Will the PGA Tour’s new pace-of-play policy really change anything?

When word that the PGA Tour Policy Board had passed and will implement new pace-of-play guidelines during the 2020 season began to spread, the age-old cycle of news headlines, analytics, anonymous sources, finger pointing and speculation got another big boost. We don’t know all the details of the new plan, and won’t until the Tour makes its official announcement about the change (reportedly coming early 2020), but we do know enough to keep the speculation going until then.

Golf Digest reports the new policy will shift the Tour’s focus on players in groups that are out of position to individual players regardless of group position, which is in-line with the Tour’s August announcement that it would be taking a closer look at the pace-of-policy. That announcement came on the heels of the “recent incidents,” the Tour cited at the time — those incidents being Bryson DeChambeau’s antics at the 2019 Northern Trust and a whole other p-o-p rabbit hole. But back to the new policy. To shift the focus to individual players, the Tour is reportedly going to create a secret shit list of the slowest players so they are more likely to be put on the clock. If a player records a second bad time during a round they will incur a one-stoke penalty.

The new policy is supposed to start a week after the Masters, at the RBC Heritage in South Carolina. That seems a pretty quick turnaround for what’s being talked up as some kind of sweeping, answer-to-all-problems policy — but is it really any of that? There are rules meant to address slow play on the Tour already on the books, though they are pretty weak, obviously. But the bigger part of the problem, one the rulebook can’t fix, is the Tour’s inability to enforce it’s own rules, or unwillingness to do so.

Pace-of-play has been a massive problem for the Tour ever since, well, ever. Any time it looks like the Tour is ready to do something about it, it doesn’t — a story seemingly as old as the game itself. Are we really to believe this new policy is going to change anything?

It’s no secret who the slowest players are, certainly amongst the players themselves, but the fans know it too. What’s keeping a list of the most-likely suspects going to achieve if the same rules officials won’t penalize anyone anyways? What’s the point of keeping the list secret in the first place if we can guess who’s on it? Maybe some good ol’ fashioned online public shaming is the change we need to speed things up.

Despite the announcement, right now the Tour is no closer to solving the problem than it was to begin with. This new policy gives it a new approach at highlighting AND enforcing the problem, but given its track record for penalizing players, or lack there of, the prospect that the Tour has effected any meaningful change is still a toss up.

At least we won’t have to wait too long to find out for sure.

Crush Golf brings modern golf games to Southern Colorado

Crush Golf

An artist rendering of the new Crush Golf facility in Colorado Springs, opening summer 2020.

With the explosion of TopGolf and Drive Shack popularity across the US, we here in Southern Colorado have been patiently waiting for our turn at a brightly lit, titillating year-round golf venue. Come summer 2020, the wait will be over.

In a November press release, developers of the ever expanding Polaris Pointe retail complex on the north side of Colorado Springs announced the upcoming opening of Crush Golf and sister facility AirCity360. Currently under construction, Crush Golf will span 54,000 sqft, housing 75 heated driving range “suites” with Trackman Golf tech, a 250-yard driving range, dining and meeting facilities. Crush Golf with be the “first of its kind golf facility in the Pikes Peak Region,” according to the release, offering southern Colorado golfers a way to cure their FOMO with our neighbors to the north (Top Golf has already staked a claim in the Denver area with two locations).

Crush Golf’s sister facility, AirCity360, is said to be an all-family entertainment venue with everything from a roller coaster, climbing wall and “Ninja360” course to dodgeball, trampolines and much more. The two facilities join a host of other attractions in the Polaris Pointe center, including go-karts, shopping centers, restaurants and more to make it one of the premiere entertainment centers south of Denver, located east of I-25 and Northgate Boulevard.

Koepka pulls out of Presidents Cup, Fowler slips in

Rickie Folwer

A lingering knee injury will keep world no. 1 Brooks Koepka outside the ropes when Team USA takes on the Internationals at the 2019 Presidents Cup. The reigning PGA Champion and American Player of the Year announced his withdrawal from the event Nov. 20 on social media, making way for an alternate pick for Team USA player captain Tiger Woods.

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Today, I am announcing my withdrawal from the USA Presidents Cup team because of my knee injury. I notified Captain Tiger Woods that despite constant medical care and rehab, I am not able to play golf at this time. I consider it to be a high honor to be part of the 2019 team and I regret not being able to compete. ⠀ Since my injury in Korea, I have been in constant contact with Tiger and assured him that I was making every effort to be 100% in time for the Presidents Cup in Australia. However, I need more time to heal. ⠀ I’m sorry I won’t be able to represent the Red, White, and Blue this time around and I wish my teammates nothing but the best as they work to retain the Presidents Cup for the USA.

A post shared by Brooks Koepka (@bkoepka) on

Leaving zero time for speculation, Woods gave the nod to world no. 21 and fellow BD energizer Rickie Fowler — Sorry, Kevin Kisner — who’s on the up-and-up after a gastrointestinal infection that made him withdraw from the Myakoba Classic earlier this month.

While Koepka will certainly be missed, the substitution shouldn’t shock anyone or muddy Team USA’s chances of absolutely destroying the International Team. Fowler has repped America in the last two Presidents Cups (2015 and 2017), made six top-10 finishes in 2019, won the ’19 Waste Management Open, and finished top-10 in the Open (T6) and the Masters (T9) this year, and finishing top-20 in the FedEx Cup rankings. Again, not the world’s number one player’s numbers, but still better than the majority of the inexperienced International team. (Plus, who doesn’t love “Big Dick Rick” just because?)

Again we say, USA by a million.

2019 Presidents Cup coverage begins Thursday, December 12, with the fourball opening round followed by the foursome matches on Friday. Saturday brings a full slate with the second round of fourball and foursomes, and closing on Sunday with the singles matches. Tune into the Golf Channel for live coverage Thursday through Sunday, and NBC for a replay of Sunday.

The 2019 Presidents Cup teams are set — USA by a million

Look out world, the Yankees are coming (again).

We’re about a month out from the 2019 Presidents Cup — let the official countdown begin. While speculation of who captains Tiger Woods and Ernie Els would pick for their respective teams for the biennial event — each allowed to choose four players instead of just two for the first time in history — the excitement doesn’t really start until the rosters are set.

That time is now.

Ernie Els revealed his captain’s picks Dec. 6, giving the nod to Jason Day, Adam Hadwin, Sungjae Im, and Joaquín Niemann. Els’ picks join Hideki Matsuyama, Adam Scott, Louis Oosthuizen, Marc Leishman, Abraham Ancer, Haotong Li, Cameron Smith, and C.T. Pan to round out the International team, with assistant captains K.J. Choi, Trevor Immelman, Geoff Ogilvy, and Mike Weir.

That’s the team looking to right the ship against the U.S. after 2017 International captain Nick Price and Co. suffered nothing short of a brutal ass beating at Liberty National just two years ago, the Americans’ 10th victory in 12 events. If you don’t remember what exactly happened in 2017, you’re forgiven: the beating was so thorough it made the final rounds on Sunday all but unwatchable, with the U.S. entering the day with a 14.5 to 3.5 lead. As a matter of fact, if it weren’t for pseudo-spoiler wins by Anirban Lahiri and Si Woo Kim on Saturday, the Americans could’ve closed the Internationals out before the Sunday singles rounds even began.

Embarrassing for sure, but that was two years ago. There’s no way the Internationals will let that happen again, right?

Well… here’s the thing: 2019’s version of Team USA is really, really good.

Captained by BDE himself (Tiger Woods) the American team is arguably more stacked than ever. The GOAT’s tapped Tony Finau, Gary Woodland, Patrick Reed, and (as well all had hoped) third-person Tiger Woods to join Dustin Johnson, Justin Thomas, Brooks Koepka, Matt Kuchar, Xander Schauffele, Webb Simpson, Bryson DeChambeau, and Patrick Cantaly to keep the Internationals in their place. Fred Couples, Zach Johnson, and Steve Stricker round out the American envoy as Woods’ assistant captains.

(Related: Koepka pull out of Presidents Cup, Fowler slips in)

Skipping the in-depth analysis and laborious breakdowns you can find elsewhere, the Americans laying it on the Internationals once again at Australia’s Royal Melbourne Golf Club is pretty much a guarantee. First, the U.S. has won seven straight against the International team. And with the exception of Kuchar, every player on the American roster is ranked higher than any player on the International team (Scott and Matsuyama are both raked above Kuchar). Els is fielding eight rookies and the youngest team in Presidents Cup history against the American veterans, three of whom — Koepka, Woodland and Woods — won majors in 2019, and all of whom are ranked top 25 in the world. And last but certainly not least, the Americans have the greatest player of all time turning in a card: TIGER FUCKING WOODS, looking to cap off a tremendous comeback season.

In short, USA by a million.

2019 Presidents Cup coverage begins Thursday, December 12, with the fourball opening round followed by the foursome matches on Friday. Saturday brings a full slate with the second round of fourball and foursomes, and closing on Sunday with the singles matches. Tune into the Golf Channel for live coverage Thursday through Sunday, and NBC for a replay of Sunday.

The Golf Wall Project is on a mission to make okay golfers better people

Golf In Your State VanIt’s just after lunchtime, two hours before we tee off, and the CGB crew is knee deep in the weeds off a urban trail on the Westside of Colorado Springs. We’ve filled the bed of a pick up with with heaps of garbage — everything from liquor bottles, cigarette butts and your typical litter to mangled shopping carts, bike tires and, of course, discarded underwear — and smiling all the way. It’s not our ordinary pre round warmup, but when @golfinyourstate (Matt Cardis) comes to town, the extra-ordinary should be expected.

GIYS recently launched the Golf Wall Project, a first-of-its-kind initiative inspiring golfers around the country to become more involved in their local communities by volunteering a little time and effort. The Colorado GWP meet up brought us to a busy local trailhead for a little cleanup, but the spirit of the project is much more than that. With trash bags and gloves on hand, Cardis explained that it’s not just about cleaning up the trail for other users, or notching a “good deed” off the list — it’s about recognizing the underlying issues our community faces, what each one of us can do about those issues, and inspiring ourselves and those around us to get involved and stay involved. All the while, Cardis says, the GWP is changing the perception of golf and golfers — removing the well-to-do, uppity, privileged stereotypes, and tossing them into the weeds, quite literally.

Our group, about a dozen strong, made quick work of our stretch of trail along the city’s notorious Fountain Creek, cleaning up the remnants of a few abandoned homeless camps and the areas bordering the paved path and bridge crossing. The immediate impact of the hour we spent out there certainly didn’t change the world or solve all the city’s issues, even though the trail was looking pretty good. But the long term impact the project had on the attendees is what it’s all about.

Golf In Your State

If you see this guy rolling through your neighborhood, follow him.

“I’m leaving a footprint and you guys are finishing the trail,” Cardis said in an interview with a local tv station that came out to cover the cleanup. “I get these guys out here today, they do this, hopefully they think it’s cool and have fun and they [do it again].”

Here’s a shocker: it was fun, and before the last bag was in the back of the truck we were already brainstorming what we could do next. Mission accomplished.

With the truck full and trail sparkling, it was time for golf. Each GWP initiative is tied to some kind of golf event, and, well, CGB knows how to do golf events. With Cardis’ blessing and help from our sponsor at King’s Deer Golf Club we set up one of our signature group skins games for all the volunteers, with the majority of the proceeds going towards future GWP initiatives.

Golf Wall Project twilight round

A twilight money game is CGB’s time to shine.

An epic twilight round ensued, finishing as a group of ten underneath an iconic Colorado sunset. Even after a nine hour day, no one was ready to quit. We gathered in the famous GIYS van for a final recap, and one by one each attendee shared their thoughts on the day’s events. A common theme arose: we normal, everyday, average golfers can change the world for the better with just a little effort, and, more importantly, we feel empowered to do so.

The Golf Wall Project will continue through 2019 and into 2020, criss-crossing the country wherever it’s called. There are a number of ways to get involved including enviable photo experience and golf travel packages — with 50% of the profit going to GWP — volunteering and/or simple donations. Visit golfinyourstate.com/golf-wall-project for more information and to sign up.

 

CBD is becoming one of golf’s hottest new products

CBD-Oil-TinctureWhether you’ve tried it for yourself or not, you’ve no doubt heard of CBD by now. The natural compound known as “cannabidiol,” derived from hemp cannabis sativa plants, has taken the natural health supplements market by storm. Experts say the up-and-coming industry could eclipse $22 billion in 2019 alone, after the passage of the 2018 Farm Bill effectively legalized the substance in all 50 states at the federal level (as long as it contains .3% or less THC). Ranging from food and drink additives, raw oils and tinctures, to lotions, topicals, vapes and pet-friendly items, CBD products tout a variety of health and wellness benefits to better just about every aspect of your life — your golf game included.

With steady supply and growing demand in place, CBD purveyors have moved on to finding footholds in a number of markets in a big way, and the golf industry seems to be ripe for the picking. Bubba Watson became the first mainstream PGA Tour pro to openly endorse a CBD company earlier this year, with a number of other pros following suit, and rumors and videos have surfaced of Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson are using CBD products during tour events (though neither player has confirmed doing so). CBD products are popping up in pro shops across the country, and making headlines in major publications regularly, too. The opportunities seem so great it has some companies going all in with golf-specific CBD products, flooding social media with “influencer” endorsements and ads to gain their share of the market.

And it seems to be working.

“I believe in CBD 100 percent,” says Jeff Mayhall, a PGA teaching pro based in Fort Worth, Texas, who was struggling with chronic back pain. “I used to be a skeptic until I tried it for the first time. Now I can only describe it as ‘life changing.'”

Mayhall traces his back issues to playing and learning the game in the ’80s and ’90s, before equipment makers began incorporating more forgiving technology into golf clubs and balls, and believes the same goes for most players in his age group and older. “You had to learn how to swing a certain way just to get those old golf balls in the air,” he says, “How many hip surgeries did Jack Niklaus have? … Tiger played in that era too and look what he went through. That’s where a lot of that joint pain comes from.”

Among the many purported health benefits of CBD, natural joint pain and muscle soreness relief — without the harmful side effects that come with traditional pharmaceuticals — are among the top selling points for aging golfers. In a recent in-depth Golf Digest report exploring the relationship between CBD and golf, the author notes “a sense that CBD is seen as a critical asset” for players in older generations because of those anti-inflammatory properties. With fewer aches and pains caused by on course wear and tear, older players are likely to remain active in the game — and spend money — for a longer period of time.

“It’s hopefully going get those people who are thinking they have to give up golf stay in the game longer — even helping them come back from an injury,” Mayhall says.

At 41 years old, Mayhall says he reached the point of having tried “anything and everything” to subdue his chronic back pain outside of invasive surgery. “I was ready to accept that I was going to feel awful for the rest of my life, and that golf couldn’t be a priority for me anymore,” he says. “Now I feel like my opportunities are endless.”

Golfer fist pumpFor Mayhall, it all started with better sleep, though, his back pain wasn’t relieved overnight. “I could feel pressure points in my back that needed to pop, but I couldn’t get them because of all the inflammation,” he says. “A few days later I was standing at the counter, turned around to pick something up, and felt all that pressure release at once. Ever since then I haven’t had any back pain and I know it’s because of the CBD.”

The benefits of CBD aren’t exclusive to the older generations of players, either. The substance’s anti-inflammatory properties aid in muscle recovery for younger and more competitive athletes too, and brings another wealth of psychological benefits along with it — like better focus and less anxiety — that can boost any player’s overall performance.

“I feel the most normal I’ve felt in years,” Mayhall says. “After my experience [with CBD], I really wanted to get more involved.” Aside from teaching golf, Mayhall is now a brand ambassador and salesperson for Hēl-Zal™ CBD Products**, and helping others find the right products for them. “I’m a walking billboard for CBD, I believe in it so much,” he says.

The CBD industry still has a number of hurdles to overcome as lawmakers scramble to figure out if, how, and to what extent CBD products will be regulated. And given its ties to the other, more controversial cannabis product, THC, many financial institutions, internet and marketing platforms still bar CBD companies from using their services. Last but not least, the industry still faces the ever-present stigma tied to cannabis, something Mayhall thinks will take awhile to overcome. Nonetheless, the industry’s exponential growth continues with no signs of letting up, and it’s making a strong case that it’s good for the game.

**Disclaimer: Hel-Zal CBD Products is a sponsor of the 2019 CGB Tournament Series, the company also employs the author of this story for internet services.