This week’s PGA Tour event is the Wampo! which is the shorter acronym, and hopefully what the twitter hashtag will be for anyone tweeting about the tournament.
Another interesting note is that if you go to their website, they mention that the two words are either “The Greatest Show on Grass” or “The People’s Open”. But then if you go look at their twitter, they use the hashtag #greenestshow for every tweet (and unfortunately not #wampo yet). So many phrases and words that they want associated with their event.
This week I really wanted to post a song from Run the Jewels new awesome album that was released on Christmas, but pretty sure I can’t exactly post one here since every song on this album has a bunch of swear words. So guess I’m going to go with an old Arcade Fire songs from 2010.
The 16th Hole
If you hit the green, the fans will cheer for you. If you miss the green, the fans will boo. This glorious simplicity allows for maximum cheering because most everyone watching at that hole will be drunk all day!
Currently, the 16th hole looks like this, which is an awesome pic from last year by GOTM correspondent Wyatt when he was at the event. The entire hole is surrounded by so many seats it basically looks like a colosseum, which is also what a bunch of people nicknamed the hole at this point!
Interesting that pretty much every seat there these days are boxes, paid for by sponsors, meaning there are only a few normal seats. So if you have a standard ticket and want to watch the 16th hole, you gotta get there early in the morning and just be prepared to sit there until players come through. And probably drink a lot cause that’s what everyone does all day.
Besides how cool the hole looks now, it’s actually interesting to look back on older versions of the hole to see what it looked like before. The most interesting thing to note is how TPC courses designed by Pete Dye are all built with hills on the side of the holes so every fan who’s at that hole watching would be able to see easily above the person in front of them. TPC Sawgrass is like this, so when you watch the Players Championship in May, you can check out some of the same little hills that everyone can see off of.
A couple weeks ago, according to this Golfweek article here, the R&A director of rules talked with European Tour players before their tournament in Abu Dhabi and mentioned the new rules that the R&A and USGA are talking together about changing for 2020. Now we’re not sure if these are exactly the rule changes, or what the specific wording in the rule books would be since the phrases aren’t concrete, but we definitely have enough information here to talk about if we think they should change the rules or not. Note that each of the heading sections of this article are the phrases copied directly from that article, not my words. Here we go!
Reducing the search time for lost balls from five minutes to three
The easiest way to explain this is by pasting the tweet by Kyle Nathan:
Like, are they trying to change this rule to make rounds quicker? If you’re playing in a tournament and have to look for a golf ball, that two minute difference isn’t going to make the pace of play that much shorter. The pace of play in tournament rounds is long either because people’s attitude change and they take too long before hitting a shot, or because the course is set up way more difficultly than normal and everyone has way harder shots and shoots a bunch a more.
If you’re just playing for fun, don’t spend an entire 5 minutes or more looking for your ball. Look quickly, and if you can’t find it, toss a different one on the ground and keep playing.
Allowing players to repair spike marks on greens
Ooh here’s an awesome change. There’s no reason not to allow people to fix any random big bump they find on greens. Those could be new ball marks, ball marks that were crappily fixed by someone who created them, or bumps that came from someone who doesn’t know how to walk correctly.
I remember playing tournaments in the past where everyone in our group would have to look at a giant bump on someone’s putting path and figure out if the person is allowed to fix it. That’s just super annoying, and for the most part, we all just tell the person that they can fix it because who cares where the bump came from. If this rule does get implemented people should be able to fix any of the giant bumps they want to.
This also would help any tournament on Tour since the players mostly use super spiked golf shoes which create a bunch of bumps that the putts of the players with the latest tee times have to roll over. You know how you don’t step in the putting lines that the players in your group are putting through? Probably good odds that someone in the group behind you will putt through where you actually stepped.
That being said, I think there are two issues to consider. First, I can see this as being super annoying to play with people who would spend a ton of time trying to flatten every little bump on the green on the entire path of their putt. Second, imagine someone has a 3ish footer, and they take their putter, and pound the green so hard that you have like a ravine where the ball can’t move out of it on the way to the center of the hole. As long as the rule talks about how light you need to flatten the spike marks, or just how fixing the spike marks is to flatten the green rather than create that ravine, then we’ll be all good. Overall though, good rule change here for sure.
Verdict: Ooh awesome
Allowing players to drop a ball from any height when taking relief rather than the current stipulation of shoulder height
I’m a little confused about this one here, because this change could create a couple problems, and I’m not really sure why they wanted to change this rule. For example, when you’re in a hazard you’re not allowed to have the club touch the ground (which is also an odd rule), but you’re allowed to have the club touch the grass. So you can almost have the club touch the ground. If they change this rule then, and it doesn’t matter how high to drop the ball, would you be able almost have the ball touch the ground before you “drop” it? If that’s the case, than you can get the ball so close that you’re basically putting it on the ground where you want and having great lies no matter what.
I’m guessing this is a possible rule change since shoulder height is different for a bunch of players, and letting you decide how high to drop it from will make that equal for players. Though really, the difference from dropping it like 6 feet compared to 4 feet isn’t too different since the ball’ll be moving fast either time before it hits the ground. Since dropping it really close to the ground can make drops not act like drops, we really gotta wait for more info and description of the change to see if this could be a good idea.
More of an emphasis on using red stakes for water hazards while still allowing yellow stakes in some cases
Excellent, excellent, excellent. Last night, my brother-in-law and I were trying to sit and explain to my mom the differences between the rules of red stakes and yellow stakes (and even red stakes with green tops) since she wasn’t exactly sure, even though she’s been watching golf for 25 years
Quick info here: yellow means you can replay the shot, or drop the ball on the line that the flag and the point where the ball first went into the hazard creates as far back as you want. Red staked hazards are the same, except also you can drop two club lengths in any direction from where the ball entered the hazard, or on the other side of the hazard, just no closer to the hole. If that doesn’t make sense, check out this article which also describes the difference.
This doesn’t seem exactly a rule change, but rather advice for golf course designers or greenskeepers too tell them to just make pretty much all their hazards red instead of yellow. Just make every water hazard have the same rules and be done with it.
There are so many rules in golf that knowing the rules and not messing up when playing in a big tournament is somewhat tough. I’m a big fan of simplifying the rules, and getting rid of the yellow stakes for most hazards is a great idea.
Now that I’ve said that, there still might be the case for allowing some yellow stakes on a course. For example, having red water hazard stakes on the 17th green at TPC Sawgrass would be a little weird, and probably not what I’d want. Like if you hit it in the water over the green, you’d be able to drop it on the green for the most part, assuming you can find a place on the green that isn’t closer to the pin than where it went into the hazard. Same if you had too much spin on the ball, and it landed on the green and spun back into the water. As of right now with the yellow stakes, that means that if you miss the green in the water, you’re dropping in the drop area. Much more standard and easy to know than if it had red stakes. But really, that’s the only case I can think of that means yellow stakes are better. Use red for the rest.
Extending this rule actually makes me want to talk about this other rule I thing they should change to make golf better, but I’ll hold off here and probably write an article about all the rules golf should change to make it better. Look for that next week.
Verdict: Excellent x 3
Eliminating the use of club lengths for taking relief
Hey! I think this rule change is similar to the reason for the possible change of how high you can drop a ball that I talked about above. They want to make it similar for people of different heights, and in this case, similar for people with different lengths of their longest clubs. Time for some math.
Looking at putter lengths here, a long putter can be up to 54 inches if you’re tall (not Bernhard though). So two of those putter lengths for a drop would be 108 inches. Now Jimmy Walker’s driver is currently 42 inches after he made it 3 inches shorter than everyone else’s driver, and two of those lengths for a drop would be 84 inches. The difference is 24 inches meaning two feet! Now that’s a big difference.
So how exactly would this new rule tell players how to figure out how long they can go for their reliefs? Would tell players exactly how long their drops could be? Would players need to walk around with measuring tapes? Maybe just say they have to use their drivers and not putters since drivers are pretty much the same length and a couple inches won’t make that big of a difference.
I’ll admit here, that the first time thinking about this rule change didn’t really seem like a good one. But after the math, and thinking about the difference between longest club lengths from guys on tour, it seems like a reasonable change.
Last comment here overall — all these rules in golf are for tournaments. Remember, if you’re just playing with your friends for fun, you can do whatever you want. Drop balls after hitting it in a hazard wherever you want, look for your crappy shots for as long as you want, drop the ball from as high as you want, from how far away from the hazard as you want, and fix whatever you want on the greens. Play quick, and have fun.
We’re back! No more tumor in my brain, and starting to feel better from the surgery, so time for more weekly previews. Though the fourth tournament of the year, this southern California event is by far the best full field tournament thus far and is on our first NFL-less weekend since September 2016 (we don’t count preseason or Pro-Bowl). A tournament with a lot to watch for coinciding with our first football-free weekend makes for an extra fun preview. But first, music:
Yes, Tiger Woods is playing. And if you didn’t know that before reading this, then you really need to follow golf more because everyone’s been talking about him playing this week. This is his first tournament in 17 months! So get excited.
It’s really going to be interesting watching him and seeing how he plays. Back a few weeks ago when he played in the Hero World Challenge, Tiger had the most number of birdies, but still finished T15 (30 players total).
Basically he’s like Brett Favre. Brett really was a great quarterback when he played in the NFL, tons of touchdowns, tons of great passes, but anytime he had the lead going into the 4th quarter, all us Packer fans would sit there worried that he was going to mess up, throw an interception, and we’d lose the game because of it. Oh Brett.
Oh yeah, the other thing about Tiger is his new clubs selection! Nike’s decision to get rid of making clubs meant two things. First, they decided to increase the number of clothes they’re going to make with the Nike swoosh, so Tiger, Rory, and now Jason Day will all be wearing that. Second, all the Nike sponsored players need to find a new brand for all their golf clubs! For example, Rory switched over to Callaway equipment a while ago before his injury. Tiger however, hadn’t told people what clubs he was switching to until this (Wednesday) morning! Drumroll please….
TaylorMade!!!!!! What’s interesting is what he claims to have done to determine which club brand to go with. Apparently he tested all different brands for several months and eventually chose TaylorMade because those clubs were “better” for him. But why did he actually choose TaylorMade? Like was it the quality of the their clubs that really made him decide to use those from now on? Or did it also have to do with the amount of money and advertising that they’re going to give to him?
Welcome back to the 2017 series of GOTM previews! This week, the Tour starts it’s two week stretch in Hawaii, while the rest of us are stuck in the cold continental (I’m presuming at least) US. Here’s what to watch for, and some music, as always.
Shoutout to the flute in the chorus here. Can it be a chorus without lyrics? I’m gonna say yes.
What the hell is SBS?
My first attempt at figuring out what SBS logically involved I searched Google. Which for a hot sec led me to believe that SBS referred to this Australian Broadcasting Company thing. I half rationalized it by thinking that Hawaii was like, almost in Australia, so that’s not unreasonable for an Australian Company to sponsor the tournament! Yeah, that was dumb.
Then off to looking at wikipedia, where I hit an article that disambiguates SBS, and instead of having one company stick out as the sponsor, I was left with something like 50 different SBSs. I actually started clicking on all of the links there, trying to match the logo from the wikipedia page to the tournament’s logo, and then also realized that was really dumb.
Finally, after searching PGA Tour dot com and finding nothing, I landed on the tournament’s wikipedia article which chronicled the saga of title sponsorships for the event. SBS refers to Seoul Broadcasting System and actually was the title sponsor back in 2010. Hyundai took that over in 2011 (both Korean brands), while SBS was still a sponsor, though not title-wise. A little change up last year, with Northern Trust taking over a FedEx Cup event, Hyundai, who “is headquartered and heavily invested in the greater Los Angeles area” will take over the event at Riviera, and SBS is back titling the ToC!
Excellent sleuthing by me, and all that was left to do was edit the tournament’s wikipedia article with the new information. Though really, you’d think the PGA Tour would do a little more at making it easy to figure out who’s sponsoring their events. But that’s just me.
No issues with the NFL Playoffs
My first thought when thinking about watching this weekend’s action was about how in the world the PGA Tour could expect anyone to watch the golf, when I know everyone here is going to be glued to their TVs watching the Packers take down the Giants at Lambeau. And then I realized I was an idiot because the Tour is off in Hawaii, meaning that the action will just get started over there right after the Packer’s victory.
“I’ve never in my tenure seen so much buzz and interest about rookies and young players creating exciting performances.”PGA Tour Commissioner
– Tim Finchem, end of 2010
The PGA Tour is getting younger. This isn’t something that happened overnight but is something that has been slowly changing the tour landscape over the last twenty years.
So what happened twenty years ago? …Tiger Woods happened, but, much has already been written about Tiger’s epic and trailblazing career along with the correlating increases in tournament purses, tv money, player earnings, longer courses, etc. that his dominance brought to the game.
The development and emergence of younger players has taken the tour to a new level, one that thrives with or without The Big Cat. The first young gun that came on the scene post-Tiger was Sergio Garcia, who as a 19-year old kid was prancing down fairways at Medinah in the 1999 PGA Championship chasing Tiger. Eventually, Tiger held off Garcia, but this duel nonetheless started one of, if not the most dominant era of golf.
By the end of 2000, Tiger had defended his PGA Championship and was a few months away from completing the Tiger Slam. If you take a look at what the top 50 in the world looked like then, you’ll see an average age of 34.3, with 12 players in their 20’s, and one of them was under 25 years old (Sergio Garcia).
Fast forward five years later and the tour actually got older. At the end of 2005, the average age of top 50 in the world was 35.5. Only seven players in there 20’s and Garcia was still the lone member under 25 years old in the top 50.
Over the next five years, Tiger Woods won four majors, including the U.S. Open on one leg, but also missed significant amounts of time on tour due to injuries and that Thanksgiving 2009 incident. During that time, several up and comers including Anthony Kim, Camilo Villegas, Martin Kaymer, Rory McIlroy, and Rickie Fowler started winning tournaments and grabbing the attention of fans and sponsors alike.
At the end of the 2010 season, the average age of the top 50 players in world dropped to 32.06. Nearly three years younger than top 50 at the end of 2005. Now there were 20 players under the age of 30 in that group and five under 25! Sergio finally older than 25 was replaced in the top 25 by five guys.
In the last few years, players like Jordan Spieth, Hideki Matsuyama, Jason Day, and Dustin Johnson have joined the young guns by winning a lot and raising the bar. Actually they’ve lowered the age bar. Take a look at the current top 50 in the world at the end of 2016. The average age stayed relatively flat at 32.18, a group of 18 guys were under 30 but seven are under the age of 25 signifying that the best players in the world are getting younger.
Not only are the best players in the world getting younger, but they are getting better! The data from the same years but looking at just the top 25 players is more of the same.
TOP 25 OWGR 2000 Average Age: 32.84 ; Under 30: 8 ; Under 25: 1
TOP 25 OWGR 2005 Average Age: 35.76 ; Under 30: 3 ; Under 25: 1
TOP 25 OWGR 2010 Average Age: 34.20 ; Under 30: 7 ; Under 25: 1
TOP 25 OWGR 2016 Average Age: 31.48 ; Under 30: 12 ; Under 25: 4
Look at how the average drops over four years since 2005! Almost, half of the best 25 golfers in world are in their roaring twenties. Four of them are younger than 25 led by 23 year old Spieth who already has a couple majors. Tim Finchem thought there was excitement in 2010 around the youth on tour. As he enjoys retirement, he has to be beyond excited and overjoyed with the current crop of young guns and youth on tour.
Welcome to golf in the year 2017! Most of these 2017 preview articles take either one of two directions. 1) Super boring lists of facts about the upcoming season or 2) Ridiculous lists of predictions that aren’t going to come true and where the author isn’t held accountable for their terrible foresight. So I figured, instead of sticking to just one of those standard forms of preview article, I present the GOTM mishmash 2017 preview!
And as Chance the Rapper notes at the beginning of the intro here (well actually, the line was taken from Kanye, but I’m crediting Chance for now), even better than I was the last time, and we back.
The Rise of Hideki
Most well known for the odd Srixon outfits he wears, which I’m not sure if Hideki picks out himself or if Srixon forces him wear presumably to appeal to the Japanese golf playing public. Pretty sure no random Joe in the US is going to be wearing this yellow getup just because Hideki wore it when he beat a flailing Rickie Fowler in a playoff (during the Super Bowl) at the Waste Management Phoenix Open this past year.
Hideki is also hilarious to watch because of his displays of displeasure, and abridged follow throughs on what most people would consider decent shots. I can understand the desire to hit every shot perfect, but Hideki takes it to a whole new level. Compilation time! Watch the whole vid, it isn’t too long.
All that being out of the way first, people quickly forget how good H-dek has been his entire life, dating back to his amateur career. He was the first person, as a 19 year old, to earn the Masters exemption for winning the Asian Amateur back in 2011, where he was also the low amateur that year, making the cut. In 2012, reached number 1 in the world amateur golf rankings. After his first professional year in 2013, he earned enough world-wide money to become a member on the PGA Tour in 2014, where he won the Memorial. After a lack luster 2015, where his highlighting accomplishment was t5 at the Masters, he won the WMPO early in 2016, and current, has won 4 of his last 5 events dating back to this October, including a victory at the Hero World Challenge.
Now obviously I’m not talking that he’s Tiger level, considering Tiger. But given his consistency from these last few years and the recent improvement makes him poised for a big breakout soon. And when I say “big breakout”, I mean top 3 in the world within 3 years.
Hideki is going to have a great 2017 no doubt, but I don’t know if I’m ready to proclaim him as number 1 in the world at the end of 2017 just yet.
DJ is best
With all my drooling over Hideki, I need to step back and make sure people know that Dustin Johnson will have the best 2017, money-wise, win-wise, sexy butter cut drivers that go forever-wise, and chiseled beard-wise.
He’s got the most talent, and seems like he finally has the experience and self control to play well rather than party it up on yachts. And after all this time he appears to have learned to overcome his brother’s lack of caddying prowess and win nonetheless.
Last major before the FedEx Cup Playoffs finish up the tour seaso- Wait, they’re telling me that there’s another tournament, the “Olympics”, that is supposedly something that people want to win between the PGA Championship and the FEC Playoffs? We’ll talk about whatever the Olympics are when the time comes, but right now it’s time for the last major of the year, the PGA Championship!
Glory’s Last Shot?
You’ll hear that tagline all week, the PGA being “Glory’s last shot”. However, the problem now is that after the PGA we have the Olympics as well as the FedEx Cup, providing numerous additional opportunities at personal glory. And really, let’s be honest here, having two majors in three weeks really makes the second seem less important. Remember the pastrami sandwich from last week’s preview? The PGA Championship is that bottom piece of bread here in that metaphor.
Though it takes away from the glory of this tournament, I must give credit to the PGA Tour for what it has done with the FedEx Cup. In its short 9 year existence, the FedEx Cup has been elevated by the PGA Tour from somewhat of a gimmick into a legit 4 event series that players and fans actually care about. Damn right I’m gonna tune in every week and see who’s playing well at the end of the year.
Also, why the hell is glory’s last shot in July?! It’s the 7th month of the year. There are 12 months in the year if you didn’t know. Why can’t the tournament be, you know, closer to the end of the summer which would make sense? Oh yeah, the Olympics.
First off, that’s an impressive grouping of vowels in that word. According to Wikipedia, “Baltusrol Golf Club was named after Baltus Roll (1769–1831), who farmed the land on which the club resides today.” Wikipedia doesn’t say who came up with that brilliant naming scheme. If I ever farmed some land, and then later had a championship golf course built on top of my land, I hope they name it Schuljoh Golf Club in my honor.
Anyway, Baltusrol is kind of a weird course in the PGA Championship rotation. A USGA course for much of it’s existence, it apparently switched allegiance to the PGA somewhere between 2000 when it last hosted the US Am, and 2005 when it hosted it’s first PGA Championship. And despite hosting a bunch of top events, the course is relatively unknown in terms of design. I couldn’t think of what any hole specifically looked like until I googled it (see below). Players seems to like the design, and it’s hard to find controversy in hosting the PGA at a course with as much history as Baltusrol.
Also a fan of how the club’s logo is pretty much the golden snitch!
The 4th Hole
I didn’t even remember this part of the course, but apparently the 4th hole is famous!
Back earlier this year, I wrote an article about the most famous hole by number. And when apparently Baltusrol has one of the most famous 4th holes in golf. It does look pretty out there.
Also, looking at Rickie Fowler’s snapchat story, he had a pic of the 4th hole with grandstands surrounding it. Naturally, that means I screenshotted it and posted it here.
Though a preview for a different event isn’t exactly the place for this, but shoutout to Henrik Stenson for that Sunday 63. And now, Phil’s finished second in a major 11 times, which is incredible to think about, but still pales in comparison to Jack Nicklaus and his 19 runner up finishes! Jack’s finished second 19 times, and he still won 18 majors in his career. I know I talk about Tiger being the GOAT all the time, but damn Jack.
This week, defending champion and current world number 1 Jason Day tries to repeat at the RBC Canadian Open. But world number 2 Dustin Johnson will also be there trying to take that number one spot away.
In honor of Country Thunder this weekend, here’s some Eric F. Church.
Because of the dumb Olympics, the poor Canadian Open is the sandwich meat between the two pieces of major bread that is the British Open and the PGA Championship. Luckily in this metaphor, the RBCCO isn’t some crappy Oscar Mayer bologna, but some high class roast beef. Or possibly pastrami. Big fan of pastrami.
But really though, it has to suck when your event is moved from a normally fine spot in the schedule is forced to be the buffer between majors. Then again, it’s not like anybody is playing in the Olympics, so having some time off between the PGA and FedEx Cup playoffs means top guys don’t have to ditch on the RBCCO.
Back to Glen Abbey
Also of note, this is the second consecutive PGA Tour event outside the country. And as I mentioned last week’s preview, as a semi ignorant American that I am, I needed to look up on a map where Glen Abbey was, so I figured I should just include another screenshot of Google Maps so people out there know how close to the US they course is this week.
Designed by Jack Nicklaus back in 1977, it’s not known because it’s hosted the Canadian Open the most times, but also because of Tiger Woods hitting a ridiculous fairway bunker shot to one when he played there in 2000. Here’s a video of the shot that I know I’ve posted before, but definitely needs to be watched again.
Yes! The Canadian lefty is back this week to try his hand at making a cut. And because of that, I’m going to use this space to preach about why old guys who kind of suck still get to play in tournaments rather than the good up-and-comers from the Web.com tour. So feel free to skip to the next section if you don’t want to be told what to think.
The PGA Tour needs casual fans to watch tournaments and want to go to tournaments. Casual fans don’t want to see new players that have a chance to be stars. They want players who they actually know. It’s like going to a concert and not knowing any of the songs. Sure it’s interesting, but it’s not even close to as good as when you know the lyrics and can sing along. Yup, I just compared Mike Weir to a band playing a concert. Just remember, in general, just remember, old well known guys >>>>> new unproven guys in the eyes of the public.
Battle for No. 1
Along with defending champ Day, Dustin Johnson is also making an appearance this week. As with most Tour events, eyes will be on the best players. Though Day still holds the number 1 ranking thanks to the fantastic end to his season last year, DJ has definitely been playing the best of recent, beating Day during the final round of the WGC Bridgestone a couple weeks ago, right after winning the US Open.
It’ll be interesting to see if the Tour will pair the two guys together the first two rounds, or spread them out to get talent in both waves of tee times. I’d say put them together, I want a show.
Despite all the talk on the Golf Channel about players skipping the Olympics, we actually have a major being played this week! Crazy right? Poor British Open / Open Championship for getting semi overshadowed by a different event. That being said, it’s still a major, and the world’s eyes will be on Scotland this week, and for the most part, eyes that are thankful it’s sunny and warm where they are.
As always, music while you read.
What Makes a Course Royal?
Even after 25 years of being alive for British Opens, I guess I never thought of why some of the courses are prefaced with “Royal” in front of their title. And apparently there’s no real reason for this other than just the Royal family saying that something is cool enough to be Royal. Either way, Troon was granted Royal status in 1978, during its 100 year anniversary.
There don’t appear to be any Royal courses in the US, considering it wasn’t exactly a colony of the Brits back when golf courses started popping up in the early 1900s, but if there were, I’m sure the first would be Royal Lincoln Park in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. That course definitely has the Royal feel, don’t let anyone else tell you otherwise.
Now I’m wondering if the Royal family can designate any location as “Royal”. Like could the Starbucks I’m writing this at be a Royal Starbs, or if the PokeStop around the corner from my apartment can be a Royal PokeStop.
At just 123 yards, the 8th hole at Royal Troon is dubbed the Postage Stamp, is one of the more famous holes in British Open golf, partially because it’s super short, and partially because it has a cool name. Look for the Postage Stamp hole to be featured heavily on television coverage. Also, if anyone out there wants to do some cool graffiti, I suggest spray painting the Queen’s face on the green to make it look like a real British postage stamp. Just don’t say you got the idea from GOTM.
Instead of me trying to describe it, how about I just let this nice Scottish man describe the hole while some sort of drone camera revolves around it.
Also, if you’re looking for some more videos about the difficulty of the hole, check out Rory making a 9 in a practice round. Those bunkers are really deep.
Last Time at Troon
Todd Hamilton beat Ernie Els in a 4 hole aggregate playoff to claim his only major title. Yup that Todd Hamilton.
For some reason, the British Open seems to bring out some odd winners. Hamilton won in 2004, just two years after Ben Curtis, everyone’s favorite NFL sponsored pro golfer, won in 2002. Two guys who never really did anything before or after that win. But hey, can’t take away their names on the Claret Jug.
Apparently it does make a difference where in the UK the Open is played. Being the semi-ignorant American that I am, I always figured that it didn’t matter if the Open was played in England or Scotland. But apparently it does!
Since I couldn’t find a good map indicating where Troon was, I whipped out the screenshot again and got that picture below. Quite far up north. I also looked up sunrise and sunset times for Troon and apparently it’s only from 04:57 to 21:50 (9:50 for those incompetent at math). I always thought that Scotland would have ridiculously late sunset times, but 9:50 isn’t too unreasonable.
Despite what we talk about in the US, a links golf course is not just a course with open, tree-less, fescue laiden property. Links golf courses are ones where the front nine goes out from the clubhouse, and the back nine comes back to the clubhouse. Boom.
Checkout the super janky screenshot I took from Troon’s club’s website that shows the routing. The holes go out along the water, and then come back to the clubhouse.
Also, if you’ve ever heard the terms “outward 9” and “inward 9”, links courses are where they originated since holes literally go outward and then inward.
Also of note with the routing here, is that the first 6 holes play down the prevailing wind and are decently short, while the incoming holes are into the wind and longer. So don’t be surprised when players start off 4 or 5 under through 6, only to finish the round over par.
Early Morning Coverage
While I’m sure the networks love it when majors are played on the west coast, offering prime time coverage (remember the 2008 US Open at Torrey? TDubs winning playing in the evening was cool to watch) as a golf fan, I don’t want to have to wait and tap my toes all day for coverage to start.
This year, with tee times starting at 6:35 in the morning over in Scotland, 1:30am-4pm EST on Thursday and Friday. Go to a bar on Thursday night, and, at least in the midwest, you can get an hour and a half of morning coverage before the bars close. Then again, if you’re at a bar til 2 am close, you might not be able to wake up to enjoy the coverage all morning long. Watching golf is a balance.
What’s even better about that is that when the coverage is done, and you’re undoubtably pumped for whoever won, and all motivated to practice a lot and play yourself, you’ve still got 5 hours or so of sunlight left in the US to tee it up. And we all know, evening golf is best golf.
Even though coverage is moving to NBC / Golf Channel, Mike Tirico, my fave sports announcer is moving to that family of networks just in time to anchor coverage. Well I guess Johnny Miller will really be anchoring coverage, but Mike Tirico will be anchoring coverage in our hearts.
PGA Tour is back!
After a not desired week off due to flooding, the PGA Tour is back with an off week event, this time the Barbasol Championship down on the RTJGT. Check out coverage after the Open is done since we know you won’t have had your fix of pro golf at that point.
Time for another post major hangover! Luckily we have Tiger Woods to act as the Cool Blue Gatorade to help squash the throbbing headache we all have after watching DJ beat Oakmont and the USGA. It’s the Quicken Loans National!
Turns out new Band of Horses is as good as old Band of Horses.
Was anybody else out there as confused as I was when I looked at the schedule and realized that the tournament after the US Open is the QLN? Time to blame the stupid Olympics! The QLN is just the first event this year to be shifted to allow for the Olympics. This also means a PGA Championship in July, with just one event between the British Open and the PGA. That’s just dumb.
And because the Olympics are on NBC, and the Golf Channel is owned by NBC, you’re not gonna hear anyone in the media complaining about this. But really, golf in the Olympics are dumb. At least with the current format. I’ll have more on my dislike for it in the future, so get ready for at least a little more complaining.
Back to Congressional
After a year off, the QLN is moving back to Congressional CC, a classic course if there ever was one.
Most notably, Congressional is the site of Rory’s 8 shot victory at the 2011 US Open. I just looked at the scores again to make sure I had the numbers right, and Rory finished at -16, how’d the USGA let him do that?! They should have issued him a couple one stroke penalties to bring him down a notch or two or seven. /s
Rory will not be playing this week however, he’ll be in Germany for the BMW International.
Tiger in the house, just not playing
The PGA Tour loves having hosts, big names who can go there and call the tournament their own. Names bring people to tournaments. Casual fans don’t really care about watching “good golf”, they want to see players with names they recognize play golf. And having Tdubs associated with an event, even though he isn’t playing, it huge.
Anyway, as we all know, Tiger is unfortunately sidelined. Some reports saying that he reinjured himself (again) so who knows when, if ever, he’ll be back in competitive action.
Which actually, on a semi side note, is what makes Lebron the best. He doesn’t get hurt! Can you imagine playing that hard for 82 games, four 7 game series, getting hacked all the time, basically tackled at some points, and then having to do that for some 15 years? Injury prevention is severely underrated in a top athlete. That should be in the scouting report as a top level line item. Just ask Ryan Braun or Derrick Rose how that’s treating them during their careers. I get pretty excited imagining what could have been if only Tiger wasn’t hurt all the time.
Injured Tiger will be around the media this week, possibly deflecting questions about his health. So look for some speculative stories about his status coming from the media.
It’s that time of year again! With NCAAs done, the summer schedule heating up, the top ams turn pro, expect sponsor exemptions into these different tournaments. This week, we see the pro debuts of Arizona State’s Jon Rham, most recently the low am at last week’s US Open, and Jordan Niebrugge of Oklahoma State, previously the low am at last year’s British Open.
Amateurs like this, and others who will be highlighted in the coming weeks, are all trying to pull the Jordan Spieth move of playing well enough on the big Tour using sponsor exemptions to never have to dip down to the Web.com tour. A tall order for sure, but interesting to watch.
Look for more of these features in the coming weeks as other top ams attempt to transition.
The American Family Insurance Championship at University Ridge in Madison, Wisconsin, or simply Am Fam Champ. In keeping with the times, Steve Stricker, who isn’t even old enough yet to compete in Champions Tour events, serves as host. The Madison native will be out on the grounds and playing in a 9 hole exhibition scramble event along with Brett Favre, Mark Tauscher and Andy North. Now that’ll be a highly attended 9 holes.
U Ridge is really a cool course, front nine more open, and then head to a tree lined back nine, so check it out on tv when they show replays of the coverage at night. I’ve never been to a Champions Tour event, but apparently they have fields of only 81, and everyone uses carts. Which just sounds awesome.