GOLF MEDIA: “Rough & Tumble”

The FedEx Cup left a bad taste and a disconnect to golf fans proving that what's good for the players is not always good for golf with a staggering $60 million FedEx Cup purse divvyed out to 150 players including a mindboggling $15 million to Rory McIlroy for finishing in first place and $70K to No. 150.

Picked-up pieces while assessing the 2019 golf season, the patronizing golf media and frightening thought that the next round of golf in New England could be the last for six months.

• Does anyone else miss the candid unfiltered insight of Johnny Miller as a TV broadcast analyst? Televised golf, especially on The Golf Channel, has evolved into one nauseating cliché after another with Rich Lerner the undisputed “king of clichés.” Here are two beauties dropped during the CJ Cup @ Nine Bridges in Korea: On Jordan Spieth, winless in 27 months, T-8 finish: “one thing you can say about Jordan Spieth he’s a gamer.” On KJ Choi finishing T-16: “is a pros pro.”

• So, Rory McIlroy is the FedEx Cup Champion, the only player other than Tiger Woods (2007, 2009) to win twice. After 12 years, overall prize money was $35 million with $10 million to the winner until this year the numbers jumped to $60 million and $15 million to the winner. This settles one debate: a FedEx Cup win is far more rewarding than winning the Masters.

Global Golf Post, a free weekly online golf magazine launched in January 2010 by industry veteran Jim Nugent, gets “A” for effort, but his 2019 business strategy to try to charge his million-plus readers $7 per month to read Global Golf Post Plus was a bust. When you Google Search “golf news” over 6 million entries are available, so paying to read about golf online from a GGP staff of six full-time golf writers was wishful thinking.

Is the Callaway Epic Flash driver the best driver ever or is the marketing campaign pledging “Artificial Intelligence” a factor driving enormous popularity and sales?

• The Epic Flash Driver by Callaway, in my humble opinion the best driver ever made, which retails for $529 is celebrating one year. In 2017 Callaway introduced the “groundbreaking” Flash Driver. In 2018 it produced the Rogue, claiming “revolutionary Jailbreak technology.” On occasion I play golf with a group of deep-pocketed Florida guys and in 2017 when the Epic first came out every one of them bought the driver explaining that it’s the best driver ever and they would never change. Well, the Rogue came out and they all bought the Rogue. You know the rest of the story. The Epic Flash came out last winter and by gosh didn’t most of them follow suit and spend the $529. Makes me wonder which of the three Callaway drivers they like best and why change? Callaway Golf’s marketing program is working: “Artificial Intelligence, to help golfers get more ball speed for more distance.”

• Here’s my list of best sources for daily golf news from among a half-dozen selections: (the all new)ProGolfWeeky, Morning Read, SwingU, Golf, GolfWRX, Golf Hound, and Golfweek.

• Since Gannet Co. Inc, parent of USA Today, bought Golfweek in 2016 the magazine has spiraled from first-to-worst in terms of quality golf journalism. Founded in 1975, Golfweek was once the most authentic and authoritative voice in golf, but is now printed monthly with recycled unoriginal golf news, while fetching $24 annual subscription for print and online. The good news is Golfweek rehired Adam Schupak who pumped out a sensational piece on originator of the Skins Game titled “The Never-Before-Told-Story-About-How-the-Skins-Game-All-Started.

• Is Golf an industry filled with hypocrites or is the Massachusetts Golf Association guilty of bad judgement? AHEAD, LLC is a New Bedford, Mass-based company that makes quality golf apparel for over 20 years including the USGA, PGA of America, Ryder Cup and PGA Tour as customers. This year Mass Golf Executive Director Jesse Menachem signed a marketing agreement with Imperial Sports to produce Mass Golf hats and apparel. Imperial Headwear is located in Bourbon, Missouri thus making Mass Golf a strong contestant for Bonehead Decision of the Year for failing to support a local business.

• I’m looking at a press release dated October 30, 2018 wondering where are they now? It reads in part: “$10K HOLES-IN-ONE, A GLOBAL SCRAMBLE AND A BETTER BUSINESS…Introducing SKYiGolf, A group that will energize golf.” There is no sign of a web site or Twitter activity in months. The last golf company to spend so much time and money making a ton of noise, promises and bluster and then went “puff” without explanation is Back9Network.

A golf vacation to the Dominican Republic offers affordable accommodations, perfect Caribbean weather, top designer golf courses, beautiful coastlines and an abundant supply of scenic and challenging golf courses such as Punta Espada Golf Club in Cap Cana.

• Have never been a fan of Golf Talk on radio even though Matt Adams had a decent morning show for 10 years on Sirius Radio PGA Tour Channel 92. But I did enjoy listening to Hank Haney rip the USGA, the PGA Tour and anything that moved that was worthy of constructive criticism. The politically correct powers-that-be banished Haney in June after the US Women’s Open for telling the truth about female Korean golfers, especially those with the last name of Lee, and their dominance over US players. Channel 92 should be renamed Golf Adulation radio!

• Best golf course I’ve played this year is Punta Espada Golf Club in Cap Cana, Dominican Republic. Best course in New England is Ocean Course at New Seabury.

• Congratulations to two of the golf industry’s most respected and hardest working journalists for their recent achievements. Len Ziehm, a nationally-acclaimed award-winning sports writer from Chicago, was inducted into the Illinois Golf Hall of Fame on October 17. Tim Branco, founder of New England Publishing Group, which for over 35 years has been an industry leader in the design, distribution and delivery of niche lifestyle publications and custom print media for hundreds of businesses, has semi-retired and living the dream in Ocala, Florida.

(“Rough & Tumble” is an opinion column that analyzes, critiques and occasionally compliments people, places and things in golf media.)

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Jay McHugh
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Wow…some tough subjects but you are 100% on the Green