Growing backlash signals the Tour can’t ignore slow play issues much longer

The PGA Tour suffered an early, downright no good, really bad week — and it’s its own fault.

The bad vibes started when Mayacoba Classic winner Matt Kuchar’s compensation for fill-in caddie David Ortiz came to light. Of Kuchar’s $1.2 million purse, Ortiz had requested $50,000 — caddies are often paid more for top-10 finishes — but Kuchar paid him $5,000. Though technically Kuchar did pay Ortiz a bonus, telling golf.com the two had originally agreed to $3,000 to $4,000, the payment caught the attention of social media (and you know how that goes).

“I certainly don’t lose sleep over this,” Kuchar told golfchannel.com, not making things any better.

It didn’t take long for Kuchar to flip his script and apologize to Ortiz, paying him the full $50,000 requested and making a charitable donation to Mayacopa Classic charities — and saving a some face in the process. In hindsight, a minor blemish in an otherwise good start to the season.

Later in the week, with fewer “KOOOOCH” cheers and little more heckling, the attention had shifted to the Genesis Open, but the Tour’s bad week was just getting started. After a tortuous 5.5 hour round and a disastrous finish from Justin Thomas, J.B. Holmes hoisted the trophy for his fifth Tour victory.

No one cared about Holmes’ win. Instead, the Tour found itself in the crosshairs for its rampant pace of play problems and apparent unwillingness to enforce the rules, and Holmes became the face of the issue.

Pace of play isn’t a new problem, and Holmes has never been known to play quickly. The difference now is the right people are voicing their frustration, and have the platforms to make sure a lot more people hear it.

Before the Genesis incident, Adam Scott joined the likes of Brooks Koepka and others in keeping the issue in the headlines, going as far as volunteering to be penalized for slow play so the Tour can set a precedent.

“I’ll take the penalty,” Scott said in an interview with Golf Digest. “The only way it’s going to work is if you enforce it.”

This comes on the heels of Koepka’s now famous “embarrassing” remarks earlier this month.

“Guys are already so slow, it’s kind of embarrassing,” Koepka told the Golf Monthy Podcast. “I don’t get why you enforce some things and don’t enforce others.”

Koepka’s comments came after video surfaced of Bryson DeChambeau calculating the barometric pressure during his pre-shot routine.

“I think that anyone that has issue with it, I understand, but we’re playing for our livelihoods out here, and this is what we want to do,” DeChambeau said.

It’s easier for the “The Scientist” to get a pass for his slow play as he’s established himself a fan favorite, but while Holmes brushes off his slow play as well, he doesn’t share the same distinction.

Unfortunately for the Tour his ugly win combined with the growing backlash created a shit-storm large enough to cast a shadow on the otherwise fun Genesis Open weekend. What’s worse for the Tour: this is a controversy that won’t go away until it actually starts enforcing the rules.

In the same interview Scott said real change won’t happen until tv sponsors step in and that “it’s a waste of time” talking about it. But that’s where he may be wrong.

Yes, sports leagues answer to tv and money contracts. But tv broadcasts, in the long run, answer to the viewers tuning in to see the players play, and talk about playing. Now, with more of the world’s best players speaking out publicly, and more often, the Tour won’t be able to hide from the problem anymore, and let’s hope that means it’s just a matter of time before it does something about it.

Jordan Brooks, Bry Roberts take first-ever LDET Nations Cup title

Nations Cup Champs

Whales’ Bry Roberts (left) and England’s Jordan Brooks (right) are your LDET Nations Cup champions. (Photo via Long Drivers European Tour)

Tiger Woods wasn’t the only big winner in the world of Golf this past weekend. Before the Big Cat teed off on Sunday, two big hitters hoisted the Long Drivers European Tour‘s inaugural Nations Cup trophy on Saturday, September 22. Jordan Brooks and Bry Roberts were the last men standing after battling against two-man teams of some of the best players the LDET has to offer in a first-of-its-kind event.

The morning began with the qualifying round to advance to the afternoon finals. Along with Brooks and Roberts, repping England and Whales, respectively, 5 other teams were assembled by players and fellow countrymen: Martin “The Beard” Borgmeier and Robin “The Hungarian Hulk” Horvath made for one of two all-German teams, Timo Petrasch and Daniel Kleiner being the second; Dewald Lubbe and Christo Pretorius made up the South African team; Alex Lange and Matthieu Moraschetti represented Germany and France, respectively; and Chris Latta of Scotland and José Quilis of Spain made up the final team.

The qualifying format was pretty straight forward, one set per match with an aggregated distance of the team — the best two teams automatically advanced to the quarterfinals. First up was The Beard/Hulk’s formidable team facing off against the South Africans (Lubbe/Pretorius) in what some would have thought was a lock for the Germans. But Lubbe and Pretorius combined for 696 yards, besting Borgmeier and Horvath’s 669. Soon after, Brooks and Roberts began their day against Latta and Quilis, easily advancing 363 to OB (0 yards). Petrasch and Kleiner also made quick work of Lange and Moraschetti 695 to 561.

Borgmeier and Horvath had a chance for redemption in the 4th match of the qualifiers, failing to hit the grid (0 yards) against Brooks and Roberts’ 361 while still clinging to a quarter final position. And Lubbe and Pretorius got some momentum going in the 6th match against Lang and Moraschetti, taking it 371 to 270.

The quarterfinals format brought individual player scores and aggregated distances (for the third set) into the mix. Borgmeier and Horvath once again found themselves facing Brooks and Roberts, and upped their game accordingly going 357/378/706. But it was too little too late to overcome Brooks and Roberts’ 358/351/709, and the number 1 and 2 ranked LDET players made an early exit from the competition. Petrasch and Kleiner continued their run against Lange and Moraschetti, advancing to the semis 337/365 to 316/OB.

Nations Cup group

The inaugural LDET Nations Cup competitors and sponsors/volunteers. (Photo via Long Drivers European Tour)

Team Brooks/Roberts seemed to hit the after burners in the opening semifinal round, topping Latta/Quilis 382/364/717 to 340/365/690 for a spot in the finals. Lubbe/Pretorius were up against a hot Petrasch/Kleiner team, but the Germans failed to hit the grid in the quarters (OB/OB) and paved the way for the South African team to advance (350/325).

And so the stage was set for the final round of one of the most anticipated events of the 2018 LDET season. Brooks and Roberts dropped two on the grid in the finals, 316 and 351, while the South Africans’ hot stick, unfortunately, cooled, going OB/346 and claiming the 2nd position on the Nations Cup podium. With the win, Brooks finds himself back in the no.3 spot of the LDET rankings with 4,500 points, trailing Horvath (no.2, 5,300 points) and Borgmeier (no.1, 5,700 points). Roberts is sitting in the no.5 spot with 3,000 points.

After strong showings of their own, Pretorius (no.7) and Latta (no.8) have punched their tickets to next month’s LDET Masters Cup as well, surely making their respective countries proud. Joining Pretorius and Latta at the Masters CUP are the tour’s top six players — Borgmeier, Horvath, Brooks, Lubbe, Roberts, and 2017 LDET champion Matt Nicole. If that’s not reason enough to tune in (Saturday 20th October, at Spain’s Panorámica Golf Resort), this year’s Masters Cup will also mark something of a milestone for the LDET, becoming the 50th event in the tour’s 6-year history. With 1,000 points on the table for the Masters Cup winner, who will claim the title of 2018 LDET Champion is still anyone’s guess.

Borgmeier claims victory in Italy, now no.1 in LDET rankings

40213625_1705959959531197_1604266629762383872_n.jpgOne wouldn’t have guessed that the Long Drivers European Tour‘s Italy Championship would be one of the most-anticipated and pivotal events at the beginning of the season, but the storylines of 2018 collided at Terre Dei Consoli in Rome last weekend.

Martin “The Beard” Borgmeier faced a slim 200 point deficit in the LDET rankings behind Robin “The Hungarian Hulk” Horvath after Horvath notched another 2018 win last month in his home country of Germany. The two have been exchanging wins seemingly all season long, leaving it up to anyone’s guess at who’ll be no.1 at the end of the year.

The Italy Championship quarter finals began with a number of familiar names and competitive matchups — and rain. Dewald Lubbe and Christo Pretorious went head-to-head in a tight South African showdown with Lubbe squeaking through to the semis 346/OB/346 to OB/360/344. Scotland’s Chris Latta bested England’s Tyler Dangerfield in another close match 356/388 to 335/332. Hope for a marquee match up between Horvath and Borgmeier in the semis held on the other side of the bracket for a while, but the number 1 and number 2 ranked players had to face off against Wales’ Bryan Roberts and Belgium’s Tanguy Marionex, respectively.

40164211_1705845189542674_5740040305806147584_n.jpgRoberts proved the spoiler, ousting the top-ranked Horvath with two 400+-yard bombs (406/403) which were too much for The Hulk’s 390/388 showing to overcome. Horvath’s exit would pave the way for The Beard to claim the no.1 spot in the 2018 LDET rankings, and despite the elements, he made quick work of Marionex 397/382 to 345/312 to advance to the semis.

After his impressive showing in the quarters, Roberts seemed poised to give Borgmeier a run for a spot in the finals, but The Beard survived a close matchup in the first semifinal, going 342/365 to Roberts’ 340/353. Third ranked Lubbe struggled to find the grid a little bit, but so did Latta, and Lubbe’s 360/OB/OB/332 was enough to advance him to the finals over Latta’s OB/340/OB/330‬ effort. Roberts and Latta then went to battle for the 3rd podium position, with Roberts’ 339/354 easily overtaking Latta’s 293/326‬.

The question on everyone’s mind heading into the big final was if Borgmeier could close on another victory and add to his outstanding 2018 season, and put himself at the top of the rankings. That soon proved to be an inevitability with The Beard’s strong 352/344/357 showing in the final matchup, cruising past Lubbe for the title. Lubbe’s second-place finish and 333/349/OB effort cemented his no.3 spot in the rankings as well.

Borgmeier, with 5300 points, now holds a 400-point lead over no.2 ranked Horvath. Lubbe sits in the no.3 ranking with 3600 points, and England’s Jordan Brooks and Matt Nicolle round out the top-5 rankings (at 3500 and 2400 points, respectively).

Next on the LDET schedule is the very much anticipated and first-ever Nations Cup. Most certainly one of the season’s marquee events, international teams will compete for glory at the Château de Taulane in La Martre, France, September 21st-22nd in a first-of-its-kind competition. The top-8 ranked LDET players after the Nation’s Cup will be qualified for the Masters LDET Cup, which will be held Saturday, October 20th at Panorámica Golf in Spain.

Follow LDET online and on social media for up-to-date tournament information and live posting during events, and CGB for recaps of the 2018 season’s big final events.

Jordan Brooks claims European Putting Championship, Hungarian Hulk secures home country LDET title

Brooks Putting champ.pngThe LDET bombers descended on Zala Springs Golf Resort on July 13, a little early for the Hungry Championship, but not for the reason you’d expect. Second-ranked LDET player Robin “The Hungarian Hulk” Horvath welcomed his fellow players to his home country for the inaugural European Putting Championship, organized by the tour.

A stark contrast from the usual high-flying competition, the European Putting Championship saw the best players on Tour navigating the undulations of the Zala Springs practice green. The competition came down to two notable LEDT names, Jordan Brooks (ENG) and Vincent Palm (GER), vying for the trophy, with Brooks walking off the winning putt and claiming the title of the first-ever LDET European Putting Champion.

But the bombers went right back to business the next day during qualifying rounds for the LDET Hungary Championship. Home country hero Robin Horvath gave a glimpse of what was to come with the longest drive during qualifiers, a 398-yard bomb; and top-ranked tour player Martin Borgmeier (GER) upped the ante in the round of 16 with a 408-yard blast.

Horvath Swing.jpgNeither slowed down in the quarterfinals, with Horvath’s 399 and Borgmeier’s 407 topping the round of 8. Vincent Palm and Dewald Lubbe (S. Africa) advanced to the semis with 388-yard and 392-yard blasts respectively.

Palm, eyeing a spot in the top-10 LDET rankings, faced Borgmeier in the first semifinal, but his OB/355 couldn’t stand up against The Beard’s 398.1/398.9. Fifth-ranked Lubbe found the grid twice against Horvath, going 332.7 and 379.6, but the Hulk held his ground on his home turf with 369.1- and 388-yard bombs to advance to the final against Borgmeier.

The 2018 LDET season is no stranger to the names Borgmeier and Horvath in the final bracket, but a number 1- versus number 2-ranked player is never a disappointing matchup. The match remained square after the first two rounds, with Borgmeier going 382.9 and 390.1 to Horvath’s 383.8 and 388.3. Borgmeier finished his final round with a 352.8-yard blast, but couldn’t overcome Horvath’s 395-yard bomb to claim the title. Lubbe took the third place position on the podium.

Horvath, and the rest of the LDET bombers make their way to Münchener Golf Club in Borgmeier’s home country for the Germany Championship next, July 28th and 29th, promising another staunch competition.

Hulk and Beard.jpg

Martin Borgmeier continues 2018 domination, wins inaugural LDET Russia championship

33088972_2133779686852755_2234548476245442560_n.jpgA couple things that Martin Borgmeier has in common with his beard: Borgmeier’s name is also “Beard,” and his beard is long and impressive, much like Borgmeier hits it long, and his 2018 season has been impressive.

The tour’s no. 1-ranked player added another notch to his 2018 belt after claiming the first-ever Russian Championship this past weekend, cushioning his lead in the fight for the 2018 LDET title. 2017 Champion Matt Nicolle and his fellow countryman Jordan Brooks finished 2nd and 3rd, respectively.

While Nicolle has remained competitive all season and is always a safe bet, it seemed nothing could have stopped Borgmeier in the final round. The Beard dropped three consecutive 400-yard bombs in the finals (417/402/405) besting Nicolle’s 365/405/389 and adding the Russia Championship trophy to his staunch 2018 resume.

Brooks defeated the tour’s no.2-ranked Robin Horvath, 406/422/390 to 419/401/385, for the last spot on the podium and a top-5 tour ranking going into the last half of the season.

Next up for the LDET bombers is the Hungry Championship, July 13-14, at Zala Springs Golf Resort. Follow Long Driver European Tour on Facebook and Instagram for live coverage of the event, and CBG for the weekend follow up.

————————————————— Original post —————————————————

Peterhof1

The LDET makes it Russia debut June 2-3 at Peterhof Golf Club. (Photo courtesy LDET)

The first half of the 2018 LDET season has already been a blast, and it’s adding one more exclamation point before entering the home stretch. The tour makes its way to Russia for the Russia Championships June 2-3, at Peterhof Golf Club in St. Petersburg, bringing its energetic atmosphere and jaw dropping competitive long drives to the country for the first time in history.

Martin “The Beard” Borgmeier (GER) and his fellow countryman Robin “The Hungarian Hulk” Horvath will take the top two LDET rankings with them to the event while defending the Euro champion, no.3 ranked Matt Nicole (ENG), looks to close the gap between him and the top spot. As of this writing, un-ranked Inar Kuramshin is the only Russian vying for the championship in his home country (and at his home course).

For Peterhof Golf Club, the Russia championship is something of a birthday celebration. The par-71 course opened in June 2017 near the Peterhof and Konstantinovsky palaces as the only 18-hole course in the city. To mark the event, the 5911-meter course will host a pro-am contest on Saturday, challenging LDET players and amateurs with its water-laden layout, thick rough and wild grasses in friendly competition — an official LDET practice session follows.

Peterhof2.png

(Photo courtesy LDET)

“It is a big honor for Peterhof Golf Club and the city of Saint Petersburg to host a stage of LDET in Russia,” Kuramshin, golf manager and coach at Peterhof, says. “All the [Peterhof] team as well as the golfers are very much looking forward to what is going to be a great golf weekend with a ProAm and the most exciting show in Golf.”

After Saturday’s festivities, Sunday’s not to be missed. Amateur qualifying rounds begin the build up to the main event, followed by the pro qualifier later that morning. After lunch comes the amateur semifinals and finals, and the always exciting Top16 round. From the quarters on, players will take their best of three sets in a matchplay elimination rounds until one player claims the inaugural Russia Championship trophy.

CGB will be updating this post with results and video of the event.

In other news, and speaking to the continuing growth of the tour, LDET has announced a new tour sponsor the week leading up to the Russian Championship. JetVIP, a Russia-based aviation broker, is adding to the winning spoils by offering the top 3 finishers a free charter flight, and a 200-Euro check to the champion in addition to its support for the tour. See more on the new partnership here.

Emil Rosberg tops “strongest field ever” in Sweden Championships

Emil Rosberg

Emil Rosberg’s dominant performance ensured the Sweden Championship stayed in his home country. (Photo courtesy LDET)

What was anticipated to be one of the best events of the Long Drivers European Tour season didn’t disappoint. The Sweden Championships saw the tour’s strongest field ever in Europe, according to tour CEO Xavier Eusebio, and the hometown crowd has something else to cheer about too.

Emil Rosberg of Gothenburg, Sweden, joined a number of familiar names in Saturday’s match plays at Täby Golf Klub, ultimately securing the title for his home country.

Robin “The Hungarian Hulk” Horvath looked to add another podium finish to his strong 2018 season against C.J. Hellstrom, but his 337.5/349.3 showing fell short of Hellstom’s 351.6/359.9 in the first match. Then, 2018 Belgium Champion Martin Borgmeier faced off against the U.K’s Bry Roberts, who started slow with a 318.9 before finishing 352.2/OB. The Beard Borgmeier’s 355.1/OB/339.3 cemented his meeting with Hellstrom in the semis.

Match three came courtesy of Finland’s own Aleksi Kivini and Saku Korhonen. Korhonen (OB/270/348.8) qualified for the semifinals easily after Kivini failed to land one in the grid. and in the matchplay finale Rosberg met defending tour champion Matt Nicolle. Rosenberg dropped a pair of 357-yard bombs (357.9/357.1), besting Nicolle’s 335.2/356.6 and punching his ticket to the semifinals to face Korhonen.

Borgmeier began the semis in a bit of a shaky spot, landing OB in his first two sets against Hellstrom, but his 358.5/349.8 finish proved too much for Hellstrom’s 348.8/OB/357/325.5 to overcome. Rosberg and Korhonen dropped a pair of 338.9- yard bombs in their first semifinal set. But Rosberg raised the bar with 344.7 blast which was more than enough to best Korhonen’s OB finish.

And thus the stage was set for another superb LDET event: The home country hero Rosberg versus Belgium Champion, “The Beard” Borgmeier.

Rosberg came out swinging with a 353.9-yard bomb in the first set, just safe from Borgmeier’s 350.6 effort. Rosberg backed his first set up with a 350.5-yard blast of his own, and after 344.2-yard finish from Borgmeier, ensured the Sweden Championship stays in its home country.

31949689_1555266027933925_8363006387143311360_n.jpg

Hellstrom secured the final podium position against Korhonen 296.7/343.8/353 to 357.8/323/341 for his first top-three finish of the season. And Borgmeier has something else to celebrate on top his second-place finish — with the first third of the 2018 season in the books, The Beard’s now the no.1 ranked LDET player.

With still so much more to come, including one of the most-anticipated events of the year, the Russia Championships at PeterHof Golf Club, next on the the schedule, this season continues to exceed all expectations. We’ll be previewing the tour’s debut in Russia and updating the LDET player rankings prior to the June 2nd-3rd event.