THE STARTER SHACK
The big news coming out of the weekend was Joel Dahmen losing his lid. The hat that makes him otherwise unrecongnizable. A gasp came over the crowd as it rolled down the fairway like a tumble weed—causing absolute chaos—and over the cliff it went! His caddie Geno Bonnalie came to the rescue.
We're really trying to sell this for an otherwise bland weekend of golf. Oh and Billy Horschel won the WGC.
Big Dick Rick or Nick The Big Dick
Nick Faldo fired shots at Rickie Fowler...who has yet to qualify for the 2021 Masters and we’re not sure if they are completely warranted.
“Good news if he misses the Masters he could shoot another six commercials that week!”, tweeted Faldo.
This sounds like the ongong petty refrain that Fowler doesn’t priortize golf, or as former coach Butch Harmon once put it, chosing between being a “Kardashian or a golf pro”.
Faldo is more accomplished, no doubt:
- 6 Major Championships
- 43 Worldwide Professional Wins
- World Golf Hall of Fame Member
Using Twitter to Effectively Demonstrate Subtle British Humor
Most of this was on the 1980’s European Tour, which resembled the competitions from Tin Cup moreso than today’s hyper-competitive iteration.
By comparison Fowler has:
- 0 Majors
- 9 world wide wins
His wins have been in pretty heady events (The Players, a Playoff event, a WGC event, Tiger’s event). One could say, comparisons between the two aren’t as far off considering the quality of fields they played in.
As Fowler turns 32, we see a potential bifurcation of career arcs; Faldo was a two-time major winner by his 32nd birthday, something that Rickie is still seeking.
The concern of course is that Fowler isn’t close to hitting this “Faldo Leap”; ongoing work with new instructor, John Tillery, and his sudden vanishing act with his trusty putter, has Fowler not mincing words about his game’s frustrating state.
What Rickie does for the game in general is underappreciated.
Kids line up for autographs wearing head-to-toe orange with the flat brim Puma hats. Where are all the old curmudgeon’s wearing Squairz golf shoes, lining up for Faldo’s autograph or clamoring for the Olde Tymey days of hitting fairways and greens?
In spite of what Faldo was implying (or needling in his words), we think Rickie’s generally pretty pleased with things. In life, winning isn’t always measured with trophies and jackets.
And let’s be honest here, would you rather be known as Big Dick Rick or Nick the Big Dick; we rest our case.
Is The Buck Club the greatest non-existent golf course?
It is definitely the most hyped golf club...at least among woke golfers slinging Mackenzie bags down a Doak fairway.
You definitely haven’t seen it...because it only exists in the mind of it’s creator, PGA Professional, Zack Blair. According to its webpage, The Buck Club (TBC):
- They want to build a world class golf club
- This idea transformed into
selling merchandisebuilding a community
- Provides memorable experiences
Blair’s vision is spot on for what he has already accomplished.
- His Buck Club instagram following is 31K strong (community, CHECK)
- he runs an event called The Ringer (experience, CHECK)
- and he is now building a golf course. (golf course, CHECK...ish)
But it’s not The Buck Club! What?!
He’s building a course called The Tree Farm outside Aiken, South Carolina. And the story of its development is akin to a plot pulled from General Hospital.
Blair had originally tapped King/Collins (of Sweeten Cove) to co-design the course, who would also oversee construction. Then in a twist, twistier than Dechambeau’s swing, Blair dumps King/Collins and hires Tom Doak to route the course and Kye Goalby for construction.
According to the Fried Egg, Doak will provide the routing for what will ultimately be a Zack Blair Design. A design that will be private. *Gasp* (Insert awkward glances)
Is The Tree Farm closing its doors to the community that has supported it?
Does this mean that Blair is alienating the community that he’s built? The one that has supported him and championed his vision? A community that has already paid for The Buck Club merchandise?
Well, according to Blair he hasn’t finalized any actual process but has eluded that he may be offering one-time experiences to letter writers. Which leads me to wonder if the guys who play hickories will use a quill to quell their query. It’s a fair question.
Let’s be clear—The Tree Farm is not The Buck Club. The Buck Club is not The Tree Farm. The Buck Club will still remain the most talked about club that doesn’t exist.
- Masters Contest Alert!: the committee at Augusta National has joined the Fantasy Golf craze and will give away some sweet swag.
- Move the Masters: After voting to criminalize providing food or water to people waiting in line to cast their vote, a civil rights group is calling on the powers that be to move the tournament out of Georgia.
- Play on the PGA Tour: EA Sports is giving you the opportunity to build a virtual PGA Tour career...why not, it's the closest we'll get.
- Match Play Meh: We completely agree with Jason Sobel that match play can get as exciting as watching a cribbage match with each passing day. See below
March Madness or March Sadness
Did you grab your pen and fill out your Match Play bracket? Didn’t think so.
The WGC event has little fanfare in comparison to the basketball tournament. Folks seemingly enjoy the bloodbath that emanates from the college basketball tournament:
- David vs Goliath storylines
- Underdogs upsetting a favorite
- Alumni and raving fans joining in the weeks’ long revelry
Everybody, television partners included, know that the favorite rarely wins.
The WGC Match Play Championship has been played since 1999, initially mimicking the college basketball event, whereby winners of four “regions” meet in golf’s “Final Four” to crown a champion.
Great format when Tiger, DJ or Rory make the finals, not so awesome when the finals feature a bland as pleated khakis match between Kevin Sutherland and Scott McCarron (see 2002).
Title sponsors, like Dell, pony up big cash and want viewers as their ROI.
They also have an unwritten expectation to have PGA Tour elite on the weekend to help drive those viewers. The cream typically rises to the top during a stroke play event, or at least rises long enough to help sell the storyline of an underdog.
Operating under the single elimination “basketball format”, can’t guarantee any top players making the weekend. Desperation really set in with Dell in 2019, when it proposed a format to have match play start the week—whittling the field down to 32—and a weekend stroke play contest.
Maybe it is time to reconsider the merits of even holding a WGC match play tournament at all.
If the only goal is to have star power playing the final match, is it worth it? Professional golf is a sporting business and what drives any major sporting business is star power.
No sense cutting off your nose to spite your face just to say you can continue to provide a major match play event.
WHOOP…..There it is...on every tour pro’s wrist
“Say Whoop”….”Whoop”; “OK, now say Cool Whoop”…..”Cool hWhoop”.
WHOOP straps seem to be the rage these days on the PGA Tour...at least that’s what the Tour and WHOOP are telling us.
If you are in the dark about WHOOP, think of a FitBit or Apple Watch...but different. The company claims the wearable devices are instrumental in giving athletes, and us non-athletes, the ability to monitor:
- Daily strain
- Heart Rate
- Heart Rate Variability (apparently this is important)
- Sleep (also seemingly important)
- Which then spits out your recovery
In other words, it can help folks from the PGA Tour all the way down to your local Bushwood member to assess workouts, biometrics and optimize rest periods for the ultimate in performance analysis.
WHOOP signed a partnership to be the official wearable device of the PGA Tour in early January 2021
Does this mean that PGA Tour players are now officially ath-a-letes as Charles Barkley would call them or is this just a fad waiting to pass like the Stack ‘N’ Tilt golf swing?
Thanks to his WHOOP strap, Justin Thomas was able to provide us visualization of the stress of professional golf during The Players Championship.
Will we watch heart attacks over 3 foot sliders happen in real time?
His Whoop strap’s biometric assessment of his early rounds, daily sleep patterns and clutch moments over the weekend were certainly interesting. However, we didn’t exactly need complex biometric analysis tools to know his heart was in his throat as his tee ball drew dangerously close to the water on 18 on Sunday.
Does this information actually help Thomas or other Tour players for that matter? Perhaps this is nothing more than a way to enrich the entertainment aspect of PGA Tour coverage.
The sweat-induced pit stains on his
Polo golf shirt is all the feedback he required to relive the pressure-filled moments he endured. If this WHOOP data continues to be provided moving forward, perhaps the best unintended consequence is that us non-Tour hacks can see that Tour players still sh!t themselves over tough drives, approaches and three footers.
- Flubbed: DJ picked up a putt that wasn't conceded.
- Flushed: Watching Kevin Na, naw at him on the green but ulimately not taking the hole. Who doesn't love a little scrum in the golf world.
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