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A new golf competition at Topgolf, Shotmakers, is coming to Golf Channel. Will you watch?

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Topgolf’s runaway success and unique golf experience has fostered a new golf competition, Shotmakers, which premiers on Golf Channel, April 9.

Billed as “an innovative new golf competition where precision shotmaking meets intense strategy,” the competition blends entertainment, golf, and technology.

Nine co-ed teams will compete at the Las Vegas Topgolf in elimination-style, head-to-head competition. Precision shotmaking, strategy, and, and decision making in a pressure-packed environment will define the competition.

“Shotmakers is a great opportunity to introduce a progressive approach to golf competition, featuring dynamic personalities from across the sports landscape,” said Phil Piazza, Golf Channel senior vice president of programming. “Shotmakers also will showcase what Topgolf has been doing for 17 years – evolving the narrative around golf and redefining golf participation.”

The 18 competitors include a former PGA TOUR professional, mini-tour professional golfers, an Olympian, former collegiate athletes, a former World No. 1 World Long Drive competitor, a trick-shot artist, decorated military veterans, and champions from the Topgolf Tour.

Shotmakers is co-hosted by 3-time college national player of the year Amanda Blumenherst and golf host Shane Bacon, along with Golf Channel reporter Chantel McCabe and social media correspondent Alexandra O’Laughlin. Shotmakers will feature seven rounds of competition airing two nights a week at 9 p.m. ET beginning April 9 and concluding April 30.

Here are the teams, per Golf Channel.

IMPACT, sponsored by CDW:
SUSANA BENAVIDES (27, Cochabamba, Bolivia) Professional golfer, only Bolivian-born golfer to compete on the LPGA Tour, former top-ranked amateur in South America.
TOMMY BIERSHENK (44, Greenville, S.C.) Former PGA TOUR professional, two-time All-American at Clemson University, golf course owner.

SHARKS, sponsored by Corona Premier:
TANIA TARE (29, Auckland, New Zealand) Professional golfer, trick-shot artist, record-holder for lowest single round while competing for Florida International University with a 63.
MAURICE ALLEN (36, Pine Hills, Fla.) Former World No. 1 World Long Drive competitor, 3-time World Long Drive winner, All-American at Florida A&M in track.

STRIKERS, sponsored by Travelocity:
VICTORIA LOVELADY (31, Sao Paolo, Brazil) Professional golfer currently competing on the Symetra and Ladies European Tour, Olympian who represented Brazil in 2016 Rio Olympics.
ROBBIE BIERSHENK (41, Greenville, S.C.) Driving range owner, former mini-tour player, featured on Golf Channel’s Chasing the Dream series.

LIGHTNING, sponsored by MGM Grand:
KENZIE O’CONNELL (26, Denver, Colo.) Golf teaching instructor, Women With Drive ambassador.
CHAD PFEIFER (36, Caldwell, Idaho) Professional golfer, decorated U.S. Army Corporal (retired) who credits golf saving his life, two-time Warrior Open champion, amputee (lower leg).

SEEKERS, sponsored by Waste Management:
CHRISTINA LECUYER (35, Conway, Ark.) Professional corporate/charity golf host and media personality, two-time All-American from the University of Central Arkansas, former professional golfer.
MATT COUSENS (26, London, England) PGA teaching professional, 2017 Topgolf Tour Championship runner-up with fellow Shotmakers competitor Brad Barnes.

WARRIORS, sponsored by Avis:
NIKKI BONDURA (25, Sacramento, Calif.) Golf lifestyle blogger, co-owner of Women With Drive.
BRAD BARNES (23, London, England) 2017 Topgolf Tour Championship runner-up with fellow Shotmakers competitor Matt Cousens.

ACES, sponsored by Topgolf:
TISHA ABREA (24, Murrieta, Calif.) Professional golfer competing on the mini-tours in 2018, co-owner of Women With Drive.
JAMIE PUTERBAUGH (33, Carlsbad, Calif.) PGA of America professional and teaching instructor, 2016-17 Topgolf Tour Championship finalist with fellow Shotmakers competitor Peter Campbell.

RINGERS, sponsored by Massage Envy:
HAILEY OSTROM (24, Phoenix, Ariz.) Professional golfer currently competing on mini tours.
ANDREW BACHELDER (36, Fort Worth, Texas) 2015 Warrior Open champion, decorated U.S. Marine Corps Sergeant (retired) who credits golf with saving his life.

HAWKS, sponsored by Topgolf:
CHELSEA PEZZOLA (25, Scottsdale, Ariz.) Professional golfer, standout junior golfer at IMG Academy, two-time Academic All-Big Ten at University of Michigan.
PETER CAMPBELL (33, Carlsbad, Calif.) Former PGA TOUR professional, golf instructor, 2016-17 Topgolf Tour Championship finalist with fellow Shotmakers competitor Jamie Puterbaugh.

To get a feel for what the competition will look like, check out this tweet from GC.

So, what do you think, GolfWRX members? Will you watch?

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4 Comments

4 Comments

  1. Apple Barn Rat

    Mar 14, 2018 at 11:04 am

    I think Top Golf is for Bottom Feeders.

  2. kevin

    Mar 13, 2018 at 2:11 pm

    normally i would care less about something like this….but if they can combine actual good players with interesting personalities and not try to hard to manufacture drama it might be a watch.

    but i’m guessing the format will be set up in attempt to manufacture a certain outcome and the episodes will a few shots and a ton of commercials.

  3. C

    Mar 13, 2018 at 11:51 am

    I think it *could* be fun to watch, but it will be riddled with commercials and unnecessary commentary/interviews.

  4. HeineyLite

    Mar 13, 2018 at 10:42 am

    Ah no!!!! Golf Ch. other than when they show actual golf is very good. Other than that horrible… Morning Drive… Yawn

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19th Hole

Hungover Eddie Pepperell is the real winner of The Open

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Eddie Pepperell is never dull. The Englishman’s candor, articulateness, and skill with a pen make him a great follow on Twitter and beyond.

But even given standard Peperellian forthrightness, it was surprising to hear this: Pepperell was hungover during the final round at Carnoustie…a round in which he fired a 4-under 67.

Pepperell finished tied for sixth at 5-under, three strokes behind Francesco Molinari, and he offered this admission in his final-round press conference.

“I was a little hungover…I had too much to drink last night. And I was so frustrated yesterday, that today was really, I wouldn’t say a write-off, but I didn’t feel I was in the golf tournament. Whether I shot 69 or 73 today, it wouldn’t have been heartbreaking. But as it happens, I shot 67. So, you know, it’s a funny game.”

Hitting the course before the winds kicked up, Pepperell birdied the third, fifth, sixth, and 14th holes before rolling in another at the 17th.

He clarified that he’s no wino.

“Listen, I wouldn’t always have a drink the night before. Sometimes I have a few drinks. Tiger is minus-7, he didn’t have a drink last night, I bet. Proper athlete…I didn’t really have that much to drink, just I’m a lightweight, yeah.”

Pepperell clarified that he felt okay this morning, but woke up in the middle of the night feeling poorly. he said. Then it was time to sit back and watch as the leaders battled Carnoustie’s back nine.

Proper athlete or no, Pepperell finished tied with Woods at 5 under.

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19th Hole

Did Tiger Woods choke at The Open?

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The winds picked up along the coast as the tide came in. The fickle gods of links golf reared their grey heads. Tiger Woods, stitched up and fused together, chasing his 15th major, felt the fury of both late Sunday at The Open.

Carnoustie’s 11th and 12th holes: A pair of poor efforts off the tee in howling crosswinds found the fescue. A pair of recovery efforts saw Woods’ True Temper Dynamic Gold shaft ensnared and golf ball gone awry.

At the par-4 11th, pressing, feeling he couldn’t afford to drop any shots (Woods stated he thought the winning score would be 9 under)–and indeed would need more birdies coming in–Woods left a flop shot out of the rough just short. Trusting in his powers with a 60-degree in hand, Woods went for a shot that would have left im a good look at par, had he pulled it off. Instead, his ball ultimately trickled away from the putting surface in sad retreat.

Two shots later, he filled in a double-bogey 6 on his scorecard, dropping back to even par for the day through 11 holes. He bogeyed the 12th after another sojourn into the thick stuff.

From that point on, Woods escaped the par-5 14th with what was probably an undeserved birdie, but it was all pars on a difficult stretch of holes. After wedging his approach to seven feet at the 72nd hole, Woods should’ve made the putt, sure–his impotent effort fizzled and fell away from the cup. A made putt would have left him one stroke back of Molinari, who was closer (and ultimately made his putt), but it wouldn’t have won him the tournament.

While it’s fair to say Woods didn’t play his best golf down the stretch, and perhaps he asked too much from shots from the rough at the 11th and 12th, the suggestion that he choked, failed to capitalize, or got nervy when the heat was on is off base.

That said, Woods’ legion of detractors will gleefully claim he choked. The Choke Lite take is that while Woods didn’t totally let things slip through his fingers, but the combination of opponents not self-destructing (most did though, Sunday, didn’t they?) and lacking the “step on their necks” gear he displayed so often earlier in his career did him in.

More to the point, the 79-time Tour winner hit a few poor shots and tried to do too much on a couple of occasions. He paid the price for both. The larger import we see likely had more to do with our preconceived notions of Woods than anything that happened inside the ropes at Carnoustie Sunday.

A final word: In the course of admitting that he was “ticked off” at himself for not getting the job done, Woods said

“I need to try and keep it in perspective because, the beginning of the year, if they’d have said you’re playing The Open Championship, I would have said I’d be very lucky to do that.”

We’d do well to maintain the same perspective: If you’re a fan, be glad you have something to cheer for, and if you’re an anti-Tigerite, be glad you have fodder for criticism. Everybody wins!

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19th Hole

Pat Perez: The R&A “do it right, not like the USGA”

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Pat Perez opened The Open, as it were, with a 2-under 69, and at the time of this writing, he’s 4 under for the second round and tied for the lead.

Clearly, there’s something Double P likes about links golf. And when he was asked whether he was surprised by how receptive the greens at Carnoustie were after his opening round, Perez shook his head with conviction and said.

“They (the R&A) do it right, not like the USGA…They’ve got the opposite [philosophy] here. I told them, you guys have it right, let the course get baked, but you’ve got the greens receptive. They’re not going to run and be out of control. They could have easily had the greens just like the fairway, but they didn’t. The course is just set up perfect.”

“The U.S. Open could have been like this more if they wanted to. They could have made the greens a bit more receptive,” Perez said. “These greens are really flat compared to Shinnecock. So that was kind of the problem there is they let it get out of control and they made the greens too hard.”

Pat Perez has no problem speaking his mind. While it has gotten him in trouble in the past, you have to respect his candor. The interesting question, as I asked in the Morning 9, is how many Tour pros agree him?

Sure, it’s unlikely any of Perez’s compatriots will join him publicly in his “R&A does it right, USGA does it wrong” stance, but it’d be very interesting to know what percentage are of the same mind.

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