Feelin’ groovy

The USGA cancels more events, the NCAA makes a reassuring decision, and we flash back to the Age of Plaid


Folks, we’ve reached the final week of April. A bizarre month, but hopefully one that has set us up for a better future. Keep the faith.

News and updates

  • The USGA has canceled the U.S. Junior Amateur and U.S. Girls’ Junior. These events join the Senior Opens and four-ball tournaments among the USGA’s COVID-19 cancellations. Full Press Release
  • The NCAA, as it turns out, will not approve a blanket waiver that would allow schools to carry fewer athletic programs next season. If the waiver had passed, non-revenue sports like golf may have been on the chopping block at many universities. Full Story from Brentley Romine
  • A few PGA Tour pros and high-ranking amateurs are playing a 54-hole fundraising event at Maridoe Golf Club outside of Dallas this week. Viktor Hovland, Scottie Scheffler, and Harry Higgs are in the field, and University of Texas twins Parker and Pierceson Coody headline the amateur side. Jordan Spieth could also be a late entry. Full Story from Brentley Romine
  • The PGA Tour still plans to resume on June 11. Even without fans, however, Tour events are enormously complicated to put on. Golf Digest’s Joel Beall reports on what a stripped-down PGA Tour might look like and reveals how many questions remain.

Newsletter Notes

1975 All-PGA Tour Team

Inspired by the yearly All-NBA teams, we’re retroactively naming All-PGA Tour teams throughout history. We’ll jump between eras, tell forgotten stories, and provide some insights about the evolution of the game. Today we’re looking at the 1975 season, when Jack Nicklaus found his supremacy challenged by an up-and-comer named Johnny Miller.

Gene Littler (three wins, eight top 10s) – In the sunset of his career, Littler mustered three wins, including one at what was then known as the Bing Crosby National Pro-Am. With this victory, Littler became the only player ever to win the event as both a professional and an amateur. Nineteen years prior, as a 23-year-old amateur, Littler won at Pebble Beach alongside Dutch Harrison.

Tom Watson (two wins, 12 top 10s) – The highlight of Tom Watson’s 1975 season was undoubtedly his victory at the Open Championship at Carnoustie. In difficult weather, Watson birdied the 72nd hole to tie the lead. He went on to win 18-hole playoff against Jack Newton by one shot after Newton bogeyed the final hole. It was the first of Watson’s eight majors and five Opens.

Bruce Crampton (one win, 10 top 10s, Vardon Trophy) – Despite winning just once, Crampton was near the top of a lot of leaderboards. 1975 proved to be Crampton’s last productive season on Tour, and he called it quits in early ’77, citing mental and emotional stress. He was later quoted as saying that he would drive eight to ten hours with his wife and two sons between tournaments. Yeah, Life on Tour in the 1970s wasn’t what it is today.

Johnny Miller (four wins, 11 top 10s) – After eight victories in 1974, Miller started ’75 with three wins in his first four starts. Even more remarkable was how he won. He took the Phoenix Open by 14 shots and the Tucson Open by eight, firing 61s in back-to-back PGA Tour events for the first time in history. He seemed primed to overtake Jack Nicklaus as the best in the world. Early in the year, in fact, Miller said, “If you’re talking about who’s the best golfer, then you’re talking about who’s the best right now, and that would have to be me.”

Jack Nicklaus, MVP (five wins, 14 top 10s, two majors) – Johnny didn’t win any majors, though. That was Jack’s thing. In 1975, the Golden Bear won the Masters and PGA Championship, missed the playoff at the U.S. Open by two shots, and missed the playoff at the Open by one. That’s not super far from a single-season Grand Slam. Nicklaus’s win at Augusta was particularly stylish. On the 16th hole on Sunday, he made a 40-footer to turn a one-shot deficit into a one-shot lead over Tom Weiskopf. It was his fifth green jacket. Eleven years later, he got next one. Maybe you’ve heard of it.

The Must-Sees of Public Golf Architecture in America

We’re pressing pause on this series today, but obviously we’re not finished. There are many worthy courses we haven’t visited, even entire states where we haven’t spent enough time (shout-out Arizona, New Mexico, Texas, South Carolina, and Maine). For now, though, we think we have a pretty cool list. Check it out. We’re excited to travel and see some new courses when it’s safe to do so!

Photo credit: Andy Johnson

The Latest from The Fried Egg

School of Golf Course Architecture Part 3: Tie-Ins – Blending a golf course in with its surroundings is an art. For the latest SOGA installment, Riley Johns of Integrative Golf Design joins Garrett to discuss how architects think about physical, visual, environmental, cultural, historical, and even spiritual tie-ins on a golf course. Listen to the pod and read the post on The Fried Egg website.

Shotgun Start: The Walk Up Music Quiz returns, Tiger v. Phil, and essential ShotLink services

This Monday episode is a departure from the heavy reading and listening on Nick Faldo of last week. We begin with some more reaction to The Match II becoming an official thing. We praise it, look forward to it, worry about the “banter” save for Peyton, and ponder Medalist as a venue. Then we discuss news of another potential match in South Florida united by one common OEM. A good article from Joel Beall in Golf Digest that reports on how the Tour’s return to action may look is reviewed. ShotLink sounds essential to any return. Broadcasts will look different. And purses will be smaller as events take significant revenue hits. In the back half of the episode, a giddy Andy reveals his walk-up music selections for what would have been the 2020 Zurich week. This was one of the more popular segments last year and Andy hits on several fun nicknames and controversial amusements in recent Shotgun Start history for this year’s playlist. Listen on iTunes, Stitcher, and Spotify.

Productivity central

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