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Final-round coverage of Sony Open not surprisingly affected by strike

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Shortly before the final round of the Sony Open in Hawaii began, news that members of the telecast team would be striking filtered through the golf mediasphere. Viewers were unsure what type of a patchwork production they were in for as a short-handed team tried to make up for an absence of video and audio workers.

Whit Watson, Frank Nobilo and Mark Rolfing, the main announcers for the telecast through Saturday, were absent. Instead, the team of George Savaricas, Billy Kratzert and Jim Gallagher Jr. called the action from Golf Channel studios in Orlando. Plenty of camera angles weren’t available, and there were no camera crews inside the ropes, which led to some awkward coverage moments. On-course reporting was also absent.

Interestingly, Jerry Foltz, normally a reporter, was pressed into action of a different sort.

So, what’s at issue here? Why the walkout? Per a K5 News report John Culleeny, a representative for the International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees, indicated last-minute talks broke down.

“We’ve been in negotiations with Golf Channel for second contract for nine months, and they’ve proved fruitless. We rejected one vote a while back and when they put their last proposal out, 83 percent of our members rejected it. After a couple of last minute talks, nothing happened so we just pulled the crew today. We pulled the crew in the Bahamas and we pulled the crew in Orlando.”

More specifically for the IATSE workers at Golf Channel? Below industry standard pay.

“The biggest issue is the fact that Golf Channel wages are below industry standard, below what other people are making…We have people who are stay at home, work regionally in San Francisco, San Diego, Los Angeles, Phoenix, New York, whatever. They make more money than people who go on the road for the Gold Channel. And they have to leave their families, stay in a hotel room for weeks at a time, and they’re getting paid less than people who stay home. We want parity.”

Attention now turns to when the strike will be resolved. Reportedly, a lawyer for the IATSE is trying to jumpstart talks, and a meeting between the two sides is scheduled for Tuesday, according to the Associated Press.

Golf Channel is scheduled to cover this week’s PGA Tour event, the CareerBuilder Challenge, as well as the PGA Tour Champions’ season-opener, the Mitsubishi Electric Championship.

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  1. David

    Jan 15, 2018 at 7:27 pm

    If they don’t like their jobs they can quit. This is why unions ruin workers.

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More beginners, bigger base: Insights from the NGF’s Industry Report

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A record number of first-time players took up the game in 2017, according to the National Golf Foundation’s Industry Report. 2.6 million beginners swung a club for the first time last year. Additionally, first-timers making their maiden trips to a golf course increased for the fourth straight year.

The NGF took a different route with its report this year, saying,

“To more accurately reflect the evolution of golf’s overall consumer base…[the organization] expanded definition of participation looks beyond traditional on-course golf and also factors in off-course engagement, which tracks those who swing a golf club at facilities like Topgolf, indoor simulators and driving ranges.”

Per the NGF, the on-course participant base held steady at 23.8 million golfers in 2017. 8.3 million people played exclusively off course, interestingly, at Topgolf and similar facilities, driving ranges, and simulators. Thus, the total number of “golfers” in the U.S. is nearly 32 million.

“Golf participation is evolving,” said NGF President Joe Beditz. “On-course, green-grass participation is holding its own and off-course is continuing to grow. There’s no denying that we’re down from our pre-recession highs, but it appears to us that traditional participation is stabilizing and there may be a new support level between 23 million and 24 million.”

The game’s most ardent players continue to account for 95 percent of all rounds-played and spending in an $84 billion industry.

With respect to translating off-course participation into on-course play, the number of non-golfers who said that they’re “very interested” in playing golf increased to 14.9 million from 12.8 million in 2016.

Rounds played were down 2.7 percent to 456 million in 2017. As has been the case every year since 2006, there were more facility closures than openings, with just over 200 facilities shutting their doors. The U.S. still has just under 15,000 facilities: 45% of the global supply.

Openings such as Streamsong Black in Florida, Shepherd’s Rock in Pennsylvania and Bayou Oaks in Louisiana got plenty of attention, but renovation projects remain the major industry investment. The NGF tracked 1,100 major course renovations in 2017.

The average price of an 18-hole round of golf at a public course in 2017: $34. 75 percent of U.S. courses are open to the public. The NGF says this is the highest public-to-private ration in the country’s history.

Looking ahead to 2018, the NGF sees “a further balancing of supply and demand.” 15 to 25 new course openings, 75 to 100 major renovation projects.

NGF members can access the full report here for free ($199 for non-members)

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Tour News

Lucas Glover’s wife arrested for domestic violence after allegedly attacking husband for poor play

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Lucas Glover’s wife, Krista, 36, was arrested after allegedly attacking Glover and his mother after he missed the 54-hole cut at The Players Championship, Saturday.

Krista Glover was released on $2,500 bail after spending the night in St. John’s County Jail. She’s slated for a May 31 court date on misdemeanor charges of domestic violence battery and resisting arrest without violence.

Per the officer’s report, following Glover’s third-round 78 and MDF at Sawgrass, the Glovers had an altercation, which Lucas’ mother, Hershey, attempted to stop. At that point, Krista allegedly began attacking her husband’s mother. Hershey Glover reportedly had cuts and blood on her arms, as did Lucas.

Glover and his mother did not want to press charges, according to reports. Glover reported his wife had been drinking and that she frequently berates him about his poor play, calling him a “‘loser” and other names in front of the couple’s children. 

The three-time PGA Tour winner tweeted the following statement, Sunday.

Per the St. John’s County Sheriff’s Department, full details are available via the arrest report below.

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10 interesting photos from the AT&T Byron Nelson

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The PGA Tour arrives at Trinity Forest Golf Club for the first time as the AT&T Byron Nelson settles into its new home.

To familiarize yourself with this 2016 Coore & Crenshaw design, we have shots from both the front and back nine at this buzzworthy track. Additionally, we have our usual assortment of range photos, as well as WITB looks and shots of J.J. Spaun’s sweet Scotty Cameron. We also got a look at Jordan Spieth’s instructor, Cameron McCormick’s studio, which is extremely cool.

Here are 10 interesting photos from our Monday/Tuesday coverage.

Rumor has it J.J. Spaun thought his “for street use only” custom Cameron merited inclusion in 10 Interesting Photos. He’s not wrong!

Have yourself a Callaway Apex MB, Noah Goodwin! (The reigning U.S. Junior Am champ is in the field on a sponsor’s exemption)

What’s better? Troy Matteson’s headcovers or the bag by his bag? Toss up.

Martin Flores: A man of multiple Scotty Cameron headcovers

What’s going on here? Vintage lefty weapons and more…

Colt Knost’s camp has the beverage situation under control. (Also: great range buckets)

Not sure of the owner, by strong headcover game

Ireland’s Seamus Power’s custom Accra shaft

Cameron McCormick hangs banners for his students’ achievements. There are many.

PSA: You have to see our shots of Trinity Forest

Check out all our photos from Monday and Tuesday at Lord Byron’s tournament.

Discussion: See what GolfWRX Members are saying about the photos below

 

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