Volume Four Hundred Thirty-One

Match play, pioneers lost, and a journalist suspended

Hittin' the LinksI love match play. The way that each hole is a new life in the competition. How it’s the basically the only scenario in golf when you are competing head to head with another person rather than solely against the course and the elements.

But TV and match play is a tough fit. Here’s the thing, during the early rounds it’s difficult to follow the match ups closely because the network is flipping between groups. We want to see the action but it detracts from the viewers ability to stay current with the status in each match and hence the drama. Once the bracket gets narrowed down, we get a final that is god-awful to watch when one player gets up by more than two holes. I’m not sure what the solution is, other than a multi-cast so that you could follow any group you wanted. But that is not going to happen, at least not on network television.

Golf could use a new way to showcase match play (and stroke play for that matter). But the PGA TOUR is trying to stick to (and protect) traditional media, so adamantly that they just suspended the media credentials of a journalist for using social media to “broadcast” a practice round. At a time when golf is contracting in this country, it seems somewhat short sighted to censor an innovative journalist so harshly over her coverage of (again) a practice round.

That’s it for the op-ed portion. Let’s hit the links.

Hole #1: #1 Finishes First
Rory McIlroy struggled somewhat early in the week, but played well enough to win on Sunday when he not only got by Paul Casey (in 22 holes in a darkness-suspended Saturday quarterfinal), bested Jim Furyk (1-up) in the semifinal, and then outpaced Gary Woodland (4 and 2) to claim the title. Woodland missed a short putt on #13 that could have cut the deficit to one-up but faded after that. McIlroy is the third player since WWII to notch 10 PGA TOUR wins before turning 26 (which he does this week). The others? Jack Nicklaus and Tiger Woods both accomplished the feat before their 25th birthdays. [Link]

Hole #2: Golf Loses Two Pioneers
This week, golf lost both Calvin Peete (71) and Pete Brown (80). Calvin Peete had the most wins (12) on the PGA TOUR by an African-American prior to Tiger Woods. Pete Brown was the first African-American to win a tournament on the PGA TOUR. Their roles in breaking the color barrier on the PGA TOUR opened the door for those who have followed.

Hole #3: Miguel vs. Keegan
What ever happened to “shut up and keep up.” In a match that no one would have really cared about, Keegan Bradley and Miguel Jimenez almost came to blows when Miguel told Keegan’s caddy to shut up. [Link]

Hole #4: Wei vs. PGA TOUR
The PGA TOUR revoked journalist Stephanie Wei’s credentials for the rest of the 2015 season for using Periscope, a social media app, during a practice round of the WGC Match Play Championship. Periscope live streams video. Did I mention that this was during a practice round? [Link]

Hole #5: Inbee Park Wins North Texas Shootout
A bogey-less 65 propelled Inbee Park to her second NTS victory at -15. Christie Kerr and H.Y. Park tied for second, three strokes back. [Link]

Hole #6: 51 of 51
Lydia Ko has made the cut in every event she has played on the LPGA Tour since turning pro. It was closer than usual this week, but she kept the streak alive. She also pledged to her earnings at the North Texas Shootout to Nepalese earthquake relief. But the most noteworthy part of her week may have been the five minutes her caddy spent in a tree. [Link]

Hole #7: And So It’s Come to This
Bruce Jenner will discuss learning how to play golf with breasts on the upcoming docuseries. We suggest asking Phil, or Monty, or Lumpy, or (oh, let’s see) every teenage girl who ever played through puberty. [Link]

Hole #8: Golf Course Helps Earthquake Victims
A nine-hole golf course in Nepal has become a refuge for earthquake victims, providing a safe place to sleep. [Link]

Hole #9: Nicklaus on Nick
Jack Nicklaus evaluated his grandson’s prospects prior to this week’s NFL draft. Tight End Nick O’Leary went in the 6th round to the Buffalo Bills. [Link]

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