Friday Pebble Beach Semi-Live Blog

3:00 pm EST Update:  Apropos of Nothing:

1:00 pm EST:  This tournament is teetering on the brink of losing me.  Spencer Levin and Roberto Castro are the only names near the top that much interest me.

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Thursday Pebble Beach Semi-Live Blog

♥♥♥ Buy a Jordan Spieth Pebble Beach AT&T Bobblehead Doll on eBay! ♥♥♥

7:50 pm Update:  Is 45-year-old Phil Mickelson ever going to shoot a lower round than 17-year-old Ryan Ruffels?

It’s the most predictable story told
It’s in with the young
And it’s out with the old

The following lines seem particularly relevant to Mickelson:

A belly full of high-dollar wine
A fat hand, a fat wallet too
Things change and get strange
With the movement of time

By the way, I’m older than Mickelson, so I’m not being ageist here!  It’s a great song by the greatest active American band.

3:30 pm EST Update:  What a beautiful day on the Monterey Peninsula.  Fantastic visuals of the course and sea life.  The actual golf coverage?  Horrid.  [Don’t blame Faldo; it’s the producer.  By the way, when I mentioned Justin Timberlake the other day, I called him a megastar and left it at that.  I forgot to point out he’s a 2-handicapper.]

2:15 pm EST Update:  I noticed the live stream on this morning.  I clicked to see if it was free.  Nope, it’s $6/month.  Compare: If you have HBO, you pay $7/month through your provider.  HBO provides 24/7 programming with no commercials.

The website says it is free (look at the chart):


But when I tried to sign up for free access, there was no free option.

11:25 am EST Update:  By the way, notice in the comments section at the GC article to which I linked below, in response to a question about appearance fees Continue reading

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Wonderful Sports Media, Part XIICCCLXXXIV

Luke Kerr-Dineen tells us in an article entitled, “Tom Brady said the exact same thing as Cam Newton about losing and no one cared,” that “Tom Brady said something almost identical to Newton.”

When I was a kid, “exact same” and “almost identical” had different meanings.  Of course back then we didn’t rank below Kazakhstan on student aptitude tests.

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Tuesday Thoughts

Tuesday Thoughts…  Funny how CNN was so quick to Continue reading

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Cugel the Clever’s Guide to Golf Reporters on The Dying Earth (Second Draft, in progress)

The reference is to the Jack Vance Science Fiction books which take place on a distant future earth as the sun is burning out.  It seems apropos when discussing today’s golf reporters.  I plan to expand and update this until I consider it finished.

  1. Steve Elling.  He stopped updating his Golf Blot website in December, and he’s not tweeting much.  My hope is that Mr. Elling is using his time to write a tell-all book.  I’ll buy a copy.
  2. Stephanie Wei.  She did a podcast not long ago with Adam Fonseca at Golf Unfiltered, about which I wrote.  She sounded less than certain she’d continue covering golf beyond the two Hawaiian tournaments.  Happily, Wei Under Par is still going strong, and she’s traveling to and covering tournaments.  In fact, check out her latest tweets to get a moving description of Rickie post-playoff.  (Actually, read the full article she wrote.  “He walked out the back door with emotions running high and tears running down his face. It was just brutal to watch. You had to feel for him.”  And watch the video!  You’ll choke up, I guarantee it.)  She does a great job, and you should probably read her website before you read this one.  You should definitely read her website before you read Golf Channel, Golf Digest, CBS, and the rest.
  3. jalnichols.  I’m putting this guy early on the list because I probably spent more time talking about him last year than all the others combined.  Maybe that’s an exaggeration, but without jalnichols, there is no Euro Seven, which was one of the top five stories in golf last year.  Do I say that tongue-in-cheek?  Not really.  Outside the mainstream golf media, there is a pretty lively debate going on about the strength of non-US tours.  I’m lonely defending the Euro/Asian Tours, but I’m on the right side.  Anyway, I assumed I’d let the Euro Seven fade away this year, but, alas, it appears jalnichols is about to kick the hornet’s nest again.  We’ll know soon.  So, before I go back to battling Moriarty, let me praise him.  Sunday, as I watched the conclusion of the Phoenix Open, I visited various golf websites.  I found this comment in jalnichol’s Twitter timeline: “Some context for the Rickie driver decision, he had one of the largest (positive) gaps between driver and three wood performance in 2015.”  At the time, I thought, That’s extremely useful information.  Later, it dawned on me what it wasn’t: It wasn’t a stupidstic.  I disagree vehemently with jalnichols on many things (Branden Grace and Anirban Lahiri, two prominent ones), but he provides actual, honest-to-goodness, useful statistical information.  Put bluntly, he is 1000 times better than Golf Channel’s Stupidstics King, Justin Ray.  Okay, enough with being Mr. Nice Guy; it’s time to watch jalnichol’s website for what, we anticipate — based on two cryptic “questions” he recently tweeted — will be a doubling down on his misguided Euro Tour bashing.
  4. Adam Fonseca.  Just a week ago, he announced a change in direction at his Golf Unfiltered website, hitting on a point we’ve often made to complaining readers: “It can be a grind to find new ways to offer opinions on the same things we all see when we watch pro tournaments on TV (or attend in person). It’s an even bigger challenge to review golf equipment […]. There are many sites that excel at both of the above, and it is foolish of me to try and compete against them.”  It’s an interesting, open-hearted piece worth reading.  As was Adam’s own submission to his new Cart Barn Confessionals feature (although, when I read it, it badly needed another round of editing).  I assume Fonseca will continue the podcast interviews.
  5. Geoff Shackelford.  Should I include Shackelford’s website in this Guide?  After all, he has strong ties to Golf Channel, among others.  Nevertheless, Shackelford regularly finds and writes about things the mainstream media doesn’t.  Also, he’s fighting the good fight as to rolling back ball distance.  (That alone puts some distance between him and the Golf Powers.)
  6. Shane Ryan.  I reviewed his book last year.  I think I did a Part I and a Part II, and still didn’t cover all the notes I jotted down.  He updates his website, Tobacco Road Blues, semi-regularly, but certainly not frequently.  However, he’s deserving of the terms “writer” and “journalist,” so when he writes something, it’s generally of high quality.  He also does a good number of the inanely-named “Friends of Tiger” podcast.  (Is that name ironic?  Or is it ironic that it’s not ironic?  With millennials — I use that term sloppily, but is there any other way to use it? — “irony” is a get-out-of-jail-free card.)  I’m not sure if Ryan’s got a golf/sports writing gig in addition to his website (he should), but he definitely tweets about sports a lot.

I’ll write next about Chris Solomon (the No Laying Up guy) and anyone else I might think of.  It looks like Chris Solomon may have been hired by SB Nation.  Or maybe he’s just writing the occasional piece for them.  Anyone know?  If anyone knows more than me about any of these guys, please weigh in.  I follow some of them closer than others.

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Yesterday Was An Awful Sports Day

I.  Rory gave it a go, but was too far back to have any realistic chance in Dubai.

II.  Fowler played solidly all day — until he didn’t.  I wouldn’t read more into it than that, though.  Fowler hit clutch shot after clutch shot to stay alive after he overdrove the green coming down the stretch.  Still, it was not the result I wanted.  (I was for Fowler, but I regularly pull for Matsuyama, too, who has risen to OWGR #12 with this Phoenix Open win.  At age 23.)

III.  The Super Bowl was truly awful.  Yes, my team lost, but it wasn’t that.  After all, I was okay with either team winning, really.  It just wasn’t an enjoyable viewing experience.

  • Penalties, penalties, penalties (with plentiful bad calls)
  • Poor QB play
  • Crappy field
  • Unforced turnovers galore

When you compare this game to the NCAA Championship game between Alabama and Clemson, you can see why I regularly point out the NFL has an inferior product, and interest would be in freefall if not for fantasy football betting.  There was one turnover in the NCAA Championship; there were six in the Super Bowl.  There were six penalties in the NCAA game, a whopping eighteen in the Super Bowl.  3rd down conversions in the NCAA game: 9-18 and 6-14; in the Super Bowl 3-15 and 1-14.

Defining play:  The incredible onside kick in the NCAA game.  The Super Bowl… one of the fumbles?

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Super Bowl Sunday Stuff

jalnichols:  Is jalnichols really about to double down on his Euro Seven bashing?  Is he going to throw good money after Continue reading

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