The match between Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson has received mixed feedback since its finish on Friday night. Mickelson took the win and $9 million after birdieing the fourth playoff hole to triumph and claim bragging rights over his old rival. There are plenty of elements of the contest that have drawn a strong reaction from golf fans, and here are my five quick takeaways from the match.
1. Not selling tickets was a mistake.
The announcement that tickets would not be made available for the showdown at Shadow Creek drew criticism before the event, and anyone who watched the contest between the two men will agree that the decision was an error. Anytime Woods is in action, there is an electricity in the air, and while his relationship with Mickelson is friendly these days, there is still a significant and bitter division between Woods and Mickelson supporters. A division which could have created a genuinely spectacular atmosphere, and enhanced the event no end. It was a trick missed.
2. The side-bets enhanced things, but we needed more.
???? Tiger Woods loses another 300K to Phil Mickelson in a heartbeat…
— Sporting Life (@SportingLife) November 23, 2018
The gambling during the contest made certain moments far more interesting than they would have been without it, but the event needed more of it. Watching two men take their tee-shots on a par-3 midway through a round isn’t exactly a box-office moment, but when you stick a $300k closest to the hole challenge in the mix then it no doubt enhances the moment. There was no seven-figure side-bet like Mickelson had teased may happen, and the wagers came to a surprising halt the deeper we got into the round, but when they were occurring, they made things more interesting.
3. Embrace the razzmatazz
A HBO series, smack talk, drones flying overhead and gambling was all too much for some purists who felt the entire occasion was not fitting for the game of golf. Well, neither is the over the top celebrations and crowd chanting at the Ryder Cup, right? And that event has hardly hurt the game of golf. For golf to grow it needs to be creative, and this event indeed was that. Will an event like this be seen again? Who knows, but there seems to be no harm in having spectacles like this on the odd occasion.
4. Cut the microphones or allow the players to go unfiltered
*Phil misses $200K birdie put*
Tiger: "That hurts the pocket" ????
— Bleacher Report Live (@brlive) November 23, 2018
It was perhaps unrealistic to expect a non-filtered Woods and Mickelson going at each other for 18 holes, but what we did get was too reserved. Both men were naturally clearly conscious of saying the wrong thing and getting themselves in trouble, and it made for too many awkward moments. One of those moments came while walking down the first fairway where both Woods and Mickelson incessantly spoke about how “cool” Samuel L. Jackson is, a conversation that felt so artificial that had it continued much longer may have induced me into having a stroke. Ironically, the best on-mic moment came on the same hole, after a very smug Woods took delight in Mickelson missing his birdie try, showing the potential of the experiment. Next time, allow the players to relax and be themselves.
5. No Tiger, No Party
With the biggest draw in the history of the sport failing to attract universal appeal to the event, it certainly makes you wonder how any other player could do so. Woods might not have been at his best on Friday, but he will always move the needle. The standard of golf may have been better if the contest had featured the current top two players in the game. But, how popular do you think an 18 hole event with microphones and ribbing between Brooks Koepka and Justin Rose would be?
How important is playing time in college if a player wants to turn pro?
One of the great debates among junior golfers, parents and swing coaches is what is the most crucial factor in making the college decision. My experience tells me that many students would answer this question with a variation of coaching, facilities and of course academics (especially if their parents are present).
I would agree that all three are important, but I wanted to explore the data behind what I think is an often overlooked but critical part of the process; playing time. For this article, I examined players under 25 who made the PGA tour and played college golf to see what percent of events they participated in during their college career. In total I identified 27 players and through a combination of the internet, as well as conversations with their college coaches, here are the numbers which represent my best guess of their playing time in college:
Player Percent of Events
- Justin Thomas 100%
- Rickie Folwer 100%
- Xander Schauffele 100%
- Bryson DeChambeau 100%
- Jon Rahm 100%
- Patrick Reed 91%
- Jordan Speith 100%
- Beau Hossler 100%
- Billy Horschel 100%
- Aaron Wise 100%
- Daniel Berger 100%
- Thomas Pieters 95%
- Ryan Moore 100%
- Kevin Tway 98%
- Scott Langley 95%
- Russell Hendley 100%
- Kevin Chappell 96%
- Harris English 96%
- JB Holmes 100%
- Abraham Ancer 97%
- Kramer Hicock 65%
- Adam Svensson 100%
- Sam Burns 100%
- Cameron Champ 71%
- Wydham Clark 71%
- Hank Lebioda 100%
- Sebastian Munoz 66%
Please note that further research into the numbers demonstrate that players like Pieters, Munoz, Clark, Reed, Hicock, Langely, Reed and Champ all played virtually all events for their last two years.
This data clearly demonstrates that players likely to make a quick transition (less than 3 years) from college to the PGA tour are likely to play basically all the events in college. Not only are these players getting starts in college, but they are also learning how to win; the list includes 7 individual NCAA champions (Adam Svensson, Aaron Wise, Ryan Moore and Thomas Pieters, Scott Langley, Kevin Chappell, and Bryson DeChambeau), as well 5 NCAA team champion members (Justin Thomas, Jordan Speith, Beau Hossler, Patrick Reed, Abraham Ancer and Wydham Clack) and 2 US Amateur Champs (Bryson DeChambeau and Ryan Moore).
As you dig further into the data, you will see something unique; while there are several elite junior golfers on the list, like Speith and Thomas who played in PGA tour events as teenagers, the list also has several players who were not necessarily highly recruited. For example, Abraham Ancer played a year of junior college before spending three years at the University of Oklahoma. Likewise, Aaron Wise, Kramer Hickok and JB Holmes may have been extremely talented and skillful, but they were not necessarily top prospects coming out of high school.
Does this mean that playing time must be a consideration? No, there are for sure players who have matriculated to the PGA Tour who have either not played much in college. However, it is likely that they will make the PGA tour closer to 30 years of age. Although the difference between making the tour at 25 and 30 is only 5 years, I must speculate that the margin for failure grows exponentially as players age, making the difference mathematically extremely significant.
For junior golfers looking at the college decision, I hope this data will help them understand the key role of playing time will have in their development if they want to chase their dream of playing on the PGA Tour. As always, I invite comments about your own experience and the data in this article!
Hidden Gem of the Day: Republic Golf Club in San Antonio, Texas
These aren’t the traditional “top-100” golf courses in America, or the ultra-private golf clubs you can’t get onto. These are the hidden gems; they’re accessible to the public, they cost less than $50, but they’re unique, beautiful and fun to play in their own right. We recently asked our GolfWRX Members to help us find these “hidden gems.” We’re treating this as a bucket list of golf courses to play across the country, and the world. If you have a personal favorite hidden gem, submit it here!
Today’s Hidden Gem of the Day was submitted by GolfWRX member pdaero, who takes us to Republic Golf Club in San Antonio, Texas. The course is situated just ten minutes from downtown San Antonio, and pdaero gives us some excellent insight into what you can expect should you make the trip here.
“My favorite golf course to play, it is always in really good shape. These pictures are from wintertime, which the greenness is still impressive. The course has a ton of fun holes and unique designs, and only houses visible on 4 tee and between 14 green and 15 tee.
The course rating is strong, with a 74.2 rating on a par 71 (7007 yards from the tips), and even from the second tee you get 1.3 strokes.”
According to Republic Golf Club’s website, the rate for 18 holes during the week ranges from $29 to $49, while the weekend rate ranges from $35 to $69.
An interview with State Apparel’s founder Jason Yip
For the past five years, Jason Yip has been building an apparel company that redefines the purpose of golf wear. With a strong background in innovation from his days in Silicone Valley, Yip wanted to reinvent golf apparel to be a functional tool for the golfer.
The other day, I had the pleasure of talking with Mr. Jason Yip about State Apparel and a little about himself. It is not every day that you get to speak with someone who can exude passion through the phone. On this day, though, I could hear the passion Jason has for golf, California, and for State Apparel.
Yip said State Apparel has two major foundations
- Functional innovation
- Social responsibility
Jason loved talking about watching Tiger Woods. However, he watched for something I believe few ever have. How was Tiger wiping the dew and the grass off his clubs, hands, and ball? The answer that Jason observed was that Tiger and others are utilizing their clothing as wiping surfaces. The core of State Apparel is the functionally located wiping elements on your article of clothing. The staple of the brand is their Competition Pants which have wiping elements located on the cuffs, side pockets, and rear pockets.
State Apparel recognizes the need to be socially responsible as a company. This seems to be from Jason’s earlier days of playing golf behind a truck stop in Central Valley, California.
How is the State Apparel socially responsible? Yip identified three ways.
- Production is done in San Francisco.
- Most of their apparel utilizes sustainable fabric.
- Proud supporter of the San Francisco Public Golf Alliance.
Jason’s desire is to provide not only apparel that is golf specific but also the experience that we have on the golf course. A little over a year ago the State Apparel Store and Urban Clubhouse opened on Filmore Street in San Francisco, California.
“I wanted to provide the golfing experience closer to the home of many golfers in the area,” Yip told me.
Among the State Apparel clothing at the store, there is an indoor hitting by with launch monitor. And they have even hosted speaking events with local professionals and architects at the clubhouse.
At the end of our conversation I asked Jason, what would he say to someone who knows nothing about State Apparel, especially those of us not in California?
“State Apparel is a unique authentic brand that is designed specifically for golfers by a golfer. Look at the product because it is something you have never seen and absolutely communicate on what you see or what you have questions about.”
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Details on Jordan Spieth’s switch to the new Titleist TS2 driver
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Why flaring your left foot out at address could be a big mistake
Charles Howell III’s winning WITB: 2018 RSM Classic
Did Justin Rose confirm his switch to Honma?
Cobra launches new King F9 Speedback drivers and fairways
Bryson DeChambeau’s Winning WITB: 2018 Shriners Hospitals for Children Open
Matt Kuchar’s winning WITB: 2018 Mayakoba Golf Classic
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