Shotgun Start Podcast


Ryder Cup roster debates, The Curse gets canceled, and a Caves Valley primer

Will Gray of NBC Sports Edge joins for this packed Wednesday episode recapping the Monday finish, looking ahead to the schedule for the week, and drilling down on the Ryder Cup roster shuffling with just two events, and maybe only one for a few, to go before picks are made. Brendan begins by asking Will about his transition to gambling coverage and any surprises he has encountered as golf has run into the embrace of legalized gambling. Then they review the final round of the Northern Trust, where Tony Finau finally broke through for his second PGA Tour win. Is the PR Curse officially dead? Are we overdoing it on the narratives about what it means in multiple ways? Then they’re on to the BMW this week, spotlighting a couple of their favorite aspects of the second leg of the courier cup and also providing some early intel about the first-time PGA Tour host, Caves Valley in Baltimore. An event of the week is crowned as they run through the rest of the schedule and then they discuss the Ryder Cup points race and roster options in the final week, which Will has been studying up on. They also touch on Patrick Reed’s health situation and how that might impact the roster. The Journeyman of the Week is a high-profile stud coming out of college who failed to make the postseason for the first time since he got his card. Will then closes with some SEC football predictions and handicapping insights because he can.

If a scorecard is put in a scorecard holder, is it then a scorebook?

This wandering Friday episode features fantastic intel on the procurement of Patrick Reed’s apparel but begins with a quick announcement on some Masters week community gathering at a virtual Bixby House. Then Brendan and Andy catch up on Masters facts of the day, which include the alleged real pimento cheese recipe ANGC uses as well as old stories about caddies shagging balls on the range. Then they get to the tournaments at hand, reacting to the cut at ANWA and the tough scoring conditions. The ANA reactions focus on Shanshan Feng coming off the bench after a year away to post 67, the LPGA moving the tee up with the wall down at 18, and Michelle Wie’s impressive opener. Texas Open thoughts hit on Spieth’s early work, Phil’s implosion and level of care, and some low Cameron odds. News covers a hefty slow play fine for one LPGA rookie, DJ’s champions dinner menu, Brooksy’s engagement announcement, and the weird police procedure around disclosing the cause of Tiger’s accident. Precision Pro Flashback Friday serves up a smorgasbord of facts and stories on the earliest days of the ANA, then the Colgate Dinah Shore Winners Circle -- from the toothpaste executive that made this a lavish one-week party in the desert to an over-crowded Easter Sunday service on the 18th green to how it quickly became an event without peer on the schedule. Lastly, Andy chimes in with some facts and alarming history on Poppie’s Pond.

Bryson’s moment, Ridley’s moment, Chili’s Fajitas, and Paulie’s Picks

This Wednesday episode is an expanded Masters preview covering a range of serious and amusing topics for what will be a truly unique tournament at Augusta National. But first, a warning to read the fine print if you ever do a merchandising deal with a certain drinkware company. The event of the week is the Masters, and Brendan and Andy begin by discussing the potential weather impacts, the agronomy impacts, and some players to watch. They hail the new MyGroup digital broadcast feature for appearing to be a truly groundbreaking change, and then set up an ideal MyGroup strategy similar to the “League Pass Teams” of the NBA. There’s an early rumors from the ground segment ranked in order of ridiculousness. There’s a segment on what Bryson might do this week, his lengthy driver, and the comments from Phil that the future adopted practice will be carrying two drivers. That leads them to a chat on what to expect and what they want to hear from Chairman Fred Ridley in his annual press conference, the one time he offers a real state of the game from an ANGC perspective and fields questions. There’s a softer segment on the meaning of the Masters, using less of their own words and rather leaning on the testimony and actions of what they’ve seen from players this week as evidence of what place this tournament holds in our imaginations. A closing chat with gambling ace Fried Egg Paulie focuses on some one-and-done strategies, fantasy strategies, Sandy Lyle vs. Larry Mize, some more serious head-to-heads, Bryson’s o/u yardage props.

A chat with The Ringer’s Kevin Clark, Bryson Gilmore, and Chicken Nugget Country Club

Ringer staff writer Kevin Clark joins for a wide-ranging and amusing discussion on golf, the NFL, and the prospects for two specific teams in the Great Lakes region in this Friday episode. But first, Andy and Brendan check in on some early news and action from the golf world, notably Bryson going deep in Las Vegas and the best of the women’s game already showing at Aronimink. They discuss Bryson’s stated plan to debut his new 48 inch driver at the Masters, how he says it looks like “a missile coming off the face,” and how he’s drawing inspiration from watching Happy Gilmore. They also giggle at the college event at the Tyson chicken tycoon’s course and how that tycoon allegedly made it hard to join and hard to play. In news, they hit on the Women’s PGA sending the leaders out on Sunday in the middle of the tee sheet. And then they wrap with the absurdity that is Pat Reed threatening to really win the Race to Dubai on a Tour that he barely plays. For the second half of the episode, Kevin joins to talk about how he got into golf later in his life but has turned into an avid watcher, gambler, and improving player, thanks to an assist from Shane Lowry. On the NFL side, he relays some amusing tales from reporting in the league, if there’s any football or other sports comp to what Bryson’s done the past year, and if technology has changed football in any way like it has golf. Also, is J.J. Watt now the Pat Reed of the NFL? Then they narrow the focus to their own teams, peppering him with questions about Mitch Trubisky, Matt Nagy’s basement wall, Baker, Freddie Kitchens, and whether the Browns or Bears have a better chance to make the playoffs.

Bryson’s fake dog content scandal, the second-stop appeal, and Bombs in the Ozarks

It’s BMW Championship week and the Shotgun Start would typically begin with a preview lamenting the PGA Tour erasing the history of the great Western Open. That comes, eventually, but first Brendan and Andy begin with outrage over both the PGA Tour and Bryson DeChambeau promoting a completely fake fuzzy story about a good luck dog at Olympia Fields. What will be the fallout and is it indicative of a larger, more serious, authenticity problem on the Tour? Then they discuss who they’d like to see make it to Atlanta and earn major invites and a host of other perks for next year. They elaborate on why that game-within-the-game makes the BMW the most compelling “playoffs” event. There’s also a great deal of intel on Olympia Fields, rumors that it might play firm, and why the top pros could carve it up much like Medinah last year. The 7-club challenge is also previewed and hailed as a nice pre-tournament innovation. The schedule for the week focuses on the LPGA making the quick trip from Troon to NW Arkansas, the Web Tour playing for five U.S. Open spots, and a debate over what gives an event the right to call itself a “Classic.” On the Euro Tour, the inclusion of Brendan Lawlor in the field at UK Championship is highlighted. Phil’s bombs in the Ozarks are also reviewed but Andy still seems wholly uninterested in watching mid-week Senior tour golf. News closes it out with Charles Howell III’s commendable actions and Shadow Creek getting the CJ Plaque.

Legend of Jeff Hart, Zatch Watch, Todd Watch, and figuring out how shafts work

This Friday episode reacts to a full day of the first major championship in more than a year. A favorite son of the SGS, Brendon Todd is yet again on top of the leaderboard and there is condemnation for those who lost the faith because of potential “bombers’ paradise.” Andy uses this to offer some pointed thoughts on the setup and rough and what, if anything, we can take away from a mixed leaderboard after 18 holes. Then there’s a segment honoring Jeff Hart, the 60-year-old club pro who putted with his glove on and hit some eye-poppingly short drives. Brooksy’s back again and continues to speedbag Bryson, who had some shaft problems. They debate whether Bryson should have been able to put a new driver in play. There’s a cross-sport comp that anoints Zatch Johnson the St. Louis Cardinals of golf. There is ample time spent on the Spieth Problem, which Andy claims is just a mental issue at this point. Brendan asks how many players under 40, even with the current grim situation, would not take Spieth’s resume and career right now? Rory’s struggles are also put into perspective but Tiger’s approach is praised in the context of Andy’s earlier course analysis. Also, did the PGA screw Jon Rahm with his grouping. They close with some words of praise on ESPN voices re-joining golf coverage and a whiparound discussion on the Pirate going low in England and the U.S. Women’s Amateur bracket shaping up for a blockbuster weekend.

Comparing DJ vs. Romo vs. Beef WDs, SponCon rants, BdJ the Birdie King

This Friday episode begins with one final story to cap what became a Miguel Angel Carballo theme week. Then Brendan and Andy get to the initial golf from the Sticky Note Classic, where Martin Trainer got lapped by his looper, DJ bailed after a 78, and the golf course failed to distinguish itself for the right reasons. There’s a brief Michael Thompson career retrospective before a total digression into the PGA Tour Sponsored Content that angered GolfTwitter this week. It’s loud and impassioned for a few minutes before things then go back to normal with what amounts to reading names off the leaderboard of the Colorado Open. On a more poignant note, Andy and Brendan discuss and praise Beef Johnston’s comments and perspective about why he WD’d from the Euro Tour’s first event back. The praise is not there, however, for Tony Romo’s disgraceful WD after four holes on a sponsor’s exemption on the KFT Tour. News hits on some new Covid bubble allowances as the Tour’s sugar daddy sponsors come up on the schedule this next month. The episode ends with a segment on 3M Open competitor Brendon de Jonge, who is T10 after saying he’d not been sharp at all and just been on his tractor. It’s a dictatorial move anointing him FVF Jr. winner but they discuss his legendary Zimbabwean amateur feats, how he put on 70 pounds since coming to the USA for college, his goat farm, his cricket background, his Pres Cup appearance, the reasons for his “Birdie King” moniker, and how he got into the VTech HOF before Michael Vick.

The Backboard Classic, Missed opportunities in Detroit, and USGA-NBC marriage

This rollicking Wednesday episode begins with a birthday shoutout and an odd discussion on couples going by one merged name. Also, an MLGT shared title due to Covid restrictions on a sudden death playoff is questioned. Then Brendan and Andy get to the golf, or some of it, by running through the schedule for the week, including the “you won’t believe” par-5 out in Colorado at the KFT event. For the Rocket Mortgage Classic, they discuss featured groups in a weaker field, some one-and-done picks, Bryson’s obscene caloric intake that he disclosed on Tuesday and his comments about the Ross design being obsoleted by his gainz. Also addressed, of course, are the apparent backboards set up as signage all over an event that is known in these parts as the PMI Backboard Classic after last year’s outrageous infrastructure setup. The absurdity of the 3-1-3 charity challenge is discussed again, largely within the context of the potential insurance policy for it. Jordan Spieth’s comments that it’s easier to win without fans are debated. Then they get to a more serious matter and that’s the article by Brendan Quinn of The Athletic on the Tour and its marquee players missing opportunities by skipping “the Tour’s lone regular-season event held in a predominantly Black neighborhood.” A closing news segment further addresses the Sunday bombshell of the USGA rights change with a few insights after asking around about how exactly this happened.

“Flashlight” on Bobby Clampett, “Peak” decades, the Seminole Match

This Wednesday episode begins with a discussion on tacos, overrated components of tacos, and the delivery vessels of tacos. We then transition to the official announcement of the skins match at Seminole. We ponder how Rory will carry the conversation, how Rickie will activate, how DJ will strategize his way around, how Wolff could be a breakout star and, of course, whether TaylorMade will put CT machines on the first tee for testing. Mostly, we just praise the effort to bring televised golf (for a good cause) back into our lives and at a course that so few have seen on TV. An article on the European Tour’s dire financial situation also leads to a brief discussion on how different the world of golf might look when this is over and how the Euro Tour should focus on a trimmed down core product. Then Andy brings some numbers to the table to compare and contrast some of the peak decade-long runs we keep encountering during our Spotlight series and applying that marker to some modern superstars. How do they hold up against each other and to some of the names we’ve discussed in detail this past month, like Nick Faldo and Fred Couples? Lastly, we spend some time reliving the career of Bobby Clampett in what is not a full-fledged Spotlight but more of a short Flashlight review. His outrageous amateur run is discussed. We laugh at his hijinks from an all-around amusing 1979 U.S. Open, which also included the infamous Hinkle Tree and an imposter playing a practice round. Clampett’s flameout at the 1982 Open, where he held a 7-shot lead, is highlighted with Dan Jenkins reading. Finally, we discuss his place in history as the great hope of the Golfing Machine that fizzled out following the promise of his amateur success.

New makeshift schedule plans and Spotlight on the great redass Curtis Strange

This portly Friday episode begins with the latest news on what may come of a 2020 men’s golf schedule. We cover Golf Digest’s report that The Open will be canceled, and then review Eamon Lynch’s wide-ranging report on the initial plans for shuffling around the Masters, FedExCup, Ryder Cup preparations, and a potential west coast U.S. Open. Paddy Harrington’s plea for 12 captain’s picks and a Ryder Cup committed to 2020 is also discussed. Then we get to our SGS Spotlight subject, Curtis Strange. Is he the player of the 80s on the PGA Tour? We proffer some nuts-and-bolts facts on a great career, hit on his outrageous title winning moment in college, and then his rise up the money lists and at the majors. We relay some legendary stories about his redass instincts and hot-tempered outbursts that got him in trouble even with Arnold Palmer early in his career. The back-to-back U.S. Opens are discussed in detail -- the playoff win over Faldo and that “Soak Hill” Sunday run to put him in company with Hogan. The ‘85 Masters he nearly (or should have) won after shooting an 80 in the opening round is also covered in detail. The Ryder Cup pressure and ignominy of 1995, which resulted in heckles about choking for years is recalled via some vicious Rick Reilly columns. Reilly also humorously pops Strange for his mishandling of Sunday singles as captain in 2002. *That* Tiger Woods interview is also debated before a closing discussion on his legacy and HOF credentials.

PGA Tour plans to increase field sizes but keep pace of play, Spotlight on Sleepy Sandy

This Wednesday episode begins with news of a PGA Tour memo to players indicating that they should still plan to be back in action at Colonial in mid May. The memo also, per reports, outlined details of field increases and more opposite field events to maximize playing opportunities when the season resumes. The new pace of play policy, however, is pushed off to next year and this, along with a deluded memo that the Tour may resume in mid May, has us aghast. What also has us aghast is a Valero Texas Open all-time power rankings that put Charley Hoffman No. 1 ahead of Palmer, Snead, and others based on … all-time earnings. Then we get to our SGS Spotlight of the day, focusing on Woosie’s nearby boyhood rival, Sandy Lyle. This is a fun deep dive into Lyle’s upbringing, his hyped amateur days, his peak run at the top of the Order of Merit, and his quick-strike efficiency picking up two majors and a Players in an otherwise underwhelming record at those “big events.” A career intertwined with Nick Faldo is closely examined from their earliest days to their distinctly different personalities to their rise as two British legends. The quirks of the ‘85 Open and the improbability of the ‘88 Masters are discussed, as well as the circus atmosphere of his ‘87 Players. Some fun stories about his propensity for skipping range warm-ups, the late-career tiff with Monty over a Ryder Cup captaincy, and once drinking four glasses of wine before unexpectedly making a playoff are also among this reliving of the Lyle legend

Postponements, cancellations, new schedule possibilities, and “The Bulldog”

We begin this Wednesday episode with an update from our social distancing lives before proceeding to the major wave of upcoming schedule cancellations and changes. We discuss the PGA’s postponement, the report of a Ryder Cup move to 2021, and the likelihood of a U.S. Open happening on time. We ponder who is taking the biggest hit in all of this and the many concessions the PGA Tour has and will have to make. Some new schedule proposals and ideas based on the many rumors and reports are discussed, from a new Masters date to a new PGA date and why it might then make sense for the Ryder Cup to bail on 2020. Some Bears and Browns free agency talk sneaks its way in as well. On the occasion of Bobby Jones’ birthday, we present one listener’s argument for why he is the one true GOAT. Then, in our second installment of SGS Spotlight, Corey Pavin’s career is put under consideration. We discuss his slap hitter ways, media constantly talking about his height, the ‘95 U.S. Open win in brutal conditions, and a hilarious Rick Reilly description of Pavin and that win. On the Ryder Cup disasters of 2010, we hit on the rain suit malfunction, Lisa Pavin as “The Captainess,” a blow-up fight with Jim Gray, and the conspiracy theory that Pavin stacked his captain’s picks with born-again Christians as a convert himself. We contemplate his legacy and wonder whether he is “Boomer Rickie” and should be left out of our hypothetical Hall of Fame.

Masters postponed, PGL popped, and the life and times of Monty

This Monday episode will be the first of many with no golf results to discuss or recap. So first, we begin by revisiting the conclusion of The Players, reviewing Jay Monahan’s last press conference of the week, and pushing back on some of the apologia touting how they made the “right” decision when in fact it was the only decision after a series of wrong ones. The Masters postponement and the new CDC recommendations leaves us wondering if this will be an entirely lost year. What would a fall Masters look like and what are the options? The Premier Golf League’s chances of getting off the ground took on another blow Sunday with Brooks Koepka coming out against it with some cogent remarks on the foundations and guts of the PGA Tour, before Jon Rahm then also joined him later in the night. We conclude with a lengthy new segment called the SGS Spotlight, in which we will pick an era and drill down on a handful of marquee names and characters from that era. First up is the OWGR era and Colin Montgomerie. We spend probably too much time reviewing Monty’s body of work, from the dominance on the European Tour, some majors he thought he’d won, his marital troubles, his troubles with American fans, and the Jakartagate incident that led to a feud with fellow Scot Sandy Lyle. We close with some discussion of the brutal missed opportunity at Winged Foot that has become overshadowed by Phil Mickelson’s choke job, and debate Monty’s legacy in the game.

Which Tour pros drive Hondas? Fan Philosophies for majors, and the legend of Jarmo

This Friday episode wanders around a bit at the beginning trying to get loose discussing weekend plans, Comcast outages, and the official new Shotgun Start coffee blend from our friends at Bixby Coffee. Eventually, on golf, we discuss Lee Westwood’s opening salvo at the Honda Classic and how it all sets up for the care-free paunchy Englishman. We discuss the PXG mutiny among the #troops, starting with Bill Horschel’s discharge. Then there’s a guessing game on which pros might actually drive a Honda vehicle. In news, we review Martin Sleeps’ comments that the R&A is looking for venues that can accomodate 200k fans, potentially leaving Turnberry and Muirfield out in the cold. We contrast that with news that the USGA has agreed lower ticket availability for Winged Foot after membership concerns about damage to the East Course following 2006. Also in news, we discover and bathe in the navel gazing vanity of this “Greg Norman’s Biggest Fan” contest being run by … Greg Norman. Flashback Friday focuses on Cologuard Monday qualifier Jarmo Sandelin and his wild history of carrying an obscenely long driver, nearly coming to blows with Phil Mickelson over machine-gun mimicry celebrations, cheating accusations against him and at Mark O’ Meara, and playing the villain at the 1999 Ryder Cup. A second Flashback for this leap-year weekend hits on Camilo Villegas’ 2010 Honda win and what has happened to “spiderman” since that title.

A Flashback Friday explosive exposé, Bryson on “human potential,” and Tiger and Phil on U.S. Open setups

This Friday episode meanders about the world of golf, beginning with live Assasin updates from the Senior event in Japan. Keegan Bradley’s early lead in Canada prompts another discussion about the proliferation of personal logos. Then we get into all the quirks and curveballs at this week’s Euro Tour event and if it could spark a WWF “Attitude Era” type response from the PGA Tour. Then we have a Friday quotes segment, reviewing Phil’s harsh words and Tiger’s suggestions on the U.S. Open, Brooksy’s ambivalence and potential Joey D betrayal, and Bryson’s self-parody with his motivation for going to the Sticky Note Classic. In news, we hit on some college studs going pro, player videos already ramping up the hysteria about the Pebble rough, a 16-year-old cruelly DQ’d at sectionals, and some early U.S. Open tee times to watch. Fan Vote Friday takes us down the path of some Canadian players’ odd wine labels, one pro’s claim that he’s the best MarioKart player in all of Canada, and the one unexpected moment that Mike Weir said might be bigger than his Masters win. Flashback Friday is a deep dive starting with the 2004 Canadian Open battle between Weir and Vijay Singh, takes a left turn with a crude Jason Whitlock article on Vijay, and concludes with some damning numbers about how equipment in this era prevented Tiger from holding the majors record already.

Bryson’s slow play and the Pros v. the USGA with ESPN’s Kevin Van Valkenburg

A rousing Friday episode begins with Bryson DeChambeau’s nonsensical excuses for his pace of play after he was hit with bad times on Friday at the Memorial. We discuss Bryson moving the goalposts and neglecting the fact that playing in a reasonable time is a skill. Then we move to more pleasing matters, namely the U.S. Women’s Open and how Charleston has provided a great test for the best in the world so far. In a less pleasing segment, we address Hank Haney’s awful comments on the Women’s Open. A Flashback Friday centers on the 2006 Memorial, taking us down the path of the famed Henry Picard, that time Jack Nicklaus angered the field using different bunker rakes that made sand shots more challenging, and the 2006 winner Carl Pettersson, whose life and times before and after the anchor ban get a review. Finally, we are joined by ESPN Senior Writer Kevin Van Valkenburg to discuss the fiery comments in Golf Digest from a gaggle of anonymous PGA Tour pros, coaches, and caddies lambasting the USGA. We discuss some of the larger themes from the piece, who looks worse from it -- the players or the USGA, KVV’s three favorite quotes from the lengthy collection, course setup philosophies, the concept of par, and if the fractious relationship is reconcilable at all. Lastly, we finish with a rapid fire reading of a handful of quotes from the piece and adjudge them “Silly,” “Salient,” or “Gotta Hear Both Sides.”