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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Facial hair Fowler's new good-luck charm

By Rex HoggardJuly 20, 2018, 8:12 pm

CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – Before, during and after the Fourth of July, Rickie Fowler missed a few appointments with his razor.

He arrived in the United Kingdom for last week’s Scottish Open still unshaved and he tied for sixth place. Fowler, like most golfers, can give in to superstition, so he's decided to keep the caveman look going for this week’s Open Championship.

“There could be some variations,” he smiled following his round on Friday at Carnoustie.


Full-field scores from the 147th Open Championship

Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship


At this rate, he may never shave again. Fowler followed an opening 70 with a 69 on Friday to move into a tie for 11th place, just three strokes off the lead.

Fowler also has some friendly competition in the beard department, with his roommate this week Justin Thomas also going for the rugged look.

“I think he kind of followed my lead in a way. I think he ended up at home, and he had a little bit of scruff going. It's just fun,” Fowler said. “We mess around with it. Obviously, not taking it too seriously. But like I said, ended up playing halfway decent last week, so I couldn't really shave it off going into this week.”

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Spieth (67) rebounds from tough Round 1 finish

By Ryan LavnerJuly 20, 2018, 7:55 pm

CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – Guess whose putter is starting to heat up again at a major?

Even with a few wayward shots Friday at Carnoustie, Jordan Spieth made a significant climb up the leaderboard in the second round, firing a 4-under 67 to move just three shots off the lead.

Spieth showed his trademark grit in bouncing back from a rough finish Thursday, when he mis-clubbed on the 15th hole, leading to a double bogey, and ended up playing the last four holes in 4 over.

“I don’t know if I actually regrouped,” he said. “It more kind of fires me up a little.”


Full-field scores from the 147th Open Championship

Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship


Spieth missed more than half of his fairways in the second round, but he was able to play his approach shots from the proper side of the hole. Sure, he “stole a few,” particularly with unlikely birdies on Nos. 10 and 11 after errant drives, but he took advantage and put himself in position to defend his claret jug.

Spieth needed only 25 putts in the second round, and he credited a post-round adjustment Thursday for the improvement. The tweak allows his arms to do more of the work in his stroke, and he said he felt more confident on the greens.

“It’s come a long way in the last few months, no doubt,” he said.

More than anything, Spieth was relieved not to have to play “cut-line golf” on Friday, like he’s done each start since his spirited run at the Masters.

“I know that my swing isn’t exactly where I want it to be; it’s nowhere near where it was at Birkdale,” he said. “But the short game is on point, and the swing is working in the right direction to get the confidence back.”

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After 36, new Open favorite is ... Fleetwood

By Golf Channel DigitalJuly 20, 2018, 7:49 pm

With a handful of the pre-championship favorites exiting early, there is a new odds-on leader entering the third round of The Open at Carnoustie.

While Zach Johnson and Kevin Kisner share the 36-hole lead, it's England's Tommy Fleetwood who leads the betting pack at 11/2. Fleetwood begins the third round one shot off the lead.

Click here for the leaderboard and take a look below at the odds, courtesy Jeff Sherman at golfodds.com.

Tommy Fleetwood: 11/2

Zach Johnson: 13/2

Rory McIlroy: 7/1

Jordan Spieth: 8/1

Rickie Fowler: 9/1

Kevin Kisner: 12/1

Xander Schauffele: 16/1

Tony Finau: 16/1

Matt Kuchar: 18/1

Pat Perez: 25/1

Brooks Koepka: 25/1

Erik van Rooyen: 50/1

Alex Noren: 50/1

Tiger Woods: 50/1

Thorbjorn Olesen: 60/1

Danny Willett: 60/1

Francesco Molinari: 60/1

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Perez (T-3) looks to remedy 'terrible' major record

By Rex HoggardJuly 20, 2018, 7:34 pm

CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – Pat Perez’s major record is infinitely forgettable. In 24 Grand Slam starts he has exactly one top-10 finish, more than a decade ago at the PGA Championship.

“Terrible,” Perez said when asked to sum up his major career. “I won sixth [place]. Didn't even break top 5.”

It’s strange, however, that his status atop The Open leaderboard through two rounds doesn’t seem out of character. The 42-year-old admits he doesn’t hit it long enough to contend at most major stops and also concedes he doesn’t exactly have a wealth of knowledge when it comes to the game’s biggest events, but something about The Open works for him.


Full-field scores from the 147th Open Championship

Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship


“I didn't like it the first time I came over. When I went to St. Andrews in '05, I didn't like it because it was cold and terrible and this and that,” he said. “Over the years, I've really learned to like to come over here. Plus the fans are so awesome here. They know a good shot. They don't laugh at you if you hit a bad shot.”

Perez gave the fans plenty to cheer on Friday at Carnoustie, playing 17 flawless holes to move into a share of the lead before a closing bogey dropped him into a tie for third place after a second-round 68.

For Perez, links golf is the great equalizer that mitigates the advantages some of the younger, more powerful players have and it brings out the best in him.

“It's hard enough that I don't feel like I have to hit perfect shots. That's the best,” he said. “Greens, you can kind of miss a shot, and it won't run off and go off the green 40 yards. You're still kind of on the green. You can have a 60-footer and actually think about making it because of the speed.”