Fri, 24 May 2019 03:20:05 GMT
Fri, 24 May 2019 03:05:41 GMT
As legalized sports betting has so far fizzled after the initial euphoria, the PGA Tour is forging ahead with integrity programs, beefed up stats and partners in various arenas. And now PGA Tour Commissioner Jay Monahan has hinted that an announcement will come by year’s end that could have the PGA Tour taking the vig.
Golfweek’s Dan Kilbridge reports and includes this quote:
“We’ve spent a lot of time over the last two and a half years clearly understanding all of our options and getting ourselves in a position where we can participate,” Monahan said. “Participate with the right partners, and participate in a way that we think resonates with fans. Without getting in front of it, I think you can expect to hear developments from us in the second half of this year.”
It’s an amazing leap from the days of Tim Finchem getting creeped out by the Tour’s association with fantasy leagues and certainly one worth trying. Though after The Match last year where stats were part of theoretical play-along gambling, I’m still struggling to see if live in-round betting will really click given the general lack of prop bet imagination shown by the gaming industry.
In theory the slow speed of golf should lend the sport to some of this gambling, but fantasy leagues and week-to-week pools should remain a focus given the communal nature of those and the more benign notion of picking players based on track records at courses or recent form.
It sounds like that is the case:
Monahan is continually trying to get ahead of the issue to ensure the Tour is in position to maximize the benefits.
“There’s so many different points of entry, from operators to daily fantasy to just games within broadcasts that are non-betting games, just to the way you orient yourself understanding the way people are consuming information,” Monahan said.
Fri, 24 May 2019 02:54:12 GMT
The reporting by S.V. Date of Huffington Post into President Donald Trump’s golf expenditures is pretty impressive, down to accounting for the cost different to fly depending on locales, types of planes used, etc… The headline numbers are amazing: 174 of 853 days in office President Trump has played at a Trump golf property and at a cost of $102 million to U.S. taxpayers, with a couple of pricey trips coming up this summer to the UK and Ireland, including a stop at Doonbeg without a legitimate diplomatic purpose yet attached.
Maybe even more incredible though is this:
He spent one additional day golfing: Nov. 5, 2017, at the Kasumigaseki Country Club outside Tokyo with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe. It is the only time thus far that he has played golf at a course he does not own.
That insistence of frequenting his own properties, in fact, has driven his total golf expenses disproportionately higher than Obama’s at the same point in his presidency.
By Obama’s 853rd day in office, he had spent 70 days at a golf course. But 48 of those golf days were at courses on military bases: Joint Base Andrews or Fort Belvoir, both in suburban Washington a short motorcade ride from the White House.
Past presidents have enjoyed using their job as a nice excuse to play top courses. Still, just one time venturing from properties with his name is not easy to pull off!
Thu, 23 May 2019 16:59:49 GMT
Producer Israel DeHerrera kindly let me screen parts of Hogan knowing my affinity for all things Ben Hogan and research into the Hawk’s Los Angeles years. All I can say: it’s the film you hoped would be delivered on Hogan’s incredible life and times.
For Immediate Release (with two other sneak previews at this link):
Hogan: Monday-Tuesday, June 17-18, 9 p.m. ET
Hogan (trailer), a two-part biopic on 64-time PGA TOUR winner Ben Hogan chronicles one of the greatest comeback stories in sports history, reflecting on the Texan’s indelible impact on professional golf in spite of a near-fatal automobile accident that put the prime years of his career in serious jeopardy. Coming from humble beginnings, the film examines Hogan’s incredible journey to becoming one of the greatest golfers of all-time, serving as the inspiration for the 1951 motion picture “Follow the Sun”. Being presented with limited commercial interruption by Charles Schwab, Hogan’s two parts – Monday night’s “Perseverance” and Tuesday night’s “Perfection” – will be narrated by Emmy Award-winning actor Kyle Chandler, and be produced for GOLF Films by 13-time Emmy Award winner Israel DeHerrera.
Thu, 23 May 2019 16:45:25 GMT
I realize it’s Denmark and it’s no Long Island, but this seems like a nightmare waiting to happen at the European Tour’s Made in Denmark stop. Perhaps if the tent didn’t involve an alcoholic beverage, that might ease some concern.
Maybe we can get a European Tour social video showing a player and caddy going in one way and coming out another? I’ll leave the outcome to their imagination.
Tue, 21 May 2019 21:05:00 GMT
Tue, 21 May 2019 19:00:29 GMT
Not much needs to be done at Bethpage Black for the 2024 Ryder Cup.
Take down the rough cut for the bomb-and-gouge loving American team, more concession stands and way more grandstand seating, then convince presumptive Captain Phil Mickelson to talk the fans into a little bit more restraint when it comes to shouting out the first inappropriate thing that comes to mind.
Sure, some improvements are easier to accomplish than others.
The most complicated of all involves the oft-discussed, widely loathed par-4 18th hole.
Tweaks were made this time around, more bunkers added to the already excessively-trapped, straightaway mess and a dreadful finishing hole remained so. The last time a major was played at Bethpage, the USGA tried to improve 18 by moving up tees and that just led to the regrettable sight of 6-iron lay ups and a sense that the hole was no better.
In the past, consideration was given to creating a hybrid hole utilizing the righthand bunker complex, the first fairway on the Red, and the current 18th green. Many others have advocated that players be asked to take a walk from the par-3 17th to the Red Course’s 18th tee.
For the 2009 PGA, the 18th played slightly over par but still offered a bizarre ending to the round. The bomb-and-gouge mindset, combined with a slight fairway widening, had players smacking driver and hoping for the best.
I asked Brooks Koepka in his post-round press conference if he considered laying back with a two stroke lead. Never a consideration, he said. Koepka drove in the left bunkers, drew an awful, potentially calamitous lie, but managed a fine recovery out to the fairway. A wedge and putt sealed the victory.
Koepka’s mindset on the hole was shared by nearly all of the field. As a match play finishing hole in Ryder Cup play, it’s hard to imagine an intriguing scenario where a player with the honor and a lead makes the decision to play safe, daring their opponent into a more aggressive play. Or any other interesting match play scenarios.
Because Bethpage Black’s 18th is not a good hole.
As Adam Scott noted when I asked him how he plays it, the 18th is the only driving hole at Bethpage Black that lacks some twist or turn to the fairway shape. That’s a trademark Tillinghast touch that remained part of the Black’s design despite his limited involvement and the erosion of shot values created by major championship manipulations.
The 18th hole’s design clashes with the rest of the Black in every way: strategically, visually and in the minds of players. Old photos show a little more twisting and rhythm to the landing area, but still not enough to make today’s players shape a shot to gain an advantage.
A reconsideration of the fairway bunkering could make a player shape a ball right-to-left around the bunkering to open up a better angle to the green. But in today’s game, such playing for angles is a lost art and there is little sign it will be restored with a rollback by 2024.
A consolidation of the 13 bunkers to a more manageable number would be nice, too.
Which brings us back to the Ryder Cup question: should they fix the hole or just leave it since so few matches get to the home hole?
Doing nothing is likely to be the PGA of America’s conclusion to avoid controversy. Yet it was impossible not to ponder a much better option while walking the meandering, soulful and challenging Red Course finishing hole. It sat adjacent to the Black’s tent village on top of the Red’s first hole. The hole is close enough to the Black and finishes just as close to the clubhouse. Anyone could envision a Ryder Cup crowd in the beautiful amphitheater setting and matches concluding in far more satisfying fashion with real decision to be made off the tee and genuine reward for skill. Well, almost anyone.
Mon, 20 May 2019 21:13:00 GMT
A new contract kicks in next year for the PGA of America with CBS and ESPN. Details are sketchy, and given the PGA’s tendency to prioritize profit over what’s best for their fans or the game, I’m not optimistic that we will see a cutback in promos and ads.
What is also not clear: will there be higher standards demanded by the PGA of America of their broadcast partners beginning next year? It’s always a tricky thing to be telling television professionals how to do their job, but for starters the odd tradition of CBS witholding major production elements from their weekday PGA Championship partner needs to go. We can only hope the PGA would have stipulated this in writing to protect their product when it airs on ESPN.
One thing you can’t legislate: production mistakes. As Andy Nesbit writes at For The Win, fans are livid with the certified disaster that was CBS going to an interview with Dustin Johnson instead of staying with the incredible drama at the 18th hole. That’s where Brooks Koepka was faced with a brutal lie on a bunker edge. A double bogey sends the tournament to a playoff.
An unusually chatty Johnson was gabbing away as Koepka hacked his ball quite impressively back into the fairway. The ball was easily chunkable from such an awkward position.
Nesbitt writes before rounding up the Twitter outrage: “It was just terrible timing and angered fans watching the drama unfold on TV.”
While it’s not comparable to the infamous Heidi debacle, had Koepka flubbed the shot and collapsed, the decision to conduct an interview would been one of the great blunders in television history. Still, the moment will be remembered and analyzed given the need to set up the scenarios facing Koepka, who is notoriously fast. Fans were deprived of watching a huge moment and undoubtedly CBS’s Lance Barrow feels awful about it.
Let’s hope with a new contract and a clean slate at Harding Park, all of the parties get together and beef up the PGA Championship broadcast in the interest of their credibility, the health of the championship and most of all, the desires of fans watching at home.
Mon, 20 May 2019 17:41:50 GMT
Brooks Koepka’s 2-stroke victory started as an apparent runaway but got interesting and the numbers suggest viewers turned over as the lead shrunk. CBS’s final round coverage drew a 3.9 rating, down significantly from last August’s 6.1 overnight when Tiger, Koepka and other top names dueled down the stretch.
Last year’s Players Championship, the final in May ( a week prior to the new PGA date) and featuring Woods in contention, drew a 4.1, up from a 2.6.
Austin Karp of SBJ posted some numbers and context.
Mon, 20 May 2019 12:05:56 GMT
In winning his second PGA and fourth major in his last eight starts, Brooks Koepka still gladly shared his anger at having his toughness questioned by Golf Channel analyst Brandel Chamblee.
“Telling me I wasn’t tough,” Koepka said during a news conference. “That pissed me off. That really pissed me off.”
He wouldn’t name Chamblee, but did not leave any question who he was talking about.
Chamblee spent this week walking back some of his Koepka critiquing during the week, even comparing this run to Tiger’s play in 2000.
But I believe we need to take this manspat to the next, proper level: pay-per-view!
Since The Match II hasn’t been announced yet, I’d like to propose Brooks vs. Brandel.
Koepka can play all the way back while Brandel plays from the senior tees. Brooks can give Brandel two aside and we can all bet on it. Even better, they won’t give five footers and while the witty banter won’t be there, the potential for drama will be! Think about it MGM!
Chamblee defended himself in an interview with Morning Read’s Alex Miceli and on Morning Drive, suggesting he never said Koepka was not tough, though he said at the Masters he was not convinced of Koepka’s toughness.
Sun, 19 May 2019 23:30:24 GMT
Steve DiMeglio’s USA Today game story sums up what turned into an exciting final round (for a bit), as Brooks Koepka defended his PGA Championship title at Bethpage Black. He has now won four of the last six majors he has played.
Koepka said this was by far his most stressful major win due to the difficulty of the Black and high winds.
Michael Bamberger on Brooks Koepka overtaking golf like dominant golfers before him, with comments from Greg Norman saying that Tiger wilted in Brooks’ presence.
Eamon Lynch on the Tiger-like alpha golfer Brooks Koepka has become and a day by day look at Koepka’s evolving week:
There are many similarities between Koepka and Woods, not least that they bludgeon courses into submission and display a studied disregard for their fellow competitors. “He’s like Tiger in that they march to the beat of their own drums. They do things their own way,” says Claude Harmon III, Koepka’s coach of six years.
The Black Course held up well if difficulty is your thing, though there were some interesting shifts from 2002 to 2009 to 2019 probably attributable to May, setup and changes in the game.
Sat, 18 May 2019 22:29:16 GMT
People, people! Breathe!
Sure, the latest attempt at breakthrough technology was not perfect in its Saturday debut. GolfDigest.com’s Christopher Powers rounds up the rants in reaction to the first hole tee shot of Justin Rose, the technology’s debut on CBS.
The issue appears to be one of scale and visibility. The holes were presented horizontally, forcing a reduction in hole scale that made it hard to tell if a ball was heading for fairway or rough. The shot from the blimp kept the entire hole in view, which took us even farther away from being able to see details. There was also some uncertainty in when to cut away from the trace to the ball landing.
I still see a level of authenticity in seeing the actual hole instead of a graphic (since the graphics often do not reflect reality).
If the architectural features of the landing can be better delineated by the view, and the hole presented vertically to improve size and perspective, this could have great value.
Here is the Tweet with quite the onslaught of comments
Sat, 18 May 2019 13:50:25 GMT
Fri, 17 May 2019 15:03:03 GMT
Golfweek’s Beth Ann Nichols details the latest fiasco with non-banned-but-should-be green reading materials”: official yardage books from the NCAA Division I women’s championships are non-conforming. By 1/16th of an inch. On ten of the holes.
“We’re just going to go to Office Depot and get some sticker labels and cover up all 18 of them,” said Purdue coach Devon Brouse.
Officials didn’t specify which of the 10 holes were in violation.
The new interpretation for Rule 4.3a, which went into effect Jan. 1, stipulates that players may use a putting-green map during play, but it must be “limited to a scale of 3/8 inch to 5 yards (1:480).”
The original green reading book ban discussions would have been more restrictive, but the USGA and R&A watered things down a bit, and now we have the same information, only smaller. Most of the time.
Just ban them and get it over with!
Fri, 17 May 2019 14:21:29 GMT
Lachlan Markay and Sam Stein breakdown President Donald Trump’s financial disclosure form for 2019 and while losses at Mar a Lago garnered much of the headline attention, we learned more about where golf stood in his empire revenues of $352 million, down $387 million from 2017.
The Trump National LA number stood out:
His Mar-a-Lago club brought in about $2.5 million less than it did in 2017. Income from the Trump National Golf Club in Los Angeles dropped by roughly $3 million. And the Trump Organization’s hotel management arm saw its income plummet by nearly $16 million, though its numbers for 2018 were more in line with those prior to Trump assuming the presidency.
Other Trump properties fared better. His Doral resort in Miami hiked its income by about $2.2 million in spite of internal concerns about declining residency reported by The Washington Post this week. Trump Turnberry, a golf resort in Scotland, saw income increase by $3 million.
The Post story by David Fahrenthold and Jonathan O’Connell focused on Doral’s revenue decline, noting this:
At Doral, which Trump has listed in federal disclosures as his biggest moneymaker hotel, room rates, banquets, golf and overall revenue were all down since 2015. In two years, the resort’s net operating income — a key figure, representing the amount left over after expenses are paid — had fallen by 69 percent.
Thu, 16 May 2019 20:51:58 GMT
GolfDigest.com’s Joel Beall noted the incredibly small crowds for Bethpage practice rounds, a stunning contrast to 2018 at Bellerive where fans were lining fairways before the tournament even began.
On Tuesday and Wednesday, many of the holes boasted more volunteers than spectators, a sight especially true on the remote part—holes six through 12—of the property. A beverage vendor mentioned sales were "about 30 to 40 percent" off from their weekly forecast. And a fan noted on the fifth hole, “It’s more crowded out here on a normal Saturday.”
On Monday sports business writer Darren Rovell Tweeted about the low resale market prices, calling the lowest in recent major history. Make sure to read the replies if you want a laugh or insight into how the New York market sees things.
A study of StubHub showed $6 prices Wednesday morning. Surely that would not happen again Thursday?
Despite Tiger Woods and Brooks Koepka going out early in absolutely perfect first round weather, the resellers were giving tickets away again for round one. The Forecaddie says by sometime around 9 am, the price had dropped from a low of $16 to $6, not including handling fees (around $6). Large chunks of tickets were available for prices in the single digits.
Prices are higher for the remaining three days, but well under the $110 face value for general admission.
In February, the PGA of America touted robust, near-sellout situation, then CEO Seth Waugh touted a boost to sales after Tiger’s Masters win.
Thu, 16 May 2019 12:59:22 GMT
Former PGA President Ted Bishop is given his rightful credit for his role in the idea to bring the PGA Championship and a Ryder Cup to Bethpage Black after the USGA had decided to pass on future U.S. Opens here. Former PGA CEO Pete Bevacqua and his team also deserve credit for getting the deal done, but as Herrmann writes, the idea started with Bishop:
Bishop was the PGA of America’s secretary, in line to be president, in September 2010 when he met at the park with state officials. The U.S. Golf Association had given up on Bethpage after two rain-drenched U.S. Opens. The PGA Tour had yet to hold its two FedEx Cup playoff events there (which turned out to be poorly attended).
“The future of championships at Bethpage, at the point we started talking, was obviously in doubt,” Bishop said from The Legends, the club in Franklin, Indiana, that he runs, serves as head pro and now is superintendent, too. “I knew about the concerns that everybody who loves Bethpage had, with funding and maintaining conditions going forward.”
Despite the USGA having pulled out, Bishop chose to dive in. His confidence was confirmed during a practice round for the 2010 Ryder Cup in Wales, when he was on the 18th fairway with Phil Mickelson and Rickie Fowler. “Just out of the blue,” he said, “they started talking about Ryder Cup venues and Phil says to Fowler, 'Can you imagine the home course advantage that we would have if they ever played this Ryder Cup at Bethpage.' "
The piece goes on to explain why Bishop isn’t here this week—hint, hint, the hard working PGA Board of Directors stripped him of his PGA status and celebrated the brilliant idea to return to Bethpage with some Hampton’s golf.
Thu, 16 May 2019 12:31:55 GMT
Wed, 15 May 2019 21:09:00 GMT
Wed, 15 May 2019 20:43:59 GMT
It’s tough, it’s dense but there are spots where you might catch a break. In this Golfweek video, I explain some of the elements players will find off the tee and around Bethpage Black’s greens for the 2019 PGA Championship: