Welcome to Friday, ladies and gentlemen! It’s been a long week of trying to look busy in front of your boss, but you did it. Now let’s see how golf might distract us this weekend.
In today’s newsletter…
- The pro-am setups inside the Pebble Beach gates turn out to be nothing like the Rainbow Road.
- Opinions about the USGA/R&A Distance Insights report keep rolling in.
- Haley Moore shows how to kick off a career in professional golf.
Banana peels, red shells, and stars
It was a low-scoring affair yesterday on the Monterey Peninsula. Seventy-three players broke par across Pebble Beach, Spyglass Hill, and Monterey Peninsula CC’s Shore Course, with Nick Taylor—one of the “Top 5 Mario Kart N64 Players in the world”—leading the way at eight under par. The Canadian made six birdies and an eagle at the Shore and holds a two-shot lead. Leaderboard
One curious thread coming out of the first round was that all three courses played similarly. Our friends at Data Golf calculated that Pebble Beach was the easiest on Thursday—but only 0.36 more difficult than Spyglass Hill, the most difficult of the three. Given the even distribution of scores across the three courses, the widespread notion that there’s an advantage to starting at one course rather than another doesn’t seem to hold water.
Opinions are like…
The fallout from the USGA/R&A Distance Insights report continues. According to Geoff Shackelford, Augusta National did not have a new statement on the report, but they did refer to past comments from ANGC Chairman Fred Ridley that were in line with the governing bodies’ position. On the other side of the debate, a PGA Tour official told Golf Channel’s Rex Hoggard that “today’s game is more exciting than ever for our fans and the integrity of the competitions are intact—we still see a diverse set of winners on the PGA Tour and our examination of the data reveals that the skills involved in winning a PGA Tour event remain largely unchanged.” Phil Mickelson got in on the action as well: “I don’t think that we have had massive equipment changes. We have just had athletes that have been able to take advantage of the equipment, more so than in the past.”
Welp, at least we know which talking points we’ll hear over and over in the coming months. Or years. Or decades.
AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am (other notes)
- Patrick Cantlay and Chase Seiffert sit two shots behind Nick Taylor after round one. Cantlay reeled off nine birdies at Spyglass on Thursday for his 66, while Seiffert’s 66 was the low score of the day at Pebble Beach.
- Max Homa continued his heater on Thursday with a first-round 67 at Spyglass Hill. Homa entered the week with back-to-back top 10s at Torrey Pines and TPC Scottsdale.
ISPS Handa Vic Open (European Tour / LET / LPGA)
- Mens’s Leaderboard
- Women’s Leaderboard
- Former University of Arizona star and LPGA Tour rookie Haley Moore got her professional career off to an impressive start, firing a 66 at 13th Beach Golf Links.
- At the time of this writing, Geoff Ogilvy, Minjee Lee, and Jeongeun Lee6 are all in the mix in Australia. Min Woo Lee, an up-and-coming star and Minjee’s brother, is also playing solid golf on the men’s side.
Camilo Villegas is back! On the Korn Ferry Tour, the four-time PGA Tour winner sits atop the Country Club de Bogota Championship leaderboard. Dylan Wu and Eric Cole are tied with Spiderman with three rounds to go. Leaderboard
A country club in Ohio is immersed in a lawsuit headed for the Supreme Court. Moundbuilders Country Club sits on the site of a historical Native American burial ground, and descendants of the original tribe are on a mission to get the land back. Full Story in the Newark Advocate
We tend to be of the mind that Pebble Beach Golf Links is pretty great as is, but Brett Hochstein’s in-depth exploration of what a smart restoration of the course would look like is fascinating reading. Full Story
The Must-Sees of Public Golf Architecture in America
Marion Golf Club (Marion, Massachusetts)
Golf enthusiasts frequently drive past this little nine-holer on their way down Point Road to Kittansett Golf Club. Designed by George Thomas (of Riviera and LACC fame) in 1904, Marion offers a glimpse into the origins of golf course design in America. The course’s architecture is rudimentary but charming and, in this day and age, unusual; on several holes, Thomas used rock walls as hazards. Often left unattended, Marion has an honor box where golfers can leave their green fees. You will find many courses with better conditions and more sophisticated architecture, but very few with the same level of historical interest. If you’re curious about what American golf looked like in its earliest stage, at least stop and take a look before proceeding down the road.
Insider Tip: Bring cash! Don’t be that person who can’t support this wonderful place. -Andy Johnson
Photo credit: Andy Johnson
The Latest from The Fried Egg
The Fried Egg Podcast: Episode 170: Geoff Shackelford – The Distance Insights report and the Premier Golf League
Lately, the biggest news in the golf world has revolved around topics that Golfweek writer and Golf Channel contributor Geoff Shackelford knows better than anyone. So Andy had to call up Geoff and get his thoughts on the bombshell USGA/R&A Distance Insights report, which represents a major shift in the governing bodies’ rhetoric about golf’s distance problem. They also discuss the emergence of the Premier Golf League as a potential disruptor in professional golf. Geoff broke this story two weeks ago on his blog geoffshackelford.com and continues to report on fresh revelations about the proposed world tour. Listen on iTunes, Stitcher, and Spotify.
The Shotgun Start: Asinine responses to distance report and a David Duval flashback
This Friday episode begins with some quick reactions to early scoring from across the world of golf. This prompts further angst about the fact that there is no Shotlink at the other venues this week as well as a listener submitted take comparing David Duval and Jordan Spieth. On the LPGA and Euro Tours, we get into the joy of a mixed event and call for more on all tours. Then there is a segment on some of the responses to the distance report, ranging from DJ’s lovable indifference, Paul Casey’s real estate quackery, Phil taking the “it’s the athletes not equipment” line, and an unnamed PGA Tour spokesman falling back on the line that the game is more exciting than ever. We react to some of these and give them their proper weight. In news, Bryson’s inclusion on a Top 50 fittest athletes list is covered as well as Phil’s adamant stance that he will not accept a U.S. Open special exemption. We wrap with Flashback Friday that gets into the 2010 Pebble Pro-Am, one of the rare instances when David Duval posted a top 10 after 2001. Listen on iTunes, Stitcher, and Spotify.
The winter blues are no joke, but we can console ourselves by looking ahead to The Fried Egg’s 2020 events. The Steam Shovel will showcase the brilliance of Lawsonia Links, and the logo looks really good on a hat! Grab your melton wool Steamshovel cap today!