Team golf is back this week with the Presidents Cup at Quail Hollow. To celebrate, Garrett and Andy take a walk down memory lane and examine the history of the event. From the split between the PGA of America and what would become the PGA Tour to the failure of other team competitions, the series of events that led to the Presidents Cup's creation is a fascinating study. The second half of the episode is dedicated to the present state and potential future of the tournament. Garrett and Andy go over what ails the event, the distractions surrounding this year's edition, and their own proposals to breathe some life into the Presidents Cup.
- The World Series of Golf-like tournament that Garrett and Andy discuss was called the PGA Grand Slam of Golf, and it ran from 1979 to 2014.
- Garrett's account of the origins of the Presidents Cup draws extensively from Adam Schupak's book Deane Beman: Golf's Driving Force.
Anticipation for men's major championship golf this year was sky-high. Tiger was returning to the Masters, the PGA Championship had been moved to Gil Hanse-restored Southern Hills, the U.S. Open was visiting the Country Club for the first time since 1988, and St. Andrews was hosting the 150th edition of the Open. To the delight of golf fans everywhere, the tournaments lived up to the hype. Andy Johnson welcomes Geoff Shackelford (@geoffshac), author of The Quadrilateral, a Substack newsletter dedicated to golf's majors, to relive the four biggest weeks in golf, reminisce on early- and late-round memories, and give their rankings of each major.
During the Covid-19 pandemic, recreational golf saw a major uptick. Rounds went up and equipment sales boomed. Have those boom times continued in 2022? Or has there been a regression to the mean? To take the temperature of the golf industry as a whole, Garrett speaks with Greg Nathan, the Chief Business Officer of the National Golf Foundation. Garrett and Greg discuss the nature of golf's "Covid bump," the overall health of the golf business, the future of golf course development, and more.
At this past week's BMW PGA Championship, multiple players who have signed with LIV Golf aired their grievances about the direction of the DP World Tour, formerly know as the European Tour. Ian Poulter, Sergio García, and other Euro vets feel that the proud, historic tour has become a mere "feeder tour," and that DPWT CEO Keith Pelley's negotiation of a "strategic alliance" with the PGA Tour is significantly to blame. They might have a point. Andy Johnson and Garrett Morrison discuss the recent history of the European Tour, the decisions that led to its current status, how it should position itself in the new world order of professional golf, and whether it has any hope of returning to its former glory.
Denny McCarthy (@_dennymccarthy) just had his most successful year ever on the PGA Tour, highlighted by a T-7 finish at the U.S. Open. He joins Andy Johnson to talk about his outlook for next season, getting hot just in time for the U.S. Open, and the recent work he put in to up his game. He also shares his thoughts on LIV Golf and the sweeping changes the PGA Tour introduced last week. Lastly, for listeners struggling with the flatstick, Denny, who has never finished worse than T-22 in Strokes Gained: Putting, talks through his process on the greens and shares a few tips.
In the second of two episodes recapping his first visit to Scotland, Andy Johnson gives Garrett Morrison his thoughts on two legendary courses—North Berwick Golf Club and the Old Course at St. Andrews—and two lesser-known gems in the East Lothian region, Dunbar Golf Club and Kilspindie Golf Club. They discuss the brilliance of North Berwick's hole designs, the uniqueness of the Old Course's terrain, the drama of Dunbar's routing, and the advantages of playing Kilspindie with hickories. Andy also offers some general advice on planning a golf trip to Scotland. (Hint: don't overbook yourself!)
Time stamps for course discussions:
(2:16) North Berwick
(37:07) The Old Course
Earlier this month, Andy Johnson and Joseph LaMagna (@JosephLaMagna) talked through the changes they'd like to see the PGA Tour make in order to compete with LIV Golf. After this week's onslaught of news and announcements about real alterations that the Tour will make to its structure, Andy welcomes Joseph back to break it all down. They discuss PIP, LIV, TMRW, and probably a few other acronyms; the effects they think the changes will have; and the importance of the Tour getting the details right as it moves into a new era.
Our Superintendent Series is back with Jeff Austin, superintendent at Yale Golf Course (@Yale_GolfCourse). Prior to taking over at Yale, Jeff was an assistant superintendent at Augusta National, and he humors Andy with a few stories from his time there, including an interaction with a former president. Just over two years ago, Jeff took over at the Seth Raynor-designed Yale Golf Course, which had seen better days after a long Covid-related shutdown. Jeff talks about the challenges he tackled when he came aboard, explains how his workforce adds to the uniqueness of the job, and shares what they're doing to prepare for a Gil Hanse-led restoration starting at the end of 2023.
The Superintendent Series is brought to you by the Toro Company.
The courtroom phase of the conflict between LIV Golf and the PGA Tour began last week with a win for the Tour: a federal judge denied an effort by LIV players to obtain a temporary restraining order that would have allowed them to take part in the FedEx Cup Playoffs. But the legal battle between the two golf leagues is far from over. To learn more about the LIV players’ ongoing antitrust lawsuit and its prospects of success, Garrett Morrison talks to Gabe Feldman (@SportsLawGuy), a professor at Tulane University who specializes in antitrust and sports law and hosts the podcast Between the Lines. Gabe explains the legal basis of the players’ claim against the PGA Tour, assesses the case’s merits, and predicts where the litigation between LIV and the Tour might go next.
Garrett Morrison spent this past Sunday watching Japanese sensation Saki Baba become the latest U.S. Women's Amateur champion. He joins Andy Johnson to share his impressions of the course where all the action took place, Chambers Bay, and its role in future USGA championships after the controversial 2015 U.S. Open. With "anchor sites" like Pebble Beach and Pinehurst No. 2 booked into the 2050s, there's not much room for underdog courses to elbow their way in. Andy and Garrett dig into the why the USGA (and, to a slightly lesser extent, the PGA of America) have pursued this model of venue selection, the issues it's creating, and what they'd like to see change.