The Shutters 2016: Golf’s Whiny Bitch of the Year

Also Known As The Ian Poulter Award

The professional golf season for 2016 is over. The weekend hacker season will be soon for those of us in cool climates. That means it is time again for my year end awards, the Shutters, to be dished out. So here they come, piping hot. As always I’ll start with the Whiny Bitch of the Year. Last year we considered (you readers and myself) renaming this one after Ian Poulter, but fuck him. Why give him anything so distinguished? Poulter is and always will be a whiny bitch, and we all know it, so I’ll be leaving him off the list permanently unless he does something that I just can’t ignore. Now on with the show.

The Nominees Are…

The USGA – It would seem to me that it would be hard for an entire governing body/organization that puts on just a few tournaments to be up for such a nasty award like the WBOTY Shutter. But the U.S. Open rule fiasco and what they did to Dustin Johnson during the final round puts them right at the top of the list of nominees. As you may recall, the USGA watched video of Johnson on a green during the final round of the US Open, which he was leading, and magically determined that the ball moved because of him grounding his putter head behind it. Johnson wasn’t sure it moved and he was right there looking at it.

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Let Johnson decide if it moved and a penalty should be tacked on? No, not these dandruff coated fuck jobs, they took matters into their own hands and assessed DJ a penalty. They did that to him during the final round, but made him play most of the round in limbo as to if he’d actually get stroked. And to do that to DJ who’s suffered from past odd rulings in majors was akin to waterboarding a captured enemy soldier, cruel and unusual.  What the USGA did was wrong, what made it worse was that they delayed their decision and backed it up with no remorse. In the end it didn’t impact the championship. DJ got the win and it was well deserved. But that doesn’t absolve the blue coats from being idiots and whining about the letter of the law, intent, stupid rules, and using video replay that did everything but convince me DJ’s ball moved. Shame on them. They should have shut the fuck up and let the thing play out instead of being drama queens.

Justin Rose, Losing European Ryder Cup Team Member – Let me get this out of the way first. I like Justin Rose. I like how he plays. He’s a bit of a dork, but he’s a good dude who does things right. I root for him 103 weeks out of 104. Then there’s that pesky Ryder Cup week every two years like the one we had in 2016. Rose played ok, but he lost a few matches and when he was asked about the course set up after the Euros lost the cup he said it was easy and felt like a pro-am.

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Dude, JR…why go there? That sounds like sour grapes. Rose shot around even par in his singles match against Rickie Fowler while guys like Sergio and Phil shot 63s. If the course was so easy, why’d you play like shit? I think Rose would like to have that comment back in hind sight, but that cat is out of the bag and now he’s made the list of nominees at SFG for this award.

PJ Willett, Brother of 2016 Masters Champion – You know this isn’t a typical award show when a major champ’s brother is nominated for the award instead of the champ himself. You know who PJ is and you know what he said, but just to relive it one more time I’ve included the full text below.

Your brother is about to compete in the 2nd biggest golf event of his life, he’s a Ryder Cup rookie, and you go out and say that to damn near start a riot on the grounds of Hazeltine? What a bumbling fuck. I really like Danny and his wife, Nicole. She’s a SFG follower, if you believe it or not. She seems sweet. Danny seems real. But this brother of his is going to be a problem for the Willett family unless they get him a fucking muzzle (or break his phone). In PJ’s defense, several of the American fans proved him right, but that doesn’t mean you can say it, whine about it, or put it on public record. He kept hammering it on social media for weeks after the Ryder Cup too. What an ass. It didn’t bother me. I wear big boy pants and have thick skin, but I think he deserves a nomination. The shame of it is he was soooo good on the Twitter while his brother was winning the Masters. I know he tried to be funny, but 95% of the US fans weren’t going to see it that way. Know your audience.

Sam Horsfield, Collegiate Golfer at the University of Florida – I said no Ian Poulter this year but Sam is about as close to nominating Ian as it gets. He is IJP’s protege’ and resident youth asshole of the swanky private golf scene around Orlando. Normally I reserve these nominations for true professionals that deserve to be ridiculed and lambasted for their behavior. I almost nixed Sam’s nomination because he’s still an amateur, but hardly. He plays more golf for most pros. He’s a snobby private school schmuck who’s parents are loaded. He’ll be on the PGA Tour someday as the next set of man boobs to replace Phil Mickelson’s.

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So why does he make the list? If you saw him play a single shot at the U.S. Amateur at Oakland Hills this summer you know exactly why? This little bitch cried and whined at the hint of a bad shot. He slammed clubs. He didn’t give his opponents any credit for how they played. He was short with the interviewer after he lost. He was a dick to his caddie. In summary, he acted like an entitled spoiled fucking brat. But what else could you expect from someone who actually looks up to Poulter. I hope that he got home and saw how he acted on TV and will change his ways in the future. Sam is very talented. He’ll be around professional golf soon enough and probably will have a very lucrative career. If he acts like that later in life he’ll be the loneliest man on Tour.

And The Winner Is…..

Ugh. This has to be the weakest field of nominees of the four years in which I’ve been giving out Shutter awards in this category. I think there are two clear cut favorites contending for the WBOTY. Horsfield is out. I put him on here because I got a glimpse as to what an asshole he is in seeing him play for two hours. That means he sucks, but he’s probably not worthy of the space I wasted here to talk about him. Rose? Nah. He’s got too much goodwill and a gold medal to boot. He was pissed off they lost and said something stupid. Oh well. PJ Willett and the USGA…..tough call. Both were monumentally stupid in 2016, but I’ll have to go with Willett. Like I said, what he whined about doesn’t bother me whatsoever, it was funny, but he did his brother no favors because most fans didn’t see it that way. That’s award winning stuff for all the wrong reasons. Congrats PJ. You get the first award for 2016.

Did I get it right? Hit the poll and tell me.

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Podcast You Say? Yes Please.

Back On Golf Unfiltered’s Pod

Most people learn from their mistakes. editor, owner, and creator Adam Fonseca apparently does not because he dared to have me back on his podcast this Tuesday. We talked Tiger, his brand, the PGA Tour schedule, and what the fuck Bubba Watson was doing at Hazeltine as a Ryder Cup Vice Captain. It isn’t long, that’s what she said, but we kept it light and reasonably fun. Hit the link and check it out.

golf unfiltered


As always, a big thanks to Adam for having me. Hopefully we’ll do it again sooner rather than later, like 11 months, 15 days, 1 hour and 46 seconds later.

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Scaredy Cat – Tiger Withdraws From Long Awaited Return

I Won’t Have Morning Woods Tomorrow

That isn’t a euphemism, I’m just saying I won’t have Tiger Woods on a golf course, in a PGA Tour event, tomorrow morning in Napa Valley as planned. A month ago Tiger Fucking Woods told the golf media world that he intended to play in the Safeway Open this week to kick off his 2017 PGA Tour season. In case you’ve been living in Mars, Tiger didn’t play once in 2016 due to injury. Last Friday he confirmed that he’d play and officially entered the event. He sounded like he had found some inspiration after spending Ryder Cup week with Team USA as a vice captain. What happened between Friday and Monday when Tiger announced he was withdrawing is anybody’s guess, but anyway you slice it he looks like a giant coward.

In the full length statement made on Tiger’s website he noted that he had to move his post Ryder Cup practice from Florida to California because of Hurricane Mathew. That was of course after he said his game was vulnerable and that he wasn’t ready to compete with the best players in the world. Tiger insiders Notah Begay and Tim Rosaforte said the trouble with Woods right now is the short game. Tiger didn’t say that, but those two know enough to know the truth.

“After a lot of soul searching and honest reflection, I know that I am not yet ready to play on the PGA Tour or compete in Turkey,” Woods said on his website. “My health is good, and I feel strong, but my game is vulnerable and not where it needs to be.”

So he’s got the same short game issues he had at the beginning of 2015? How is that possible? This all comes after Jesper Parnevik told the world how good Tiger was hitting the ball in Florida. So what happened? I think it is a combination of many things. He got excited to play because of the Ryder Cup. He wants to play, but he doesn’t want to embarrass himself. I think he hits it fine on the range and on the course, then gets under fire and things get crooked. He knows the only way he can score right now is if his short game is sharp, and it is far from that. So why go through the motions, have to answer the questions, and embarrass himself more? If that is were his mind is, if he is indeed that fragile, then he probably made the right decision. That doesn’t mean he isn’t a huge pussy, but playing this week and shooting 81-80 and having more questions than answers after such a long layoff is probably best for him.

What’s that? He WD’d and then hit balls at a clinic held at Pebble Beach 24 hours later? Now that smells fishy. He looks good with whatever that is in the video, but it still lacks the speed we’ve always seen from Woods. Perhaps this is more about him getting out-driven by 46 year old Phil Mickelson (whom he would have been paired with) for 36 holes this week.

So no Tiger at Safeway, no Tiger in Turkey, and I doubt we see him at his own event, the World Challenge, in early December. What is going to change in the next six weeks? I’d say he’s even money to even play again in 2017. He’s bordering on Anthony Kim yeti status right now, minus the insurance money excuse.

That tweet makes me sad, and angry. And there’s nothing anyone can do about it except Tiger. Can he ever get over the hump? Will he ever play again, let alone win an tournament? I’ve had my doubts about all of this for almost a year, but those doubts have become clear realities. Sad realities. I might need help.

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A Standing Ovation For Team USA: Ryder Cup Final Thoughts

Patrick Reediculous, A True American Hero

I don’t even know where to begin. The Ryder Cup contested in Chaska, Minnesota last weekend had such a multitude of highlights and American swag thrown about it that I’ve lost track of what happened completely. Lets talk about the big guns first. Patrick Fucking Reed. He did everything but sell beer and raise the flag himself every morning at Hazeltine. At the 2014 matches Reed began writing his own chapter of Ryder Cup lore when he played with passion, grit, and shushed the home European crowd at Glen Eagles. He held his own record-wise too. The shush to the fans has since become his trademark. Because of what he did in 2014 he became the subject of interweb and Twitternerd jokes and memes for nearly two years. His Ryder Cup hype was off the charts. What could Captain Love do to allow him to live up to the hype or shield him from it? How about putting him in the first match of the week as well as the first match of singles, against the best of the best that Europe could throw at him every time out. Yeah, that’s all. That’ll do. What do you think of that Patrick?

There aren’t many things in life that can live up to any amount of hype, let alone two years of insane, cartoon-like, Chuck Norris-esque comparisons. Patrick Reed spit in the face of it all, kicked it in the dick, and played above and beyond any insane amount of expectations anyone could have had for him. Sure he lost a match, the one where he was outgunned with little to no help from a partner. The same one he ran out of his mojo on. The one in which the Euros played their asses off to beat just him. His only mistakes of the week were wearing white pants for 36 holes on Saturday and hitting driver on the 15th hole with a 3 up lead in his 4 ball match against the Spaniards. That cost the U.S. a half of a point. I’ll forgive him.

Why will I forgive him? Because he supercharged the other 11 members of the team with confidence they lacked and momentum they needed. He was also a pretty decent hype-man in his own right with how he engaged the drunk home crowds for each and every session. And just when the Euros thought they had a chance in singles, he slayed the beast that is Rory McIlroy in one of the best, most well played matches in the history of international team play. That’s not hyperbole. That’s a fact. Reed needs a montage. He’s earned it.

Maybe now we’ll stop poking fun at Reed for his 2014 comment about being a top 5 player. What’s next for Reed will be interesting. Can he harness this type of play more on the Tour? Can this performance propel him to win a major or two? I have no clue. He’s obviously a world beater when he plays with an edge like this. Look out fellow Tour members.

While Brandt Snedeker was the only American to go unbeaten (he was 3-0), Phil Mickelson is the only other guy on the roster who can even be put in the same sentence as Reed for how he played in the Ryder Cup matches. Phil of course was the jackass (his words, not mine) who opened his fat trap at the 2014 post match presser to complain about Captain Tom Watson’s ways, the timing of the captain’s picks, and anything else that didn’t sit right with him about the make up of Team USA. Then in his pre-cup 2016 presser he threw 2004 Captain Hal Sutton under a giant bus for how he paired FIGJAM with Tiger Woods without allowing any preparation for the two best players of a generation to play together.

Phil was ripe to lay an egg at Hazeltine. He’s old. He wrote some checks that many thought his ass couldn’t cash. He hadn’t played well in recent tournaments (outside of a 29 for his last nine of the Tour Championship). But that’s when Phil is most dangerous, when we expect nothing. He got help from a few partners to earn wins in team play, then matched lucky-ass Sergio Garcia shot for shot with a 63 that included 10 birdies in his Sunday singles match. All that for a half point that also killed any mounting Euro momentum.

Have a drink, Bitch Tits, you earned it. Phil was already a Ryder Cup legend. Perhaps now he’s a god. He’ll be a captain any time he wants to be, but most have him on the books for 2024 at Bethpage, and every two years thereafter.

There’s no point to handing out players grades. JB Holmes probably played the worst, but he won 1 of his 3 matches. He carried Ryan Moore in that win. Holmes has also now been part of more winning Ryder Cup teams than Tiger Woods, the score is 2 to 1. Moore wasn’t great either, but he had a winning record and clinched the deciding point with a comeback over Lee Westwood. That’s pretty good for an 11th hour pick. Jordan Spieth sucked but got two wins thanks to Reed carrying his ass. He was so bad there are rumblings that he may be hurt. That’s a nice excuse to fall back on. If the US had a breakout star last week it was Brooks Koepka, who went 3-1 while smashing 350 yard drives all over the lot. Reports from practice were that Koepka was off and they didn’t expect much from him once the rubber hit the road. I guess Brooks is a gamer. He certainly rose to the moment when called upon.

Most who attended the matches say that the Minnesota crowd was the 13th man. I’m going to disagree with that. Of course the drunks of 10,000 lakes helped the cause, but I think the players and captains might give a nod to a certain Mr. Arnold Palmer, who passed away 5 days prior to the playing of the cup. Palmer was there in spirit with his 1975 Ryder Cup bag standing at the first tee. His umbrella logo was all over the cup in several other ways.

There’s too much there for those to be a coincidence, right? The cup found its way to Latrobe, Pennsylvania on Tuesday for Arnold’s memorial service thanks to Rickie Fowler. Nice touch, Richard.

Am I going to talk about Bubba Watson? No. He cried. Period. What about Team Europe? I’ll only do so briefly. Why rub it in? I loved how Darren Clarke handled everything. I think he whiffed on a few picks and pairings, but he was rock solid in his approach, demeanor, and public appearance. Europe didn’t lose because of Clarke, they lost because they got outplayed across the board. Justin Rose’s comments on the “easy” set up look stupid. He’ll regret that. It was sour grapes.

Lee Westwood is cooked. Dude can’t putt and while most feel bad for him I don’t. Fuck him. He’s a prick and he’s killed US teams for years in Ryder Cups while making everything then choking in majors. Thomas Pieters is a stud. He’ll win in the US soon on the PGA Tour and be a household name if he isn’t already. Then there’s Rory… god he’s tough to dislike for a week. I actually didn’t root against him. His greatness, the shots he can hit, the big steel balls he lumbers about the course with….he’s everything you want in a great champion. He even got the crowd to chant USA! for the home team once they’d won the cup. He may have performed better in the post match presser than when he was on the golf course. Thank you, Mr. McIlroy, that was a great show. Take a bow.

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What Is A Ryder Cup Without WAGs?

The Euros lost the cup, but they might have won the War of the WAGs, which is worth 4 Ryder Cup points alone in my score keeping system. Most of the US team WAGs are just fine, but we’ve seen them all plenty before. WAGs are more fun for my readers when they haven’t made a splash yet. Enter the wife of Chris Wood and the girlfriend of Thomas Pieters.

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There’s Wood and wife Bethany above. I like what I see, but there isn’t much out there to show of her otherwise. We met her when she caddied for Chris in the Masters Par 3 contest. You may recall that she writes children’s books for dyslexic kids.

Ms. Eva Bossaerts showed up to the event on the arm of young Mr. Pieters. The Google machine has even less info on her and those in the know, I’m talking to you Potsie, aren’t speaking. Well fine then. Word on the street is that she’s an ice skater.

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No WAG competition could be complete without the 1st ballot Hall of Fame Golf WAG, Paulina Gretzky. Maybe the US won the Ryder Cup, maybe Paulina did. You decide. She SnapChatted her way through the weekend in style, stopped for selfies with fans, and then on Monday posted a party pic on Instagram with everyone’s favorite philanderer, Tiger Woods.

Never leave your girl with Tiger and a cocktail. If Patrick Reed’s antics hadn’t already broken the internet on Sunday, this would have finished it off. What was Tiger’s reaction…?????

A little excited, it seems. I bet he told her that never happens to him, prematurely. All these WAGs, one had to be there for Rick Fowler to have on his arm, right? No. Homie rolled solo. He was probably expecting Justin Thomas to be his date and that fell through when Ryan Moore got picked instead of JT.

What a weird picture.

Next up, the 2018 version of the Ryder Cup in Paris, France. Here’s what we know. Davis Love will not be captain. Most are expecting a US team lead by Jim Furyk and a European team lead by Thomas Bjorn or Miguel Jimenez. Wait, the Mechanic…in Paris…..I doubt the old man would stop drinking all week. He’ll have French wine on an inter-venous drip. The pressers will be tits. Literally, he’ll probably have French hookers everywhere. I’ll have to see that. Sign me up.

Site News

I’ve crossed with golf season finish line for What does that mean? I’m blowing this site up going forward. You may have noticed I’ve posted less in the last 6 months than my normal frequency. There just isn’t enough time in the day for me to give the site all the attention I’d like to unless I neglect something else. There will still be plenty of posts and tweets, but the format will change completely. Wraps-ups from Tour events are dead. We’ll still talk hot golf chicks, don’t worry. We’ll still have course and equipment reviews as needed (if I ever get new shit or play new high end tracks). And I’ll post regularly about the golf topic dujour, but the recaps and their stiff format have gone stale and are no more as of now.

That being said, I’ll still be sure to compete the 2016 season with my year end awards, the Shutters. They’ll start rolling out soon. Stay tuned.

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Rory Steals Tour Championship To Save Season: Final Thoughts

Rory Has 11.3 Million Reasons As To Why His Season Didn’t Suck

He came. He Saw. He stole 10 million dollars from Dustin Johnson’s retirement fund and gutted Kevin Chappell and Ryan Moore in the process. When he’s on he’s a stone cold killer, and he was on Sunday at East Lake en route to a final round 64. Rory McIlroy was nearly flawless and capped his fireworks with an eagle two at the 16th hole when he needed it most. Down by 3 shots with 3 holes to play, his eagle got him within 1, then he dodged a bullet when Ryan Moore missed his tournament winning birdie putt on the final hole. In the playoff he disposed of Moore and Chappell after 4 grueling holes in which all three players hit it all over the lot. The death blow to Moore came back on the 16th green when after holing a clutch long par putt to stay alive he had to watch Rory do this.

That was 3 holes after Rory missed a 5 footer for eagle on the first playoff hole. Rors had his chances too, and came through again on the 16th to make sure he didn’t give Moore another chance. The tournament within the tournament with 10 million clams on the line made Sunday’s action at East Lake even more interesting than normal. Dustin Johnson was poised to win the Fed Ex trophy. Once Jason Day withdrew Johnson’s odds of winning the $10 million bonus more than doubled. He started to take apart East Lake like he was back at Oakmont in June. He had a 2 shot lead through 54 holes on everyone not named Kevin Chappell and fell on his face during the final round to finish T6.

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Of course Dustin’s situation meant the Fed Ex trophy was there for Rory to take, along with the truck full of cash. The equation was a simple one. Rory wins the tournament, he wins the Fed Ex Cup. Anybody else wins and Dustin takes the big prize back to Paulina and Wayne. A normal Tour player would probably be on the edge of their seat watching the playoff. Dustin probably knew he’d blown it and didn’t even watch, especially after this:

So does the Fed Ex Cup title erase a year without a major for Rory? Not a chance in hell in my mind. The Fed Ex Cup and its wealth of riches are a nice consolation for Rors. He gives zero fucks about the money, but winning twice in September and adding a Fed Ex Cup to his trophy collection is a nice shot in the arm going into the Ryder Cup and the 2017 season. I wouldn’t want to play him in a Ryder Cup match this week if I was on Team USA.

The Field

Ryan Moore told Davis Love he didn’t want to go to Hazeltine last weekend while the Tour was off and practice with the current 11 team members and other potential members because he wanted to rest and focus on the Tour Championship. His goal for the season was to win the TC and the Fed Ex Cup, making the Ryder Cup team was an ancillary goal. He almost pulled it off and will probably lose a bit of sleep over the 8 foot putt he missed on the final hole of regulation play that would have given him the win.

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I had counted Moore out of the Ryder Cup mix when he skipped practice in Minnesota, but everything he did at East Lake made him almost a lock to be picked by Love for the final spot. Exhibit A, he went toe to toe with Rory on his A game all day on Sunday and nearly knocked him off. As for DJ, homie’s game was off to the lost and found on Sunday from the early going. He never got it back. A 73 at the Tour Championship under great conditions isn’t going to win you shit. I’m glad he didn’t back into the Fed Ex Cup trophy with that performance. Who knows what we’ll see from him at Hazeltine this week.

Kevin Chappell has had a few 54 hole leads in his PGA Tour career. He was tied with Johnson this week and shot 66 on Sunday. That’s far different from the results he’s produced with 3rd round leads in the past but it still wasn’t good enough to get his first Tour win. He was one sloppy bogey on the easy 17th hole from making it happen. Would he have been Love’s pick had he snaked the Tour Championship? I doubt it. Don’t cry for Chappell, just making the final tournament for 2016 gets him in the field at the Masters next year. I’ll bet he wins an early 2017 event this fall, maybe even his next start.

Shot Of The Day

This one is too easy. When the most electric player in the game today holes out for eagle on the 70th hole of the tournament to help him come from behind to win, what else could top that for the Shot of the Day? Nothing.

And that’s a wrap on the 2016 PGA Tour season. Rory’s back, Dustin broke through, and Day kept on keeping on (getting injured). Will Spieth bounce back in 2017? Will Tiger or Phil finally win again? Can Stenson or Walker snag another major? I can’t wait to find out. If only the 2017 season could start…..what…what’s that? Oh yeah, it starts in two weeks….right after we get done with this silly exhibition match.

Ryder Cup Pick’em

In the end Love’s choice was easy. Moore outplayed Kevin Chappell over the Fed Ex events, even if just by a smidge. Moore dueled with Rory and put up a great fight to validate his recent play. Berger, Bubba, and Justin Thomas were almost no where to be seen. How could Love have picked anyone else? I like Ryan Moore. I love his match play record, as an amateur (he won the U.S. Am, Western Am, and U.S. Publinx all in the same year back in 2004). But he’ll be one of the first players I point the blame at if the US loses again assuming he doesn’t go 3-0-0 or something. He’s not a great putter. He’s not a long hitter. He’s kind of aloof and doesn’t get too fired up. Maybe that’s exactly what the team needs. Time will tell.

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What I don’t get whatsoever is the omission of Watson, as a player. He’s 7 in the world. He was 9th in points. Yet he was completely overlooked in the captain’s picks selection process, or so it seems. Love said he would have been the pick had Moore played average at East Lake. Well why then wasn’t Bubba picked in the first place? Why Holmes? There’s something there that made them take this route. Is it Bubba’s demeanor or just the state of his game, or both? Whatever it was, if you had an inkling of doubt of picking him initially, why pick him after Atlanta? And even worse, why would you make him a vice captain after not picking him?

It doesn’t add up. It makes no sense to me and it has to have Watson scratching his head, or maybe his level of self awareness isn’t elevated enough to realize what just happened right in front of his face.

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Football Versus Golf – Golf Can’t Win

As The FedEx Cup Finale Begins, The Tour Discusses Schedule Changes

Numbers don’t lie. Television ratings for golf begin to suck sweaty balls the second the college and NFL football seasons begin in earnest around Labor Day weekend. Golf isn’t as universally accepted or loved as a big game on the gridiron. That is a fact. It won’t change in our lifetime. I’m fine with it, I love me some football too and as much as I love golf I have to make myself watch some of the fall events that occur after the Fed Ex Cup playoffs end. So what can the Tour do to try to optimize the eyeballs their beloved Fed Ex events get? Flip the schedule again, of course.

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The birth of the Fed Ex Cup Playoffs was a major tweak to the PGA Tour season schedule in itself. Remember, before the playoffs we had nothing but silly golf, weak full field events, and then a random 30 man field somewhere in a fairly warm climate around the first week of November. No one watched that either. The Fed Ex schedule initially created a spark but now nearly a decade into it the newness has worn off. The format is still confusing. And the Tour still loses too many valuable viewers to pigskin. You can rearrange the deck chairs on the Titanic all you want, but the solution is to simply avoid putting your prime events up against NFL Sundays, period.

Tim Finchem held a presser this week which will likely be his last as commissioner. His 2nd in command, Jay Monahan will take his over as the big cheese in 2017. His fingerprints will be all over the task of fixing the Fed Ex events TV ratings. The rumored changes involve moving the Players Championship back to March where it was played from its inception until 9 years ago when it was moved to May. The Tour has figured out that the course is too hard to prep for play in May. A March date will get more publicity as the first big event of the season.

The next rumored major schedule change is getting the PGA of America to move its major championship to May. Ok, that’s possible, but now you’re starting to lose me because moving both of those might be hard to sell to fans. What these moves will do is open up August for a run to Fed Ex Cup glory. That sounds good, but it still puts the Tour Championship up against football on Labor Day weekend. Why not try something completely new? Like what? Like play the Fed Ex events during the week on the West Coast in prime time!

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Big boy golf tournaments that finish on a Wednesday during prime time television would bring viewers from all over the country that are home from work, with no football on, looking for a sports fix to get them through the football lull that occurs in the middle of the week. The sun sets at about 10 pm Eastern time this week in California. With smaller fields in the last two Fed Ex events you could easily schedule tee times that have the contenders finishing about 30 minutes prior to sun down right in the heart of prime time for half the country.

The crowds might be smaller, but the crowds in Atlanta could care less about showing up at East Lake this week anyway. We’re not concerned about ticket sales. TV ratings are all that matter. Drop Atlanta. Drop Boston (they have the Greater Hartford Open anyway). Play the first event in the New York area as you do now, week 2 in Chicago over Labor Day. Then start the events on Sunday and end them on Wednesday going forward while playing on the West Coast. No more boring East Lake. No more rating problems.

Ryder Cup Fallout?

My West Coast solution doesn’t help U.S. Ryder Cup players that could be playing 8 of 9 consecutive weeks. They’ll still be fatigued. The schedule option that includes moving the PGA Championship does help fix that problem though. That would give Ryder Cuppers almost a month off before the big (exhibition) matches. I bet you’d see the U.S. record v. Europe steadily improve over the next few years if they were fresh and rested. If you could guarantee me that result I’d junk my West Coast idea in a heartbeat.

Speaking of the Ryder Cup, did you hear that Captain Love had the boys at Hazeltine for practice during the off weekend last week? All 11 members made it, as did Justin Thomas, Daniel Berger, and Bubba Watson, who are all being considered for the final Captain’s pick. Who didn’t make it? This guy.

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It wasn’t as if he was not invited. He was. But Moore told Love that he was fatigued and needed to rest for the Tour Championship. He says that the Tour Championship has been his goal all season and the Ryder Cup thing was an after thought. I’m sure Love respected the decision, and apparently Love told Moore that skipping practice didn’t exclude him from being the final pick, but come on. Moore is out right? Good coaches that get to make cuts, recruit players, etc. tend to go with guys who want to be on the team. They want them to bleed the team colors. That kind of intangible is often what puts one player ahead of another contender when their so close otherwise. Moore shot himself in the foot. Even if he wins in Atlanta he shouldn’t be picked by Love. He’ll have 10 million reasons for skipping a weekend in Minnesota, but he has no business being on the team now.

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Johnson (Naturally) Wins At Crooked Stick: Final Thoughts On BMW Championship

The Ultimate Driving Machine

I’m almost sick of Dustin Johnson winning. His stock post round presser is lame and boring. He’s seemingly past all his rules gaffes on his way to the finish line. And he’s so good the field is nowhere in sight to make things interesting. But I do marvel at two things. His massive drives on Pro Tracer and Paulina’s ass as it comes hopping out onto the 18th green. I guess as long as that keeps happening I’ll be okay with Johnson winning for the foreseeable future. I’m kidding of course. What I really want is a DJ/Rory McIlroy bash off for 18 holes, maybe a few weeks from now… Minnesota?

I’ve been late in my updates to this site but I’m sure you’ve gotten used to that by now. And because it is Thursday when I’m finally writing about the BMW Championship you already know how Dustin won, why he won, and how dominate he was all over again. I’m not going to beat that to death for you. What you need to know is that Dustin is probably the best player in the world at this moment. He may not be ranked there, yet, but he will be soon. Brandel Chamblee has been pumping that story line on Golf Channel for a few weeks now and he’s right. That hurts to say. I hate Chamblee but even he can see where Johnson is headed. He’s right where Jason Day was a year ago. The only thing that can stop him now is a drug relapse or a 2nd kid.

Dustin Johnson rarely has an off week from the tee. That held true at the BMW where he lead the field driving distance. Pete Dye’s Crooked Stick course was tailor made for Johnson to dominate on. His wedge game is so damn good right now and that’s all he had left to the par 4s with his big drives. He played the par fives in 15 under. He played 16 of them for the week. Oh, and he threw in a new putter for the tourney and lead the field in putting average while being 2nd in strokes-gained-putting. You can’t beat him with that combination. That’s Tiger circa 2000 like shit.

Johnson won’t win again next week in Atlanta. The course isn’t really his style and he’ll only have two par 5s in play which limits his ability to shit on the field by 8 holes for the week. I think he’ll carry some momentum forward from the BMW but in the end the off week will have cooled the putter. He’ll show well. He’ll walk away with a $10 million pay day and a Fed Ex Cup. Then he’ll go give Wayne’s daughter a good thrashing. See you at the Ryder Cup, DJ. Now back to Paulina.

Usually when Johnson wins PG goes on a Snapchat-Instie bender of her own and we an eyeful of her T&A. It took her about 24 hours but she didn’t disappoint. I’m not suave enough to capture her snaps so this is all you get this time around.

I got 99 problems but you won't be one @djohnsonpga

A photo posted by Paulina Gretzky (@paulinagretzky) on

I think motherhood agrees with her. I doubt we see a glimpse of her in Atlanta. She’ll need the rest for her big Ryder Cup WAG weekend in Minnesota.

The Field

Paul Casey could have easily won in Boston last week. He played well but a Rory McIlroy freight train in the final round kept Casey from his first win in the United States in 7 years. He must feel snake bit because he showed up in Indy and played his ass off again for 72 holes and could barely stay in sight of Johnson. He was the only guy in the field that had a shot at DJ. He posted 20 under for four rounds on a 7500 yard golf course. What else could he have done besides have Robert Allenby take DJ out boozing on Saturday night?

Image result for paul casey BMW image

My gut says Casey shot his wad at the BMW and will be quite cool by the time the first ball leaves a peg at East Lake. Robert Castro also played well at Crooked Stick and would have been right with Casey if he hadn’t shit his bed Saturday with a 3rd round 74. Castro rebounded on Sunday and finished 3rd which earned him a trip back to the Tour Championship. He lives in Atlanta. He went to Georgia Tech. It shouldn’t surprise anyone if Castro is in the hunt next week. Outside of Charl Schwartzel, the rest of the field isn’t worth mentioning. They were just there. Charl was a round away from calling his 2016 complete. But his 8 under 64 on Sunday vaulted him up the leaderboard 22 spots to 4th place. That 64, Rickie playing like shit, and JB Holmes not making birdie on the final hole (not my math) meant that Charl was in the East Lake field and Fowler was out.

Ryder Cup Pick’em

Don’t cry for Fowler. He can use the week off as he preps for the Ryder Cup matches at Hazeltine. I’m still scratching my head how a guy who hasn’t done much in the last 6 months like Rickie has, a guy who didn’t earn a spot on the team, can be such a slam dunk pick for Captain Davis Love? Love picked Fowler, Matt Kuchar, and J.B. Holmes to get his squad up to 11 players with one more pick remaining for after the Tour Championship. Love made comments in his presser about easily pairing guys together and then dodged ever question about Bubba Watson being on the team with the next pick. That was kind of weird.

Personally, I’d have picked Tiger, Anthony Kim, and whomever TW wanted as part of the team to get him to agree to the pick (more on that later). I’m kidding, sort of. Fowler’s RC record is pretty weak. I don’t think his 2016 has been great but it isn’t a disaster. He deserves the pick more than a guy like Furyk or Kuchar. Kuchar gets on because he’s a team room guy. He’s well liked and he’s never going to play poorly enough to drag a partner down to a loss. He’s not dynamic. He back doors his high finishes. He wears a fanny pack and Sketchers. He could be 0-4 or 4-0 and who will notice? I like the Holmes pick. Golf Channel showed the 2008 matches the other day. Holmes was legit in that thing. He’ll be great again at Hazeltine. I have no concerns about him. His emotion will fuel him to a great week.

The choice for the final spot will be interesting. Bubba is out. Love would have just picked him already. Holmes, Fowler, and Kuchar were 10, 11, and 12 in the standings. Bubba is 9th. If he were supposed to be on the team he already would be. Love and the VCs probably did a happy dance when the final standings showed Watson outside of the automatic selections. My educated guess is that the 12th spot will go to Justin Thomas. He’s a friend of the Love family as he played college golf with Davis’ son at Alabama. With Rickie and Spieth on the team they already have 1/2 the #SB2k16 squad on board. Thomas would make it 3/4. Shit, maybe they can sneak Smylie Kaufman in wearing a mascot costume.

So what if it isn’t Thomas? Could Love pick Ryan Moore? Sure. Daniel Berger. Why not? Berger will play well at East Lake. I have little doubt of that. So is the Tour Championship a defacto Ryder Cup qualifier? No, according to Love. Does DL3 have an outside the box option? You bet your ass he does. Tiger Mother Fucking Woods.

Tiger as a pick hadn’t crossed my mind but then Matt Kuchar mentioned it in his interview after he was picked on Monday. There was a collective “yeah right” from all of the Golf world. When you stop and actually think about it as a possibility it gets a little more real, or surreal perhaps. I don’t know who wrote the above piece at, but thank god ESPN’s Kevin Van Valkenburg decided to share it with the world. That’s the best thing you’ll read all week if you haven’t already seen it. Let it sink in. Let is wash over you. And then cross your fingers and hope that it happens just as the writer laid it out for you. How fucking glorious.

Shot Of The Day

Castro. Eagle. Nonchalant. Need I say anything else? Ok, I’ll set it up for you. Roberto Castro dunked one from the fairway on the 7th hole for eagle to help him finish 3rd and make his way back to the Tour Championship.

Cool reaction? Maybe. I had one of those on Labor Day. I didn’t throw my club and yell. I simply verified that my shot went in, fist bumped my playing partner, said “fuck yeah” at a normal volume, then tended the flag for my whole group after I got a pic of the ball in the jar. Castro is too cool for school.

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Rory Back In Winner Circle: Final Thoughts On Deutsche Bank

Twas Just A Matter Of Time

Over the last few months Rory McIlroy looked more lost on the golf course than he looked ready to win again. It wasn’t his driver, his Nike deal, or his gym habits holding him back (but don’t ask Johnny Miller). It was his putter, of course. Nike folding up shop on making equipment meant he was free to try and use anything he wanted and put it in his bag for tournament play. He’s on record that he’s stocked up on $woosh gear and balls for years to come but he did start courting various flat sticks as soon as he was allowed. He found a dance partner in a new mallet-like wrench made by Scotty Cameron and Titleist. He tweaked his grip and his set up. And after starting round one in Boston 4 over after 3 holes he got his shit together and made a charge up the leaderboard.

Rounds of 67-66-65 to finish allowed McIlroy to chase down Paul Casey and win his first event in the United States in 2016. He lead the field in driving, strokes gained putting, and average putts per green. No one is going to beat Rory if he’s doing wizard shit like that. His 65 on Monday in the final round was most impressive. I think I saw one errant shot for the entire day. He made 7 birdies in weather and wind that was part of a tropical storm. Only Adam Scott’s final round equaled Rory’s and Scott wasn’t really in contention for much of his day.

This is Rory’s first win as a newly engaged man. I wonder if that was weighing on him. Remember when he was engaged to that horse-faced tennis pro? He won the week after he broke up with her and admitted wedding planning was a stress to him. This bodes well for the future Mrs. McIlroy, Erica Stoll, pictured above. Now Rory’s putter being on means the rest of his game feels a lot less pressure. He’s back, all pistons are firing, and he’ll probably win at Crooked Stick this week in Indianapolis where the BMW Championship is being contested.

The Field

Paul Casey had a 6 shot lead on Rory entering the final round. The Deutsche Bank was his to lose, and that’s exactly what he did. Considering the rough weather he didn’t play poorly. He shot 73 which was probably pretty close to the field average for the day. But that’s not good enough to hold off a guy with McIlroy’s fire power. Casey made passive swings and way too many unforced errors for a guy looking to beat a great field like the Deutsche Bank has. His driver was crooked, his putter was unsteady, and I think he felt the pressure of trying to get his first US win since 2009.

But hey, 2nd place pays well too and I think Paul was perfectly fine with taking that check home (home to his wife – Pollyanna – with the best fakers on Tour).

Image result for pollyanna woodward

Smylie Kaufman played in the final group with Casey and was looking to get his first big check in months. The least well known of the the #SB2k16 crew has a Tour win, but he hasn’t played in many final groups during the final round. The last time he did so he shot 80 on Sunday at the Masters. Kaufman trailed Casey by 4 shots to start the round and bogied his first two holes, which are birdie holes, to fall out of contention early. His back nine 40 sent him to the back of the pack costing him hoards of Fed Ex points and cash he can’t spend in the casinos of the Bahamas next spring.

Ryan Moore finished T8, which is just about where he’s been on the leaderboard for over a month now except for his win at the John Deere. If he’s not on the Ryder Cup team and Jim Furyk is I’m going to send DL3 a bag of my dog’s shit. He’s a match play ninja too, dude won the US Am and Publinx in the same year, remember? Adam Scott finished 4th thanks to a back nine 29 that helped him tie McIlroy’s final round 65. He might sneak in another win in the next few weeks and throw his name into the Player of the Year discussion if he does so.

Image result for tpc boston image

Outside of the leaders NBC gave viewers two other compelling story lines to follow. First we had Justin Rose. The Golden Brit was in contention after 63 holes in Boston. He was 11 under and trailed Casey and McIlroy by a few shots. He then made two triple bogies, a double, two bogies, and four pars on the back nine to shoot a ten over 45. Holy shit!

Harold Varner’s journey to make the Tour Championship field as a rookie was the other plot NBC fed us. Varner teetered on the brink of the BMW cut (top 70) with every birdie and bogey. After a sloppy bogey at the 15th hole Varner moved from inside the number to the wrong side of it. His clutch par putt at 16 kept him in the hunt but failing to make a birdie at either of the closing holes meant HV3 was heading home. Season over. The Fed Ex Cup isn’t perfect, but it does give us some unique story lines to follow outside of the leaders each week.

Shot Of The Day

I’m not sure how it is possible, but somehow Rory hit driver on the 18th hole on Monday and it only went 261 yards. He had a full 257 left to the hole and hit his fairway wood in the greenside bunker. Anything could have happened from there. He could have scooped his 3rd shot and left himself no chance at making birdie with a long putt from the wrong tier of the green. He could have caught the 3rd shot a hair thin and gone long into the dreaded collection area. But no, his wedge game around the greens on Monday was nearly as good as his driver and putter….

A tap in birdie. A two shot margin. The only thing left for Rors was to sign the card and watch Casey play his final two holes from the scoring area.

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A Reed Win For The Red, White, & Blue: Final Thoughts On Barclays

Patrick Reediculous

Patrick Reed loves America. He loves playing for his country. He’s built for the Ryder Cup. It would have been tough to fathom the U.S. team without him next month. Before the Barclays at Bethpage last week that was a real possibility. Not anymore thanks to Reed bullying the big bad Black course and outlasting the field on his way to a 1 shot victory.

Image result for patrick reed barclays trophy

Reed’s victory shouldn’t have been as easy as it looked. Pat and Rickie Fowler entered the back nine on Sunday at the Black with Reed trailing Fowler by a shot. Fowler hadn’t made a bogey in forever, but he also hadn’t starred Patrick Reed in the eye in the heat of a battle. Reed birdied the 12th after Fowler bogeyed the 11th and Fowler’s meltdown was underway. From there Reed kept hitting greens and the result was a 3 shot lead with a few holes to play. Sean O’Hair and Emilo Grillo were in the house at -8 but not exactly threats to someone playing with Reed’s confidence.

I’m still dumbfounded by the fact that Reed had not won a Tour event in 20 months, since the 2015 Tournament of Champions. The fact that he was on the Olympic team with that track record tells you how many guys had to say no to Rio before Reed was an option. It also shows you how flawed the Ryder Cup points system is if Reed was even in the top 10 without a 2016 victory. He hasn’t played poorly, but he hasn’t lived up to his top 5 billing. Don’t tell him that.

The NLU fellas tweeted that as a joke, but it wasn’t far off. I saw the tweet before I saw Reed’s actual interview. Pete Kostis put the mic up to Reed and that’s almost exactly what came out, sponsor mentions and all. I’m glad this guy is on our side at Hazeltine. For the record, the top 8 on the U.S. team were locked in place after the Barclays. Reed is now 4th on that list, as if it matters. Fowler is on the outside looking in. As are Bubba Watson and Matt Kuchar…..who were fellow Olympians with Reed.

The Field

Rickie Fowler knows he let one get away. I blame that cheese dick mustache he sprouted last week at the urging of Justin Thomas and Smylie Kaufman. You saw that thing, you couldn’t miss it. Gary McCord even wasted our time pontificating that Fowler was coloring the ‘stache. Ahhh…..CBS at its worst best.

Image result for rickie fowler mustache

In my mind Fowler should have some work to do to make the Ryder Cup team. He’s been almost invisible in big tournaments for about 6 months until last Sunday. Captain Love will be watching Fowler closely before he makes his captain’s picks, but most seem to think Fowler is going to be on the team. It is rumored he told Reed that he’d see him in Minnesota when they left the 18th green at Bethpage. Hey Rick, you’ll also see him on Boston and Indianapolis the next two weeks if you need some time with him.

Sean O’Hair finished T2 with Emillo Grillo. O’Hair, really? Was Anthony Kim in the top 5 too? I like O’Hair and always root for him due to his personal back story. Hopefully his play on Long Island is a precursor to more good golf in his future. I’d like to see him back with the “haves” and not the “have nots” of the PGA Tour. As for Grillo, he’s trending in the right direction and will be a popular pick in Boston this week. If he’d putted worth a shit he might have taken’s Reed’s trophy from him.

Image result for jason day barclays image 2016

Jason Day played at his C+ game level again and still snagged a top 5 finish. He’s been good in 2016 and could win POTY depending on how the Playoffs finish. But think about how much better he was in 2015 and was overshadowed by Jordan Spieth. If he finds his 2015 form he might be set up for a legendary 2017 season.

Speaking of Jordan Spieth…..he was in the top 10 at the Barclays too. He played alright. His putter showed a few glimpses of what we expect from the Golden Boy, but that isn’t the bigger story here. Remember when he passed on the Olympics due to health concerns. When he bailed on Rio most figured that meant he was thinking wedding bells and babies with his long time girlfriend. The Twitterverse seems to think otherwise as they’ve documented Jordan with a few girls somewhere between his round at Friar’s Head with the #SB2k16 boys and getting to the pro-am at TPC Boston.

So that’s out there, and I’m not sure what to think of it. For you old guys that can’t interpret millennial communication, that’s a pic of Jordan with two girls from SnapChat and it is followed by screen shots of one girl’s texts where she explains her (alleged) evening with the Golden Boy without his Under Armor. Perhaps it is fake. Perhaps it isn’t/wasn’t really Jordan Speith. It sure looks real. Let’s see how the damage control plays out, if it does. Maybe Spieth broke it off with his home girl and this was his way of catching up for lost time.

Shot Of The Day

You heard all last week how tough of a golf course Bethpage Black is. From tee to green I agree that it is extremely hard. And therefore it didn’t yield a ton of the darts, hole outs, and chip ins that a typically PGA Tour tournament site does. You know that I hate giving you a SOTD that is a putt, but this one from Jason Day is too good to ignore.

Some of you guys don’t last 16 seconds in bed, let alone hole a putt that takes that long to get to the bottom of the hole.

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Course Review: Bethpage State Park (Black Course)

Bethpage State Park (Black Course) – Farmingdale, NY (Architect: Albert Warren Tillinghast 1936)


When the United States was in the midst of the Great Depression, Franklin Roosevelt set the wheels in motion for his New Deal that would bring the country out of the worst economic times it had ever seen. Part of FDR’s new deal included plans to put people back to work building infrastructure and other public goods, including parks. Bethpage State Park in Farmingdale, New York on Long Island is a result of one of the New Deal’s programs. In 1936 A.W. Tillinghast was hired to build the Black Course at Bethpage.

The Black Course has become infamous for being tough, just like the Long Islanders that play it, but before 1995 Tilly’s fantastic design had been left for dead. Enter David Fay, the USGA’s former Executive Director had played the Black in his youth. He happened by the course on a trip back to his home in New Jersey while still the USGA chief and saw the potential it had. The course simply needed a face lift. Fay got the state, the USGA, and NBC all to buy in and agree to have Bethpage host the 2002 Open only if a severe restoration could be done in time for the championship. Thanks to Fay’s vision and everyone that bought into it the Black Course became the first publicly owned facility to host a U.S. Open. Since then it has hosted a 2nd U.S. Open (2009), a Fed Ex Cup event with more coming, and a PGA Championship and Ryder Cup in the not too distant future.

When Fay walked the course on a whim that fateful day he saw a beautiful old girl that needed an influx of cash and some TLC. Rees Jones, the Open Doctor, was hired to do the restoration work. The bunkers you see on the course today are mostly his works of art in Tillinghast’s fingerprints, but the routing and green complexes are all thanks to A.W. Jones came back between the U.S. Opens and added another 400 yards and I noticed new tee boxes on several holes that didn’t exist when I first played the course. The Black has some of the thickest everyday rough you’ll ever play thanks to their staff over-seeding it every spring.

I’ve made two trips around the Black. The first was in 2002, 4 months after Tiger Woods won his 2nd U.S. Open there. The rough was cut to 3.5 inches, but was so thick you could not advance a club longer than a 7 iron from it. The sand in the bunkers was so fluffy that any shot that landed in them that had height on it would result in a fried egg. I played from 7100 yards, had two birdies, and shot 79.

I returned in 2006 in the middle of a NYC heat wave. The course is “walking only” and I carried my bag in 102 degree heat. There isn’t much shade on the rugged Black. Moisture wicking material hadn’t yet hit the golf world. My cotton shirt and shorts were ruined for life after that day but I still had a blast. We played from 7400 yards that day and I shot 77. I can practically remember every shot. The Black does that to you. Everything about it is memorable.

Of course the urban legend surrounding the Black course is that you have to sleep in your car to get a tee time. Not exactly. It is a State Park and the New York State employees run the show here. Tee times can be made by New York residents in the tee time system. Back in the day, other state residents could donate a kidney, get in the tee time system, and grab a time by calling to see if anyone cancelled the day before. Ok, not a kidney, but they did want a copy of your license and social security card to add you. I actually am in the system and made a time there my 2nd time around. The first time I showed up around 9 on a nice October day and was on the 1st tee by 10:45. Weekends are a different story. If you don’t have a time you’re sleeping in the car. When you pull in they give you a wrist band to make sure you don’t get out of line. The last car in line keeps their lights on. You get certain times before the sun comes up and a few cancellations. This is the democracy our forefathers dreamed of 250 years ago.


If it isn’t dark out when you pull into the Bethpage parking lot you notice that it is immediately aesthetically pleasing. The old trees that line the drive, the stately clubhouse, the view off the first tee….nothing about it screams “MUNI!” until you see the driving range or try to check in (more on both later). The brick walk behind the clubhouse leads you around the putting green and the famed warning sign comes into view as if you’re about to chug a bottle of poison.

That’s all New York ego. Don’t let it scare you. From the 1st tee your drive will launch out into space to a fairway that is about 50 feet below the tee. It is a majestic opening shot and your ball will travel about 30 yards further than you’d expect (unless into the wind) because of the change in elevation. What a great way to start a round. The grueling walk begins once you find level ground in the first fairway. Holes 1, 15, 16, 17, and 18 are the only 5 holes in the same section of the park as the clubhouse. To get to number two you cross Round Swamp Rd. and the hike truly begins up and down Long Island foothills you didn’t know existed. The warning sign is more applicable to the walk you face if you ask me.

That is the par 3 eighth hole above. It looks benign and the water isn’t in play but that tree will reach out and slap a push into the H2O if you get sloppy. Humble brag alert –   I birdied it both times! The turn is made to the back nine at the farthest point from the 1st tee. They don’t sell rounds of 9 just as the golf gods intended it to be. At this point in the hike the course actually flattens out for 3 or 4 holes, but 10, 11, and 12 can be some of the toughest on the course. If you really bust a drive you may have a short iron to 11, but the 10th is a long par 4 you’ll be lucky to reach in two no matter how good you hit it. If you’re in the rough you have no shot at the green.

Your last hole before you again cross Round Swamp Road is the short par three 14th hole. The USGA will play the hole anywhere from 100 yards to 165. I think you’ll see it more around 150 for the Barclays, PGA, and Ryder Cup events coming up. A reader tells me they’ve revamped the green a touch. Perhaps there was too much slope and it was brushed up to allow for more hole locations.

That’s Tiger at the 15th above. This hole statistically is the toughest but it has been neutered a bit by modern equipment. At 475 yards most players will hit 3 wood then 8 iron to the severely uphill and undulating green. A long iron into this in 2002 made the approach much more troublesome. The hike up to that green is exhausting at that point in your day, and once you get there you have to focus on navigating one of the Black’s few greens that has real teeth.

The 17th might be the signature hole of Bethpage. The 200 yard par 3 has a natural stadium around it. The fescue grown post 2002 between the tee and the green frames the hole well with the hills, trees, and bunkers creating a postcard back drop. The Black’s weakest link is its finishing hole. Eighteen is a mere 410 yards down hill. Three iron followed by a short iron is no way for a major championship to be decided. There’s no room to extend the hole either. In 2009 the USGA had the hole play 295 yards in the final round and almost no one went for it. While the hole isn’t perfect the idea of making it driveable is as gay as cum on a mustache.

If I have a favorite hole (it is hard to pick just one) I’d go with the 5th shown above. Number 5 at Bethpage Black is often discussed as the quintessential Tillinghast hole. It is about a 480 yard par 4 with a new tee added around 2006. There are bunkers down the right and woods on the left. The tee shot requires a slight fade or a 295 yard carry over the bunkers. The approach requires a slight draw to a green that sits 25 feet above the fairway. Fade tee ball with a draw approach, that’s why they say its a classic Tilly hole.

My first grade in this review is a 5 out of 5 for the layout. There were once some ugly backdrops around holes 3, 15, and even 2 but those have been cleaned up. I’m nitpicking the 18th hole only because it is the final hole. If it were played in any other order it would be a fine hole. I won’t deduct a point for that. Tillyinghast’s routing is classic and thrilling. When you walk the land you know you’re some place special.

Score: 5.0


My sample size of what the conditioning is like at Bethpage is a small one, but both times around the Black the place was in fantastic condition. This was true even in October just a few weeks after the greens were aerated. As I noted already the rough is thick and lush as if the grass is being fed steroids. It isn’t kept long for everyday play but the ball settles down easily in it. You don’t get too many good lies. See below.

The greens at the Black aren’t too undulating, minus a few, and from what I saw they were consistent and mowed at decent speeds for both my loops. I’d bet for everyday muni golf you won’t find any better. They probably run about a 10.5 on the Stimp meter. If they made them much faster the every man playing the course for 99% of its rounds wouldn’t break 100. I also noted above that in 2002 the bunkers were too soft. That was fixed 4 years later. The track I saw in 2006 could have hosted a Tour event with 48 hours of prep. No point deductions here.

Score: 5.0


Because Bethpage is a state park the New York residents get a nice break here just like San Diego County residents get a price break at Torrey Pines. You can see the fee structure below.

Bethpage State Park Golf Coursesbpresidents

Yeah, $65 to play a 2 time U.S. Open host site that is getting a PGA and a Ryder Cup…??? There’s no better deal in the world for a big boy golf course. Even the out of state rate isn’t too bad and well worth it. I think I paid $89 and $110 for my fees around the Black. Nothing in New York is cheap, and you rarely find true value in anything within 50 miles of Manhattan, but golf at Bethpage is the exception to the rule.

Score: 5.0


So far everything at Bethpage Black sounds too good to be true, doesn’t it? Here’s a category that will take the Black down a peg. When you check in you’re basically cattle. You stand in a line like you’re at a bank. You have to have all your shit ready and your whole group there to get a wrist band that gets you a date with the starter. That’s all after you slept in your car if you went that route. The staff is made up entirely of state employees. They don’t have to be nice because there are 20 people behind you that would love to be shit on just to play the famed course.

Things don’t get much better from the staff once you get to the 1st tee. The starter has seen all types and he’s not there to entertain you like so many with his job might try to do at a resort course. He’s a tough Long Island guy who wants you to be ready and get the fuck out of his sight. He’ll grunt at you as he cuts off your wristband (it is entirely possible that the wrist band system is gone since I haven’t played the course in ten years). Staff at the halfway house is average at best and don’t expect a hot college girl to roll up on a beverage cart. Those don’t exist at the Black.

You like that big black cloud I just threw at you concerning the service? Well, it only gets worse in this category. There is no pace at the Black course. It isn’t a crawl, but you’ve got a packed course everyday that has as many tourists on it as it has locals. The tourists might not even belong on a course this tough but they’ll play it to say they did. They’ll take 5+ hours to do it to. And remember, they’re walking! The hike is tough and it certainly hurts the pace at the Black. I scored BPB low in this category but not a 1 or a zero. The staff is probably a bit overwhelmed by the sheer volume of rounds and customers. There’s not much more they can do when offering up a course like that with such a low price.

Score: 2.5


The part of Long Island that Bethpage is on isn’t exactly a place you’ll want to hang around in after you play the Black course. The park itself has some amenities like a restaurant, tennis, hiking, etc, but there’s no way you’re up for any of that shit if you just hiked the Black. You’re thisclose to New York City. Go explore it. Go to a Mets game, go to a horse track, go to Manhattan and do any of 100 million things there is to do there. Pro tip – when you’re done with any of that find a good seat at Scores and don’t use the ATM once you get there.

As for the golf amenities, this is another category that Bethpage will lose a point or more. The range is a joke. It has no grass hitting area. It was significantly improved from 2002 to 2006 when I came back but it still isn’t up to snuff with what you’d expect at a major championship course. Note that they make a range on one of the other courses when the PGA Tour comes to town. The putting green is fine but there’s no short game area or anything resembling one that I ever saw when I was on the premises. There’s no golf carts on the Black so you’d think they might have a caddie program. They do, but it wasn’t official or affiliated with the course ten years ago. It was local dudes offering to carry your bag for somewhere between $50 to $100 for the round. They sit around the outside of the clubhouse and appear more likely to rob you than they do to give you the right club or read a putt. They might all know their shit and be great caddies, but don’t say I didn’t warn you.

Score: 3.5


Outside of the pond in front of the 8th hole there’s not a water hazard on the course. There are a few forced carries, TO THE FAIRWAYS, that may be too much for weaker players so you’ll want to make sure you’re playing the correct tees. Note that the white tees are still nearly 6700 yards. That’s long for an average player. Most people don’t check the yardage and tee it up on  the white tees without thinking. That’s too much golf course for a guy hitting 200 yard tee shots. As I said earlier, many of the greens are flat-ish, with a few exceptions. I think the main challenges thrown at you by the course are the rough and the approach shots. It is a tee to green course. No short game wiz that hits it shorter than average is going to win a tournament on the Black.

I do think that the course is fair and playable for players that have an 18 index or lower as long as they don’t lack distance. You have to be pretty far off course to have tree problems at Bethpage. You aren’t likely to lose a ball. The longish heather is way away from the fairway and there’s plenty of primary rough to play from should you miss a fairway. The most difficult task ahead of you playing BPB is hitting to the greens. Many are raised or sit on top of a decent size hill. You’ll be clubbing up for much of your round because a 150 shot here will likely play 160 on most holes with just a few exceptions. There aren’t any true blind shots but there are several holes that you can’t see the putting surface from the fairway. The Black fucks with you that way.

Per usual, this rating isn’t based on a 5 being “way too hard”. I’m rating a course a 5 when I’d say it’s playable and enjoyable, but not easy, for players of all levels. Bethpage Black is hard, but it isn’t tricked up and there’s nothing crazy asked of you outside of the rough and some extra yardage. I don’t think a short knocking 25 handicap would have any fun on it, but the course wasn’t built for them. It was built for championship golf. It has a high slope and course rating for a reason. It is going to punch you in the face a few times. Can you take a punch? If so, play the Black. Don’t be scared.

Score: 4.5


The composite score from all categories above takes a hit for the service, pace, and amenities the facility lacks, but there’s no shame in the score I arrived at. The course and its conditioning are as good as it gets. If that has more to do with your decision to check a course out then by all means you need to put Bethpage Black on your bucket list. If you need to be pampered, ride in a cart, and have everyone on staff service you like you’re the 1st lady, go play somewhere else. This is the People of New York’s course, they don’t want you here anyway.

Score: 4.25

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