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Home Daily Golf Briefs Daily Pulse for August 1, 2018


Web Street Golf Daily Pulse
VOLUME 8, NUMBER 149                                                       
Wednesday, August 1, 2018

ANY IDEA WHO SAID THIS? “I’d be surprised if Tiger doesn’t make it now, given how far he has come over the last six months. When you think where he was at the last Ryder Cup, when he couldn’t get out of his golf cart, it’s amazing. Since it’s match play, I think he would be very useful, so yes, I’d put him in.’

BRAIN TEASER: Which one of these players has NEVER won the Bridgestone Invitational: Darren Clarke, Stewart Cink, Vijay Singh, Phil Mickelson or Adam Scott?

SO SHALL IT BE SAID, SO SHALL IT BE DONE! Is there such a thing as too much information? But isn’t there good and bad information, which therefore remains subject to interpretation? Is professional golf relying less on skill? How do these questions relate to each other? The USGA and The R&A are proposing regulations regarding the use of green-reading materials, reaffirming the need for a player to read greens based on their own judgment, skill and ability.

The application of this is strictly at the professional level. That isn’t to say some recreational players don’t employ this strategy and then turn in their score for handicap purposes. However, the overwhelming majority potentially impacted by this are Tour pros. So with that said, the PGA TOUR and European Tour are somewhat quiet on the matter with respect to where either resides on the topic. If you think golf is teetering on being overly regulated than this latest from the governing bodies likely won’t sit well with you, even if it doesn’t directly affect you.

“Both the USGA and The R&A are committed to the position that a player’s ability to read their line of play on the putting green is an essential skill that should be retained,” said Thomas Pagel, Senior Director, Rules of Golf and Amateur Status for the USGA. “The focus of the interpretation is to develop an approach that is both effective and enforceable.”

David Rickman, Executive Director – Governance at The R&A, said, “We have looked carefully at the use of these green-reading materials and the extremely detailed information they provide and our view is that they tip the balance too far away from the essential skill and judgment required to read subtle slopes on the greens. It is important to be clear, however, that we still regard the use of yardage books and handwritten notes to be an entirely appropriate part of the game.”  

greenmapFollowing a six-week period of feedback and consultation with interested parties that begins today, the regulations will be finalized in a published “interpretation” of Rule 4.3 (Use of Equipment) and adopted Jan. 1, 2019, when golf’s new rules take effect. The key elements of the proposed interpretation, according to the USGA and R&A, are as follows:
• Minimum Slope Indication Limit – A minimum slope indication limit of 4 percent (2.29 degrees) is proposed (this includes lines, arrows, numbers or any other indicators); this will have the effect of eliminating such indicators of slope from those areas of the putting green where the hole is most likely to be positioned (which tend to be cut on reasonably flat sections of the putting green with a degree of slope of less than 3.5 percent - or 2 degrees). This proposed limit also equates roughly with the amount of slope that is readily visible to the naked eye. 
• Maximum Scale Limit – A maximum scale of 3/8 inch to 5 yards (1:480) is proposed; this will limit the size in print form to a pocket-sized publication and has the effect of restricting the space for handwritten notes (also referenced below).
• Indicative Information - General information that is included in traditional yardage books or course guides, such as basic illustrations that show the outline of the putting green and include indicative information like the tops of ridges or general slopes, will continue to be permitted.  
• Handwritten Notes - Handwritten notes will continue to be allowed, but such notes cannot be used to create either a direct copy or a facsimile (replica) of a detailed green map. 

Interested parties are encouraged to contact the USGA at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it or The R&A with questions, feedback or suggestions for improvement prior to Sept. 14, 2018. The governing bodies will issue the regulation by no later than Oct. 15, 2018 for its planned Jan. 1, 2019 adoption. 

A couple of thoughts on the topic, first, expect little to no reaction from PGA TOUR pros, since very few are outspoken whenever changes are proposed. Essentially, they will all fall into formation, whether they like it or not. Second, no references were made with respect to potential pace of play. For those that rely on the notes, they will have to adjust, especially on shorter putts and during the transition phase (after all this is going to happen regardless of feedback that is received) it’s expected they will use more time to confirm what they think they see. Some people are going to like this decision and others may be indifferent. Does it help attract more people to watch the game or dare we say, play it?

HAVE IT YOUR WAY! The PGA TOUR and NBC Sports Group have announced a new multi-year digital partnership. Starting in 2019, NBC Sports Gold, NBC Sports Digital’s direct-to-consumer live streaming product, will be the United States’ home of PGA TOUR LIVE, the PGA TOUR’s subscription video service. The partnership includes rights to all of PGA TOUR LIVE’s Thursday and Friday morning coverage from 28 events, starting with the CareerBuilder Challenge in January. Launched in 2016, NBC Sports Gold’s offerings complement NBC Sports’ broadcast and cable distribution.

In 2019, PGA TOUR LIVE plans to stream more than 360 hours of exclusive subscription coverage, as well as hundreds of hours of free Featured Holes coverage. Among some of the features of the PGA TOUR LIVE subscription package on NBC Sports Gold include a 30-minute preview program that leads into the morning’s live competition coverage. Featured groups and holes along with integrated statistical feeds. There will be a one-hour event recap that highlights the best of that weeks’ tournament.

Pricing options for PGA TOUR LIVE in 2019 will be announced in January. Users who sign up via will be kept aware of the latest news and announcements related to its 2019 launch on NBC Sports Gold. 

The majority of golf’s audience trends in the 40 and over age category. Some would argue its 50 and over. It’s doubtful the existing audience features many “cord cutters” that have elected to stream their programming. There is also a strong sentiment that golf is not aligned as well as it could be with the younger generation. It’s a concern that has likely been around as long as golf has been. Nevertheless, it’s curious whether the digital strategy will provide any significant incremental eyeballs to the game now that NBC Sports becomes the distribution outlet/partner. Meanwhile, for the vast majority of the current audience it means absolutely nothing to them, much like the news on the green reading material proposal.


SO HAS IT BEEN WORKING? This is a first-year anniversary of sorts for Rory McIlroy. It was this week a year ago at the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational that McIlroy first used Harry Diamond as his caddie, an arrangement of which – at the time – was akin to the old question of, “how long is a piece of string?”

McIlroy himself wasn’t sure if it would be a short-term, medium-term or long-term association with his friend. Indeed, at the pre-tournament press conference, he jokingly gave out an email address for potential bagmen.

“We’ll see how the next two weeks go, but I’m not ruling anything out. It could be two weeks; it could go longer than that,” remarked McIlroy, who had dispensed with the services of his long-time caddie of nine years, JP Fitzgerald. That split had come in the aftermath of a fourth-place finish in the British Open at Birkdale. READ MORE>>>

SAD: Australian golfer Jarrod Lyle will spend his final days surrounded by loved ones after making the heartbreaking decision to go into palliative care. The 36-year-old has been fighting a third battle with cancer since a recurrence of acute myeloid leukemia last year. READ MORE>>>

ANSWERS: “I’d be surprised if Tiger doesn’t make it now, given how far he has come over the last six months. When you think where he was at the last Ryder Cup, when he couldn’t get out of his golf cart, it’s amazing. Since it’s match play, I think he would be very useful, so yes, I’d put him in.’--Nick Faldo on adding Tiger Woods to the U.S Ryder Cup team

Darren Clarke (2003), Stewart Cink (2004), Vijay Singh (2008), Adam Scott (2011) have all won the Bridgestone Invitational. Phil Mickelson is the only one from this list that hasn’t.