Morning 9: Best, worst of major golf in 2019 | Jack doesn’t like the new major calendar | British Open ratings down 42%

By Ben Alberstadt (ben.alberstadt@golfwrx.com; @benalberstadt on Instagram)

July 24, 2019

Good Wednesday morning, golf fans. 
1. The best and the worst! 
Who better than Shane Ryan to offer a postmortem on the 2019 majors (in the best, worst, and weirdest from golf’s big ones)?
  • He begins…The Major Champion Golfer of the Year: Brooks Koepka…”Is this award a subtle jab at the R&A? Mayyyybe. But more than that, it’s a celebration of one of the great major seasons we’ve seen this decade. With a win at the PGA, a second at Augusta and the U.S. Open, and a T-4 to finish things off at the Open, Koepka became just the fifth golfer in history to finish top five in every major within a single year. It’s been a fascinating two years for Koepka from a PR standpoint, as he’s evolved from “potentially boring” to “expert grudge holder” to “actually a very interesting and smart human being,” but the one unerring consistency has been his excellence at majors. If he’s not winning, he’s coming close, and his name strikes fear in his contemporaries. In 2019, he was the best of the best.”
  • “The Story of the Year: Yeah, Of Course, Tiger Woods…No one expected it. Most people doubted it. Some idiots doubted it very publicly. But in the end, it was Tiger stunning and delighting the golf world with his 15th major at Augusta. For the first time in his career, he won a major coming from behind on Sunday, and he did it with the wit and wiles of a veteran.”

Full piece.

2. 102 days
The AP’s Doug Ferguson illuminates the congestion…”Andrew Landry hit the opening tee shot at the Masters. Shane Lowry hit the final shot at The Open…All in 102 days.”
  • “The new major championship season in golf — one each month, starting with the Masters in April — could take time before players can adjust. And that was just the start. Throw in the Olympics and the Ryder Cup next year, and the schedule will be relentless.”
  • “I felt like majors were coming almost too fast, one after the other,” Francesco Molinari said. “And to add the Olympic Games, too, it’s not going to be an easy year for anyone. … So that’s how golf is right now, and we just need to make the most of it.”

Full piece.

3. PGA Tour X DraftKings 
Things move fast. It was only earlier this year that the PGA Tour lifted its ban on DFS advertising…
  • PGATour.com staff report…”The PGA TOUR and DraftKings Inc. announced a new multi-year content and marketing relationship today that designates DraftKings as the first-ever “Official Daily Fantasy Game of the PGA TOUR.”
  • “We are excited to partner with DraftKings, an industry leader in innovation and fan engagement, in this groundbreaking step for the PGA TOUR,” said Luis Goicouria, PGA TOUR Senior Vice President Media. “The partnership with DraftKings provides the TOUR with a unique opportunity to innovate in a new industry and to further engage our fans.”
  • “DraftKings will activate the partnership by branding its daily fantasy golf contests as “PGA TOUR DraftKings Fantasy Golf.” By playing these contests, fans will have the opportunity to win cash prizes as well as an array of PGA TOUR prizes in the future. The offerings include Classic contests where fans choose six players each week on the PGA TOUR for their fantasy team all while staying under the designated salary cap. Showdown contests are also available, which requires players to compile a team of six while staying under the designated salary cap for a single round of a tournament. Players have the option to compete with other PGA TOUR fans or in private, fully customizable contests with friends and colleagues.”
Full piece. 
4. Saving a Milwaukee course?
Cathy Kozlowicz/Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, syndicated in Golfweek, with the story of the situation at Wanaki Golf Course…
  • “More than 100 golfers gathered at Wanaki Golf Course in Menomonee Falls on Monday in the wake of its announced closure, some to share personal memories of the course, some to suggest financial solutions and others to voice frustration with the county.”
  • “Joe Vachuska, president of the men’s golf club at Wanaki, said he would share the comments with the county board. He added that future meetings would include discussions on ways to save the course.”
  • “Last week, county officials announced plans to include the course closure in the proposed 2020 county budget. The announcement came after a decade of financial losses at the course – from $41,000 to $243,000 annually, according to Dale Shaver, director of the Waukesha County Department of Parks and Land Use.”
Full piece. 
5. Down 42%
h/t to Geoff Shackelford for presenting this tweet from Sports Business Journal’s Austin Karp…”British Open final round dropped around 42% in overnight ratings on NBC. This was coming — no big names at top of the leaderboard, a big lead for Shane Lowry and a comp to 2018 when Tiger was winning on Sunday. 2019 rating easily lowest for NBC since it reacquired rights in 2016″

Full piece.

6. Give us mixed team Olympics! 
Looking ahead to 2020, The Forecaddie pleads (although the format is set) for alterations to the golf format…
  • “I think the Olympics is all about country and team,” said Australia’s Minjee Lee. “Just like tennis does individual and doubles, you just play your own game and then two people’s aggregate score becomes your team score.”
  • “Brooke Henderson agrees, noting that swimming gives out multiple medals every night.”
  • “Why can’t golf have more than three per gender over the course of four days?”
  • “For those players who are out of the individual medal race, Ko said having a team event gives them something else to play for deep in the competition.”
  • “I would love if there was a team format,” the Kiwi told TMOF. “Whether it might be an extra couple days or match play or just combined, I don’t really know.”

Full piece.

7. Payne Stewart Award winner: Hale Irwin 
Golf Digest’s Sam Weinman..”.A three-time U.S. Open champion who went on to become the winningest player in PGA Tour Champions history, Irwin will be honored Aug. 20 in Atlanta in conjunction with the Tour Championship. The Payne Stewart Award is presented annually by the tour to a professional golfer who best exemplifies Stewart’s steadfast values of character, charity and sportsmanship. The award, presented by Southern Company, was introduced in 2000, a year after Stewart died in a plane crash during the week of the 1999 Tour Championship.”
  • “When Tracey [Stewart] told me that I would be the 2019 recipient of the Payne Stewart Award, I was honestly surprised yet overcome with emotion and pride when thinking of Payne, the honor of this Award which bears his name and the many deserving players who have earned it before me,” Irwin said in a statement. “Payne was a friend and a tremendous champion of our game, but more than that, he was committed to leaving a remarkable impact through golf which is still felt today.”

Full piece.

8. Jack doesn’t like the new schedule
Credit to Golf Monthly for relaying these remarks from Jack Nicklaus….
  • “I don’t like the new Major schedule, from the stand point that if you have an injury, or if you’re struggling with one tournament, all of a sudden the other one follows too closely, to get it back,” 18-time Major winner Jack Nicklaus told BBC Radio 5 Live.”
  • “I’m not sure that that’s really a good thing for the game of golf, to have all your tournaments in about three and a half months. And I don’t think it’s good for the other tournaments on the Tour.
  • “The guys have got to skip a lot of tournaments – you saw that this year – guys weren’t playing in between Majors. And I think that’s a shame for the Tour.”
  • “I know that the all-mighty dollar is important, but I don’t think it’s so important that you really lose out on the tradition of the great tournaments that have been played for years and years and years.”
Full piece.
9. JT’s custom kicks
Cool stuff. Footwear designed by osteosarcoma survivor Bailey Jessop…
  • Helen Ross with the story…”earlier this summer, when St. Jude and FootJoy were looking for someone to design a pair of golf shoes for Justin Thomas to wear this week at the World Golf Championships-FedEx St. Jude Invitational, Bailey was the perfect choice.”
  • “On Tuesday, the teenager was at TPC Southwind to give the shoes to the defending champ. Thomas liked the shoes so much he plans on wearing them all four days of competition.”
  • “I had seen a picture of them, but just, I mean the creativity that Bailey had was tremendous, and also how good of an artist he is,” Thomas said. “I don’t think I could draw that, anything close to as good as that. And he did the box, he did the sole, or the insole. It all was tremendous.”
  • “The shoes feature many things close to Bailey’s heart – his two Boston terriers, the Memphis Pyramid, fish (he loves to cast a line out in the water) and a golf ball on a tee – across the saddle. Bailey’s name is on the tongue of the shoes.”
Full piece.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *