Shane at Turnberry pondering life.
Interview With Shane Bacon
By Kickntrue on 3/24/08
Shane Bacon is a popular golf writer since his days in the sports department for the Arizona Daily Wildcat and he continues to dispense great insight and knowledge now on his website, Dogs That Chase Cars.
Tell us a little about your background.
I'm from Texas, but decided to go to school at Arizona to change it up. Small town people normally stick around their small town, but I've never been like that, so packing up and driving across the desert seemed completely normal to me. I always enjoyed writing but never really aspired to do anything with it until reading the Arizona Daily Wildcat my freshman year and deciding the people really had no idea about sports. I got the job, and wrote all fours years of college, having a weekly column and covering golf, basketball, and football. After college I went to St. Andrews with a buddy and caddied at the Old Course for the summer. It was an amazing experience, allowing us to play golf, rub elbows with the locals and drink a LOT of pints. After that I landed a small gig working college football with ESPN, and at the same time working on my own golf game. I tried the Gateway Tour last summer and now work for an oil company in Denver. Whew...
Were you a sports fan first or a writer?
I've loved sports way before I could ever even hold a pencil. A
couple of true stories - my first word was 'ball." Also, when I was a young, young kid, I went up to a man in an airport, tugged on his jacket and said, "Excuse me, are you Boomer Esiason. The guy looked at my mom in astonishment and told her, "How the hell does he know who Boomer Esiason is?" Needless to say, I've always been obsessed with games.
Who is your favorite golfer?
I feel that is a question with numerous parts. My favorite golfer is probably Fred Couples, just because of his approach to the game. Myfavorite player to watch is obviously Tiger Woods, who makes golf look as easy as The Rock breaking a toothpick in two. The most talented golfer in my opinion is John Daly, who was gifted enough to win two majors with absolutely no discipline for the game (and, a lack of brain).
Are you a good golfer?
I would consider myself a good golfer. I almost played college golf but decided against it after I hurt my wrist senior year. I've always been able to shoot around par, and even tried my hand at the Gateway Tour last summer, but to very little success. Being "good" is relative though. Me shooting even par makes me good against most, bad against others. I think my lowest round ever is 64, but I did top my first tee shot last weekend, and it rolled about 15 yards, so you know, it's still a four-letter word.
What is your take on why the number of golfers is declining in recent years?
If you're talking about the general public, I honestly couldn't tell you. I'd say some of it has to do with the cost of the game. No sport can compare to how much golfers spend on golf, not even figure skating or horseback riding. If you are truly committed to the game, like my uncle, you buy a new club every time you miss a couple of knee-knockers in a row. Also, if you play golf in Scottsdale, where I used to live, you better be ready to pay $100 a round unless you're ready to smack it around a goat track. With how tight peoples pockets can get in trying times, spending $45 on a dozen balls when you'll lose them by the turn just doesn't fit the budget. Also, people might be making more double-bogeys this century. That would make me want to quit.
Are there any golfers you have you eye on currently that will be able to challenge Tiger?
I have said this before, but the best challenger for Tiger is the
golfer with nothing to lose. This is why golfers like Bart Bryant, or Woody Austin in the PGA or Rich Beem a few years ago stand up to El Tigre. Top golfers like Phil Mickelson or Vijay Singh (or even Seeeergio) play Tiger, lose, and then hear about how they aren't as good or how they choke against him for the next three months. If Woody Austin plays hard and loses, people just expect it to happen. I don't think there is a golfer right now set to compete on a regular basis with Tiger because nobody can compete mentally with the guy. If he's human, someone is lying.
What is something casual golfers and fans may not know about "the golf world"?
I'd say that the way you play golf depends COMPLETELY on your comfort level. People can say this or that about it, but the bottom line is how comfortable you are in the element. Tiger wins all the time because he's always the best golfer on the course. An interesting thing about the Gateway Tour - one of the top money leaders of all time on the tour is a guy that shoots 66 just about every time he goes out in these tournaments. The same guy has never broken 80 (80!) when he qualifies for PGA Tour events. His comfort level is shaken when he moves up a level. The same could be said about Jason Gore. The guy found himself in an unfamiliar situation at the U.S. Open a few years back, ended up shooting a wad the last day, but then went out and dominated the Nationwide Tour, landing his tour card after back-to-back wins. See, he was no the big dog on tour, and that had nothing to do with his weight. Being comfortable on the golf course is what it is all about.
Any other random insights or thoughts you'd like to share?
I said this on my blog, and you can link to the story if you want, but in five years or so, the "golfers aren't athletes" argument will be all but moot. These guys work as hard, if not harder, than basketball or football players, and it's more of a challenge because you don't have a team trainer pushing you. If guys didn't want to work out, they just wouldn't have to, which shows how important being fit is now in the game of golf. Also, if you're in better shape, you probably land more chicks. That also helps your confidence on the course.
For more Shane Bacon, check out his website Dogs That Chase Cars.
[ comments ]
Dogs That Chase Cars is the best golf (and pretty much all sports) blog on the web. I read it daily, I love it, Shane is an up and coming writer that always has interesting insights, and writes a style that seems like you are talking to a guy at a bar who knows his shit. Kudos
Shane Bacon is an Idiot. I think I could be a much better golf writer. To do this I would sit on my couch every sunday afternoon watching some meaningless golf tournament that generates low nielsen ratings. This would of course involve a fifth of whiskey. In between all of the cialis and lipitor commercials I am sure I could generate some interesting ideas on grown men hitting a ball with a stick.
I may have never written for such an oustanding publication like the daily wildcat, but I did graduate from fifth grade(barely the D.A.R.E. program was extremely difficult) and did almost pay college golf. Unfortunately the University of Phoenix was denied entry into PAC10 golf tournaments.
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