The Shag Bag
The Shag Bag is a weekly compilation of amusing stories and anecdotes from the wacky world of golf.
Calm Down, Acushnet
Let’s start The Shag Bag with the least surprising news of the week. On Wednesday, Acushnet’s President and CEO, David Maher, published an essay on the Titleist website that disputed the conclusions drawn in the USGA and RGA’s recent Distance Insights Report—specifically, that pros are hitting balls too far off the tee and that modern equipment needs to be adjusted to curtail distance for the benefit of the sport. The 686-word statement, entitled, “A Perspective on the Distance Insights Report”, (which can be read HERE) claimed that the scope of the governing bodies’ report focused too narrowly on the men’s side of the sport and that its findings undervalued the skill and athleticism of tour pros. What Maher neglected to mention, however, is that Titleist’s most effective marketing strategy for its flagship product, the ProV1, are commercials depicting how many tour players use it compared to other balls. That strategy would obviously be rendered moot if pros and amateurs were to play different balls in the future as a result of bifurcation. To be fair, Maher did raise one good point in his essay. The distances amateurs are getting out of modern drivers and balls are extending the playing years of older golfers and attracting more younger players to the game than ever before . . . which is EXACTLY why equipment should be bifurcated at the pro level! Bifurcation would solve both problems and gives Titleist two more balls to sell to its demographic of delusional weekend warriors out there who will feel compelled to play what the pros play and then remind you of it relentlessly during and after your rounds. I can already see it: “No wonder you scored so well today. You’re using those extra-distance PROV1s. Not me. I play PRO-PROV1s; it’s what the pros use.”
Pete Brings the Heat
One day after The Round Table (HERE) discussed which golf podcasts and personalities were worth following, Peter Kostis reminded us why he might be the best of the lot with scalding takes and choice words during his guest appearance on the No Laying Up podcast. Kostis began by calling out the way CBS now kowtows to the PGA Tour, suggesting that his abrupt departure last year after three decades with the network was a directive from the pro circuit. “I honestly think that it was the tour that told CBS to get younger,” Kostis said. “I think the tour had an issue with me not being a cheerleader.” He then explained why he was replaced as CBS’s post-round interviewer. Kostis claimed that it was because of a post-round interview he did with a first-time winner a few years ago, in which he had asked the player if he was excited to play in the Masters. The innocent question elicited a call from the PGA Tour commissioner, who allegedly rebuked him for not mentioning the 500 FedEx Cup points the player had earned in addition to instructing Kostis not to mention majors going forward. Kostis claims he ignored the commissioner’s request and was replaced shortly thereafter. “No one in management of a network or at the leadership of the PGA Tour gives a rat’s ass about the quality of the telecast,” Kostis said. “They’re interested in the marketing of the product.” As if he hadn’t already thrown down the gauntlet, Kostis then shifted his attention to Patrick Reed, claiming, among a few other juicy tidbits, that he has personally seen the 2018 Masters champion improve his lies on four separate occasions! Whether Kostis’s words fueled Reed to his 8th career PGA Tour title on Sunday is a subject for another day. The entire podcast HERE is a must listen!
Bounce of the Week
Sungjae Im got one of the luckiest bounces we’ve ever seen in the second round of last week’s WGC Mexico Championship. Im hit his tee shot woefully short on the 7th hole – a 223-yard par 3 – and it seemed certain that the 21-year-old’s ball was destined for the bottom of the water hazard in front of the green. But upon making impact with the water, Im’s ball struck something solid and miraculously bounced up onto the putting surface, leaving him with a 23-foot look at a birdie that he failed to convert.
— PGA TOUR (@PGATOUR) February 21, 2020
Trick Shot of the Week
No. Fucking. Way.
Swing of the Week
Looks like a bit of a pull. God, I miss golf . . .
Video of the Week
What some people who pony up the US $600 to play Pebble Beach often fail to mention:
Shot of the Week
Viktor Hovland became the first Norwegian to ever win on the PGA Tour thanks to this clutch putt from 35-feet on the final hole at the Puerto Rico Open on Sunday.
One putt to win.
Shots of the week: 📺👇 pic.twitter.com/D7d8tkxYPZ
— PGA TOUR (@PGATOUR) February 24, 2020
Hovland’s putt to clinch the tournament wouldn’t have been nearly as long if his chipping hadn’t let him down over the final stretch of the tournament. But as the 22-year-old hilariously revealed after the event, his lousy chipping has long been his Achilles heel. You’ve got to love the young man’s honesty!
— GOLF.com (@GOLF_com) February 23, 2020