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Matt Adams | Golf Channel Insider

Amy Lawrence Show / Amy Lawrence
The Truth Network Radio
May 17, 2024 6:02 am

Matt Adams | Golf Channel Insider

Amy Lawrence Show / Amy Lawrence

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May 17, 2024 6:02 am

Golf Channel insider Matt Adams joins the show live from Valhalla Golf Course in Georgia to preview Round 2 of the PGA Championship.

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Price and coverage match limited by state law. We're pleased to welcome our friend, longtime Golf Insider, Matt Adams from Golf Channel and Fairways of Life with us here after hours on it's now Infinity Sports Network, Matt. So I don't know if you caught that change. Doesn't really mean anything else. Just a new name. Would you be as nonchalant if you fired a 62 in a major? What's going on, Amy? I think you have to take a look at it relative to the field because the golf course is so receptive, because the golf course is so wet and the prospects are for more of that.

I'm sure we'll be talking about it here in the next few minutes today. So the players are firing at the pins. So his natural disposition is not to be exuberant. He is upon victory, whether we're talking about his Olympic gold medal, whether we're talking about at Ryder Cups, no rare, whether we're talking about President's Cup, et cetera, it's common that you'll see Zander Shockley with the big cigar and, you know, in just enjoying the moment. But in the midst of the moment, I can see Zander Shockley doing exactly what he's doing, where everyone is saying, you know what, it's just round one. He shot a 62 today, to be honest with you, Amy, with the conditions. I think somebody could go out and shoot in the low 60s again today, maybe even better because of the way the conditions are before them.

And it's not just because of the rain. There's other factors to it as well. So I can see why he's playing it cautious as he should after a round 162, because this event just started.

It's nowhere near its conclusion. And whether he'll be atop the leaderboard, even though right now he is enjoying, he's tied the largest margin after the first round of the PGA Championship all time with three-stroke lead, it's very, very likely to be challenged by many because of what they're facing from a golf course offering. What other factors leading to that, Matt? Well, part of it is they change the grass. So you have this Zoisigrass instead of the bench. And Zoisigrass tends to, some golfers will say it's almost as if the ball is up on a tee. So it's easier to put spin on the ball around the green. So not only do you have soft greens that the cliche is that they're firing darts at, and they are, but if you miss the greens, and I'm talking about a relative miss, not a massive miss when you're in the rough, even though some players say, yeah, the ball seemed to kick up in the rough, that's it or miss. But if you're close enough to the greens that it's sitting up on that Zoisigrass and you're getting more spin on it, and then the fairways, it's also sitting up for the players.

The players love Zoisigrass. So that in combination with the soft conditions, where Zoisig gets tough, and this will happen, watch it come the end of the weekend on Sunday in particular, and I think they're going to be playing more than 18 holes on Sunday, is when it finally starts to dry out. And again, this is all relative because I don't think the golf course is going to get dry for the whole week, but when it's more dry, starts to dry out, then that Zoisigrass tends to just grab the ball and you don't get the release that you get. But on a soft golf course where there's a lot of rain, it doesn't matter what kind of grass it is, everyone's going to get the same amount of release. It's basically going to stop in the region in which it hits.

So what does that do? They're all long, right? It's a huge golf course. It's a massive plot of land. This golf course can play in excess of 7,600 yards, but they've all got length to them. So when it gets wet, it expands the effective width of the fairway because it's not hitting the fairway and running through in the rough in stopping. They're going to have longer clubs into the greens than they traditionally would have. Sometimes, you know, a five or four irons or what have you, hybrids into these greens is a par three that's in excess of 250 yards.

Yeah, but these again, the best players in the world. So whatever they're hitting, they're hitting through green that's also catching it like a like a mitt. So there's a lot of reasons that go into it.

The weather, the primary reason, but it all adds up to the fact that the golf course is there for the taking. I hope I am not the only person listening to you that had never heard the term Zoysa grass before. I actually googled it.

In case people are wondering, it's spelled Z-O-Y-S-I-A. Matt Adams is with us as we head toward round two of the second major of the year, Valhalla. It's a golf course they're familiar with for the PGA championship.

I want to play this Max Homa soundbite for you. I'm sure you've heard it, but just for other people who haven't, about the state of golf right now and the fact that still we're seeing major declines in viewership for golf tournaments. I think if you spend a lot of time on the internet it does feel like golf's crumbling, professional golf. It's tough to decipher because when we're on the grounds of events it's amazing. Last week at Quill Hollow was awesome. Felt no different. Bay Hill felt no different.

The players felt no different. So it's odd. It doesn't feel like it's dying, yet you hear a lot of very valid complaints on the internet. So I think it's been, it's very troubling. I don't like where it's going. It's got to be exhausting to be a casual golf fan at this point in time. I don't know why you would want to hear about the business side of this game.

As a fan of other sports I do not care about the business side of what the Lakers and Dodgers are doing. What's your reaction to Max's comments, especially the use of the word crumbling? Well I don't think his, I don't have a problem with using the word crumbling because he's dealing with perceptions. He's talking about the eye roll when people say, hey has the PGA tour done a deal with that other tour live?

And the guy sitting across the table or woman go, who cares? What are you talking about? Where Max is incorrect though is the fact that there's a perception of negativity that comes from social media. Not that social media is anything but a pool of negativity.

We all know that, you know the armchair warriors. But the reality is you can't judge any sporting event or any major event just by gate traffic. Gate traffic, even if you're talking about this week where you're talking about hundreds of thousands pales by comparison to who and what you're going to get when it comes to mass media. Shows like yours, the television of rights holders, the broad, that is where the real people speak, right? And the real people are speaking on week to week on the PGA tour, ratings are down by average of 20 plus percent.

So what that's saying is that the people are going, you know what? The fields are diluted because you have stars that have been cherry picked away to one tour. And then you've got also on the PGA tour events that are signature events which have been elevated to bigger, more important events than the other event. But then you have the other event that people go, well you tell me again why you want me vested in this event when you said it's not as important as that event within your same season, within your regular season. Do that in any other sport, Andy. Do that in the NBA. Do that in Major League Baseball. Do that in NHL hockey.

Have a tournament, have a game on Tuesday and then say, well this game is important but it's not as important as the game on Thursday. Okay, you're telling me where to invest my passion and where I should be paying attention because what stars are left in the PGA tour are playing guaranteed in those bigger events. Now having said all that, there is still one player that, as they say, moved the needle. That's what they've said about Tiger Woods forever. But when he won at Charlotte, Rory McIlroy had ratings that were up 34 percent over the prior years. So yes, golf fans are turning away for a variety of reasons.

The chief reasons being that the stars have been diluted from the event. However, when there is that one star that they're vested in, that they're interested in, and they are with Rory McIlroy, they still come back and they came back in droves. So I thought that that was actually a very helpful and hopeful thing from the standpoint of the game of golf.

But I think it comes down to those reasons not based upon people reacting group negativity from social media. Gotcha. Is Rory the only one who can do that? By the way, he's four shots back going into round two, but is he the only one that can get that reaction now minus Tiger since we know he's not golfing on a regular basis?

He's the only one that we've seen so far. You've got a lot of stars on Liv, but Liv, and I think Liv will probably be trying to get a television contract that works better for them moving down the road. But for whatever reason, and part of it is also admittedly because of their international schedule, they are not attracting the ratings. And I think it's because people try it, they look at it, they go, they don't understand that there hasn't been enough time, it's going to take some time. So that turns the focus to the PGA Tour. There are players on the PGA Tour that I think can capture the imagination. I think the PGA Tour is investing all of their time and honestly money in the established players, the players that, you know, whether we're talking about Justin Thomas or whether we're talking about Ricky Fowler or yes, or Rory McIlwain, they're saying, oh, they're the stars. We know what we're getting.

We're going to invest our time there. I think they're missing out on an opportunity. I think that if people got to know players like, say, Jake Dapp, you may not even recognize that name, but if they got to know players like that even better, then they'd start to best have an interest in the second generation of PGA Tour players. But right now what we're seeing from the sport, and I guess this in a sense you can almost understand this because of all the things that are swirling around it, is that the sport is being very reactionary. The decisions that are being made in the game right now to me kind of speak of fear in as much as they speak of real strategy.

Matt, before I let you go, it's we're starting to hear from players. We know one guy on the PGA board resigned over it. Seems like the merger is kind of DOA at this point. Do you actually believe it's going to go through? I do eventually believe that it's going to go through. I think it's going to hit a rocky patch along the way, but this is professional sport, and I believe that the thing that trumps emotions and agendas and squabbles within the board, etc., is money. And the person and entity that they're negotiating with in the Public Investment Fund of Saudi Arabia has more of that to dole out than anybody on the other side of the table.

So I do believe that eventually they're going to get a deal done, and they're going to get a deal done because the economics, the money, is going to trump everything else. Just out of curiosity, are fans still showing up in the same numbers at events? Is it just the TV viewership that's down, not the fans actually showing up to watch the tournaments? They're showing up in the numbers that they've always shown up, and the reason being is that when you have someone show up at an event, like any event, any sporting event, you have a core participant there. That's a person that bought their tickets well in advance because they live in the area, or they love a particular player there that's going to be there. Whatever the motivation is, they're going to be there. Those people are there. When you have television, which means somebody in Des Moines is watching an event that's taking the place in, say, New Jersey, that's a fan, casual fan, could be a core golf fan, but not enough so to show up in person.

That's the person that's making the decision that on that day they'd rather do something else. Gotcha. All right, lots of drama, some good, some bad, but golf has got to find its way through here. So find Matt Adams on Twitter at Matt Adams FOL.

So that's Fairways of Life. He's got his radio show every morning, 8 a.m. Eastern. 8 a.m. Eastern, yeah, radio and TV now, but looking forward to getting ready.

All right, and also Golf Channel. Thank you so much for a couple of minutes, especially this early, Matt. We appreciate it.

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Whisper: medium.en / 2024-05-17 07:48:12 / 2024-05-17 07:55:00 / 7

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