SGIC’s Rage-Fueled Guide to the Golf Digest Holiday Gift Guide

Screw it. You’re all bad. Eat a bag of dirt.

**Thanks to the far more talented Drew Magary for the inspiration. I know it’s a cheap lift, but I’m giving credit where it’s surely due.  So buy his new book ‘The Hike’ on Amazon or at a bookstore.  

Thanksgiving is now past us, and the annual running of the absurd that is Black Friday is also in our collective rear view mirror, which means it’s 4 weeks until Christmas.  So everyone’s in the holiday spirit.  Except your humble scribe.  Before I became your humble scribe, I worked holidays and for a while dated someone who was a retail store manager, so the December of my younger years wasn’t a joyous occasion (if you’re at a drinking establishment the night of Christmas Eve and see a group of people drinking, odds are they’re retail workers blowing off steam; buy them a round).  I didn’t have time to argue with people about Happy Holidays v. Merry Christmas v. Happy Festivus v. Go Screw Yourself.  Frankly, I don’t care.  People turn into raging assholes this time of year for some reason (I’ll never forget some old woman getting out of her car to attempt to slap me because I dared honk to let her know the light was green and maybe she could drive more and put makeup on less), so my deft move is to give people a wide berth.  Seriously, if you start a fight in a mall over something, rethink your priorities in life.  If someone wishes you well, don’t get offended.

Luckily, Golf Digest has provided us with their annual Holiday Gift Guide, but for some odd reason did not provide the impetus as to how they selected these items.  Let’s go through a few of the more…unique items.

KETEL ONE BOTTLE CANDLE

Price: $35

They say: The creative minds at the ReluminationsDecor on Etsy took this keepsake a step further and made a candle out of Arnie’s bottle. It’s handmade to order and you can select the scent of the soy wax. Soy wax burns longer and cleaner, so expect this one to burn for around 120 hours in total—just long enough to keep you warm during golf’s offseason.

SGIC says: You can buy an actual bottle of Ketel One for $35 and at least drink the vodka.  Oh, but it’s Arnie’s special bottle!  He’s been dead for just over 2 years.  This is his grandchildren using his name to make a few bucks on a candle.  Unless it smells like lemonade and iced tea, why even bother?  If you spend $35 on a damn candle it better keep you warm.  Oh, and vodka is boring.  It’s the Chicken Caesar Salad of alcohol.  You can buy a bottle of Tito’s for $20 and it’s better.

J LINDBERG KIMBALL STRIPED FIELD SENSOR SWEATER

Price: $180 (seriously)

They say: Your favorite golfer may have plenty of midlayers, but likely hasn’t opted for a shade like this half-zip features in its color-blocking pattern. Elastic at the cuffs and hem, along with a mock neck add warmth to the cozy jacket. The moisture wicking fabric is lightweight and perfect for golf in any temperature. There are a few color options for this piece, but the fresh green shade is eye-catching and seasonal.

SGIC says: Remember 6-8 years ago when it seemed like half the European Tour were wearing J Lindberg’s stuff?  They’re still here.  BTW, unless you have the figure of a ballpoint pen, just take a hard pass.  Their stuff has a ‘tailored’ (i.e. tiny) fit.  Damn straight they don’t make sizes for larger people.  I played with a guy who had matching J Lindberg shorts and a shirt a few years ago.  Insufferable nitwit.  He looked good but he couldn’t break 110 on a muni course to save his life.  Of course he had high-end clubs and a staff bag.  Invest in lessons instead.

STITCH DAY PACK TOTE

Price: $198

They say: This 2-in-1 tote bag and backpack is as versatile as it gets and it’s no surprise the brilliant design comes from one of the coolest new golf bag companies, Stitch. This bag has more pockets than you’ll be able to fill and a magnetized passport pocket that’s perfect for travel. Each bag comes with the option of personalization by adding initials to the front on a modern design patch.

SGIC says: $200 for a backpack/tote bag.  When the economy tanks, there’s going to be a few hundred of these things lying around as a testament to how stupid people get in times of marginal prosperity.  Unless you’re being whisked away from your job on Wall Street to to the Hamptons to play a few rounds at daddy’s club and then hang out with Millicent or Muffy, this isn’t for you.

UTHER GOLF TOWEL

Price: $28

They say: Uther makes unique golf towels that will help you cross everyone off your list this holiday season. From florals to flamingos, funny messages to patriotic ones, you’ll definitely pick up a few. They’re also super absorbent, quick drying and clip to your bag with a carabiner. The waffle pattern removes dirt without damaging golf clubs and as a bonus they’re antimicrobial with natural odor reduction to keep things extra clean.

SGIC says:  Add “towel with funny saying” next to neoprene iron covers, ball retrievers, and using poker chips for ball markers to signs nobody wants to play with you.  Even using the “s” word should be a capital offence.  Be sure to tuck it into  your pants for maximum stupidity.

FOOT JOY 1857 DOUBLE MONK STRAP DRESS SHOE

Price: $598

They say: Your favorite golfer may have a pair of FootJoy golf shoes, but they probably don’t have a pair of dress shoes from the new FJ heritage collection. They’re on the pricier side, but that’s because each shoe goes through a 150-step process to ensure high quality craftsmanship. The Double Monk Strap shoe is made with Italian calfskin uppers for an ultra-luxe look and feel. They come in a cognac or navy that will enhance any outfit.

SGIC says: If my shoes don’t undergo a 155 step process I’m not wearing them.  So just to confirm, they’re not golf shoes.  I mean, I do like the monk strap style and they do look pretty good.  But $600 bucks for shoes?  Are you people on dope?  I can buy two pair of Cole-Haan’s or Allan Edmunds for that.

MIZZEN AND MAIN DRESS SHIRT

Price: $135, and your soul

They say: With all the buzz around this shirt, golfers on your list likely haven’t thought of purchasing one of their own. This shirt is really a “see it to believe it” kind of deal—or “play a round of golf in it to believe it.” The fabric really is performance-ready with moisture-wicking capabilities, fou- way stretch and is wrinkle resistant. The shirts from the Phil Mickelson collection have the Lefty’s logo on the left cuff for an added golf-approved touch.

SGIC says: By ‘buzz’, you mean the commercial with Phil Mickelson doing the worm and wearing it at the Players Championship.  In May.  In Florida where the temperature is usually eleventy billion degrees.  Be honest- if you got paired with a twosome wearing these shirts you’re probably entering rehab the next day.  Look, you have to respect the amount of Not Caring About Anything that Phil has.  He’s had his soul ripped out in several US Opens, and the odds are that it’s never going to happen for him.  But when he’s at home in his office day-trading and spread-betting on the Winter X Games, he probably looks good in that dress shirt.  And be honest- when he rolls up to his club and plays Wolf Hammer for $25K per hole, he looks good doing it.

PETER MILLAR SHOOIE PUTTER COVER

Price: $75

They say: Traditional loafer devotees will love this putter cover modeled after the Peter Millar X GFORE Cruiser Golf Loafer. It’s not for everyone, but might just be the perfect unexpected gift for that leather-tassel-loving guy on your list to protect his favorite golf club.

SGIC says: I wear loafers to work, but keep this shit away from my putter.  Unless you’re using this to cover up your Ole Billy Baroo, what are you even doing?  If I saw someone with this thing I’d ask them if they’re having a stroke, or ‘Who hurt you?’  You make the Scotty Cameron collectors seem rational.

LULULEMON MENS ABC PANT

Price: $128

They say: These pants are something that even if they already have a pair, they’ll gladly appreciate another. They can be worn for a casual round of golf, to the office or just around the house. The 5-pocket styling gives an upscale look while the four way stretch fabric feels like loungewear. The Black Plum or Dark Olive colorways are fresh and on-trend, while the classic navy or black will always be a hit.

SGIC says: They’re sweatpants.  And no, you cannot wear these things to the office.  Did Roger Sterling wear god damn sweatpants to the office?  NO!  Did Teddy Roosevelt wear sweatpants?  NO!  I know that everyone is collectively giving up, but just don’t.  Look, I’m all for wearing shorts and I’ve argued that the pro tours should permit shorts.  I draw the line at sweatpants.  And so should you.

LULULEMON WOMENS ALIGN PANT

Price: $98

They say: The moment she realizes she’s unwrapping something from Lululemon, you’ll see (and probably hear) the excitement. These yoga pants are another item that they’ll gladly accept repeats of. The Align “Nulu” fabric is softer than butter and extra lightweight—a noticeable and appreciated difference from most bottoms. She’ll wear them to the range, to yoga and every possible moment she can, they’re that comfortable. Black is always a classic and safe option, but if you’re feeling adventurous, the Dark Sport Red colorway is timely and fun.

SGIC says: She Who Is Really In Charge is a lot of things.  A fan of Lululemon is not one of them.  ‘So, you bought me yoga pants that cost $100’ is not really a great way to start the day unless she’s had at least 2 bottles of wine for breakfast.  Plus, they don’t really cater to most women, and their company seems to be run by evil assholes.  Are they still thin to where people can see the pattern of your underpants when you bend over?

OPPOSUITS

Price: $100 and up

They say: This is a gift you can be certain they don’t have—and at shockingly affordable prices. These hilarious suits are perfect for holiday parties and family photos. Great for the golfer that loves to stand out, just be ready to see them wearing it nonstop.

SGIC says: I can endure 7 minutes every Saturday night from October-early June of Racist Grandpa on Hockey NIght in Canada yelling incoherently at whatever while Ron Maclean looks at him wondering how he got here.  At least Don Cherry goes to Fabricland to get his jackets made.  I can’t endure Trent, Aiden, and Logan hanging out looking like matching dorks.  Cherry has been dressing ridiculously for 3 decades.  Opposuits should be paying him residuals.

Unfamiliar with Don Cherry’s haberdashery?

Image result for don cherry

From the ‘American Psycho, Canadian Edition

It’s like the 1980’s never left.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

If you need more of this in your life then check out the Don We Now Our Gay Apparel Blog.

RLX RALPH LAUREN SHERPA FLEECE JACKET

Price: $148

They say: Tartan plaid is the pattern of winter 2018-19. What was once a staple in golf is now back in style and better than ever. While there are plenty of plaid trousers to choose from, opt for this winter-ready jacket from RLX. The fluffy fabric elevates this statement piece to work well on and off the course, while the right chest pocket add utility.

SGIC says: It’s TARTAN TIME.  Why wear ordinary patterns when you can wear TARTAN!  TARTAN EVERYTHING!  Seriously, that fleece is pretty nice (for $150 it better be).

HOOK & ALBERT WEEKENDER BAG

Price: $357

They say: Great for the style-conscious traveler, this minimal duffel transforms into a garment bag that holds up to two suits. It’s also got two shoe pockets and accessory pockets for small items. When not in use, it folds flat for easy storage. This really is the bag they didn’t know they needed but won’t be able to live without. A variety of colors and styles are available, but we like this Limited Edition Twill Gray Fabric because it’s modern looking and will keep clean through the toughest travel.

SGIC says: $350+ for a duffel bag?  Oh, you assholes like the Limited Edition Twill Grey, well I WANT TARTAN PLAID to match my fleece.  And I want TARTAN PLAID sweatpants.

TED BAKER RUNER KNITTED FOLD-OVER RUCKSACK

Price: $289

They say: Everyone needs a cool backpack, no matter how old they are. This Ted Baker fold-over bag has a laptop pocket, top handle and padded shoulder straps that are ultra comfortable. The mixed media design is modern and upscale, perfect for everyday wear.

SGIC says: What, no TARTAN PLAID?  If I’m spending $300 on a bag that doesn’t come in TARTAN PLAID then what am I even doing?  I’m sure that this bag must be great in wet weather.  Bet it soaks up lots of water.  C’mon…TED.

HOOK & GAFF KING TIDE WATCH

Price: $750 (seriously)

They say: This sport watch is nautical-inspired, but perfect for any occasion. For water watchers, you can set the tide to your precise location and it is water-tight up to 660 feet. The navy strap is elegant yet comfortable and the face is scratch-resistant for those less elegant moments.

SGIC says: When Judge Smails invites me to the yacht club, I’m wearing this thing along with my ascot.  Nautical inspired?  You god damn right.  I better get that caddie scholarship.

COMO AUDIO AMICO SPEAKER

Price: $400

They say: Even the most particular audio heads will appreciate this smart speaker. With a real teak wood veneer, this portable speaker is weather resistant for at-home or on-the-course tunes. It’s also got 8 hours of playback time and a rear bass port that doubles as a handle for easy carry.

SGIC says: This thing is gigantic.  Golf Digest are the same assholes who prattle on about how walking is this integral part of the game while hawking this crap.  First off, it’s gigantic so it’ll take some work to get it loaded into your cart.  Second, Judge Smails doesn’t like music on the golf course.  Third, people that own crap like this usually have terrible taste in music.  4 hours of Nickelback and Daughtry should be a felony.

IN CONCLUSION

I say this nearly every year, but if there’s a golfer in your life, buy them a dozen balls of their preferred make/model.  Less than $50, and wrapping them is a cinch.  If you really want to splurge, think long weekend somewhere sunny and warm this winter.

 

 

The Match, Redux

Photo rights to Turner/Getty

Your Literal Money Shot From ‘The Match’

Being old enough to remember the made-for-TV event that was The Skins Game, I was intrigued about the Tiger Woods-Phil Mickelson ‘Match’ that took place the day after Thanksgiving at Shadow Creek in Las Vegas.  In the end, it was a dud on several levels but it does answer (and pose) a few thoughts going forward.

  1. B/R Live is a disaster/gong show/goat rodeo.  It’s criminal that they have the UEFA Champions League/Europa League rights and have the vast majority of games behind their paywall (with a lot of users complaining about quality).  Their announcers and studio crews (on the games they show on TNT) are worse than the idiots on Fox (which is saying something).  Their attempt at charging $19.99 for the Tiger-Phil match was worse.   In the end, because they couldn’t process payments they opened it up for screening online with no charge which is how yours truly watched it (as of today nearly every provider has provided refunds).  My hope is that this puts an end to anyone ever trying the PPV route and that B/R Live ends up swimming with the fishes.
  2. Ernie Johnson is one of the nicest people you could ever hope to meet.  His story is incredible and I wish him improved health.  From all accounts he does a great job at the studio host of TNT’s basketball coverage.  Golf, however, isn’t his lane.  Too many times he was talking over coverage.  Not sure if this was him or the director, but it was bad.  When Tiger and Phil are wearing microphones, the second they start talking should be a cue to zip it.
  3. Shane Bacon was good in a difficult role.  He’s one of a very small list of people on Fox’s golf coverage that aren’t awful.  There’s no way they’d feed Joe Buck to the wood chipper (even though he’s terrible), but if I were Fox I’d go with Shane Bacon and Brad Faxon (Paul Azinger’s Grumpy Old Man routine has worn thin).
  4. They didn’t sell tickets to the public, and  yet, the VIP’s that got in were still yelling crap.  Heard at least one Baba Booey and something about Sizzler.  So sure glad they kept the unwashed out.
  5. The golf itself wasn’t very good.  Tiger didn’t seem remotely interested, and Phil was what you’d expect.  I mean, if you’re Tiger you’re set for life.  The only thing that has to interest him at this point are majors and racking up more Tour wins to add to his ’14 and 80′ tally.  The pace of play was horrendous.  Tempted to suggest they might want to use carts if there’s a repeat.
  6. Way too many talking heads. One lead announcer, one analyst, 1 or 2 on-course reporters and that’s really it.  Again…TELL ME SOMETHING I DON’T KNOW OR ISN’T READILY SEEN.  I didn’t mind Charles Barkley.  Maybe Bacon, Charles, Darren Clarke and Pat Perez on the course.  That’s plenty.
  7. Shadow Creek was a decent choice as a venue, but several greens appeared to have been aerated recently.  Not exactly what you’d hope for.  In a previous life I knew a guy in Vegas who thought Shadow Creek was the greatest thing in the world.  Bought some giant coffee table book and loved it (back when you had to have a personal invite from Steve Wynn to play there; now you have to be a guest at one of his resorts and willing to pay $500 to play).
  8. MGM Resorts was actively promoting hole-by-hole wagering.  Didn’t mind it.  It’s probably the wave of the future.
  9. Spare me the whining about “oh, for $9 million they could have (insert name of worthy cause).”  They didn’t.  It was never a trade-off.  Turner put up the money, they took a bath.  Welcome to Commerce 101.
  10. The 93-yard playoff hole was interesting.  Not a fan but glad they had an option in case of darkness.
  11. The HBO 24/7 wasn’t bad.  If you’ve seen one, you know what you’re getting.  If I were Mike Whan (LPGA Commissioner) I’d try to get the HBO 24/7 team to cover a tour event.

Johnny, (Occasionally) Angry Johnny (an Appreciation)

Johnny Miller and Seve Ballesteros. Probably not discussing that 63 at Oakmont.

With the NBA season tipping off last night, the NHL season entering its third week (thankfully, the Leafs are off to a hot start and yes- those of you who follow me on Twitter may see my feed become more Leaf-centric for a while), the MLB playoffs down to the last four and the NFL season doing what it does, some things get lost in the shuffle.  This week’s announcement that Johnny Miller will be leaving the broadcast booth after he does one final event (the 2019 Waste Management Open- CBS has (pro football championship game whose title shan’t be mentioned) a conflict so they’re dumping the coverage to NBC (NBC will dump a February weekend to CBS every 4 years when it conflicts with the end of the Winter Olympics).  Related, thumbs up to Golfweek’s ‘The Forecaddie’ for getting this first.

NBC’s decision to use Paul Azinger from Fox is a colossal disappointment.  In multiple years of working with Joe Buck on Fox, they still have zero chemistry and they still provide nothing of value to the viewer.  Buck has this habit of having to put his stamp on things; great moments in sports don’t need it (and he has this habit of talking over things when letting the pictures speak would be better for all involved).

From watching US Opens on Fox, Azinger’s biggest fault is that he routinely fails to use his biggest strength, which is his perspective as a former player.  Viewers don’t need narratives about tradition.  We aren’t former touring professionals; Paul is.  He’s won a major, and yet, he rarely (if ever) provides that perspective.  He’s too busy talking about the history of the game.  Put me in the head of a guy trying to win a major and spare me waxing poetic about how great you think the USGA is.  The final round of a major isn’t that time nor the place.  Four full years with Fox and other than Shane Bacon and Brad Faxon, there’s not a single reason to listen (their technology is fantastic).

Miller has been part of NBC since 1990.  By and large, he’s taken the viewer into what players are thinking on the back nine on Sunday when they’re trying to win.  He used the word ‘choke’ in context with a player.  He hasn’t shied away from being critical of players.  I know the Tiger fanboys don’t want to hear this (lest anyone speak ill of Dear Tiger), but offering criticisms of players is quite literally why many of the talking heads have jobs.  He’s been critical of the best players, which is his job.  Being critical of the top players (when warranted) is part of that.

Any budding announcers, regardless of sport, should remember that if you’re doing TV, the viewer is watching.  He/she can see.  Your words should supplement what’s being viewed.  Analysts should think similarly.  I’ve never played professional sports.  Paul Azinger has.  He’s won a major.  So help me, the viewer, know what’s going on by telling me things I can’t see.  If an on-course reporter can tell me what kind of lie that “X” has in the rough, walk me through what a player might be thinking given this information.  Don’t use 25 words if 15 are sufficient, but don’t use 25 if you need 40 or 50 to provide context.

Challenge: watch the final round of an event with the volume off for 30-40 minutes.  Notice how little most announcers contribute?  They go from shot to shot, and tell you that player X is putting for birdie/par.  Think about the maddening four minutes that JB Holmes spent trying to figure out his second shot at the Farmers Insurance Open earlier this year.  Now, think about how little (if anything) the announcers were contributing to this debacle.

Miller, at his best, provided that reason to listen.  He won majors, and knew what it was like (he also successfully managed to balance family life & fatherhood with a professional career) to be in contention.  Yes- he could go on a bit about his famous 63 at Oakmont (and yes- I may or may not have made a drinking game about Miller) but the fact is he shot a 63 and won a US Open, which, to borrow a term, means he has Scoreboard.  More significantly, he could articulate what a tour pro was going through in a final round, which often gets lost in the shuffle.

I’m not NBC/Golf Channel, but if I was, I’d have given some of their internal folks a crack at the job before going outside and sharing Azinger with Fox (where Azinger would be useful is during Ryder Cup week; having him and Colin Montgomerie together would be an absolute must-listen).  David Duval and Justin Leonard have the ‘won a major’ box ticked, and Brandel Chamblee would provide a bit of spice (and controversy) to broadcasts.  Frank Nobilo is another option I’d like to see given a crack.  Maybe, if you were bringing Mike Tirico into the booth (replacing Dan Hicks) I could get behind reuniting Tirico and Azinger, but beyond that, it’s a hard pass.

So thanks for everything, Johnny.  Hope you’re able to enjoy retirement with your family (which has always been your top priority, as it should).

My Friend Mary Jane

With the country I grew up in set to go full legalization of marijuana and my current state only at the ‘medical’ marijuana state, I thought I’d try to talk like an adult about why I used it, and why I don’t anymore.

Until golf became my full time sport of choice, I played contact/collision sports for years.  Hockey, football and rugby at various stages occupied much of my time.  I still miss playing hockey, and the people I met playing rugby are some of the finest people you could ever hope to meet.

Unfortunately, playing contact/collision sports means that hitting is involved, and hitting (and being hit) does hurt.  Anyone who tells you otherwise is full of shit.  I’ve broken bones, had sprains, tears, pulls, charley horses, concussions, and a raft of other issues.  Most mornings, limbs hurt.

Which brings us back to marijuana.  I’ve used it.  I currently don’t because drug tests are very much on the horizon for me (no bad reasons; I don’t have a criminal record of any kind unless you consider 2 speeding tickets in 24 years criminal activity).  It helped me in two areas:

  1. Pain management.  It helped better than pain medication did without concerns about becoming addicted to it.  Unfortunately, I did become addicted to eating more than I normally do, which explains why I’m fat.  I gained weight (I gained additional weight when I gave up smoking cigarettes; if you’re curious nicotine is a great appetite suppressant, among other things).
  2. Stress/Anxiety.  After a long and stressful day at work, it helped me de-stress and be able to relax enough to sleep without hoovering up Ambien like they’re jelly beans.  I slept better on nights I smoked marijuana than on nights that I didn’t.  FWIW, I never woke up with any hangover effects beyond a desire for a hearty breakfast usually involving waffles or pancakes.

As it relates to golf, it would not surprise me to see someone experiment with edibles (if they didn’t want to smoke) if they needed to relax the night before an important round.  Same for someone who might be in pain but doesn’t want to feel drugged up on painkillers.

On a personal note, I think marijuana should be legal in the US.  Period.  It’s not addictive and there’s not a credible study that shows marijuana is a gateway drug.  I used cocaine twice in college before I found marijuana.  I have zero desire to ever use cocaine again (among other things, the paranoia is a TERRIBLE thing for me).  The only thing keeping me from using marijuana is concerns over a potential positive drug test.  Take that out of the picture and I’d probably be using it periodically (either smoking it or as an edible).

 

 

A Detailed Analysis About the Tiger Woods-Phil Mickelson PPV Match

Q: Is it free?

A: No. BR Live (who has the exclusive rights) is charging $25 to watch.

Q: Is there a non-PPV option?

A: No.

Q: Are Tiger and Phil putting up the money?

A: No.

Q: Can the public buy grounds tickets to watch the match in person?

A: No.

Q: Am I going to invest any time or effort to watch or find highlights?

A: No.

Save your money and either spend the money on yourself, treat someone to lunch, or donate to charity.  If you want to watch golf over Thanksgiving weekend, the Australian Open will be on late night (ET) and prime time (PT).  It’ll be on Golf Channel.

 

In Memoriam, The 2018 US Ryder Cup Team (A Eulogy of Sorts)

Image result for 2018 us ryder cup team photo

Sometimes, a picture is truly worth 1000 words. Or more.

Dearly beloved,

Today we gather as one to pay our final respects and toast the life and success of the 2018 US Ryder Cup team, who flew over to Paris as heavy favorites and returned having lost a squeaker 17.5 to 10.5.  Unfortunately, the US players can’t join us today, as their court-mandated session with Dr. Molly Griswold next door (because a fake team certainly deserves a fake doctor-lady) conflicts.  Let us bow our heads in a moment of silence before we go on.

(LOUD NOISE in the form of punches landing on someone’s body echo in the background; Dustin Johnson and Brooks Koepka are wrestling on the ground and throwing punches.  Both men are bleeding). “Guys, come on.”

Oh dear, it seems that Dustin and Brooks skipped out on their session. This is rather unfortunate.  I didn’t want to have to do this, but you leave me no choice but to use this tranquilizer dart gun.  Security, take them instead to visit Stuart Smalley.  Guys, you did mixed doubles all wrong.  Be better.

This wasn’t supposed to happen.  This was supposed to be the dawn of a decade of American dominance, according to Alan Shipnuck who is never wrong about these things. After beating Europe two years ago at Hazeltine, the US was supposed to be in the ascendancy with the kind of talent that hasn’t been seen before!  We have a picture of Alan’s “source” for these predictions.

The US Won the 2018 Ryder Cup! Everyone Knows This!

Really, Alan?  Let’s go back to 1999.  Coming off losses in 1995 and 1997, the US was hoping to regain control of the trophy.  Fresh off a final day comeback in Boston where Europe was defeated, the US was set to soar into the ascendency.  A US team led by Tiger, David Duval, Justin Leonard and Phil Mickelson would be the backbone of American dominance.  Or would they?

Fast forward to 2008, where, after 3 straight losses to Europe, (2002 (the 2001 matches were postponed a year due to the 9/11/01 terrorist attacks), 2004, 2006) Paul Azinger’s vaunted “pod” system propels the US team to a win over Europe.  US optimism was running rampant on that final day, and with good reason.  A quartet of exciting rookies led the way for a US win in Kentucky that would surely be the foundation for future success.  Hunter Mahan, Ben Curtis, JB Holmes and Anthony Kim would join elite players like Tiger and Phil for success in the future.  C’mon, sure this had to work, right?

So, 8 years later (after losses in 2010, 2012 and 2014) the US team, with the fruits of their now-famous Task Force after the infamous 2014 press conference at Gleneagles, beat Europe handily to take back the trophy.  This time would be different.  You had a ‘greatest generation’ of young talents; Jordan Spieth, Patrick Reed, Dustin Johnson, Rickie Fowler and Brooks Koepka.

I believe it was the Smiths who sang “Stop Me If You Think You’ve Heard This One Before.”  On an album that quite literally was released after the band broke up. Metaphors running fast and furious today, kids!  Join in if you know the words:

Europe in 2018, we were told, was old.  Not good enough.  A mix of beyond-their-prime players and rookies who didn’t know about Ryder Cup pressure.  Thomas Bjorn was from Denmark.  Let’s take a look at the European Team’s pump-up video they showed the players the night before the first day’s matches.

Stirring stuff, you’d have to admit.  A nice reminder about passing of the torch.  And now, the US team’s video, which somehow they left behind in the destruction of the US team room.

After seeing that US team’s video, I know I’m pumped up.  TO LIVE IN A VAN DOWN BY THE RIVER.

To borrow a term from Cliff Fletcher, Video Shmideo. If you need a video to get pumped up then you’ve got bigger problems, right?  I mean, look at that stacked US team.  The young core from Hazeltine who would assuredly not do anything silly or dumb, combined with Veterans with a Winning Ryder Cup Pedigree in Phil Mickelson and Tiger Woods.  Tiger had won the Tour Championship the previous Sunday.  Win number 80!  What could possibly go wrong for this team?

Oh.  So other than everything, Captain Furyk how was your week in Paris?  Let’s count the ways, shall we?

Brooks Koepka and Dustin Johnson got into an altercation on the flight to Paris.

They got into a second altercation Sunday night in the European team room.  The reasons for the scraps aren’t really appropriate to mention here.

Brooks then had a wayward drive during Friday’s matches that hit a spectator in the face causing her to lose sight from one of her eyes.  This is what some would call an omen.

Phil Mickelson looked old and useless and no amount of Mizzen and Main dancing could help. He conceded the winning point after rinsing his tee shot against Moliniari and gave the world a nice visual to what the word metaphor means.  He then complained about how unfair the course was with its narrow fairways and deep rough.  But he’s still pretty nimble when he’s wearing his American Flag pajama pants (which apparently were a thing).  Which might be the most impressive thing he did all week.

If only this could have earned the US team a point.

Patrick Reed complained about pretty much everyone and everything, and his family decided to defend him on Twitter (which always goes well) even though he knew what was going to happen.  I’m shocked that this guy’s Tour nickname is “Table For 1” (among his FELLOW TOURING PROS).  Oh wait, no I’m not.  Really, though- taking a verbal run at Tiger has never worked out badly. If the Green Jackets served him the champions dinner in a dog bowl on the veranda, who’d blame them at this point?

Seriously- in 2 years Reed went from being a so-called Captain America to a guy you don’t touch with a 40-foot pole.  It’s almost as if the rumors about him from college were predictable, but let’s go with the ‘nobody saw it coming’ tripe.

Bryson Dechambeau and his cadre of scientific stuff proved equally useless.  Blame the metric system, I guess. They even made him his own special Hogan cap because genius boy can’t wear a regular hat like the rest of the team.

Bubba Watson demonstrated his usual effectiveness playing overseas; it’s not like he ever had a blow-up at this course before.  Oh, never mind.  His career Ryder Cup record is the equivalent of the 2018 Baltimore Orioles.  Career record of 4 wins in 14 matches. What level of delusion does one have to have to think “yup, I can help the team” with that record.  A one-trick pony who phones it in when things go off the rails when he’s not crying (his caddie being tasked with cleaning up his messes is never not funny).

Tiger Woods looked old and tired.  Playing 4 rounds in Atlanta heat and humidity and then flying across the Atlantic almost immediately was never going to end well for him; not to mention the emotional come-down from winning.  It’s hard to win on Tour, and that he made it look easy for so many years only underscores how dominant he was.  The rain pants in sunny weather was a bold strategy.  Was he trying to cut weight or something?  Should have gotten him a squirrel or something.

Rickie Fowler didn’t play well either, but he didn’t seem to do anything stupid, so he’s got that going for him.

Webb Simpson wasn’t bad either; he didn’t do anything dumb and played pretty well.  On the US team this is called ‘having a great Ryder Cup.’

Tony Finau was pretty good and again, managed to go 3 days without doing anything dumb.  Major success!

Other than those two, combined with Jordan Spieth (who got destroyed in the singles) and Justin Thomas, the team effort was one long fart noise.

The excuses coming from the US team were…something.  “They grew the rough up and it was unfair.”  Seriously?  Pretty obvious that this was going to be the plan.  I’m no expert but maybe they should have had a task force on how to find a god damn fairway.  To that point, at some point a US Ryder Cup team captain is going to understand that there’s a difference between the never-ending trough of 72-hole stroke play events on the PGA Tour and four-ball and foursomes (so-called alternate shot) events and start to pick Horses for Courses.

“The greens were slower than we’re used to putting on.”  They had 3 days of practice, and unless my eyes were deceiving me, Europe had to putt on them as well.  They also had 2 years to prepare knowing full well what Europe was going to do to set up the golf course; makes you wonder what exactly they were doing in that time.

“Their crowds were out of control.” Yup; first time this has happened. The crowds at previous Ryder Cups have been completely devoid of controversy or negative comments about other players.  The Country Club in Boston during 1999 was well-behaved like I’m anorexic.

“Furyk should/shouldn’t/should/shouldn’t have done something else.”  Or, you know, you could try playing better.

Reminder that Mickelson, Dechambeau and Tiger were captain’s picks.  Zero points.  To quote Dean Vernon Warmer, “zero point zero.”  Maybe Furyk should have made them wear the Chiliwear shirts that he made famous.  Maybe top them off with the Duffy Waldorf Hawaiian print hats (remember, always steer in the direction of the skid).

Sneak peek at the 2020 Ryder Cup scripting for Sunday.

The other (non-Adam Shipnuck) talking heads were just as bad.  Golf.com had 9 of their 12 prognosticators pick the US team. Golf Digest, Golf Channel were equally bad.  This inevitable slaughter in Europe has happened in 1997, 2002, 2006, 2010, 2014 and 2018.  You’d think they’d see a pattern or something, but instead they throw out the same talking points and blind enthusiasm from the previous 4 years (flash back 4 years ago and you had the same level of delusional thinking about the US team’s chances).  Insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result.

But surely there must be some positives to look forward to as we inch towards 2020, when the Ryder Cup is contested at Whistling Straits in Wisconsin.  A few things to look forward to:

  • Steve Stricker will probably be the captain because he seems polite, he’s from Wisconsin and it’s his turn or something.
  • Dustin Johnson finally figuring out what a bunker is on the 18th Too soon?
  • Eleventy billion viewings of the time John Daly threw a club into the lake. Nice form that.
  • Your first 9,000-yard course that has no rough, 100-yard fairway widths, and an actual clown’s mouth on the putting greens that will stimp out at 25. People will then wonder why balls oscillate in wind.
  • Should Europe retain the cup, at least one prognosticator will blame the wind and say something like “nobody could have predicted it would be windy” with a straight face or something equally intelligent remarking on how it is that Bubba Watson isn’t good in this format.
  • Hopefully every hole will have TopTracer (or similar) technology.
  • Johnny Miller along for one final ride with Dan Hicks before David Duval comes in hard with “Imma let you finish talking about your 63 at Oakmont, but you never had a 59 in tournament play.”
  • The over/under on times you’ll see fans wearing Cheese Heads is set at 37 trillion.
  • Hearing “USA, USA, USA” every six seconds.

But, we digress.  Let us bow our heads, take a moment of quiet reflection, and mourn the loss and departure of the 2018 US Ryder Cup team.  Oh dear, Patrick Reed has had a second Michelob Ultra and is screaming profanities at everyone and complaining that nobody likes him, which explains his ‘Table For One’ nickname on tour and his listening to Imagine Dragons on a loop.  If only someone could have warned him about Imagine Dragons:

Oops.

It’ll be 29 years of no wins in Europe by the time the 2022 US Ryder Cup team heads to Italy to try to win.  Looking forward to the same stories in four years’ time about how the US team will be overwhelming favorites to win in Italy.

Go in peace.

 

DC Back in the Fold in a “Major” Way, and Tour Championship Insanity

Thoughts on another rainy day here while waiting to have a roofer perform leaks to my roof for the second week running:

The PGA of America rolled out a major announcement involving its championships and Congressional CC:

To borrow one of their old marketing terms, this is major.  Let’s go to the video:

KPMG LPGA Championship: 2022, 2027

Senior PGA Championship: 2025, 2033

Junior PGA Championship: 2024

PGA Club Professional Championship: 2029

PGA Championship: 2031

Ryder Cup: 2036

Staggering.  Badly needed.  I’ve written previously how the PGA Tour leaving this area with their revamped 2018-19 “wrap-around” season was one of the dumber things they’ve done (more on that later), and in comes the PGA of America with 8 championships to be held at Congressional.  That Keith Foster (h/t to Brandon Porath for letting me know about this) will ‘hopefully’ redo Congressional and undo much of Rees Jones’ work is the whipped cream and cherry on top of a delicious sundae.

Let’s start with the LPGA.  Their tour should be playing the best courses in the world (this includes majors).  They’ve played at Oakmont for a US Open (Christina Kim raved about Oakmont; good enough for me) and Pinehurst #2.  Pebble Beach should be on their rota of US Open venues.  The women can, and should be playing the same rota of courses as the men.  Their tour is more than capable and deserves it.

The Senior PGA comes back twice (RTJ is more than worthy if they want a venue in Virginia) and they get the same; iconic course in a big media market.

The Junior and PGA Club Professional events aren’t high-profile but holding them at Congressional is a nice signal that they want to upgrade the caliber of courses.  Good for them.

The PGA Championship and the Ryder Cup speak for themselves.  The Ryder Cup is very much a ‘one shot’ deal (not to get too far ahead but by September (please let September be dry that year) of 2036 Patrick Reed will be 46, Rory McIlroy will be 47 which is that sweet spot for captains).   Assuming the PGA Championship doesn’t move off its new May slot, in DC May ‘can’ be really nice and is typically devoid of the swamp-ass humidity of summer (hopefully concurrent with a deep Capitals run to the Conference Final where they lose to my beloved Leafs while the Nationals get off to a roaring start).

Tour Championship:

The announcement today about changes for the 2019 Tour Championship are, at best, foolhardy and at worst, the single dumbest idea in professional sports.  From the Golfweek article:

The player who has the most FedEx Cup points after next season’s BMW Championship will start the first round of the 2019 Tour Championship with a score of 10 under par and a two-shot lead over the second-highest FedEx Cup point earner who will begin at 8 under. The player ranked third will start at 7 under, while the golfers who arrive at East Lake in fourth and fifth will start at 6 under and 5 under, respectively.  The next five players on the list will begin at 4 under par, with scores regressing by one shot for every five golfers until the players who enter the Tour Championship ranked between 26th and 30th start the events at even par on the first day.

Drinking bleach sounds better than this steaming turd.

I have spent two days trying to come up with anything remotely close to it in terms of a comparable.  The pro tennis tours wouldn’t let the #1 player start up 2-0 in the first set.  Track & field doesn’t let the fastest qualifier have a 10 meter head start.  No professional team sport lets a team start a game up in score over the other team.  You know who did this?

The original American Gladiators (the one that started in 1989).

Take that in.  The PGA Tour looked at American Gladiators and thought “hey, they’ve got something there.”

So that’s where professional golf is.  The obvious answer of having a match play Tour Championship doesn’t work for TV because they’re afraid of a bad final match-up (I’m just spit-balling here, but if your top 30 players can’t produce a decent final round that will get eyeballs, that’s not exactly a ringing endorsement of your marketing efforts).  So we’ll rule that out because of…reasons.

The other option is play a Wed-Sat 72 hole event, and the top 4 (or 6) make the Final Round; a one-round low-score wins it all deal (easy to market; 4 or 6 players, one round, low score wins the Tour Championship and the $15 million).  If you go to the top 6 and want to reward season-long excellence, give the top 1 (or 2) finishers in the standings an automatic berth in the Final Round.  A top seed earning a bye?  Yeah, there’s a ton of evidence showing this happening in other sports.  If you want to give the top seed something, let them pick who they play with in the Final Round and if they go out in the first or second group (maybe you pick a couple guys who you’re comfortable with rather than a couple guys you don’t get on with).

Another idea is a form of gradual elimination.  Start by playing 2 rounds of ‘qualifiers’ (like the first two rounds at most events) and let the top half advance into the next stage (giving the top 2 or 4 finishers an automatic bye into the next stage- their benefit after a long season is a less grueling path to the Final Round), and then have 2 rounds of single-round eliminations.  Say you get the top 30 whittled down after 2 days to the top 14 or 16.  Round 3 cuts it down to 10, round 4 cuts it to 6, and then the top 6 play a Final Round for everything.  It’s about elevating your game for the playoffs.  I’m pretty sure I’ve heard athletes talk about that before.

You could play the Tour Championship on the West Coast (nothing against East Lake) and finish in prime time on the East Coast on either Sunday or Monday (start on Golf Channel, switch to NBC).  It’s not like the TV landscape in late August is over-run with better options unless the orgy of so-called reality TV shows and reruns has some grand appeal.

The argument that is being made is down to what value does the regular season have?   Does being the best player over the course of a long season matter as opposed to a ‘playoff’ system that the Tour seems to want.  In team sports, it’s the team that performs best in the playoffs that wins the championship.  In the NFL, a 14-2 regular season record is great but teams have lost Super Bowls to teams with 9-7 records.  Is the 14-2 team better because of their record over a 17-week regular season or is a 9-7 team better because in the Super Bowl they were the better team on that day?  Note- either case has valid points.  What you can’t do is say to the 14-2 team that you’re going to start the Super Bowl up 14-0 over the 9-7 team.

That, dear reader, is what the PGA Tour is trying to do.  They want their Super Bowl, but they want to give the team with the best record a head start.  It’s a terrible idea; the Tour and its fans deserve better.

 

 

REVEALED- The Secret Ryder Cup Selection Meetings (SHHHHH)!

Image result for us ryder cup team photos

The 2006 US Ryder Cup Team photo. Majestic in its earth-tones (photo property of Alamy).

As everyone takes a collective breath from the thrilling conclusion that was the final round of the 100th USPGA Championship at Bellerive, the next major event in the golf calendar is the Ryder Cup from September 28-30 in France (no disrespect to the FedEx Cup Playoffs, but the Ryder Cup is something else entirely different).  The US will be looking to win on foreign soil in a Ryder Cup for the first time since 1993 while Europe will want to reclaim the trophy away from the US team.

With qualifying for Ryder Cup spots completed, this means that 8 of the 12 spots on the US team are filled, leaving Jim Furyk in charge of picking the last 4 spots in early September.  The players who have qualified so far are as follows: Brooks Koepka, Dustin Johnson, Justin Thomas, Patrick Reed, Bubba Watson, Jordan Spieth, Rickie Fowler, and Webb Simpson.

Players being considered for the last 4 spots are (in order of ranking) Bryson Dechambeau, Phil Mickelson, Tiger Woods, Xander Schauffele, Matt Kuchar, Kevin Kisner, Tony Finau, Kyle Stanley, Bryan Harman, Kevin Na, Gary Woodland and Zach Johnson.  Jimmy Walker (#24) and JB Holmes (#31) are also rumored to being considered.

In order to make the best decision possible, Jim Furyk with his assistant captain Steve Stricker conducted interviews with each player.  They were supposed to be private, but SGIC spies were successful in planting a wireless microphone and obtained tapes of those conversations; the transcriptions appear below.  And lordy, there are tapes.

Jim Furyk (JF): Well, Steve, we really have a tough job ahead of us today.  We have 14 world-class professionals to talk to for only 4 spots.  Any thoughts?

Steve Stricker (SS): Yeah. Just do what I did last year.  Take the best players.  Why are you overthinking this?  Didn’t Alan Shipnuck say we were in an era of US dominance?  I mean, he’s smart, right?

JF: Seriously?  That International Team was awful.  Hal Sutton could have put his cowboy hat back on and captained our boys to a win.  The Europeans are a lot better so we have to be stronger from 1-12.  Speaking of which, how do you think I’d look in a cowboy hat.

SS: Ridiculous.

JF: I disagree.

SS: Well, let’s talk to these guys and see what they have to say.

JF: Sounds good.  Bryson, come on in.

Bryson Dechambeau comes in wearing his trademark Hogan cap, a lab coat and carrying several scientific instruments.

JF: Bryson, why do you think you should be a captain’s pick for the 2018 Ryder Cup team?

Bryson Dechambeau: Well, I won the Memorial Tournament this year, and I won a US Amateur before turning professional and my calculations show that my chakra will come into peak bloom in late September.  My strokes gained average is up nearly a stroke over last year.

JF: And then what happened?

BD: Things went okay, I guess.  I mean, I finished 9th in the standings behind Webb Simpson!

SS: Minus your temper tantrum.  Finishing behind Webb isn’t really a selling point.

There’s a door exploding as Tiger Woods kicks the door in holding two cans of Monster energy drink…he drinks one of the cans in one large chug and throws the empty at Bryson’s head.

Tiger Woods (TW): Oh, that’s nice nerd boy. You won a US Amateur.  I have 3 of those.  In a row.  You won the Memorial?  Isn’t that nice.  I’ve won it 5 times.

BD: You’re also a lot older than me.

TW: And better.

JF: Tiger, if you can just wait your turn, we’ll get to everyone.

TW: (grabs other can of Monster, chugs it in one move) Jim, you will put me on the team. NOW.

JF: I don’t know.  Steve, what do you think?

SS: Tiger, how does your back feel?  Can you hold up for all 3 days?

TW: I don’t know (loud noise as he turns his hat around, chugs a 4th can and proceeds to bench press an 800 pound anvil that just happened to be in the room).  Pretty good I suppose.

JF: Tiger, I’m concerned because you’ve only been a part of one winning Ryder Cup team.

TW: I’m not. Jim, the only reason you have two Ryder Cup wins to my one win is because I was injured in 2008 after I won the US Open on a broken leg.  You know damn well I’d have been on the team.

JF: I shot a 59 and a 58.

TW: 14 majors, not counting my 3 US Amateur wins.

JF: I won a US Open.  I mean, doesn’t everyone have a US Open win?

A loud “screw you both” is heard from outside the room in a voice that sounds very much like Phil Mickelson’s voice.

SS: Guys, come on. This isn’t working.  Bryson, how are you going to handle hostile crowds in France?  A European Ryder Cup crowd can be pretty daunting.

BD: Well, I did a statistical regression analysis on that and my analysis shows that their crowds are actually quite tame.

SS: Your stats are wrong.

JF: You’ll have to give up that stupid Hogan cap if selected.

BD: Wow…that’s a total buzzkill.  Wouldn’t the entire team look good wearing those?

TW: Only if we wear blade collars.

SS: No Hogan caps, no blade collars, and ixnay on the Miz-zay.

JF: Bryson, I’m really concerned that their fans are going to get under your skin.  Hopefully none of the players in contention for captains picks have done anything that’s garnered worldwide ridicule this summer…

(Noise coming from outside the room getting progressively louder playing “Ole, Ole Ole Ole, Ole, Ole”).  Phil Mickelson, wearing a bolero jacket, chaps, a KPMG cap and a dress shirt strolls in while dancing.  The dancing goes on for several minutes much to the annoyance of everyone in the room.

Phil Mickelson: Hey, everybody!  Who’s ready to defend our Ryder Cup win from 2016?

All: Phil, no. Just, no.

PM: Come on guys.  Jim, I called the Mizzen and Main guys to have some stuff worked up for this year.  You KNOW you want this.

TW: Does Mizzen and Main now do blade collars?  Let’s say I’m asking for a friend.

PM: I don’t know, Tiger.  Let me ask them (the audio sounds like he’s pulling out his cellphone); Siri, call Mizzen and Main.

JF: No, Phil, I don’t.  We already have uniforms.  Steve, was he like this last year?

SS: No; he was busy taking selfies after the 41st straight time Kuchar beat him in ping pong.  Honestly I just let Tiger do half the pairings; I couldn’t find him a pet squirrel.

TW: Steve’s good at taking suggestions.  Actually, Jim, I have an idea.  How about you just let me run things.

PM: Jim, I swear if you make us wear that godforsaken Chiliwear crap, my press conference after Sunday’s singles will make my 2014 rant look tame.

TW: Does Chiliwear offer a blade collar option?

JF: Not going to let that one die, are you.

TW: Not a chance, unless you decide to pick Club Pro Guy as an assistant captain.

JF: Okay, you three go sit in the room next door while I call in the next candidates.

Xander Schauffele, Matt Kuchar, Kevin Kisner and Tony Finau walk in.

JF: Who are you people?

Xander (XS): I won the Tour Championship last year.

Matt Kuchar (MK): I almost won the Open Championship last year and I’m the best ping pong player on tour.  Ask Phil.

Kevin Kisner (KK): I’m competitive every week.

Tony Finau (TF): I rolled my ankle at Augusta and still finished T10 and I’m usually on the first or second page of leaderboards. Perhaps you’d like a display of strength and agility…

JF: Please don’t.

MK: Lest we forget, Phil and I have done pretty well as partners since Keegan Bradley is only seen on the side of milk cartons these days.

XS: I’ve been competitive in all 4 majors.

KK: I tied for 2nd at the British Open.

JF: Let me think about it.  Who else is out there?

Kevin Na, Gary Woodland, Zach Johnson, JB Holmes and Jimmy Walker walk in.

JF: Hi fellas.  Why are you all here?

Zach Johnson (ZJ): Well, speaking as the only guy with multiple majors, we think you should consider one or more of us for those captain’s selections.  You need someone who’s won a major overseas.

JB Holmes (JB): And someone with Ryder Cup experience.

Jimmy Walker (JW): I’d say a PGA Championship win is what you need.

Kevin Na (KN): People will literally stab themselves in the eye to avoid playing with me.

JB: Me too!  Apparently people hate it when I take 4 minutes to lay up.

KN: Or become a weapons-grade head case on the tee.

JF: JB, just leave. Please. Now.

JB: C’mon…

TW from adjacent room: JB, I think you were asked to leave. I still have a few cans of Monster over here. I think it’s best you leave now.

(JB Holmes leaves room muttering to himself)

ZJ: Why do people throw Propecia at me?

TW: Beats me, but if you don’t want it I know someone who will take it off your hands.

Gary Woodland (GW): How about some feats of strength to decide this?

JF: I’ve made up my mind.

SS: Thanks for including me in your thought process.

JF: Thanks for being overly passive-aggressive.

SS: Whatever. Ask me what it’s like to captain a US side to victory.

JF: Okay, here’s how it goes.  Tiger, Phil, Kuchar, and Xander.  You guys are in.  Everyone else, thanks for coming.  Zach, I’d like to have you be an assistant captain.  Tony, you’re my 13th man so if anyone withdraws or gets hurt prior, you’re in the team.

BD: Seriously?

JF: Yes.  Everyone, thanks for showing up today. Let’s all remember that regardless of anything, we all want the US to win in Paris and bring the Ryder Cup back home.

SS: What we really need is someone we can all rally against.

JF: I agree.

SS: Someone who will really cause the team to work together.

JF: Are you thinking what I’m thinking?

SS: I am.

JF:  Great. It’s good to know that with everything going on, we still have one person who we can call on who we know will get the team properly motivated to go out there motivated to show them.

SS: You want me to call or do you want to call?

JF:  Let’s do it together.  We’ll use my phone.

JF/SS together: “Hey, Brandel, we need your help!”

SONG OF THE DAY #1

Johnny Marr still has the heater.

SONG OF THE DAY #2

Australian Rugby League hasn’t always been the biggest bunch of geniuses on the planet, but this is some legendary stuff.  This is an OFFICIAL promotion. The 80s’ were weird, man.

The Majesty of the Dancing Phil

It was a quiet morning at SGIC Headquarters.  First coffee dispatched and all was set for a quiet Thursday.  And then, like an earthquake and a thunderstorm, Mizzen and Main dropped their new TV ad featuring Phil Mickelson. From their official Twitter account, let’s see what we have here.

Holy shit.

SONG OF THE DAY

Enjoy some of that new music that the kids like.

 

The LPGA in the DMV Makes Perfect Sense (an open letter to Mike Whan)

Your faithful scribe, hard at work.

Dear Mike,

First off, let me congratulate you on the work you’ve done in your time as LPGA Commissioner.  I’d argue that the LPGA is the most watchable professional golf circuit, and the closest thing to a true global circuit.  Leader-boards often look like a UN meeting is breaking out.  It’s good for the global game, and good for the sport.  The women who make up the Tour are fantastic ambassadors for sport and their game.

As you’re probably aware, your cohort (Jay Monahan) at the PGA Tour announced their 2018-19 wraparound schedule, which puts an end to the DMV (District of Columbia, Maryland, northern Virginia) hosting a professional golf tournament in 2019.  We’re all fully aware you have an event in Williamsburg, but that’s not really an option for most people in the area.  So let’s talk about the market.  When you combine the DC and Baltimore markets, they add up to 3.6 million households (2.5 million in DC and the Virginia suburbs, another 1.1 million from Baltimore and surrounding areas).  If you combine them, that’s the third largest US television market (they kick Chicago out from the 3rd spot), and they have zip to look forward to in terms of professional golf next year.

I should also mention that when you look at the richest counties in the country based on a 2016 survey, the DC area has the top three spots.  Loudoun and Fairfax Counties in Virginia, Howard County in Maryland.  Overall, the area is home to 10 of the top 25 counties based on median household income.  We play golf pretty much year-round unless the courses are closed.  If it’s above freezing and the courses aren’t snow-covered, people will play.  Same for the swamp-like summers.  I mean, what’s a little heat stroke among friends, right?

Did I mention we like sports?  Washington is a true 4-sport city, and not sure you noticed, but the Capitals won the Stanley Cup this past June.  The entire area joined the players on a multi-day bender afterwards.  We also have several colleges including a service academy nearby in Annapolis.  The Nationals just hosted the All Star Game.  The Wizards are a playoff team.  There’s an NFL team that plays in Landover…yeah never mind (the Ravens in Baltimore have won a Super Bowl this decade).  This area has supported the PGA Tour stop in the face of every possible obstacle including every possible weather event short of snow (that’s this area’s Achilles heel and we know it).  People showed up in the aftermath of a derecho that caused massive problems including volunteers.  Admit it- you’re looking up what a derecho is.  We all learned about this 5 years ago.  We didn’t show up the day after because the Tour didn’t let fans on the course because of safety concerns.  If they had, we’d have shown up.

The point is this- this area loves golf and has a proven record of supporting tournaments in spite of barriers put in front of us.  You should be putting the DMV on your tournament calendar.  Okay, you get the area is lucrative.  But let’s talk where to play; and it’s an impressive list.

Are there decent golf courses that can stage an event?  You bet your ass!  In Virginia, RTJ has hosted the Quicken Loans open and hosted multiple President Cup matches.  Laurel Hill is a public course that hosted a USGA Championship.  Creighton Farms should also merit a look if it has the space for the infrastructure a tournament needs.

Maryland has Bulle Rock (it hosted the LPGA Championship for several years in the 2000’s).  It’s still a tough test.  Closer to DC, you also have options.  Congressional’s list of tournaments and championships is as solid as it gets but their members are an odd lot.  Nearby, TPC Potomac just hosted the men in 2017 and 2018.  The golf course at the University of Maryland hosted a Web.com event for a couple years after a 2008 renovation.  Any dates after school lets out would probably work.  Worthington Manor has hosted US Open qualifiers and is a public course.  Baltimore CC (Five Farms) hosted the inaugural LPGA Crown event and remains one of those classic courses that could host an event on short notice.

Or, if you really want to swing for the fences, let’s talk about the District of Columbia.  Specifically, Rock Creek Park.  Sure, it’s not long or tough enough to challenge professionals.  But think about what might happen if you went into partnership (think the USGA with Bethpage Black)?  At the very least, take a look at it.  Admit it- you’re intrigued because you think big.

Weather-wise, July and August aren’t the best (admittedly it gets hot and humid not to mention thunder storms) but then again- your tour hits south Asia which makes DC heat/humidity look refreshing by comparison.  I know September and October are tough because you’re up against football and I know Portland has the Labor Day slot (and admittedly that’s a beautiful city).  But you could make it work.  May, on the other hand…that’s some fine weather.  Starting to warm up but not yet getting killed with the humidity.

The point is this: Putting a tournament in DC right before/after the Williamsburg event is easy travel for your players, and normally May is pretty nice here as I already noted.  So let’s do this.  It’ll be great.

 

 

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