A lot of really good questions this week. I had trouble narrowing it down to these few.
@NoLayingUp It's no secret that major golf publications are putting out terrible articles every day, but what else can they do?
— Piso Mojado (@MuthioraESPN) November 9, 2015
The main problem is that there are so many people out there writing, yet not enough interesting topics to cover. Golf is not a team sport, so there is no team aspect to report on, no armchair manager/coach/general manager roles to play, trade possibilities, free agency, divisional races, or (real) playoffs, etc. It’s just a bunch of guys playing golf, and only a handful of them are actually interesting characters. It becomes difficult to stick out, so most, if not all, websites tend to resort to the same formula:
- Aggregating content from other sites
It’s not the write or publication’s fault that golf fans will fall down the rabbit hole every single time one of these links is shared. It’s a formula that works, and it pays the bills. We know Tiger gets clicks, and slideshows and aggregation are not unique to golf. But try this exercise. Think of a married PGA Tour player. Can be any married player. Go to Google, and type their name in (you chose William McGirt didn’t you). I’ll bet you that that player’s name followed by “wife” is one of the top five searches. It’s the same reason why Paige Spiranac has 400,000 Instagram followers, and there are more pictures of LPGA players in bikinis on golf.com than there are actual articles on them. Golf fans are apparently made up almost entirely of horny men that are unaware that porn exists. Either that, or that they mix their golf fetish with their actual fetishes. Seriously, go read the comments on Paige Spiranac or Natalie Gulbis’ Instagram posts. It’s creepy out there.
This is why the WAG posts show up at least monthly on all major sites. These terrible posts get clicks, which is why these sites all end up looking the same. And guess what, if my paycheck was dependent on page views and clicks, this site would probably have a lot more posts that would ensure that my lights stay on. Of the 250 published posts on this website, I’d say we are guilty of four sexually driven, attention grabbing posts, three of which I posted because I just thought they were funny (the Ashley Bongiovanni story, the follow up, and the Tiger Instagram story). And the one that I’m most guilty on is this one (I’m embarrassed to even link to it), which is one of the first posts we ever made, so I’ll use the excuse that we were still figuring out what we are at that point (and still are). But guess what…. those are some of the most viewed posts we’ve ever made. I pounded out the original Bongiovanni story in 40 minutes while waiting on a delayed flight, and spent hours and hours on a PGA Championship preview that week that got out-viewed about 20 to 1. It’s sad that this is the kind of stuff that gets rewarded. As I’ve touched on in the past, we do this site purely for hobby. We don’t have ads, and if we did, we’d care a lot more about traffic. Which is a slippery slope.
All of this isn’t to say that all other work out there is shit, and we are the best, and the only ones coming up with good material. There are plenty of writers out there that I respect and read on a regular basis that are capable of way better material than I can come up with. There’s just so much crap out there that’s easy low hanging fruit to make fun of, and frankly, it deserves the criticism.
@NoLayingUp did your podcast recording equipment break?
— Eric Tomko (@erictomko) November 9, 2015
Fair call out. Hey, it’s the “offseason.” I actually “recorded” a podcast with Shane Bacon a few weeks ago, only to find out my recording equipment actually was broken. It was an hour of, what I thought was, excellent discussion that was not recorded, and I was pretty deflated about that. So my motivation to do more of these is diminished.
I’d be doing podcasts more regularly if there was enough going on that was worth discussing, or if the golf that’s actually going on wasn’t going on in the middle of the night here in Amsterdam. I got up to watch JT get his W, but unfortunately, Russell Knox doesn’t get the same treatment (more on this below). Podcasts are harder to do than they look, and my time zone difference limits the time of day to record them, and get guests on. Hell, I’ve texted/emailed with Adam Sarson pretty much every day for the past two years, and only been able to get him on the podcast one time. I will try to get at least one more out this fall.
That being said, I’m in on the fall series. I could probably go without two tournaments in the same week in November, but I like this little mini season as a “viewing optional” approach. If the leaderboard is interesting, I’m gonna tune in. If it’s not, I’m out. I understand the players being fatigued, and feeling obligated to play so they don’t fall too far out of the FedExCup race. I understand writers tired of travelling, and wanting to spend some true down time just chillin. So I’ll allow their complaints, from that perspective. But what I can’t stand for is the complaining from a fan’s standpoint. No one is making you watch, or even pay attention. It is strictly optional, and as it turns out, this fall series has been very entertaining for those of us that have been licking our lips in anticipation of the uprising of young players on tour. Yet at the same time, I don’t feel even the slightest bit “obligated” to tune into the Sanderson Farms Championship like I do a normal, regular season event.
@NoLayingUp who is joining the No Laying up will get up at 4am to watch them play list this year? who is on the list?
— Shosh Agus-Kleinman (@ShoshEAK) November 9, 2015
It’s not a long list. JT, Koepka, and Kyle Stanley (the original man crush, before NLU existed) are at the top. Mostly it’s going to be made up of guys that I’m fans of that I’m waiting on to make their breakthrough. Horschel passed through this spectrum in 2014 by winning the FedExCup. Spieth blasted his way through in historic fashion. Guys like JT and Koepka are well on their way. Now it’s time to turn to a new crop of young guys, led by currently Patrick Rodgers and Ollie Schniederjans.
Rodgers earned his card the same way Spieth and Koepka did, by obtaining special temporary membership through sponsor’s exemptions, and earning more (non-member) FedExCup points than number 150 on the prior year’s list. And get this…. He’s good buddies with Justin Thomas! Roommates even! So we get to look forward to this narrative when he busts out and wins (probably going to be this week in Mexico).
Schniederjans was devastatingly close to playing his way into the Web.com Tour finals last season, but unfortunately will have to go the Rodgers route this season. He’ll need to earn 361 FedExCup points in just seven starts, and has already made three (earning just 64 points). He’s going to need a big week at the McGladrey to end the 2015 portion of the season, and I’ll be pulling hard for him to bust through.
@NoLayingUp – if Ted Scott wrote a book, would you buy it?
— Mickey Corso (@mickeycorso) November 9, 2015
Strictly to see if #PrayForTedScott was mentioned.
Ok, I’m not fooling anyone. Are you kidding me? I would read that thing cover to cover. For the sake of this question, let’s hope that Teddy is desperate to sell some books, and willing to pretty much sell Bubba out. The first-hand account of the ridiculous things Bubba has done and said would give me enough material to stock up my draft tweet game until Y3K. This book would need to be translated into a hundred different languages and taught in schools like the Diary of Anne Frank.
The disappointing thing is that Ted seems to buy into the Bubba propaganda circa Nazi Germany 1933. Which leads me to the next question….
@NoLayingUp If you had a gun with 2 bullets and were in a room with Hitler, Bin Laden, and Zach Johnson, would you shoot Zach twice?
— Jake Borton (@jsb1872) November 9, 2015
My God! I’ve never been teed up better to channel my inner @PFTcommenter. I mean, the question was asked, so I have to do this, right? I can’t belivve you’re making me do this Jake. (For those not familiar with PFT’s fire takes, the following in italics is an attempt at satire. I hate that I have to explain that, but I do. I already ruined it by explaining this, didn’t I?)
At first I thought this question was ridiculous before I started to connect the dots.
Zach Johnson joined the PGA Tour in 2004, then occupied the lush and mountainous terrain of Eastern Georgia in his third year by winning the 2007 Masters. Know who else occupied lush and mountainous territory in his third year? That’s right. Adolf Hitler and the Wehrmacht occupied the demilitarized Rhineland in 1936 after he took over as chancellor in 1933. Can’t make this stuff up folks. In 1939, Hitler signed a non-aggression pact with the Soviet Union. The day ZJ picked up a golf club, he signed a non-aggression pact with every golf course on the planet. The similarities do not Ge-stop-o there.
ZJ comes from Iowa. Guess what the largest ancestry group in Iowa is? That’s right, German. Don’t tell me you did nazi that coming.
ZJ grew up Catholic. Hitler grew up Roman Catholic. Makes you think.
ZJ is sponsored by Transamerica. Hitler sunk naval transportation from America. Shall I keep going?
ZJ dropped a bomb on the 18th green at St. Andrews to win the British Open. Hitler dropped bombs on Britain on the reg.
ZJ is famous for this shot from a bunker. Hitler is famous for another type of shot in a bunker.
I think my “hate” for ZJ has been over exaggerated (maybe jokingly comparing him to Hitler doesn’t help). There’s nothing wrong with ZJ himself, I just don’t gravitate towards guys with his style of play. He doesn’t even come close to the disgust that “personalities” like Poulter and Bubba evoke within me. He just lays up. And he happened to win the greatest tournament in the world by famously laying up, thus he became the poster boy for antithesis of what we’re about. He’s a guy I wouldn’t mind getting a beer with. Agree to disagree and move in.
@NoLayingUp most intoxicated you've ever been on the course?
— Jake Nast (@JakeNast) November 9, 2015
I’m not going to voluntarily incriminate myself! So I’ll start with the most intoxicated group I’ve ever been in.
Last April, I took a trip to the Tampa area for a bachelor party with some buddies to play a bunch of courses in the area. We started by playing the Red and Blue courses at Streamsong, then played 36 more at another course the following day. We drank for the first 18 holes, and agreed that we would draw straws for who had to stop drinking, and be responsible for driving us home at the end of the rounds. The first thing you need to know is that I will lose one of these blind draws every single time. I have played credit card roulette twice in my life, both on the same night, for a round of drinks with 15 people, and I lost both times. We drew straws for priority at St. Andrews earlier this year, and I got last both times. So of course, I lose, and I’m now the DD.
What proceeded to occur over the next 18 holes was unlike anything I had ever seen on a golf course before. I had played tons of golf with these guys (all 7 handicaps or better). They were literally whiffing shots. Cheesy lines at the cart girl. One guy passed out on one of the tee boxes (picture below). On every hole, they would try to gather themselves and say something along the lines of:
“Guys, guys…. Let’s calm it down…. Soly has to be sober….”
“This can’t be fun for you, is it…. I’m so sorry.”
They would forget this by the time we would reach the fairway, and would be yelling in my backswing before we got off that tee box. Somehow I started playing the round of my life, even though they had absolutely no idea. I would back off a putt because they were slurring something, they would try to collect themselves, and then I would make it.
“Soly are you playing well?”
“Well, I’m two under on this side.”
“HOLY SHIT! GUYS SOLY IS TWO UNDER ON THIS SIDE!”
Next hole, I’m putting for birdie. It goes in.
“Soly was that par?”
“No, it was birdie.”
“Are you playing well?”
“I’m three under on this side.”
“YOU’RE THREE UNDER!?”
Another birdie. Same exact thing.
They literally did not remember conversations from fifteen minutes prior. I went on to shoot my lowest 9 ever at the time, a 4-under 32, and not one of them has a single memory of the whole thing. When I told them about it the next day, they were genuinely in shock that they missed my best 9 ever, despite the fact that they were there the whole time.
@NoLayingUp play the Old Course every day for a year or play Augusta once?
— Dalton Johnson (@SmoochJohnson) November 9, 2015
It pains me to say this. I could not have had a much better experience at the Old Course…. but I’m going Augusta.
I looked at this way. If I accept the Old Course part of this question, then inherently I am turning down an opportunity to play at Augusta National. I wouldn’t be able to live with myself.
The question you ask is a good inherent question that could be applied on a more general level, and the answer will depend on a person by person basis. How much do you value playing a new course that’s on your bucket list? For me, that answer is a lot. Once I’ve played a top course, in my head, I’m mentally ready for a new challenge, and a new course that I’ve not already experienced. For instance, I’ve played TPC Sawgrass. If I had the chance to play there again, or play a course that was “ranked” much lower on the Top 100 lists, I would often pick the new course. And for Augusta, I would bypass pretty much every other course in the world.
@NoLayingUp Build your perfect burger. Big proponent of pineapple on there.
— Doug Maccaferri (@bigmac1441) November 9, 2015
This is the question I’m actually the most afraid to answer. There’s just too much of a chance to be judged here. For instance… pineapple? You’re a monster.
To qualify this…. I’m a picky eater. I order it medium. Bacon. American cheese. Avocado. Fried egg. Garlic aioli. Pretzel bun. (*jumps into a trench for cover*)
Side note – if anyone ever has the chance to go Au Cheval in Chicago, it exceeds the hype. No reservations, two hour wait on a Wednesday, and it’s still absolutely worth it. Best burger I’ve ever had. I’m very anti-taking-a-picture-of-your-food, but made an exception:
@NoLayingUp Loved your Scotland trip pod and write up. So, what courses will comprise your next group pilgrimage?
— Kevin Sill (@LabRat79) November 9, 2015
In the midst of planning this now, and willing to take recommendations if you’ve got them. We’re talking about Ireland as a more affordable option compared to Scotland and the dreaded British Pound exchange rate.
The St. Andrews trip was was amazing because there is so much great golf there within a 45 minute drive that you can stay in one place the whole trip. I feel like for the other top courses in Scotland, we would be driving more, thus having to change accommodations, etc. Does anyone have an itinerary they followed, or advice on this?
The same kind of goes for Ireland, but I know even less about the courses there. Who has had good Ireland golf trips? Please leave your insight in the comments.
@NoLayingUp After playing old course, most potentially problematic single shot other than the road hole?
— Tucker Blankinship (@TuckerBlanc) November 10, 2015
The tee shot on the par-3 11th hole. The caddies call this hole the “hardest par-5 on the course.” There is no where to miss. If you hit it in the Strath Bunker in front of the green, you’re dead. If you go long, you’re dead. The green is heavily undulated, and it’s at the most wide open part of the whole course, so the wind howls. I played it in three over in my two rounds, and left part of my soul behind in that Strath Bunker.
@NoLayingUp What's better; a) doing a winter golf trip w/the guys, b) spend that money on lessons at an indoor facility. 11-handicap.
— Colton Davis (@Colton45) November 9, 2015
This is an easy one for me. Take the golf trip. It gives you something to look forward to in the winter, and the memories that come out of that trip will be stronger than the lessons learned on mats at an indoor facility. Sure, you want to become as good as possible at golf, but as my opportunities to play golf dwindle more and more every year, I find myself focusing more on having fun the few times that I do get to play, rather than fretting about improvement or scores. I can’t think of one golf trip I’ve ever taken where I’ve sat back afterward and thought, “you know what, that money would have been better spent on lessons.”