, negotiated in 2009, runs through 2019.)
One more year and then the PGA of America can give us something else almost assuredly better for the opening rounds and lead-in coverage.
However, the broadcaster announced its more ambitious intentions for 2018 when it secured deals to show La Liga, Serie A, the Eredivise and the Chinese Super League in the UK - as well as the PGA Championship.
Coverage of golf’s fourth major came in for criticism last year after BBC picked up where Sky Sports had dropped it, only to produce a half-hearted effort at producing a replacement.
Great to see so many people enjoying the final 2018 links season tournament despite no Americans in contention and two little-known leaders in Georgia Hall and Pornanong Phatlum.
For Immediate Release:
NBC SPORTS’ WEEKEND COVERAGE OF THE RICOH WOMEN’S BRITISH OPEN BECOME THE MOST-WATCHED WOMEN’S GOLF TELECASTS ON ANY NETWORK IN 2018
Sunday’s Final Round: Most-Watched Final Round Women’s Golf Telecast in ‘18; 2nd Most-Watched Ricoh Women’s British Open Final Round Since 2009
Saturday’s Third Round: Most-Watched Saturday Women’s Golf Telecast in ’18; 2nd Most-Watched Third Round at This Event in 10 Years
2.2 Million Live Minutes Streamed; Most-Streamed Women’s Golf Event Ever Across NBC Sports
NBC Sports’ Combined Coverage of the Three R&A Events – The Open, Senior Open and Ricoh Women’s British Open – Most-Watched Since 2009
ORLANDO, Fla., (Aug. 10, 2018) – Sunday’s final round of the Ricoh Women’s British Open on NBC delivered 964,000 average viewers (11:30 a.m.-2 p.m. ET; P2+), which saw Georgia Hall become the first Englishwoman since Karen Stupples in 2004 to win the Ricoh Women’s British Open with a two-shot victory over Thailand’s Pornanong Phatlum. This makes The 2018 Ricoh Women’s British Open final round the most-watched women’s golf telecast on any network in 2018 and most-watched final-round telecast since last year’s Ricoh Women’s British Open final round, also on NBC (1.1 million average viewers). Sunday’s final round also becomes the 2nd most-watched final round at this event since 2009 on ABC.
Saturday’s viewership on NBC also becomes the most-watched women’s golf Saturday telecast on any network in 2018 with 740,000 average viewers. Saturday’s coverage also becomes the 2nd most-watched third round at this event in 10 years, since 2008 on ABC.
NBC Sports’ combined weekend coverage (.63 U.S. Household Rating, 842,000 average viewers) becomes the 2nd most-watched weekend at this event in nine years, since 2009 on ABC and behind only last year’s coverage on NBC.
ADDITIONAL NBC SPORTS VIEWERSHIP AND DIGITAL HIGHLIGHTS:
NBC Sports’ final round linear coverage peaked at a .85 U.S. Household Rating, and 1.18 million average viewers (1:45-2 p.m. ET).
Digital: Across four days of coverage, 2.2 million total minutes were streamed (+10% vs. 2017); making 2018 the most-streamed women’s golf event ever across NBC Sports’ platforms.
It was the toughest hole last time here and the third toughest during round one despite only one double bogey.
I spent some time there and was enjoyed its subtle features and likely blueprint for how Bellerive might go in the future should they choose to de-Rees the course. I also got some keen insights from the great fans here.