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 best 6 months of golf in 2019 are finally upon us

Depending on how you look at it, the new Tour’s been enjoying an exciting start to the calendar year, and it’s about to get even better. Over next 6 months, the golf world will be blessed with major tournament after major tournament (literally), keeping us satiated through August.

Here’s a quick break down of the major schedule in store — plan accordingly:

March — The Players Championship

2018 Winner: Web Simpson
Dates: March 14 – 17
Course: TPC Sawgrass, Florida
Broadcast: Golf Channel | NBC

Everyone’s favorite non major major, The Players Championship, celebrates 45 years in 2019. There has yet to be a back-to-back Players Champion; as of this writing Webb Simpson is sitting at 33/1 odds to be the first, according to betting-directory.com.

April — The Masters

2018 Winner: Patrick Reed
Dates: April 11 – 14
Course: Agusta National, Georgia
Broadcast: CBS | ESPN

The last several Masters Tournaments have been quite dramatic, with Spieth’s now infamous meltdown in 2017 and the tour’s favorite punching bag, Patrick Reed, joining the green jacket club last year. Here’s to another memorable weekend amongst the azaleas.

May — PGA Championship

2018 Winner: Brooks Koepka
Dates: May 16 – 19
Course: Bethpage Black Course, New York
Broadcast: CBS | TNT

Inevitable storylines sure to surface at the PGA Championship: How will Bethpage play hosting its first PGA Championship (foreshadowing the 2024 Ryder Cup)? Will this be the year Jordan Spieth caps his career Grand Slam? Will Tiger better his second place finish last year? … The list is endless.

June — U.S. Open

2018 Winner: Brooks Koepka
Dates: June 13 – 16
Course: Pebble Beach, California
Broadcast: FOX | FX1

The U.S. Open returns to Pebble Beach for a sixth time, but this year is a little more special; the iconic course is celebrating its 100th birthday. Koepka will look to add to his consecutive U.S. Open titles, but others have proven they can go low when the stakes are high, too — 65s are becoming a norm on the U.S. Open leaderboard.

July — The Open Championship

2018 Winner: Francesco Molinari
Dates: 18 – 21
Course: Royal Portrush, Ireland
Broadcast: Golf Channel | NBC

As the oldest, original major championship, it’s hard to find anything new to say about The Open. But 2019 does signify something of a special reconnection as the tournament returns to Northern Ireland’s Royal Portrush for the first time in almost 70 years.

August — Tour Championship

2018 Winner: Tiger Woods
Dates: August 22 – 25
Course: East Lake, Georgia
Broadcast: Golf Channel | NBC

Though also not a major, the Tour Championship is A LOT more important in regards to the FedEx Cup. That’s because players who do not win the Tour Championship will no longer be able to claim the FedEx Cup title. According to a breakdown by CBSSports.com, players will come into the tournament with an assigned score based on their FedEx Cup rankings — the no.1 ranked player will begin at 10-under par, no.2 at 9-under, and so on to the bottom 5, whom will start at even par — setting the stage for a dramatic comeback victory or a total blowout to end the summer swing.

Get your popcorn ready.

2018 LDET Masters Cup cancelled, Borgmeier named 2018 LDET Champion

2018 LDET podium

Robin Horvath (left), Martin Borgmeier (center), Jordan Brooks (right), are the top three finishers in the 2018 LDET season (Photo: Long Drivers European Tour)

It was not the way anyone wanted to end the 2018 Long Drive European Tour season. Torrential weekend rains battered Panorámica Golf in Spain. According to the LDET, area roads were blocked with up to 50 centimeters of flood water on the pavements, electrical power was lost, and the grid itself saw spots of standing water and sand deposits. And while some say conditions remained playable, the tour made the difficult decision to pull the plug on the event.

Masters_WaterGrid

That capped off an amazing year for Germany’s The Beard Borgmeier, having won 3 other events and securing his new title as the 2018 LDET Champion. “What happened this year with Long Drive was a U-turn in my life,” Borgeier says in a post-event address.

But the Beard wasn’t the only LDET player with a standout 2018. The Hungarian Hulk Horvath also notched 3 wins, hit the season’s longest drive (443), and was a mere 400 points short of Borgmeier in final ranking points. “It was an amazing season for me,” he told the crowd. “I’m very happy for everything.”

Though England’s Jordan Brooks didn’t get the chance to strut his stuff in the season finale either, he finishes the season, with one win, 4,500 points, and the no.3 LDET ranking. “I’ve gained a lot of confidence going through the season,” Brooks said. “I feel like I belong amongst the top players.”

“2018 was an amazing season,” Xavier Eusebio, LDET CEO, says. “The tour visited 9 countries, and the competition level has been very high, with a lot of competitors from around Europe, and also US, Canada, South Africa, and more.”

Though the LDET’s 2018 season finale was marred by weather and drama, it shouldn’t take away from the landmark season the tour had. A debut in Russia and a first-of-its-kind Nations Cup event, exceptional players and exciting competition all speak to more good things to come in 2019.