Watching Golf this Week: Zurich Classic of New Orleans

Got to hand it to the folks who run the Zurich Classic of New Orleans — if your event doesn’t have Tiger, what better way to get attention than to invite the Masters sensation, 14-year-old Guan Tianlang? Let’s hope there are no slow-play penalties this week.

Other possible stories to emerge from the Bayou: What has happened to Jason Dufner, last year’s victor in this tourney, who seemed poised for a breakout year but then sorta just… laid back? And is Bubba Watson finally ready to play golf again, now that his career as most recent Masters champion is over? Answer for both of them: Maybe not. But even so, they’re still entertaining. In their own way.

No @Live video this week (wait until the Players for that) but Comcast customers can still get simulcasts online.


(all times Eastern)

Friday, April 26 — Golf Channel, 3 p.m. — 6 p.m.
Saturday, April 27 — Golf Channel, 1 p.m. — 2:30 p.m.; CBS, 3 p.m. — 6 p.m.
Sunday, April 28 — Golf Channel, 1 p.m. — 2:30 p.m.; CBS, 3 p.m. — 6 p.m.


Thursday and Friday, Golf Channel TV simulcast coverage via and; Saturday and Sunday, CBS coverage via the PGA site and from Right now only Comcast cable subscribers can watch live online video on weekdays. NOTE: If you are using the PGA Mobile app to watch the Golf Channel online video, be advised that it only works with iOS phones and with some (not all) Android phones. There is no fix planned for the immediate future.

Don’t forget the PGA’s Shot Tracker, a great way to track the action online.

SIRIUS XM (Satellite) 12 p.m. to 6 p.m., Friday, Saturday and Sunday. The live broadcasts are also available to subscribers on the SiriusXM Internet Radio App and online at

Here is the Zurich Classic Facebook page.

Zurich Classic Twitter feed.
Geoff Shackelford — well known golf writer. If you’re not following Geoff you are missing the online boat.
Golf Channel — official Golf Channel feed
@PGATOUR — official PGA Twitter feed
@StephanieWei — great golf writer who is a Twitter fiend.
Doug Ferguson is the lead golf writer for AP. Good Twitter insights that often aren’t part of your wire-service lead.

Take a good look at the TPC Louisiana.

Jason Dufner.

Bubba Watson Takes His Driver to the Cake — And a Pepper, and a Pineapple…

Pro golfer Bubba Watson channels his inner Gallagher on the Tonight Show. Enjoy.

Early Sunday Start for PGA Championship on TNT, also Online; Players Turn to Twitter to Amuse Themselves

With the rain interrupting Saturday’s third round of the PGA Championship things will get a much earlier start than planned Sunday, with golfers finishing up the third round starting at 7:45 a.m. Eastern Time. According to the PGA’s Twitter stream, the broadcast coverage on TNT will start at 8 a.m. Eastern, and the online stream (which will follow Tiger Woods and Vijay Singh as the “featured” group) will start airing at 7:40 a.m. Just like the British Open, early weekend golf! CBS should still come on at 2 p.m. Eastern, weather permitting. Let’s see if they can finish before dark.

I have to say I’ve been impressed by the PGA’s online efforts so far. Though it still doesn’t match the Masters when it comes to online screen choices (there is only one “marquee group” on at any time, plus coverage of the par 3 holes plus the ability to see the CBS broadcast when CBS is live), I do like the timeline below the viewing screen that lets you go back to watch highlights. And I will call the Social Caddy page a success — I was getting set to rip it this morning because it looked like the PGA was keeping out any negative commenters, but by Saturday afternoon I saw more than a few tweets about how pathetically bad the shuttle system was to get fans and media in and out of Kiawah.

Apparently there is only one road out to the island, leading to all kinds of traffic jams and a cavalcade of woe-is-us tweets from the golfing media, who have to endure the horrors of hours-long shuttle rides to and from the course. While it’s doubtful that anyone feels at all sorry for golf writers it has made for some entertaining reading. And it’s cool that the PGA isn’t trying to stop or police it on the Social Caddy site. Here’s USA Today writer Steve DiMeglio with a good line:

Of course one of the funniest PGA-related Twitter exchanges was taking place between Bubba Watson, Rickie Fowler and Jason Dufner. If you’ve been following this trio you know that they love to just play around by ripping each other… relax folks it’s all a joke. Gotta love Bubba posting what looks like an old photo of Dufner:

Nothing like a little downtime and a good Internet connection.

Do Pro Golfers Tweet from Their Planes?

Do pro golfers tweet from their private planes? Apparently so. Not sure if they are using a Wi-Fi service in their charter, or if they are just doing the in-flight cellular thing. But they are tweeting from the air. Check out this picture from Tweeter Bubba Watson, of Rickie Fowler and Aaron Baddeley apparently tweeting while in flight:

Which Rickie apparently confirms, saying Bubba stops tweeting when they hit a few inflight bumps:

Since cell phone usage from planes can really mess with the towers on the ground… let’s hope the lads are using a Wi-Fi service from the plane.

Watching Golf this Week: Travelers Championship

If you are burnt out on golf right now, we understand. A week at Olympic, as either fan or player, will take it out of you.

But this is the PGA Tour! There is no rest! Play continues on this week with the Travelers Championship in Connecticut. The good news is, the PGA Tour’s Live@ online video coverage is back, so you can enjoy tournament play from the comfort of your computer or mobile device. And you will get your first chance to watch Webb Simpson, U.S. Open champion, compete with that big silver trophy in his bag.

Well, maybe he won’t be carrying it around. At the very least he should be bird-man free, though birdies will probably be more prevalent this week at the TPC River Highlands than at last week’s bogey-fest. No Tiger or Phil in the field, but Masters champ Bubba Watson will apparently take a break from life as a dad to grace the course (hopefully for more than two days) as part of a pretty good field, you can see the list of names here. On to Connecticut!

Here’s where to follow the action:


(all times Eastern)
Thursday, June 21 — Golf Channel, 3 p.m. — 6 p.m.
Friday, June 22 — Golf Channel, 3 p.m. — 6 p.m.
Saturday, June 23 — CBS, 3 p.m. — 6 p.m.
Sunday, June 24 — CBS, 3 p.m. — 6 p.m.

SIRIUS XM (Satellite)
12 p.m. — 6 p.m., Thursday-Sunday

Since the Live@ camera crew wasn’t at the U.S. Open they had plenty of time to set up in Connecticut… so, check out the expanded Live@ schedule:
Thursday, June 21 — 8 a.m. — 7 p.m.
Friday, June 22 — 8 a.m. — 7 p.m.
Saturday, June 23 — 11 a.m. — 6 p.m.
Sunday, June 24 — 11 a.m. — 6 p.m.

If all you want is shots and distances (which can be addicting) get your fix via Shot Tracker, which also returns for the Travelers.

The Travelers has Boomer Berman today on its Facebook page. That’s what you get for having a pro-am near the kingdom of Bristol. Or at least close enough to drive there.

TravelersChamp is the official Twitter feed from the tourney.
Geoff Shackelford — well known golf writer. Not sure if he is at the Travelers but follow him anyway.
Golf Channel — official Golf Channel feed
@PGATOUR — official PGA Twitter feed
@StephanieWei — great golf writer who is a Twitter fiend. She will be on course at the Travelers.

Here’s the official page of the TPC River Highlands. If anyone else knows any history, send it our way.

The painter hat guy, aka Frederick Jacobsen. Bubba won in 2010, so that’s why he’s here this week instead of changing diapers.

The tourney history is a good quick read — for the thing that was formerly known as the Greater Hartford Open. For local coverage the Hartford Courant has a good looking site including a video guide to the course. Watch out for those fold-over ads for the local casinos, though.

1. Jason Dufner, 1,849 points
2. Hunter Mahan, 1,509 points
3. Tiger Woods, 1,452
4. Zach Johnson, 1,414
5. Bubba Watson, 1,372

See the full standings for the FedEx Cup points list.

1. Luke Donald; 2. Rory McIlroy; 3. Lee Westwood; 4. Tiger Woods; 5. Webb Simpson.
See the official World Golf Ranking list.

U.S. Open Sets Records for Online, App Viewing

We don’t have any definitive viewer numbers, but according to a press release from the USGA, the recent U.S. Open golf tournament in San Francisco attracted a record number of online viewers, especially for live online video and via mobile devices. This is hardly a surprise, since online golf viewership overall has been spiking this year, with no end in sight to the growth curve.

According to the USGA, which pioneered online coverage of golf, overall viewer visits to the U.S. Open website during the week increased 79 percent from the year-before totals, while views of live streaming video increased 210 percent from 2011. Though the USGA hasn’t provided exact numbers on page views and streaming video looks, it’s a good guess that the latter number is somewhere in the one- to two-million range, since approximately a half-million to a million folks will watch online video of a regular PGA event, according to PGA Tour reps. The U.S. Open’s website features were powered technically by IBM, which also helps produce the wonderful online experience for The Masters golf tourney.

The availability of an Android version of the USGA’s U.S. Open app helped spike visits to the mobile version of the Open website — according to the USGA, mobile website views increased 375 percent in 2012, with iPhone app downloads jumping up 44 percent from the previous year. In addition to live video the U.S. Open websites also included a live leaderboard, a photo stream and a unique feature that let you look at an interactive map of the course and see which players were on which hole. The USGA was also extremely active on Twitter, with the official U.S. Open Twitter feed providing constant scoring updates and links to feature coverage.

Even though the U.S. Open live online video wasn’t very comprehensive — on Thursday and Friday the coverage followed one “marquee” group throughout its round, and on the weekend the coverage consisted of only play at two holes — it was extremely well produced, with commentators that were critically judged by many observers to be better than some of the broadcast TV talent. It’s probably a safe guess to say that next year the USGA will continue to expand live online coverage of the U.S. Open, in sync with the expanded live online views coming next season from the PGA Tour for regular events. That’s good news for golf fans, who will apparently be rewarded for finding more ways to watch.