If Draft Day Came to Golf

By Adam BarrApril 28, 2003, 4:00 pm
Some time between Dr. J and Michael, when sports on TV exploded in a marketing smart bomb whose fallout will not go away, they snuck one by us.
Well, they snuck a lot of things by us, but one of the most embarrassing has been hoodwinking us into thinking that things about sports are as interestinig as sports themselves. Silly us. We let it happen.
So it is that millions of guys (women are smarter) just tanked a perfectly good spring Saturday afternoon watching the National Football League draft. Oooh! Buncha stiffs in suits and too-tight golf shirts sit around on the phone and talk about whos going to actually play the game! Oh, the bone-crushing non-hits! The unthrown, uncaught passes! The endless yap! I cant take this kind of excitement.
Drafts, selection shows, trading deadline tickers ' all that stuff curls my lip faster than unsweetened lemonade. Its the derivatives of sport, the junk bonds of real action, the detritus that feeds sell-advertising-itis.
Again, golf has shown its smarts by never even sniffing at the idea of things for which you dont need TV. Drafts and such are for newspapers, maybe the Internet for the need-a-lifers who insist on hearing in real time that the Steelers bypassed QB Rex Grossman in the first round in favor of a defensive back. (Good pick, by the bye; I read about it in the newspaper.)
Thank goodness theres no Ryder Cup selection show. Merit is the ticket into matching outfits with 10 of your closest friends. True, we do get the captains picks announcements on TV, but its a short press conference, not an over-analyzed extravaganza complete with Boomer and the boys.
But what if golf had a business and endorsement draft? How would the picks fall out? If TaylorMade-adidas Golf really bought the remaining golf assets of Spalding Sports Worldwide (the current rumor, no comment from either party), who would get Spaldings picks?
In the spirit of fantasy leagues (ooh! More scintillating non-action!), here are a few possible picks:
First round, first pick: Despite some strong seasons from Hal Sutton and Jim Furyk, Spalding gets first pick. The Colin Montgomerie acquisition from Callaway helped broaden Spaldings international foothold. To cement the deal, Spalding would take Sergio Garcia or Ernie Els in the first round. If it could.
First round, second pick: Ping would nab either Els or Garcia, depending on who Spalding took. Again, if it could.
First round, third pick: Callaway would simply put a Great Big Bertha II in every PGA Tour players locker at about 3 a.m. on Thursday morning. Bombs away!
First round, fourth pick: TaylorMade-adidas would draft companies, not players. They bought West Coast custom putter shop K&M, now perhaps Spalding club and ball? CEO Mark King can be heard rummaging through his desk for his checkbookoh, thats right, Mike Weir has it.
First round, fifth pick: Titleist, happy with its stable of players, drafts more accountants and bodyguards to satisfy and protect its Midas-touch Pro V golf ball research and development team.
Second round, first pick: Having traded away so many draft picks all those years ago to get Tiger, Nikes lucky to be picking even this high. Theyd gladly take Charles Howell III if he werent under contract to Callaway; the thinking is that CHIII is the likely contender for the next eon-stopping, down-the-stretch, Nicklaus-versus-Watson type of major championship duel. Why not swoosh it up wall to wall? As it is, the Beaverton sages will keep an eye out for a phenom to be named later.
Second round, second pick: Cleveland Golf had to give away some picks to get Vijay Singh and David Toms, but theyre almost assured of that pair increasing their majors totals down the road. To add to the depth chart, they wisely drafted Beth Bauer. So far, so good: Industry numbers now show Cleveland to be the nations fourth largest golf equipment company, measured in dollar sales.
The remaining picks go to major corporations seeking big-name endorsement space on various TV-worthy hats, shirt fronts, sleeves and bags. Then theres the last pick:
Thirty-second round, fortieth pick: The Golf Channel drafts a business editor to be named laterjust in case.
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Stock Watch: Strange grumpy; Tiger Time again?

By Ryan LavnerJanuary 23, 2018, 1:00 pm

Each week on GolfChannel.com, we’ll examine which players’ stocks and trends are rising and falling in the world of golf.


Jon Rahm (+9%): This should put his whirlwind 17 months in the proper context: Rahm (38) has earned four worldwide titles in 25 fewer starts – or a full season quicker – than Jordan Spieth (63). This kid is special.

Tommy Fleetwood (+7%): Putting on a stripe show in windy conditions, the Englishman defended his title in Abu Dhabi (thanks to a back-nine 30) and capped a 52-week period in which he won three times, contended in majors and WGCs, and soared inside the top 15 in the world.

Sergio (+3%): Some wholesale equipment changes require months of adjustments. In Garcia’s case, it didn’t even take one start, as the new Callaway staffer dusted the field by five shots in Singapore.

Rory (+2%): Sure, it was a deflating Sunday finish, as he shot his worst round of the week and got whipped by Fleetwood, but big picture he looked refreshed and built some momentum for the rest of his pre-Masters slate. That’s progress.

Ken Duke (+1%): Looking ahead to the senior circuit, Duke, 48, still needs a place to play for the next few years. Hopefully a few sponsors saw what happened in Palm Springs, because his decision to sub in for an injured Corey Pavin for the second and third rounds – with nothing at stake but his amateur partner’s position on the leaderboard – was as selfless as it gets.


Austin Cook (-1%): The 54-hole leader in the desert, he closed with 75 – the worst score of anyone inside the top 40. Oy.

Phil (-2%): All of that pre-tournament optimism was tempered by the reality of his first missed cut to start the new year since 2009. Now ranked 45th in the world, his position inside the top 50 – a spot he’s occupied every week since November 1993 – is now in jeopardy.

Careful What You Wish For (-3%): Today’s young players might (foolishly) wish they could have faced Woods in his prime, but they’ll at least get a sense this week of the spectacle he creates. Playing his first Tour event in a year, and following an encouraging warmup in the Bahamas, his mere presence at Torrey is sure to leave everyone else to grind in obscurity.

Curtis Strange (-5%): The two-time U.S. Open champ took exception with the chummy nature of the CareerBuilder playoff, with Rahm and Andrew Landry chatting between shots. “Are you kidding me?” Strange tweeted. “Talking at all?” The quality of golf was superb, so clearly they didn’t need to give each other the silent treatment to summon their best.

Brooks Koepka (-8%): A bummer, the 27-year-old heading to the DL just as he was starting to come into his own. The partially torn tendon in his left wrist is expected to knock him out of action until the Masters, but who knows how long it’ll take him to return to game shape.

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What's in the bag: CareerBuilder winner Rahm

By Golf Channel DigitalJanuary 22, 2018, 10:37 pm

Jon Rahm defeated Andrew Landry in a playoff to earn his second PGA Tour title at the CareerBuilder Challenge. Here's what's in his bag:

Driver: TaylorMade M4 (9.5 degrees), with Aldila Tour Green 75 TX shaft

Fairway wood: TaylorMade M3 (19 degrees), with Aldila Tour Green 75 TX shaft

Irons: TaylorMade P790 (3), P750 (4-PW), with Project X 6.5 shafts

Wedges: TaylorMade Milled Grind (52, 56 degrees), Milled Grind Hi-Toe (60 degrees), with Project X 6.5 shafts

Putter: TaylorMade Spider Tour Red

Ball: TaylorMade TP5x

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Strange irked by Rahm-Landry friendly playoff

By Jason CrookJanuary 22, 2018, 9:45 pm

Curtis Strange knows a thing or two about winning golf tournaments, and based on his reaction to the CareerBuilder Challenge playoff on Sunday, it’s safe to say he did things a little differently while picking up 17 PGA Tour victories in his Hall-of-Fame career.

While Jon Rahm and Andrew Landry were “battling” through four extra holes, Strange, 62, tweeted his issues with the duo’s constant chit-chat and friendly banter down the stretch at La Quinta Country Club, where Rahm eventually came out on top.

The two-time U.S. Open champ then engaged with some followers to explain his point a little more in depth.

So, yeah ... don't think he's changing his perspective on this topic anytime soon ever.

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Randall's Rant: The Euros won't just roll over

By Randall MellJanuary 22, 2018, 9:36 pm

The Ryder Cup may not be the King Kong of golf events yet, but you can hear the biennial international team event thumping its chest a full eight months out.

As anticipation for this year’s big events goes, there is more buzz about Europe’s bid to hold off a rejuvenated American effort in Paris in September than there is about the Masters coming up in April.

Thank Europe’s phenomenal success last weekend for that.

And Rory McIlroy’s impassioned remarks in Abu Dhabi.

And the provocative bulletin board material a certain Sports Illustrated writer provided the Europeans a couple months ago, with a stinging assault on the Euro chances that read like an obituary.

McIlroy was asked in a news conference before his 2018 debut last week what he was most excited about this year.

The Ryder Cup topped his list.

Though McIlroy will be trying to complete the career Grand Slam at Augusta National come April, he talked more about the Ryder Cup than he did any of the game’s major championships.

When asked a follow-up about the American team’s resurgence after a task-force overhaul and the injection of young, new star power, McIlroy nearly started breaking down the matchup. He talked about the young Americans and how good they are.

“Yeah, the Americans have been, obviously, very buoyant about their chances and whatever, but it’s never as easy as that. ... The Ryder Cup’s always close,” McIlroy said. “I think we’ll have a great team, and it definitely won’t be as easy as they think it’s going to be.”

McIlroy may have been talking about Alan Shipnuck’s bold prediction after the American Presidents Cup rout last fall.

Or similar assertions from TV analysts.

“The Ryder Cup is dead – you just don’t know it yet,” Shipnuck wrote. “One of the greatest events in sport is on the verge of irrelevancy. The young, talented, hungry golfers from the United States, benefitting from the cohesive leadership of the Task Force era, are going to roll to victory in 2018 in Paris.”

European Ryder Cup captain Thomas Bjorn won’t find words that will motivate the Euros more than that as he watches his prospective players jockey to make the team.

And, boy, did they jockey last weekend.

The Euros dominated across the planet, not that they did it with the Ryder Cup as some rallying cry, because they didn’t. But it was a heck of an encouraging start to the year for Bjorn to witness.

Spain’s Jon Rahm won the CareerBuilder Challenge on the PGA Tour, England’s Tommy Fleetwood started the week at Abu Dhabi paired with American and world No. 1 Dustin Johnson and won the European Tour event, and Spain’s Sergio Garcia won the Singapore Open in a rout on the Asian Tour.

And McIlroy looked close to being in midseason form, tying for third in his first start in three months.

Yes, it’s only January, and the Ryder Cup is still a long way off, with so much still to unfold, but you got an early sense from McIlroy how much defending European turf will mean to him and the Euros in Paris in September.

The Masters is great theater, the U.S. Open a rigorous test, The Open and the PGA Championship historically important, too, but the Ryder Cup touches a nerve none of those do.

The Ryder Cup stokes more fervor, provokes more passion and incites more vitriol than any other event in golf.

More bulletin board material, too.

Yeah, it’s a long way off, but you can already hear the Ryder Cup’s King Kong like footsteps in its distant approach. Watching how the American and European teams come together will be an ongoing drama through spring and summer.