He Said/She Said: Commissioner for a day

By Bailey MosierJanuary 19, 2012, 3:53 pm

It's no small task to be commissioner of the PGA Tour and we give Tim Finchem kudos for signing a four-year extension. But if Finchem ever took a day's vacation, the Golf Guy and Birdie Bailey pondered what they would do if asked to fill in. And, much to our delight, Golf Channel analyst Brandel Chamblee also decided to weigh in.

By THE GOLF GUY

If I was commissioner for a day I would take a long, hard look at the schedule, as well as course set ups. Here are two ideas I feel need to be addressed: 

- Stay away from football season as best you can (Silly Season and the Fall Series events not included). It's crazy having a great golf event coming down the stretch on a Sunday going up against the NFL and insane fantasy football fans (not to mention the also insane NFL wagering fans). Golf often provides fantastic finishes (count the record 19 playoffs in 2011 as proof) – the Golf Guy just wishes more people would watch. Which makes that famous philosophical question come to mind ... 'If a tree falls in the forest and no one is around to hear it, does it make a sound?'

- Course set ups. Here's the usual math – 10+4+4=18. That is the normal set up of a course – par-wise. A plethora of par 4s, and a couple dashes of par 3s and 5s. Which holes are usually the most exciting in golf? Correct, par 3s and par 5s. I understand purists would never change this formula – but if I was a commissioner, I certainly would. Golf on TV is entertainment. Please let us be entertained with the possibility of some wild lead changes that par 5s and par 3s always provide as they close in on the 72nd hole.

Now I want to be commissioner for a day on the Sports Illustrated swimsuit edition.


By BIRDIE BAILEY

Social identity theory tells us that groups are an important source of pride and self-esteem. Groups give us a sense of social identity; a sense of belonging to the social world.

If you think about it, we are conditioned from birth to belong to groups. We are born into a family. We go to schools, church and play on sports teams. We are girls or boys.

Even in golf, up until you turn professional, you play golf both in team and individual settings simultaneously. You play on a high school team and a college team before turning pro. It is without question an individual sport, but imagine the possibilities of more team events.

Think of how exhilarating and energizing it is to watch the Ryder Cup. The Presidents Cup. Heck, even the Solheim Cup. Think as a player, how electrifying it is to play for your nation; to play for a cause larger than yourself. As a fan, think of how much more deeply you connect with teams, entities and brands.

Teams provide undeniable benefits for both players and fans, so in my one day as commissioner, I would campaign for more team events throughout the year. Instead of a handful of the same big-name players that fans root for week in and week out, we would start to see the formation of allegiances to larger and fewer ‘team’ brands that would span more players and ultimately help grow the game.

My second order of business would be a more trivial matter. I would host a 'Dyed and Gone to Heaven' gala for my friends and family at TPC Sawgrass – a tribute to the course’s beloved architect, Pete Dye.

Attendees would dress in tie-dye and sip on Mai Tais while nibbling on stir-fry.

Festivities would include hitting orange golf balls from 190 yards out at the 18th fairway and anyone who knocked it inside the 2-foot mark as done so by Jerry Pate in 1982 would get to toss Pete Dye into the lake and jump in after him. 

The 17th hole would be themed after Pete’s wife, Alice, because rumor says she was instrumental in the implementation of the famed island green. The ‘Alice in Wonderland’ par 3 would have friends shouting, “Hit it, Alice!” to anyone whose tee shot found the water short, after which they would be served Dunkin Donuts.

We would laugh and dance, eat and drink and party till we ... Dyed.


By BRANDEL CHAMBLEE

If I found myself in control of the PGA Tour for one day and had usurped all power from my board I would rage against selfish desires, like extending a lifelong Tour card to a broken down Tour pro who now just rants on about all things golf. Perhaps, lining the 17th green at the TPC Sawgrass with enough dynamite to blow up the Hindu Kush and setting the timer to coincide with me Skyping Pete Dye. I think I could get both of those done before lunch and still find time to hop on the Tour jet and meet Jack Nicklaus for a round of golf at Seminole, to discuss Tour business, of course.

With deference to the historian Lord Acton, who said that power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely, I would, however, resist such childish thoughts and fight to do some lasting good with the 24 hours as commissioner; although, one could still argue for the dynamite.

Two things have hurt the game and will continue to do so. Technology and slow play are related in that as technology has given all Tour players the ability to hit tee shots into tomorrow, courses have been stretched out and the game has become a dragged-out affair. Five- and 6-hour rounds can’t attract a new audience in a generation filled with short attention spans. One solution would lead to growth in the game, I am convinced, and simultaneously make it more interesting for Tour players and those consigned to dark corners and bad coffee whose job it is to describe the action.

The word people use to describe what I am going to suggest is bifurcation, which sounds to me like a word used to make palatable that which tends to smell. Perhaps, that’s appropriate, because when bringing up the idea of two sets of rules, most look like they have smelled something offensive. Ironically the very ones who are offended the most are the ones who talk about growing the game most fervently.

Football, basketball and baseball all have different rules that separate professional and amateur competitions, and while arguments as to why may be circular, the sports have not suffered from this separation. Golf would benefit in many ways from a similar partition between the professional and amateur ranks. The long putter, which offers a great respite from putting woes and bad backs to many amateurs, has no place in professional sports. Its use, understandable in club golf, is corruptive at the professional level as it allows one to predetermine the path of the putter.

Drivers and golf balls could be scaled back on the Tour, which would allow holes to return to nostalgic lengths and records to be viewed more accurately. Amateurs could have access to bigger heads, thinner faces, longer shafts and hotter golf balls, which would allow them to at least feel some closing of the ever-widening gap between professionals and recreational golfers.

Shorter holes would mean faster rounds and cheaper golf and with the new equipment that amateurs would be able to use they just might have as much fun as I would blowing up the 17th hole at the TPC.

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Day's wife shares emotional story of miscarriage

By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 12, 2017, 4:12 pm

Jason Day’s wife revealed on social media that the couple had a miscarriage last month.

Ellie Day, who announced her pregnancy on Nov. 4, posted an emotional note on Instagram that she lost the baby on Thanksgiving.

“I found out the baby had no heartbeat anymore. I was devastated,” she wrote. “I snuck out the back door of my doctor, a hot, sobbing, mascara-covered mess. Two and a half weeks went by witih me battling my heart and brain about what was happening in my body, wondering why this wouldn’t just be over.”

The Days, who have two children, Dash and Lucy, decided to go public to help others who have suffered similar heartbreak.

“I hope you know you aren’t alone and I hope you feel God wrap his arms around you when you feel the depths of sorrow and loss,” she wrote.  

Newsmaker of the Year: No. 5, Sergio Garcia

By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 12, 2017, 1:00 pm

This was the year it finally happened for Sergio Garcia.

The one-time teen phenom, known for years as “El Nino,” entered the Masters as he had dozens of majors beforehand – shouldered with the burden of being the best player without a major.

Garcia was 0-for-72 driving down Magnolia Lane in April, but after a thrilling final round and sudden-death victory over Justin Rose, the Spaniard at long last captured his elusive first major title.

The expectation for years was that Garcia might land his white whale on a British links course, or perhaps at a U.S. Open where his elite ball-striking might shine. Instead it was on the storied back nine at Augusta National that he came alive, chasing down Rose thanks in part to a memorable approach on No. 15 that hit the pin and led to an eagle.


Full list of 2017 Newsmakers of the Year


A green jacket was only the start of a transformative year for Garcia, 37, who heaped credit for his win on his then-fiancee, Angela Akins. The two were married in July, and months later the couple announced that they were expecting their first child to arrive just ahead of Garcia’s return to Augusta, where he'll host his first champions’ dinner.

And while players often cling to the notion that a major win won’t intrinsically change them, there was a noticeable difference in Garcia over the summer months. The weight of expectation, conscious or otherwise, seemed to lift almost instantly. Like other recent Masters champs, he took the green jacket on a worldwide tour, with stops at Wimbledon and a soccer match between Real Madrid and Barcelona.

The player who burst onto the scene as a baby-faced upstart is now a grizzled veteran with nearly two decades of pro golf behind him. While the changes this year occurred both on and off the course, 2017 will always be remembered as the year when Garcia finally, improbably, earned the title of major champion.


Masters victory


Article: Garcia defeats Rose to win Masters playoff

Article: Finally at peace: Garcia makes major breakthrough

Article: Garcia redeems career, creates new narrative


Video: See the putt that made Sergio a major champ


Green jacket tour

Article: Take a look at Sergio's crazy, hectic media tour

Article: Garcia with fiancée, green jacket at Wimbledon

Article: Watch: Garcia kicks off El Clasico in green jacket


Man of the people


Article: SERGIO! Garcia finally gets patrons on his side

Article: Fan finally caddies for Sergio after asking 206 times

Article: Sergio donates money for Texas flood relief


Article: Connelly, Garcia paired years after photo together


Ace at 17th at Sawgrass


Growing family

Article: Sergio, Angela get married; Kenny G plays reception

Article: Garcia, wife expecting first child in March 2018


Departure from TaylorMade


Article: Masters champ Garcia splits with TaylorMade


Squashed beef with Paddy

Article: Harrington: Garcia was a 'sore loser'

Article: Sergio, Padraig had 'great talk,' are 'fine'


Victory at Valderrama


Article: Garcia gets first win since Masters at Valderrama

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Newsmakers of the Year: Top 10 in 2017

By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 12, 2017, 12:30 pm
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Montana parents can't watch kids play high school golf

By Grill Room TeamDecember 11, 2017, 9:47 pm

Well, this is a one new one.

According to a report from KTVQ in Montana, this line in the Montana State High School Association rule book all but forbids spectators from observing high school golf in that state:

“No spectators/fans are allowed on the course except for certain locations as designated by the tournament manager and club professional.”

Part of the issue, according to the report, is that most courses don't bother to designate those "certain locations" leaving parents unable to watch their kids compete.

“If you tell a parent that they can’t watch their kid play in the Thanksgiving Day football game, they would riot,” Chris Kelley, a high school golf parent, told KTVQ.

The report lists illegal outside coaching as one of the rule's chief motivations, but Montana State women's golf coach Brittany Basye doesn't quite buy that.

“I can go to a softball game and I can sit right behind the pitcher. I can make hand signals,” she is quoted in the report. “I can yell out names. I can do the same thing on a softball field that might affect that kid. Football games we can yell as loud as we want when someone is making a pass or a catch.”

The MHSA has argued that unlike other sports that are played in a confined area, the sprawling nature of a golf course would make it difficult to hire enough marshals to keep unruly spectators in check.

Meanwhile, there's a lawyer quoted in the report claiming this is some kind of civil rights issue.

Worth note, Montana is one of only two states that doesn't allow spectators on the course. The other state, Alaska, does not offer high school golf.