Matt spends some time with us to discuss the fallout of big name players participating in the 2016 Olympics, the USGA’s ruling and handling of their decision at the 2016 U.S. Open and the upcoming golf yet to be played on Tour in 2016.
And of course, Matt goes on the clock and answers our “5 Questions in 50 Seconds” with some great answers.
Photo courtesy GolfChannel.com
Tom Brassell: Welcome to Golf Better at Worldwide Golf Shops, episode two hundred six. Hello everyone, Tom Brassell here, thanks so much for joining us. If you’re a first time listener, long time subscriber, somewhere in the middle, either way we’re glad you joined us. Our special guest joins us today from up in the northeast before he makes his trip overseas, back for his second appearance here on Golf Better, he is the world renowned host of the Fairways of Life show on SiriusXM radio and the Golf Channel also best selling author, Mr. Matt Adams. Matt, thank you so much for carving out the time man, great to have you with us.
Matt Adams: Pleasure to be with you Tom, thank you.
Tom Brassell: You and I spoke last time it was about the Marion Experiment right after that, and we had some other USGA experiments, but let’s talk about what’s going on right now with the Olympics. More news today, Jason Day and Shane Lowry, right?
Matt Adams: Yeah, Jason Day and Shane Lowry have both withdrawn from consideration of the Olympic games, siting in each case the threat of the Zika Virus and the fact that they have in the case of Shane Lowry he’s newly married and they want to start a family, and in the case of Jason Day they have two children and they hope to have a couple more. They both acknowledged two things I think that are important. One they acknowledged that the risk is very, very small but they don’t want to take the risk. Okay, that’s something you respect a person’s perspective on as far as that goes. There was another aspect to it that I think was telling and I think it very healthy for the game of golf and that is that both expressed … I mean Shane used the word anguish in his statement. Both expressed a great deal of difficulty in coming to this decision. They put a great deal of thought, they obviously spoke to many people before coming to a final conclusion that they would not partake in the Olympics. I think that’s good for the history, or at least for the future if you will of the game.
We know that golf is going to be in the Olympics in 2016, we know it’s going to be in least in 2020, and you’ve got the top players in the world going, “Yeah, I’m really sorry that I have to miss it for this reason.” A more general comment would be to make sure that I think we all have to be cogniscient of the fact that while the Zika virus has been quoted as the reason for not going by a number of the top players including Rory McIlroy, that’s not been the case with all the players, in some cases its been family commitments, in some cases its been scheduling, in some cases its been injury. Graeme McDowell, he never said anything about the Zika virus, he wasn’t going because his wife is due to give birth with their second child two weeks after what would be the conclusion of golf in its first entrée at the Olympic games in one hundred and twelve years. There’s a lot of different reasons going on for it, but yes that was the most recent breaking news.
Tom Brassell: Matt, what do you hear about the golf course? It seemed like just a year or so ago we were worried about the golf course, now Zika is taking over the headlines, but what do you hear about the course, is it going to be ready and in condition?
Matt Adams: Tom, it is ready and it is in condition. I spoke with Joe Hansen and I spoke with Amy Alcott the designers of the golf course as to the exact question, Tom, of is the golf course ready to host, is it ready to be a stage for a competition of this stature and they assured me that the grow in was good. The funny thing is when you talk about will a course be ready or want a course be ready what it really comes down to is what type of grass are you putting on that golf course. As you well know Bermuda grows like a weed, it’s really not a problem getting that to grow, getting that to root, and getting the root structure and then getting the grass itself to be dense and to be a good putting surface, that’s the beauty of Bermuda.
When they’re talking about the risks to the golf course there it wasn’t from grow in it was from getting mixture that they had the rights to do what they needed to in terms of the development of the land and the shaping of the land. From that stand point they got past all that. Once they got to seed you knew that golf course was going to be ready for the competition. Both architects have told me that it absolutely is.
Tom Brassell: If there is anything good about this it’s it takes the topic away from Dustin Justin, the USGA, and all that’s going on there. Is the talk finally slowed a little bit on your show and around the golf industry on how the USGA handled this thing?
Matt Adams: It has, but I think part of the reason that it has is that everybody across SiriusXM PGA Tour Radio I think all of the hots just got tired of talking about it to tell you the truth. I think if we kind of stoked those fires again I think we would get as many calls as we wanted to. There was a great deal of anger from people in the wake of the US Open victory of Dustin Johnson and the rule snafu that took place there. There are still a lot of people that want to punish the USGA and they’re making all kinds of different claims as to what they’re going to do, not renewing their USGA membership or what have you. I think a lot of it is just emotion in the flash of the event.
The clear issue here is that the USGA made a ruling, I happen to believe like many do that the ruling was wrong, but okay that’s just my opinion against their opinion. Their condition to this day is that they made the correct ruling as to whether Dustin did or not cause that ball to move. However, what the USGA has done is they have come out and beat themselves on their back with the reads by saying they got the whole process completely wrong, so for that standpoint I hear that and I go, okay, you’ve admitted that it dead wrong, you’ve admitted that’s it’s something that you have to take a look at, you’ve admitted that there’s a problem with the rule itself, it needs to be reviewed as well in terms of other causes that the player could have caused the ball to move, instead of just whether he did or did not have his putter grounded behind the ball, which he didn’t. From that standpoint I’m giving the USGA a bye necessarilly but I’m saying, okay, they’ve admitted that they’ve made a major error in terms of how they processed this whole thing, and they’ve admitted that it’s something that they have to look at.
I think the bigger story here that is absolutely getting overshadowed in this discussion is the fact that Dustin Johnson closed. Here’s a guy that had already established a record in his career for not closing in the white hot spotlight of major championships. We can quote the bible and verse of where he had his failings and here he was in this crucible of pressure, both because of the ruling and because it was the final round of the US Open and a US Open that was setup probably as difficult as any course that we have seen in recent memory, and yet he was able to close the deal through all of that. I think it’s a reflection of where Dustin Johnson is with his game, where he is with confidence, and more so where he is with hat fairway, that six inch one between his ears. Given the fact that we have two majors left in this season, Tom, they’re both taking place in days from now, the month of July, it could do something historic in the next four and a half weeks.
Tom Brassell: Yeah, we had Dustin on our show last year right after Doral and he said that the tee shot he he hit on eighteen in the blue monster to win there was probably the most clutch shot he’s hit in his life under pressure. Forwarding a little bit to last year at Chambers Bay, those two shots he hit on eighteen and then the two shots he hit this year, just amazing.
Matt Adams: They are. I think in a lot of ways that putting reveals insecurities, it’s a window into a players soul. When you look at what happened with last year, he consistently hits great drives on eighteen and he did it again this year, a brilliant drive on eighteen, a brilliant six iron on eighteen, set himself up with a birdie putt that was a relatively short birdie putt that he was able to convert. From that standpoint if he had a longer putt would it have made a difference, probably not because even with the penalty he had the buffer going in there. As you noted those two shots that he hit last year at Chambers bay were absolutely brilliant, whether it was the grass, or whether it was something lurking inside of his psyche, he wasn’t ready, it wasn’t his time to win the US Open. What I’m saying now is now that he has broken through, that he already was riding a high, I think this is a sign of great things to come for Dustin Johnson. I think this could be a huge next four and a half weeks.
Tom Brassell: Matt, you’ve got some exciting things coming up on the horizon, the travel schedule, share with us a little bit about what you have going on going across the pond.
Matt Adams: Yeah, Tom, I am excited about it. I head out this weekend for the Scottish Open. We’re going to be speaking about Gil Hanse, we’re going to be going up to Castle Stuart up in Inverness, just outside of Inverness, for the Scottish Open the week before the open championship. I will be a part of the live coverage team, I’ll do my show from there all week, but then I’ll be a part of the live coverage team on Thursday and Friday, which will be fun because David Firearchy is a part of our team as well. It’s cool to get a chance to work with people of such incredible talent.
Then the next week we’ll be off to Royal Troon for the Open Championship. That’s a different type of experience for me, a different type of broadcasting experience, because the last few years, how many now, maybe seven years I guess, or eight years, I’ve been doing what we call the BBC World radio broadcast of the Open Championship. That’s really fun because in that case because it’s radio and because we’re right down on the golf course rubbing shoulders with the players, it just gives you … You can imagine you talk in sport about front row seats, this is more then front row seats, you’re standing right next to a players bag as the history is unfolding. It’s absolutely my favorite stretch of the year. I cannot wait to back at the Open Championship and carry the sights and sounds of what’s happening there around the world. It’s an incredible run. Just like with what you’re doing Tom, it’s head scratching when we think that we get to do the stiff that we get to do, it really is cool.
Tom Brassell: Yeah, it’s outstanding. Getting lost in all this not only as we have some fantastic golf coming up, Baltusrol, and then almost I’m forgetting about it a little bit, the FedEx Cup and the Ryder Cup.
Matt Adams: Yeah. Starting from the back side of that with the Ryder Cup, there will be more and more and more fevered talk about that. I have a sense that the powers that be in the game golf are trying to be respectful to the Olympics, so they’re not to drum up to much fervor about the Ryder Cup, because look the Ryder Cup is going to take care of itself, it’s already sold out, all of the corporate chalet’s, marquees and tents are already full, and it’s going to get a half billion people or more watching and listening around the world. The Ryder Cup is going to be okay no matter what kind of hype it gets leading up to it. I have a feeling that there’s an unspoken rule in the game golf that’s circulating right now amongst the top tier, which is to say hey let’s get on the other side of the Olympics and then once we’re on the other side of the Olympics we can go crazy with Ryder Cup stuff again.
Tom Brassell: Matt, it wouldn’t be complete if we didn’t put you on the clock, our five questions, fifty seconds. We ask you five pretty irrelevant questions, or maybe relevant depending on who you are, you give us the answers. You want to go for it?
Matt Adams: Yeah, fire away.
Tom Brassell: All right, question number one for Matt Adams, the coolest prize you’ve ever given away to a listener on your show?
Matt Adams: Coolest prize I’ve ever given away to a listener on my show has not been given away yet. I just recently got a bobble head, a little Matty [inaudible 00:12:15], so I’m going to call it the Matty Newey life size bobble head. That’s going to be in the next month.
Tom Brassell: Question number two for Matt Adams, what’s in your bag right now clubs wise?
Matt Adams: My favorite club that’s in there was I just put in one of those Odyssey Counterbalance. I don’t know about you, I’ve never used a Counterbalance putter before, but I put the Odyssey White Fang Counterbalance putter in there and it is fantastic. If you have a tendency to [inaudible 00:12:42] at all this thing does not allow it.
Tom Brassell: Awesome. Number three, you’re Davis Love’s Ryder Cup assistant, you look across the way a four ball match, you’ve got Rory Mcllroy and Ian Poulter, you get the two Dustin Johnson and who’s his teammate?
Matt Adams: Oh, I’d put Jordan Spieth in there, wouldn’t you?
Tom Brassell: It would have to be. Who do you think DJ said he would pick?
Matt Adams: I bet he would say, I would say he would say Jordan as well, am I wrong?
Tom Brassell: A year ago he said Matt Kuchar, but that may have changed in a year. Question number four for Matt Adams, your most memorable interview ever?
Matt Adams: Charlie Sifford would probably be the top of the vine for me. Here’s the guy that was the Jackie Robinson of the game of golf and when I asked him that specific one time, I said do you see yourself as Jackie Robinson, he said I just see myself as a guy that loved to play the game of golf.
Tom Brassell: Great answer. Question number five for Matt Adams, if you have a bucket list of something to do what’s on it that we would kind of scratch our heads at that you haven’t done yet?
Matt Adams: I don’t have too many things on the bucket list to tell you the truth that I feel like I want to do that I haven’t yet. There are a number of different things that I love doing and one of them is when we do these little trips where we take listeners and viewers away with is and share an experience. One of y favorite things to do in the world is to bring people back to Ireland with me and introduce them to those great Links golf courses and the warm hospitality that the Irish people are consistently displaying. That would be the thing that probably brings me the most joy.
Tom Brassell: That’s awesome Matt you did it, five questions, fifty seconds. Hey, thanks so much for joining us today. Thanks for all that you do. What you do is phenomenal, bringing the game to us into our living rooms and into our radios in the car, it’s just fantastic. Final words from Matt Adams to our listeners here at Golf Better?
Matt Adams: You know the honor is mine to be quite honest with you Tom. That’s what I was saying, when I still shake my head everyday, I go seriously you’re going to let me do this, I’m going to talk about golf and share the experience with everybody. To me golf is so much more then playing the game, although as great as that is it’s a lifestyle. When we started this show, now ten years ago, it started with a conviction that we share this passion for a lifestyle, and all its done over these years is continue to prove itself to me that in fact is exactly what it is.
Tom Brassell: You do it so well Matt, no one else like. Thanks so much for joining us. Great to have you again.
Matt Adams: It was a pleasure Tom. Thank you.
Tom Brassell: That’s always good to catch up with Matt Adams, he is absolutely fantastic, one of the best in the business. Check him out on the golfchannel.com/tv/fairwaysoflife for his show. You can also catch him on SiriusXM radio, @mattadamsfol is the Twitter account, you can find him everywhere on social media. Like he said he’ll be heading over across the pond for the Scottish Open and the Open Championship, heading over there in just a few days. Many thanks to Matt again for joining us and to you our listeners. We’ll do it again next time when we have another episode of Golf Better at worldwidegolfshops.com. So long everyone.