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19th Hole

Daniel Berger has never watched golf on TV (not even the Masters). Do you think he’s alone among pros?

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Daniel Berger doesn’t watch golf. The 25-year-old Floridian said as much in his Golf Digest “My Shot.”

“I’ve never watched it [golf] on TV except out of the corner of my eye. Not one round of the Masters, or even an episode of “Golf Central.” I’ve never seen the Feherty show. If I’ve watched a couple of hours of golf, total, I’d be surprised…I follow golf through Twitter, Instagram and the PGA Tour app. I’m very weak on golf history, because you pick up a lot of that on TV. I know Jack Nicklaus has 18 majors, and that Tiger has 14, but I have no idea who’s third.”

Is this shocking? Do we think most golfers spend their few off-weeks watching the PGA Tour on television, tuning into PGA Tour Live on their phones? Do we think the PGA Tour’s young stars are settling down with a Bobby Jones biography or catching up on their Bernard Darwin? (To be fair, Berger clearly does watch highlights via Twitter, the PGA Tour app, etc)

There’s a quasi-expectation in golf that Tour pros are students of golf history. To suggest that the PGA Tour’s finest didn’t grow up glued to the family TV set during Masters week (at least!) is sacrilegious, in the minds of some, at least.

Berger expands on his blissful ignorance with this exposition of his pre-Masters exposure to Augusta National.

“When I played in my first Masters, in 2016, I knew nothing about Augusta National except what I’d seen playing the Tiger video game. I had a couple of invitations to play the course in advance and appreciated them but was like, “Thank you, but I’m good.” Not knowing what a big deal it was is probably why I didn’t play a full practice round. I walked the front nine on Tuesday with a wedge and putter and played the back nine on Wednesday. I tied for 10th that first year.”

Video games! Berger hasn’t missed the cut in three Masters starts, and his worst showing is a tie for 32nd. Even so, should we be appalled by his lack of reverence for the venerable course and its history? Or does it not matter?

Further, PGA Tour pros have little to gain from the admission that they didn’t grow up watching golf and aren’t students of the game’s rich history, so it’s not surprising we haven’t heard many similar statements. That said, Berger can’t be alone in his position. How many pros do you think are in the same boat (an appropriate metaphor, since Berger says he prefers relaxing on his vessel to watching golf).

Let us know what you think, GolfWRX members. You can read Berger’s full “My Shot” here.

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17 Comments

17 Comments

  1. Dave

    Apr 16, 2018 at 10:32 am

    He is not alone. Even though i like watching golf i enjoy playing even more. Golf is the only sport in which a huge percentage of its viewers are actual players of the game. Its hard to watch and play the game since its at the same time.

  2. Birdswing Golfer

    Apr 15, 2018 at 4:42 pm

    He’s lying!

    No way a professional golfer has never caught some golf on tv!

  3. Paul

    Apr 15, 2018 at 1:08 pm

    I love golf, but I couldn’t care less about watching it, or its history. I play because I love the feeling a purely struck shot, it’s like a drug (with a blade of course).
    I went to the Canadian Open once to see what it was about, pretty cool, will never go again. Why should I care about people who used to hit a ball? I only care about my shot I will hit, not someone else’s shot.

  4. Man

    Apr 15, 2018 at 1:54 am

    He must have a terrible upbringing, and must be a really boring robot, all he does is beat balls all day and then go play more golf on the course and then go to bed. Can’t ever talk to this kid, he’ll have nothing to say

  5. Carlos Danger

    Apr 14, 2018 at 7:16 pm

    Typical millenial rich kid. His only redeeming quality is his hot girlfriend.

  6. GolfGui

    Apr 13, 2018 at 9:31 pm

    Most of me wants to say Berger’s statement is hyperbole… Though a bit of me believes him… If 100% true, kind of sad… I understand once being “punched out” from work not wanting anything to do with it, but this is ridiculous … In his defense, he still has one of the hottest girlfriends on Tour and can go out to any golf course and shoot a 68 and 99.9% of us can’t so who cares if he watches golf or knows anything about it.

  7. Bruce

    Apr 13, 2018 at 4:47 pm

    This is the same variety of “cool” as not having a logo on your hat.

  8. BF

    Apr 13, 2018 at 2:03 pm

    The only people I ever root against are the too cool to be a golf fan and golf is not my life types. I guess they only play because they’re good. Adding Berger to the list. At least Koepka won’t be so lonely in there.

  9. Erkr

    Apr 13, 2018 at 1:59 pm

    You don’t have to cherish Augusta and know golf history. I believe him. He sounds cool.

  10. Steve Cantwell

    Apr 13, 2018 at 1:59 pm

    Ridiculous story. Why lie about something so insignificant. Does he want people to think he is something special? Now his credibility will come into question.

    • margaritanose

      Apr 14, 2018 at 1:49 am

      i don’t think he’d write or want to publish something like that had it not been true. he could’ve sat there for a bit and made up a big story about this one time or that time to try wnd glorify himself. but instead, i’m sure it was quite easy for him to do the article because he was being truthful and isn’t worried about what anyone thinks about him. he seems to be doing well so far in life, so can’t blame him.

  11. Judge Smeills

    Apr 13, 2018 at 12:50 pm

    he sounds like he is either extremely dumb or lying?

  12. Max

    Apr 13, 2018 at 12:27 pm

    Has Augusta ever been on a video game? I didn’t think that they allowed it.

    • Aaron

      Apr 13, 2018 at 1:21 pm

      EA Sports TW PGA Tour 2012 had Augusta

    • Brett Weir

      Apr 13, 2018 at 3:22 pm

      Yes they have (Tiger Woods PGA Tour 2012 by EA Sports). Augusta allowed EA to bring special machines to scan their course.

  13. Aaron

    Apr 13, 2018 at 12:12 pm

    Total BS. He played college golf at a major school where I’m POSITIVE his teammates would have had golf coverage on TV all the time.

    • JJVas

      Apr 13, 2018 at 12:31 pm

      +1… but I guess his story sounds cooler.

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19th Hole

Bryson does Bryson: DeChambeau spotted using a compass to read greens

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Plenty of armchair humorists and hot take artists remarked on Bryson DeChambeau’s use of a compass during the Travelers Championship this weekend.

Unfortunately (perhaps) for DeChambeau, the PGA Tour spotted the former physics major utilizing the device.

While it’s highly irregular/quite expected from DeChambeau, the powers that be aren’t certain of the legality of compass use.

“They said we just want to let you know we’re investigating this device and seeing if it’s allowable or not,” DeChambeau said.

The SMU alum also threw this bit of shade at the Tour: “People are saying it’s an unusual device, that’s at least what the tour’s saying… It’s funny people take notice when you start playing well.”

Let’s press pause here for a second to address the elephant in the room: What the heck was Bryson doing with the compass-and-yardage-book routine.

Here’s what he told reporters

“Figuring out true pin locations. The pin locations are a little bit off every once in a while, so I’m making sure they’re in the exact right spot.”

True pin locations. Is that like true gravity? Anyway, DeChambeau has reportedly been using the device since 2016… How is this the first we’re seeing of it? Does he only bust out the compass when he suspects

It also wasn’t the first time DeChambeau has used the device, he said, noting that he’d been doing so since the 2016 PGA Tour stop in Las Vegas. Reportedly, the Tour’s investigation concerns whether the compass is an “allowable” device (per Will Gray).

What do you think, GolfWRX members? Rules junkies: Is Bryson in violation? Mathematically inclined/cartographers: Is the technique an asset in cases of “untrue” pins?

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19th Hole

Baba Booey for Life! Does this GolfWRX member have a point?

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Oh boy, here’s a heater. On the subject of Baba Booey-ing at golf tournaments, WRX member Stickner started a thread, writing

“For those that think nois.e while a player hits shouldn’t be allowed, you must also believe that fans should NEVER make noise.

“A player with a large gallery jars a 70 footer for eagle to take the lead. The crowd erupts! This should not be allowed.

“Why you ask? There are other golfers well within earshot of the noise. This could disrupt their game. Why does the nearby player you can see deserve the “courtesy of quiet” but the one 400 yards away that you can’t see doesn’t?

“We have all seen players back off because the crowd erupted on another hole. What happens when that eruption happens in the backswing right before the player is about to transition to the downswing? Those boisterous hooligans need to keep their traps shut as this is a gentleman’s game right?

“Being quiet while someone plays golf is silly. My guess is that the elitist snobs that played this game a century ago needed a scapegoat when hitting a bad shot and noise became their scapegoat.”

He wraps his rant in, well, the most appropriate way possible: “BABA BOOEY FOR LIFE B&^%HES!”

Now, this flies in the face of the “isolated noise during the golf swing is extremely distracting” argument that is popularly leveled in defense of silence. But let’s see what GolfWRX members think about Stickner’s comments.

MtlJeff says

“While i am not in favor of intentionally yelling during a swing, your point is an interesting one. I hadn’t really thought of it like that, the loud roars often get overlooked when it comes to the “distracting noise” narrative.”

Eagle1997 says

“Planned vs. Spontaneous. Jabroni Factor only applies to one.”

Blackngold_blood says

“I am fine with cheering for a great shot or groaning for a bad one. My problem with…bababooey and mashed potatoes is the fact that it has nothing to do with GOLF! All the person is doing is screaming “Look at me, I need attention!” Or how about the even less classy “How’s your ankle” that was shouted at Finau after he hit his last approach to 18. I get the point that these are professional athletes and golf is becoming more mainstream but the immature comments need to stop.”

Naptime says

“Background noises and distant noises can be perceived as while noise. If you play next to a highway you adapt and become less aware of it. But if a trucker blasts a horn in your swing it would startle and at least for me would probably result in a hot grounder to third base. Yelling Baba Booey or any other lame comment after a swing doesn’t startle the swinger, just make the shouter sound like a doofus who can’t hold his alcohol.”

What do you think, GolfWRX members? Does Stickner have a point? Should the rules of the wider sports world apply to golf, or does golf fandom require a particular understanding of when to be quiet and when to cheer?

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19th Hole

Both Rory McIlroy and Jordan Spieth laughed at Phil Mickelson’s 13th hole antics

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The image of 48-year-old Phil Mickelson jogging after his golf ball on the 13th green at Shinnecock, Saturday, was bizarrely comedic. Even if you condemn Mickelson in the strongest of terms, taken on its face, the scene is a silly one.

That said, it’s interesting that two of the biggest names in the game had the same response: laughter.

Speaking before the Travelers Championship, Rory McIlroy said

“I saw what happened…and honestly, I laughed. I felt there was a massive overreaction to it. Knowing Phil, he knew what he was doing, and as a player who has been in that head space before in a tournament, I can see it happening.”

Jordan Spieth voiced similar sentiments earlier in the week

“I laughed, I thought it was really funny…Phil knows the rules…There was a chance it was going to go back behind the bunker and he’s got to chip back, or he was going to play off the green anyways, so he was potentially saving himself a shot. So if that was the intent, then what’s the harm in that? He’s playing the best score he can.”

There are a couple of widely different perspectives (and plenty in-between) here.

One: Thank goodness Spieth and McIlroy aren’t uptight dogmatists when it comes to the rules, and they appreciate the humor in an absurd situation.

Two: Spieth and McIlroy, as significant figures in the game, ought to stand up for the integrity of the rules of golf, condemning Mickelson’s behavior…and perhaps question whether disqualification was in order (as Jason Day and other pros have done).

Which camp you find yourself in likely aligns with how you view the Mickelson incident: A humorous and well-deserved middle finger to the USGA or a reprehensible act for which Mickelson was not sufficiently punished?

Beneath Mickelson’s behavior and the responses of McIlroy and Spieth is the ever-growing rift between the USGA and PGA Tour players–as well as a level of annoyance with/disdain for the organization’s Rules of Golf.

Remembering how Mickelson spearheaded the overhaul of the PGA of America-run U.S. Ryder Cup team and its procedures when he called out captain Tom Watson in 2014, it was the same sort of situation: “Is this calculated, or has he lost his mind?” everyone seemed to be asking.

In the wake of those remarks, players rallied behind the veteran, and he assumed a leadership position in the reform effort. Whether we see something similar with respect to the pros and the USGA/U.S. Open, it certainly looks like the political will for change is there among Tour players, as McIlroy and Spieth’s remarks suggest.

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