Tue, 19 Nov 2019 18:36:29 GMT
The amazing run of BBC offering live major championship coverage since 1955 is now over, as the Masters and Sky Sports have signed a new deal starting in 2020.
Sky Sports has been part of UK Masters coverage since 2011. However, the move eliminates round three and four coverage that still aired on BBC, and requires a subscription to view.
From The Scotsman’s Graham Bean authored report:
The Beeb will still show highlights but for the first time since the 1950s there will be no live golf on the BBC.
The corporation lost the rights to show the Open live in 2017 after 61 years of free-to-air coverage and has now surrendered the Masters too.
From next year, Sky Sports will show exclusive live coverage of the tournament from Augusta. Sky also outbid the Beeb for the Open.
Up until 2011, the BBC screened live coverage from all four days of the Masters, but Sky Sports came in in 2011 and the Beeb was reduced to screening live coverage from Friday and Saturday only.
Tue, 19 Nov 2019 04:14:24 GMT
Sea Island’s Seaside Course remains the primary venue for the PGA Tour’s RSM Classic, but the first two rounds of play will be split with the newly remodeled Plantation Course.
PGATour.com’s Sean Martin looks at Davis Love, Mark Love and Scot Sherman’s effort to recapture traces of the course’s past, with nods to Walter Travis, original architect, and Seth Raynor/CB Macdonald.
From Martin’s extensive look at the redo:
Plantation’s historic feel had faded after nearly a century of play and a renovation in the late 1990s. This latest renovation draws upon the designs of architects like Travis, Seth Raynor and C.B. MacDonald.
Those men designed some of Love’s favorite courses, including Chicago Golf Club, Mountain Lake in Lake Wales, Florida, and two courses in Charleston, South Carolina: Yeamans Hall and Country Club of Charleston. It was a collaboration between Love, his brother Mark, and Scot Sherman, an architect with Love Golf Design who worked closely with Dye for many years.
They replicated those classic courses by creating sharp angles and straight lines, producing a look that was distinctive from the neighboring Seaside course and its big, bold bunkering.
The Sea Island YouTube page featured construction flyover updates, including this last one from August:
Tue, 19 Nov 2019 04:03:29 GMT
The minimalist architecture movement has helped deliver many sustainable elements to golf maintenance, but it still has not made a dent in golfer expectations for perfect bunker lies.
The Fried Egg’s Garrett Morrison considers the importance of groomed hazards for golfers and the cost to the game through the eyes of USGA agronomist George Waters.
To avoid player complaints about bunkers, courses have to increase spending. In turn, green fees go up. This is a vicious circle that sometimes leads to closure.
“What I think would surprise many golfers is that there are definitely courses that spend as much—or even more—per square foot on bunkers as they do on greens,” George Waters told me. Waters is Manager of Green Section Education for the USGA and wrote Sand and Golf: How Terrain Shapes the Game. “And it’s golfer expectations that drive that spending.”
Just as pressing as financial issues, according to Waters, are opportunity costs. The more time greenkeepers devote to bunker maintenance, the less they have for other tasks.
“The list is basically endless,” Waters said. “For lower- and mid-budget courses, the extra time can make a big difference in improving conditions on greens, approaches, and fairways. That could be more time spent hand watering, more time making irrigation repairs, more time nursing weak areas back to health.”
The story notes that current wokester-darling Sweetens Cove treats all bunkers as waste areas, meaning you can ground your club and maintenance is not as diligent about daily rakings.
The golf course industry generally misses opportunity to make a show of how these things affect cost. Because I’m pretty sure we’d have heard by now of a course knocking 10-20% off their green fees for a week while bunkers go unraked. I’m pretty sure golfers would not mind, but then again, I forget how much people demand perfect lies in hazards.
Tue, 19 Nov 2019 03:45:01 GMT
…which would not include Tiger Woods by this assessment.
Maybe because Rio offered the first Olympic golf in over a hundred years, the run-up featured far more coverage than the upcoming Tokyo 2020 golf. Or maybe there just isn’t much interest in golf at the next Games because the unimaginative format remains. Anyway…
Courtesy of Twitter’s mysterious Nosferatu, here is the field as it stands currently, though many significant tournaments will be played between now and then.
Mon, 18 Nov 2019 17:52:04 GMT
CBS Sunday Morning viewers will enjoy this James Brown helmed feature produced by Alvin Patrick about the life and work of Renee Powell. The LPGA pioneer is continuing her father’s legacy, her work with female veterans using golf as a therapeutic pastime and her work in St. Andrews that includes membership in the R&A. (There are also some rare looks inside the R&A clubhouse, btw.)
Mon, 18 Nov 2019 03:39:25 GMT
This is a tough one, as you have to admire Russell Henley’s honesty and clarity in admitting he spotted a problem signing golf balls for his walking scorer and standard-bearer after a Mayakoba Classic second round 69. Henley detected that he may have violated the one-ball rule. And he was correct.
An 8-stroke penalty ensued after much consultation and while it is a harsh result given his need to make cuts and get much needed dollars/points in his accounts, Henley should take immense pride in turning himself in when he very easily could have ignored the matter.
Frankly, I don’t fully understand how 8-strokes was determined as his penalty, or how Henley thinks there should be a max of 4. Either way, Adam Schupak at Golfweek with the story and Henley’s view that the penalty didn’t fit the crime.
“Do I think eight shots is extreme in this situation? Absolutely,” said Henley, who said he was still processing the unusual circumstances. “I think there should be a max of four. I hope eventually we can have some conversations and change the rule. I came from such an innocent place, you could call it a careless place, and given there was no intent I think it’s a pretty harsh rule. It can be debated both ways and I’m aware of that. It’s unfortunate when you’re playing well and in contention, like I was, to you’re missing the cut. It’s tough to swallow.”
As we know, the Golf Gods work in mysterious ways and Henley will ultimately enjoy a reward for his honesty.
Mon, 18 Nov 2019 03:29:06 GMT
The New York Times’ Jim Tankersley, Peter Eavis and Ben Casselman explain how FedEx lobbied successfully for corporate tax cuts that effectively lowered their tax bill from a hefty $1.5. billion in 2017 to “less than zero” in 2018.
In other words, if you were wondering how they could justify that big FedExCup boost in prize money, not to worry!
As for capital investments, the company spent less in the 2018 fiscal year than it had projected in December 2017, before the tax law passed. It spent even less in 2019. Much of its savings have gone to reward shareholders: FedEx spent more than $2 billion on stock buybacks and dividend increases in the 2019 fiscal year, up from $1.6 billion in 2018, and more than double the amount the company spent on buybacks and dividends in fiscal year 2017.
A spokesman said it was unfair to judge the effect of the tax cuts on investment by looking at year-to-year changes in the company’s capital spending plans.
“FedEx invested billions in capital items eligible for accelerated depreciation and made large contributions to our employee pension plans,” the company said in a statement. “These factors have temporarily lowered our federal income tax, which was the law’s intention to help grow G.D.P., create jobs and increase wages.”
And that they did on the PGA Tour!
Mon, 18 Nov 2019 02:59:29 GMT
I’m loathe to pick on Sierra Brooks for turning pro hot off her Q-Series T-62 finish, guaranteeing Symetra Tour status. A perk she will take while conceding her final few months at Florida where she’s one of college golf’s best players on one of its best teams. But I will anyway.
After all, Brooks is one of many players—male or female—choosing to end her college career to turn pro even if the awaiting opportunities pale in comparison to the college golf structure.
Brooks talked to Golf.com’s Dylan Dethier about her decision despite not securing LPGA Tour status.
Golf is just the latest sport to, in seemingly sound ways, to address the desire of athletes and those around them to test the professional waters with rules that allow players to retain their amateur status while playing at Q-School.
And you know the drill: they do so, and even when faced with long odds or signs that more time in college would serve the athlete well, get convinced that cashing in is the way to go. Just like so many other sports, golf is piling up the cases of can’t-miss prospects who miss, diminishing the interest growth in college golf while not doing what’s best for young people who were often just given bad advice.
In the case of women’s golf, the LPGA’s noble effort to make sure they are open to new talent while also ensuring athletes are ready to perform, all while preserving the health of an important feeder tour in the form of college golf, appears to have failed.
Beth Ann Nichols considers the situation for Golfweek and concludes that allowing amateurs to test those professional waters at Q-School (Series), is not working.
It’s not a bad thing to make these players face a decision that has consequences. The thought process for going to Q-Series and taking that next step without a safety net looks completely different to the current landscape.
Amateurs haven’t always been allowed to participate in Q-School.
Why not go back to that?
It’s up to the LPGA to make some changes that will benefit all of women’s golf. Deferral was a good idea in theory, but there won’t be many Kupchos and Fassis who follow.
College golf isn’t the tour’s responsibility, but it is the main feeder system for the LPGA and Symetra Tour, and the lifeblood of American women’s golf.
Once again, there’s got to be a better way.
Fri, 15 Nov 2019 05:42:39 GMT
The Gary Player Country Club annually plays host to the Nedbank Challenge with dynamic wildlife on course and in the nearby Pilanesberg National Park.
During round one of the 2019 event, Tommy Fleetwood’s golf ball was attacked. Attacked! This time mongooses converged.
Fri, 15 Nov 2019 05:37:19 GMT
El Tucan, short-changed a year ago, has landed Rob Oppenheim’s bag for the rain-delayed Mayacoma PGA Tour event. Round one play will commence Friday.
Granted, this would not normally be news except given the international headlines made by Matt Kuchar not paying his fill-in bag man what he deserved after winning the Mayakoba.
Brian Wacker with how the caddie for Kuchar last year finally landed work this week.
“I needed a caddie,” Oppenheim told Golf Digest. “He lives there, was available and aside from everything that has gone on I was looking for the best opportunity to play well. He knows the course and has had success here.”
Fri, 15 Nov 2019 05:18:56 GMT
The day many always thought would come arrived in Boca Raton. Maybe there have been previous examples, but it’s hard not to read about Boca’s kibosh on architects Tom Fazio II and Nick Price over the $13 million budgeted for their creation of 18 holes and a par 3 course.
Despite winning the project bid over many other architects, the city said the price was simply too high and will be asking for new bids. All over price, reports Christina Hristoforidis.
On the Tuesday night joint meeting between the City Council and the Boca Beach and Parks District, the idea for an RFP was approved.
In regards to the current project’s architects, Price/Fazio can submit in the new RFP and have the option to be compared to the resented from the RFP for the best golf course design.
According to WPTV, this decision left the President of Golf Association Greg Galanis, feeling betrayed.
For years the sport has been told the economics of building a new course was spiraling too far out of control. So it should come as little surprise that a city finally said not to the price of a golf course.
A story from February, 2019 broke down why the cost of the project was so high and while USGA greens weren’t mentioned, the overall cost to build a course has become unsustainable when coupled with infrastructure costs.
Building the golf course alone will cost about $15 million, said Wayne Branthwaite, spearheading the project for Price/Fazio Design.
“But there are several other costs from items that have to be done: Landscaping, irrigation pumps ...” Branthwaite said. The district also has to build the clubhouse (about $3.4 million), a maintenance facility (about $2.6 million) and a tunnel to cross Northwest Second Avenue, which cuts through the golf course (about $2.4 million), according to a Price/Fazio report.
Thu, 14 Nov 2019 04:44:53 GMT
It’s hard to take any list seriously that includes David Pillsbury—in the No. 2 spot no less—but Golf Inc. has published their annual compilation of golf’s most powerful people. At least, powerful in terms of the golf development world, which would explain how Tiger Woods lands 7th and PGA Tour Commissioner Jay Monahan slips to 4th behind company-killer and former PGA Tour exec Pillsbury as well as the Topgolf CEO.
I don’t know why you would want to invest much time in the least diverse list of lists—all male and only two who aren’t white guys—other than to see who has submitted the most awkward, outdated, airbrushed stock photo.
Thu, 14 Nov 2019 04:37:13 GMT
He had a steady presence in Colin Swatton on the bag who remains his swing instructor, and while there have been more catastrophic caddie firings in golf, Jason Day’s replacement effort has fueled a decline in the former World No. 1’s game.
While Day did win twice in 2018, he has since struggled while having an array of loopers this year—four in his 21 starts—while also dealing with some nagging injuries. But as he explained in pre-Mayakoba Classic comments, the revolving caddie situation has been a problem. From Julie Williams’ Golfweek report:
“When you go through changes like that, trying to find the right makeup, the right chemistry, it takes some time,” Day said of his frequent caddie change-ups. “But I feel like with what I’m doing with David (Lutterus) out there, I think we’re slowly working on the communication and things are working and they’re coming around.”
Thu, 14 Nov 2019 04:15:16 GMT
As we near the projected date of the next PGA Tour television rights deal, NBC Sports Group President and former PGA of America CEO Pete Bevacqua chatted with SBJ’s Abe Madkour and John Ourand.
Among the topics? Playing golf at Bel Air with Al Michaels and where NBC will target resources with the NFL and other sports properties.
The money needed to retain the NFL has many observers wondering what might get scrimped on by networks. Bevacqua made clear golf is not one of those sports.
Bevacqua said there is a "plan in place" for which non-NFL deals NBC is hoping to maintain or add going forward. He said, "I know in my mind what we feel we need to bid on, what we would like to bid on and what we probably won’t bid on. That can always change." Bevacqua was bullish on NBC and Golf Channel's chances to keep its PGA Tour package. "I’m not thinking about what will happen if we don’t get them," he said. "I’m thinking about how we’re going to improve." He also noted there will be a better sense of the landscape on the future of Tour rights "by the end of the year." SBJ has reported that Tour execs want to have a new deal in place by the end of the year, despite the current deals running through '21.
The full interview that is worth a listen despite the tragic microphone placement (come on SBJ, up your game!):
Wed, 13 Nov 2019 04:24:26 GMT
The rush to turn pro continues to be an ongoing theme for men’s and women’s college golf—followed by the inevitable coach quotes saying how happy they are for the players.
With four of five 2019 LPGA Q-Series participants deciding to turn pro instead of finishing the 2019-20 season—and Andrea Lee undecided—the situation stinks for women’s college golf and next spring’s Augusta National Women’s Amateur losing five marquee players. There is also the mixed record of players leaving school early and the societal pressures to rush into a pro career.
But as Ryan Lavner notes in his Tweet, it’s a no-win all the way around:
Wed, 13 Nov 2019 04:12:40 GMT
Matt Kuchar spoke to the Mayakoba Classic media gathered and as Adam Schupak reports for Golfweek, says last year’s win and ensuing controversy over caddie pay was hard on him. But Kuchar said his stubbornness in refusing to pay his fill-in caddie a reasonable chunk from the $1.3 million winner’s check provided a teaching moment for his children.
“It’s a moment I’m not proud of, but it’s one of those things you do your best as a father to teach kids lessons, and there’s no better thing than to show them – taking the lead and showing them the right steps to take. When you have moments you’re not proud of, you make amends for them, you do your best to make it right and try to keep moving forward and staying positive,” he said on Tuesday.
Wed, 13 Nov 2019 03:40:39 GMT
Simplified rules debuted this year.
There are PGA Tour referees on-site to help deal with any questions.
And there is the glare of a national broadcast seemingly to keep players aware their movements can be watched and re-watched.
That did no stop Billy Mayfair from skirting or flagrantly breaking the rules of golf.
In a devastating breakdown by Golf’s Michael Bamberger of Mayfair’s recent Powershares QQQ disqualification at Sherwood, the Champions Tour player’s behavior is not only exposed, but Mayfair even has the audacity to deflect blame onto rules official Brian Claar despite being caught on tape lying about causing his ball to move and the length of a lost ball search.
For this alone, Mayfair ought to be suspended for a significant period:
“I wish this could have been handled more on an on-the-level basis,” Mayfair said. “It could have been handled better.”
Handled better by whom, Mayfair was asked.
“By the rules officials,” Mayfair said. “They see me searching for the ball. They know how long I’m looking for it. They have a stopwatch and I don’t.”
Certainly I’d advocate reading the story as Bamberger provides a great deal of the backstory and corroboration behind that search to make clear Mayfair’s take is dead wrong. But besides Mayfair’s changing stories and attempts to skirt the rules, the story highlights two other embarrassing details: just how few people watching PGA Tour Champions golf were watching and recording on a DVR, and then able to post on social media the offending ball movement seen live.
There were a few who noticed at the time:
Despite Golf.com having seen video of the incident—I have since been shown the clip and can corroborate that there is zero doubt Mayfair caused his ball to move as outlined by Bamberger—the PGA Tour once again as a transparency issue.
Two Golf Channel employees said the clip could not be shared with GOLF.com because broadcast rights revert to the PGA Tour 48 hours after a tournament concludes. Tom Alter, a vice president in the PGA Tour’s communications department, said the Tour could not make available a clip of Mayfair on the 17th hole, citing Tour policy. Asked about providing a transcript of the 15-second conversation between Mayfair and the official, Alter said, “We don’t have the resources for that.”
This, as they build a new headquarters designed by the guy who did Apple’s new campus. (Unpaid advertisement here: Rev is a wonderful transcript app and just $1 a minute, Tom! Need a better answer next time.)
There was also this:
The ball search on the 11th hole was not shown on Golf Channel, although it was taped by the cable network.
That film was used by rules official Claar to confront Mayfair about the second infraction in the same round, which ultimately led to the DQ.
Overall, the story may be an isolated situation revolving around a player desperate to cash a check. But golf is once again confronted with a cavalier approach to the rules and exposure of a culture that justifies this approach because, apparently, rules are now meant to be bent, if not broken. Strange times.
This episode also once again highlights the issues golf will face with legal gambling and disclosure. If a player is caught violating the rules, the gamblers will be entitled to a full explanation and analysis of what possibly cost them money. That would presumably include visuals and the resources to reproduce a transcript of a conversation shown on national airwaves.
Tue, 12 Nov 2019 16:08:25 GMT
When news of CBS securing Champions League rights broke over the weekend, there was a natural question about what this meant for their PGA Tour rights.
SBD’s John Ourand considers takeaways from Champions acquisition and notes:
The UCL deal is not a one-off. I’m told that CBS has put forth an aggressive bid for PGA Tour rights, which is expected to be decided by the end of the year. Last fall, in a minor surprise, it renewed a deal for the PGA Championship. Under the direction of Sean McManus and David Berson, CBS Sports always has prided itself on deep relationships and historically has had success keeping the rights it wants. This deal shows that CBS no longer is content on keeping its rights portfolio intact; they want to expand it.
A decision on the next PGA Tour rights package is expected before year’s end.
Tue, 12 Nov 2019 04:01:59 GMT
Derek Lawrenson of the Daily Mail looks at the rise and flatlining of Francesco Molinari, 2018 Open champion who was in contention to win the 2019 Masters.
‘People told me it would be hard to beat last year, nearly impossible in fact, but until that day at the Masters I picked it up where I left off, and then it stopped,’ said Molinari. ‘Confidence plays a big part in any sport but particularly in golf.
‘I was feeling good coming to Augusta, everything was going my way. After that, it became many little things that I didn’t do quite as well. My ball striking wasn’t as good and I didn’t putt as well. For over a year, it felt like I was pushing a boulder going upwards but then it started going the other way and it has been hard to stop it.’
Tue, 12 Nov 2019 03:37:47 GMT
Our late, great friend Dan Jenkins certainly would have filed Rodrigo Torrejon’s story under the old “nothing a good recession wouldn’t fix” files. In a nutshell: a New Jersey woman sued Alpine Country Club for $30,000 when a waiter spilled wine on her Hermès purse, only to be outdone by the club suing the waiter.
In a response to the lawsuit filed Oct. 29 by Maryana Beyder against the Alpine Country Club in New Jersey, the club denied almost every one of Beyder's allegations – including that it was liable for the damage to her Hermès Kelly bag – and capped off the response by suing its own employee, according to court records.
The action is called a cross-claim, in which one defendant sues another in the same proceeding.
"So basically, what this is is that they're asking the employee to pay whatever they owe under the law to my client," said Alexandra Errico, Beyder's attorney. "So they're suing their own employee that they hired."
Calls to Kenneth Merber, the attorney for the country club, were not immediately returned.
I bet they were not.