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Tuesday, March 20, 2018

Golf News Round-Up for March 20, 2018

Let's take a quick tour through the headlines to see what's going on in the world of golf.

Denied relief, Reed jokes: 'Guess my name needs to be Spieth' | via Will Gray for GolfChannel.com

Patrick Reed was playing in the group in front of Woods for the second straight Sunday, and he became embroiled in a situation after launching his approach into an area of trees behind the 11th green. As captured by a fan video, Reed got into a lengthy discussion with an on-site rules official before being told that he would not receive the free relief he was requesting.

"I guess my name needs to be Jordan Spieth, guys," Reed said, drawing laughs from a few gallery members.

I'm assuming Reed is referring to the relief Spieth received last year at the Open Championship when his ball ended up on a driving range. I have to agree that Spieth was fortunate but I'm not convinced he was given any relief in error. It's a shame that what was likely meant as a fun jab to relieve some of the stress Reed was feeling in the moment has been blown up into a social media controversy, but, that's the world we live in these days.

This new Miura documentary is must-watch stuff for equipment junkies | via Ben Alberstadt for GolfWRX.com

The mysterious Japanese company’s wares have had a cult following in the golf equipment space since company founder, Katsuhiro Miura, began forging and hand-grinding clubs in 1957. The three-chapter documentary short begins by looking into company history, building techniques, and Miura’s reputation globally.

I certainly don't have the game or budget for these amazing clubs but the short film is still fascinating. It's a bit heavy-handed, comparing their golf clubs to the tradition of making samurai swords, but a well-produced piece never the less.


NBC Sports' Final Round Coverage of Arnold Palmer Invitational Presented by Mastercard Scores Highest-Rated Overnight at Event in Six Years | via Golf Channel Public Relations on Golfchannel.com

Record viewership of the PGA TOUR continued this weekend for NBC Sports Group at the Arnold Palmer Invitational presented by Mastercard. Sunday’s final round coverage on NBC (2-6:45 p.m. ET) delivered a 3.6 overnight rating, +136% vs. 2017 and the highest-rated final round at this event in six years. Combined with last week’s final round viewership at the Valspar Championship (5.1 overnight rating) these rank as the two highest-rated final round PGA TOUR telecasts (non-majors) on any broadcast network since the 2015 Wyndham Championship.

Tiger Woods' comeback has certainly made for some happy television and advertising folks as well as fans. Good to see and great news for the general popularity of golf. Let's see how the ratings do this week at the WGC Dell Match Play this week without him.

Why are back pain and spinal injuries plaguing the game? The answer is complicated | via Josh Sens for Golf.com

Consensus concentrates around a confluence of factors, from the repetitive strains of youth-sports specialization to the wraparound demands of the Tour season. Adding to the mix are changes in technology, training and tournament setups that are meant to either furnish or favor power, which, in turn, encourages more violent swings. Eye-popping purses only reinforce the cycle of bigger, stronger players trying to hit it farther and cash in faster, regardless of the physical toll it takes. Longevity is a less urgent goal than length.

As a lower back pain sufferer myself, caused mostly from too many years of swinging out of my shoes since I was 12, this article really hit home. Finding a smoother swing, giving up distance for playing with less pain, has worked for me. Only time will tell how this new "hit it long or go home" trend on Tour will play out for today's stars. Will they take the lessons shown them by Tiger Woods to heart? Given that he's back and playing well, I'm guessing most will continue to convince themselves it will never happen to them, and if it does, the doctors will just put them back together again and let them continue their career.

But what about the young players out there playing the game just for the enjoyment of it? Are they imitating their heroes, urged on by the golf marketing machine for greater and greater distance, thus shortening the number of years they will enjoy the game? It sure feels like something to watch.

Golf's format to remain unchanged in 2020 Tokyo Olympics | via Dylan Dethier for Golf.com

Despite pleas for match play, a team component, or mixed-gender pairings, the 2020 Tokyo Olympics will again feature 72 holes of stroke play competition.

Having just returned to the Olympics, it does feel a bit early to be playing with the format. I would love to see some additional events. Although, given the less than enthusiastic interest in playing Olympic golf that came from so many of the game's top professional players the last time around, it may prove difficult to expand the game's footprint.

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