Jeff Clark Blog

By Win McMurryAugust 10, 2010, 10:45 pm

Jeff Clark is insane. That’s how he became a legend—not a legend in golf, but in a sport that, to an outside observer, would seem to be on the other end of the spectrum.

Jeff Clark grew up on the coast of Northern California in Half Moon Bay. There, surfing is a way of life. Take a drive down Highway 1, and you’ll pass surf spot after surf spot, packed with locals outfitted in wetsuits ripping it up on the breaks that dot the rugged coastline.

Clark was just a kid when he first began riding waves. He would go out surfing with his little league team after practice in Half Moon Bay. By age 17, he couldn’t get enough of the water, and during recess, he would wander to the cliffs behind his high school. He would stare out at waves breaking close to a mile off shore in a spot that his little league coach once referred to as “Mavericks.” Clark watched the waves reach in excess of 60 feet throughout the winter months. No one before had dared to surf Mavericks. It was considered unsurfable and too dangerous. But Clark didn’t buy it.

He prepared for months, planned his attack and paddled out. His friends thought he was crazy and stayed behind to watch him from the shore. And for 15 years Clark surfed Mavericks alone.

Clark was driven to push himself to the limit, to achieve the impossible. And eventually, word spread of this big wave surf spot off Half Moon Bay. It took 15 years before professional big wave surfers from the North Shore of Hawaii joined Clark at Mavericks. One of them, Mark Foo, was claimed victim by the epic surf, and since then, Mavericks has grown to become the most infamous surf spot in the continental United States, and Clark has become a legend.

Now in his fifties, Clark continues to surf Mavericks 35 years, a hip operation and spinal fusion surgery later, but it was ten years ago when he discovered another sport that now has him completely obsessed. I traveled with a crew to interview Clark on his dual-life as a big wave surf legend and a golf-obsessed amateur who won his club championship at Half Moon Bay Golf Links.

Clark shared so many stories with us over our whirlwind trip from Orlando to Northern California. We spent time in his surf shop where he sells the boards he shapes for himself and others to surf Mavericks, which only about 200 people in the world are skilled and daring enough to do.

We set up shop for the majority of our conversations at Half Moon Bay Yacht Club, where Jeff is a member. This is not your typical yacht club. In fact, the building that houses the club was transformed from an old, weathered waterfront beach cottage that Clark briefly lived in with some surfing buddies when he was in his early twenties.

We hit Half Moon Bay Golf Links for a round of golf with Jeff and three of his friends—fellow professional surfers who also brave the waves at Mavericks. And through the misty and fog-laden air, we also ventured out on a very bumpy boat ride to Mavericks on the “Queen of Hearts.” The 60-foot-long boat is no stranger to Mavericks. It frequents the heralded surf spot, hired out each year to take surfers, photographers and spectators to the annual Mavericks Surf Contest. Twenty-four elite surfers receive a special invitation, on 24-hours notice, to fly in to Half Moon Bay to compete by surfing the biggest waves of the year for one of the biggest big-wave surf purses of the year.

Jeff Clark began it all, and it came from his drive to achieve what others deemed impossible and utterly insane. His story is one of the most incredible I’ve heard. I hope you enjoy watching the legend reveal his two passions—surfing and golf—and how he believes the two, for him, are deeply connected.

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After Further Review: Tiger's return comes at perfect time

By Golf Channel DigitalJanuary 22, 2018, 2:19 am

Each week, takes a look back at the week in golf. Here's what's weighing on our writers' minds.

On the current state of golf as Tiger Woods returns to competition ...

Less than four days before Tiger Woods returns to official competitive golf for the first time in a year, Jon Rahm, the new second-ranked player in the world, won on the PGA Tour and Rory McIlroy made an impressive 2018 debut on the European Tour (T-3).

Not since Ben Hogan, Arnold Palmer and Jack Nicklaus crossed paths at the 1960 U.S. Open has there been so many superstars all poised for big seasons, with world No. 1 Dustin Johnson having already won this year and Jordan Spieth and Justin Thomas both coming off stellar seasons.

It’s a good time for golf. - Rex Hoggard

On Tommy Fleetwood's continued success ...

There have been scores of talented European players whose skills didn’t translate to the PGA Tour … and maybe, in a few years, Tommy Fleetwood will prove to be no different.

He sure looks like the real deal, though.  

His title defense in Abu Dhabi – on the strength of a back-nine 30 in windy conditions – was his third title in the past 12 months and 11th top-10 overall. A few of those have come in majors and World Golf Championship events, too, which led the reigning Race to Dubai champion to accept PGA Tour membership for this season.

Beginning at Riviera, he plans to play exclusively in the States through May, then reassess for the rest of the year. Hope he sticks, because he’s a fun personality with tons of game. - Ryan Lavner

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Rahm passes Spieth to become world No. 2

By Nick MentaJanuary 22, 2018, 1:25 am

With his win Sunday at the CareerBuilder Challenge, Jon Rahm picked up his second PGA Tour victory and moved to No. 2 in the FedExCup points standings.

He picked up one more No. 2, too.

The 23-year-old Spaniard passed Jordan Spieth to move to No. 2 in the Official World Golf Ranking, behind only Dustin Johnson.

In 19 months, since June 2016, Rahm has rocketed from No. 776 in the world to No. 2, thanks in part to his low divisor, his number of events played.

Asked after his playoff victory over Andrew Landry to discuss his rapid ascent up the world rankings, Rahm was almost at a loss.

“It's hard to believe to be honest, passing Jordan Spieth,” he said. “That's a three-time major champion. I only have two wins. He's got 10-plus, right? It's again – I've said it many times – I never thought I was going to be at this point in my life right now.”

Rahm may only have two PGA Tour titles, but this is his fourth worldwide win in the last year, dating back to last season’s Farmers Insurance Open. He also took the Dubai Duty Free Irish Open and the DP World Tour Championship on his way to claiming the European Tour’s 2017 Rookie of the Year Award.

Dating back to the start of last season on the PGA Tour, Rahm has racked up 12 top-10s, three runner-ups, and two wins.

He will head to Torrey Pines next week ready to defend for the first time.

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Brady compares self to Woods after winning AFC title

By Jason CrookJanuary 22, 2018, 1:05 am

Tom Brady and Tiger Woods are two of the all-time greats in their respective sports ... a fact that is not lost on the five-time Super Bowl winning quarterback.

Fresh off leading the New England Patriots to a AFC Championship victory over the Jacksonville Jaguars, Brady was asked about winning the game despite a cut on his throwing hand - which made national news heading into the matchup.

His response invoked the name of a certain 14-time major winner, something that would be tough to pull off, if not for the fact that he is, you know, Tom Brady.

“I think it's kind of arrogant to say it bothered me when we had a pretty good game, so I wouldn't say that," the 40-year-old told reporters after the game. "It's like when Tiger Woods said, ‘That was my C game’ and he won the tournament."

Tiger Woods winning with his "C game" may be a distant memory for golf fans, but no matter what game he brings, his next chance to win comes next week at Torrey Pines during his official comeback to the PGA Tour.

Brady has a shot at his sixth Super Bowl title in two weeks. The Patriots would probably benefit from him bringing a little better than his "C game" as well.

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Rahm beats Landry in playoff to win CareerBuilder

By Nick MentaJanuary 22, 2018, 1:00 am

Jon Rahm birdied the fourth extra hole Sunday to defeat Andrew Landry in a playoff, win the CareerBuilder Challenge and move to No. 2 in the Official World Golf Ranking. Here’s how things played out in overtime at PGA West:

Leaderboard: Rahm (-22), Landry (-22), John Huh (-20), Adam Hadwin (-20), Martin Piller (-20), Kevin Chappell (-19), Scott Piercy (-19)

What it means: This is Rahm’s second PGA Tour win and his fourth worldwide victory in the last year, dating back to last season’s Farmers Insurance Open. Rahm took the early lead Thursday with an opening 62 and after rounds of 67-70, he started the final round two back. On Sunday, he made five birdies without dropping a single shot on the intimidating Stadium Course. In the clubhouse at 22 under, Rahm watched as Landry made birdie on 18 to force a playoff.

Rahm missed birdie putts that would have ended the tournament on the final hole of regulation and on each playoff hole. Finally, on his fourth trip down 18 of the day, his birdie bid found the cup. With the victory, Rahm passes Jordan Spieth to move to No. 2 in the Official World Golf Ranking, trailing only Dustin Johnson. He enters next week at Torrey Pines looking to defend for the first time.

Best of the rest: A two-time winner playing his second full season on the PGA Tour, Landry shot 68 Sunday, making birdie on the 72nd hole to force extras. Once Rahm finally made birdie on the fourth playoff hole, Landry's putt to extend slid by on the right edge. This is Landry's best career finish on the PGA Tour. Had he won, he would have secured full Tour status through the 2019-20 season and earned invites to the Masters, Players, and PGA Championships.

Round of the day: Sam Saunders fired an 8-under 64 to register this best finish of the season, a tie for eighth at 18 under. The reigning Tour Championship winner was 9 under par through 12 holes before making bogey at 13 and parring his way into the clubhouse.

Biggest disappointment: Overnight leader Austin Cook was eyeing his second win of the season but never contended. The RSM champion carded two double bogeys Sunday en route to a 3-over 75, dropping him from the 54-hole lead to a tie for 14th.

Shot of the day: Rahm's putt to win:

Quote of the day: "One of us had to do it and either one of us would have been a well-deserving champion." - Rahm on his playoff victory over Landry