Watching Golf this Week: The PGA Championship

Good news first: The 94th running of the PGA Championship will have a boatload of online and viewing options, and all kinds of web-enabled goodies to allow you to enjoy the year’s last major from the comfort of your desk, laptop, or iPhone or iPad. (Here’s the link to live video.) The bad news? It may not wrap up until Monday given the probability of thunderstorms likely to hit the Island Course in Kiawah, South Carolina. At least during the inevitable rain delays, you will have all kinds of diversions like the PGA’s new Social Caddy page to let you watch Twitter streams of players and caddies waiting out the rain.

A quick note on the online stuff — though we had written before that the PGA Tour and Turner Sports were parting ways, the relationship between Turner and the PGA Championship is a different beast — and as such Turner will be pulling out all the stops with TNT coverage Thursday, Friday and before CBS on the weekends, and a whole bunch of good website stuff, including lots of photos and videos.

Several things that we are going to look closely at for the live online video (which starts at 8:30 a.m. Eastern on Thursday and Friday) are the multiple camera views and featured groups that Turner says we’ll be able to follow online. We were disappointed at the U.S. Open’s somewhat limited online options, so let’s see if Turner can do better at the PGA. So far, the Masters is still far and away the online king of majors. We are heavily disappointed that the PGA app is iPhone only — c’mon folks, there are a heckuva lot of Android phones out there. Bad form to not have an Android app ready. Like in gymnastics, we’re taking a full point deduction there.

As for the actual golf… once again it really is all about Tiger, and whether or not he can get the job done at a major. Kiawah really doesn’t suit his perfectionist game — weirdo target golf — but when he is on, he really is the Usain Bolt of golf. I think it’s good to note here that had he not three-putted on that disaster bunker hole and not gone over the green on the par-3, Tiger would be your defending British Open champion. Just saying, the guy didn’t have anything near his “A” game and he still almost took the jug. He’s still the rock lock on my ESPN Fantasy team, but behind him I see… maybe Jason Dufner? An incredibly consistent year and good performances in the majors. Like last year, he could be standing near the end while others are falling.

Who else? I like Dustin Johnson’s ability but fear that Dustin is his own biggest enemy. At least there are no sand-trap rules for Johnson to worry about. Unlike the PGA two years ago where there were bunkers everywhere, there is a lot of sand at Kiawah but… according to some weird rule none of the sand is a bunker. So expect to see a lot of guys grounding their clubs, and a million calls to the PGA offices to follow. Watch the video and learn why it’s not a problem.

Finally my dark horse pick: Someone who historically plays well in South Carolina coastal courses, someone who has been surprisingly sharp at times this year… while he puts together his Ryder Cup team. That’s right, I am giving some love to the Captain, DLIII, Davis Love the Thirdly, to find another rainbow and win a second major in the gloaming of his career. I watched Love for a hole at Olympic during the Open, and his game seemed anything but old, striping a 2-iron off the tee and outhitting a younger playing partner who went 3-wood. Nice. In reality Love will probably be on the sidelines Saturday and Sunday, watching to see if Phil Mickelson can give him a reason to make him a captain’s pick for the Ryder roster. Enough Olympics already. Let’s get this war by the shore started.

Here’s where to follow the action:


(all times Eastern)
Thursday, Aug. 9 — TNT, 1 p.m. — 7 p.m.
Friday, Aug. 10 — TNT, 1 p.m. — 7 p.m.
Saturday, Aug. 11 — TNT, 11 a.m. — 2 p.m. — 7 p.m.; CBS, 2 p.m. — 7 p.m.
Sunday, Aug. 12 — TNT, 11 a.m. — 2 p.m. — 7 p.m.; CBS, 2 p.m. — 7 p.m.

SIRIUS XM (Satellite)
Coverage starts at 12 p.m. Thursday & Friday, 2 p.m. Saturday and Sunday.

As we said above, there is going to be a lot of online video, including marquee groups, par 3 coverage and press conferences. HERE IS THE LIVE VIDEO PAGE.

No Shot Tracker this week.

If it looks like the beach, it’s the PGA Facebook page for Kiawah.



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. Who won’t be going back to Akron anytime soon.
Doug Ferguson is the lead golf writer for AP. Good Twitter insights that often aren’t part of your wire-service lead.

You’re kidding, right? Like you haven’t heard of the Island Course. Or seen numerous recaps of The War by the Shore. Well here is the official page, knock yourself out.

Keegan “long putter” Bradley. Outlasting our man Duf.

1. Tiger Woods, 2,204 points
2. Zach Johnson, 2,018
3. Jason Dufner, 1,983
4. Hunter Mahan, 1,739
5. Bubba Watson, 1,712

See the full standings for the FedEx Cup points list.

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

PGA Goes Big With Social Media at Golf’s Final Major

Screen grab of the PGA's Social Caddy page. Credit: PGA

We’ll have a separate Watching Golf this Week post tomorrow with all the details as usual, but I think it’s worth taking a quick look today at how the PGA is going big with social media for the year’s last major, the PGA Championship, which starts tomorrow.

Aside from the usual flurry of tweets and posts from the tour, it appears that the PGA is leaving no social media stone unturned this week. Starting with something they are calling the Social Caddy — a catch-all portal page with a bunch of links to things like Twitter streams and Instagram photos — the tour also has people roaming around grabbing fun, pointless little Viddy videos like this near-worthless “inside” meetup with World No. 1 Luke Donald.

There’s other stuff too, like assigning a writer to capture the predictions of fans from the PGA’s Facebook page. Pretty neat. But I’m not sure where I stand on the whole Social Caddy page idea — one thing I hear from a lot of people is that they are at the social media exhaustion level, and the idea of having to monitor or join one more place to share is not very appealing. But that may just be the media/golf insider thing. It may very well be that there are a lot of golf fans who are new to things like Twitter and need a helping hand to find Twitter handles for players, golf writers and other interesting folks who might have something worthwhile to say. (It looks like a lot of self-promoters and golf advertisers have found the PGA’s “fans” column on the Social Caddy Twitter feed so I am not sure how worthwhile that stream will be going forward)

So far it also looks like most of the “social” content is being generated by types, which can be amusing (there is a Viddy clip of someone standing at the back of the driving range, challenging players to hit him) but will probably get stale soon. It would be much better if the PGA’s Instagram page, for example, had Instagram pix from the players themselves — as we’ve learned from Kevin Love and the Olympics some of that real-insider stuff can be pretty good and bring us a lot closer to the athletes than ever before.

Though golfers are notorious for being cell phone addicts — like Rickie Fowler, who tweets from his private plane — I also seem to see that most of them shut down the streams when the tournament starts. And it’s really not so hard to assemble your own golfing social caddy, by just finding and following people who are interesting in your main Twitter feed. And, I am guessing a lot of this effort is going to be lost anyway due to the atttention conflict with the last weekend of the Olympics. But when it comes to social media, clearly the PGA is trying hard.