With golf taking a back seat this week, we decided to get into the spirit of Thanksgiving. This newsletter will look back at some of our favorite online golf content from 2019. We’re blessed to have so many talented people in this industry, and we want to take a moment to appreciate those we admire. Some of the pieces below are uplifting stories, others are tear-jerkers, and still others are irreverent larks that made us snicker.
We know we must be missing a bunch of stuff (and believe us, we’re sorry!), so let us know on Twitter @the_fried_egg what else you enjoyed this year.
A baker’s dozen of our favorite online stories from 2019
The murder of Celia Barquín Arozamena was unbearable, but the deeper you dig, the more tragic it gets (January 16), Alan Shipnuck, Golf – The most tragic golf-related story in recent memory was the horrific murder of Iowa State golfer Celia Barquín Arozamena. The caring, energetic, and inspirational Spanish player had a positive impact on everyone around her. Shipnuck, one of the best feature writers in sports, spent time with Arozamena’s family and teammates to find out what made her such a remarkable person. To devastating effect, he also uncovered some details of the life of her killer.
From being bullied to becoming a hero, Moore perseveres (April 2), Ryan Lavner, GolfChannel.com – Golf has a history of excluding those who don’t fit in, and Haley Moore found that out the hard way. As Lavner ably recounts, the former NCAA champion—now LPGA Tour member—has battled bullying all her life but has still carved out a space for herself at the top of the game.
Tiger Woods has the crowd and the game again at Augusta (April 13), Brendan Porath, SB Nation – There are certain sentences one never forgets. For us, one of those is a line from our friend Brendan’s account of a day in Tiger’s gallery: “Then a woman grabbed some piece of the muck and said, ‘Yum, I’m going to put this in my mouth.’”
All Brooks Koepka needs is hate (June 2), Kevin Van Valkenburg, ESPN – Perhaps no golfer has made more headlines over the past year than Brooks Koepka. Ranked No. 1 in the world, Koepka still gets fuel from the haters, losers, and (increasingly small numbers of) doubters. We loved KVV’s look into what makes Brooks tick.
My Shot: Slugger White (June 25), Guy Yocom, Golf Digest – This interview with everyone’s favorite mustachioed, hat-wearing, cart-driving, um… how should we put this… “player-friendly” PGA Tour rules official has one juicy, self-owning quote after another. Props to Yocom for getting the goods.
Why We Matter – An Open Letter (July 3), Meghan MacLaren, megmaclaren.com – A top player on the Ladies European Tour, MacLaren writes as incisively about personal matters as she does about political issues. In this post, she unites the personal and the political in a poignant statement about why the LET deserves respect.
The Open Championship at Portrush may be the only thing Northern Ireland can agree on, (July 15), Eamon Lynch, Golfweek – During the week of The Open, Lynch, who writes best weekly column in golf, delivered one great story after another from his native country of Northern Ireland. Clearly, the 148th Open Championship was about more than golf, and Lynch was better prepared than anyone to discuss the historical trauma simmering just beneath the surface of Portrush’s streets.
Celebrating Shane Lowry (July 21), Sean Martin, PGATour.com – Shane Lowry won the Open Championship at Royal Portrush, but the real celebration was in County Offaly, Lowry’s hometown. Smartin took in the final round at Lowry’s home club, and it became a night to remember.
The edge of glory (July 25), Dylan Dethier, Golf – The USGA holds U.S. Open regional qualifiers all over the country, including in Alaska. Dethier traveled to the northernmost state in the union to see what golf way up there is all about.
Rob Collins and the long road out of hell (July 29), Will Bardwell, Lying Four – Sweetens Cove almost didn’t happen, but Rob Collins’s unusual guts and determination kept the dream afloat. With an elegance that has become his calling card on the Lying Four blog, Bardwell dives into the history behind the nine-hole sensation.
A PGA Tour player’s goodbye, and record-breaking round, at his childhood course (August 29), Joel Beall, Golf Digest – We all have that golf course in our lives: the one that’s a little run down but still means the world to us. For Jim Herman, that course was the Cincinnati area’s Shawnee Lookout, now extinct. Beall follows Herman through his final round there.
The growing and surprising mental-health challenge facing golf superintendents (September 25), Ron Whitten, Golf Digest – In this moving piece, Whitten explores how depression and anxiety have shaped the lives of some golf course superintendents.
Solitary game: Loneliness can be one of the hardest parts of life on LPGA (November 17), Beth Ann Nichols, Golfweek – Professional golf has its perks, but it’s not always joyful. Many LPGA players have gone through bouts of loneliness on the road to the LPGA Tour, as Nichols lays out with her usual precision and insight.
Assorted fun stuff
Bamby at The Open – Reporting from Portrush, Golf Magazine’s Michael Bamberger put together this fun little travelogue-y vlog thing, and let us humbly suggest that he do at least one at every major championship from now on.
Cameron Hurdus’s photography – A three-time winner of the Lido competition, Cameron Hurdus clearly has an eye for golf courses. He also happens to be one of the most underrated photographers on Instagram. Follow him!
The Clubhouse with Shane Bacon – Eamon Lynch – Fox Sports broadcaster Shane Bacon is a sharp interviewer, and we particularly enjoyed his chat with Eamon Lynch about the Open Championship, golf in Ireland, Rory, and much more.
The continuing dominance of the European Tour social media team – Is it weird to say that one of the best golf content outlets in the business is… the European Tour? Well, it is. We especially relished Billy the kid’s reappearance.
Evalu18 – This impressive new website has an array of well-organized resources on golf course architecture as well as golf travel in Ireland and the UK.
Feed the Ball – David McLay Kidd – Posted on January 1, this was a heckuva start to 2019 for Derek Duncan’s golf architecture-focused podcast. Derek’s interview with David McLay Kidd was engaging and revealing, and it offered plenty of food for thought.
Geoff Shackelford’s blog – This isn’t necessarily a 2019 thing (in fact, we’re pretty sure this blog dates back to the Reagan administration), but we would be remiss not to shout out Shackelford’s deft curation of the most interesting news in golf. It’s our fir—second stop on the golf internet every morning.
Gary and Amy – Has the whole thing gotten a bit over-exposed? Sure. Does it still put a smile on our faces? Absolutely. Gary Woodland’s practice-round meet-up with Special Olympics golfer Amy Bockerstette was the feel-good moment of the year. What made it all work was how well Woodland’s easygoing kindness meshed with Bockerstette’s vivid personality.
No Laying Up Podcast – Brendon Todd – In this recent podcast, NLU’s Chris Solomon sat down with the king of the fall series to discuss Todd’s years of struggle, his mindset, and how he returned to the top of the game.
No Laying Up YouTube Channel – Strapped – NLU has really dialed in its video content this year. All four editions of Strapped, featuring the low-budget adventures of Neil and Big Randy, have been delightful.
The Perfect Number – Kevin Moore – We’ll always listen to the Professor talk. Check out his pod with Will Haskett, in which they discuss golf analytics, what amateurs should look to improve on, and how Kevin’s thinking about the game has evolved.
Rickie’s drop – The rule only says knee height. It doesn’t say you have to be normal about it.
The TalkinGolf podcast network – This year, Rod Morri began developing a network of golf-focused podcasts, including the long-running Feed the Ball and State of the Game as well as the new Good-Good and TalkinGolf History. Rod, Adrian, Derek, and Connor are doing excellent work.
Tiger-Na at Sawgrass – Tiger’s playful side came out as he and Kevin Na finished up on the island green at the Players Championship.
Shotgun Start: Hippos, Leopards, and the 2019 Fall Awards
This special Thanksgiving Jr. edition begins with a quick discussion of Thanksgiving traditions, drinks, and overrated dishes. Then there’s a rundown of the light schedule for the week, which permits a spotlight on Leopard Creek CC, the Gary Player island-green-happy design, and the European Tour’s Dunhill Championship. Brendan and Andy discuss the venue, the nearby wildlife refuge, and which animal they’d most like to be “reborn” as if given the option. The LET’s event in Spain also prompts a discussion of the newly announced LET-LPGA merger. Then the balance of the episode is spent listing some nominees and crowning some winners for the first ever SGS Fall Awards, featuring categories such as best event, worst shot, Mr. October, best and/or dumbest quote, juiciest controversy, signature LUP moment, and best reason to get worse for the wear. Happy Thanksgiving from Andy and Brendan, who are very thankful for the Shotgun Start listeners. Listen on iTunes, Stitcher, and Spotify.