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Backspin with Alan Shipnuck

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Podcast by Backspin

Podcast by Backspin
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Podcast by Backspin




Roger Maltbie

Roger Maltbie is in his 27th year as a reporter and analyst for NBC Sports. 27 years of analyzing putts, chips, approaches and drives. He joins the podcast this week to talk about his run as a broadcaster, his favorite moments covering the action and what it means to have Tiger Woods back playing again. Come for that, stay for some stories about the 1987 Masters, where Maltbie began the back nine as the leader, only to miss out on a playoff by a single stroke.


Christina Kim

Christina Kim has long been the LPGA's biggest personality. Known for her Kangols and brassy pronouncements, Kim has another side, too. She is an old-school purist when it comes to the game, and more philosophical and pensive that her saucy tweets might suggest. A free-spirited California girl with traditional Korean parents, she has spent nearly half of her 34 years on the LPGA, in a constant state of reinvention. Kim recently sat down with Alan Shipnuck to reflect on the state of the game...


Jessica and Nelly Korda

The Korda sisters have always been in a hurry. Jessica, now 25, made the cut at the 2008 U.S. Women's Open at the age of 15 and was a full-time pro on the LPGA three years later. Nelly, 19, won her very first pro event on the Symetra tour in 2016, and spent last year as an LPGA rookie, making 19 of 23 cuts. And so far in 2018, they've been the talk of the town. After off-season jaw surgery and a brutal recovery, Jessica won her first start back. The very next week, Nelly battled Michelle...


Tony Finau

Tony Finau is a big man with soft hands and a gentle voice, but his courtly manner belies the violence he visits upon his golf ball. Finau, a lanky 6'4", leads the PGA Tour in driving distance at 323.7 yards a pop, what will be a record if he can maintain it for a full season. But this 28 year-old is more than just a slugger, as a polished all-around game has him 7th on Tour in stroke average and having already enjoyed four top-6 finishes this season. The journey to stardom has been long...


Things We Must Discuss

This week, Dylan Dethier and Sean Zak break down all the relevant topics in the golf world. Was JT right to have a fan ejected? No. Why would the USGA choose a 2-hole playoff? It's a brilliant idea. Is Tiger really that impressive thus far? All that and much more.


The State of Tiger Woods

In this episode, we play a game with Tiger Woods. Three staffers come together for a State of the Union on the most popular golfer in the world. With five topics and one point per topic, they present arguments for, against and in relation to Woods's current state. Come for the points, stay for the mute button.


The Story of Vokey Wedges

The story of Vokey wedges begins with its namesake, Bob Vokey, a now 78-year-old man who isn't even close to retirement. Vokey's name or initials have been stamped on the back of every Titleist wedge of the past 15 years. His name competes against industry behemoths like Callaway and TaylorMade, which is ironic because Vokey could have easily — impossibly easily — become a TaylorMade brand. Tune in for details on that, and how a Montreal kid with no college degree slowly made his way up...


Fred Couples

Former Masters champion Fred Couples joins to talk sports, sports and more sports. It'll be something he needs to get used to as Couples is embarking on a radio venture with SiriusXM PGA Tour Radio in 2018. Couples will host The Fred Couples Show on a monthly basis beginning this week. He details his plans for the show here in addition to the topics below: 1:35 - The Fred Couples Show 7:30 - Tiger Woods's return to Torrey Pines 10:45 - What it's like trying to play competitive golf amid...


Kevin Na

Kevin Na is 34 years old, which means he still has plenty of golf ahead of him. It also means that he's been a professional golfer for half his life. Na turned pro as a junior in high school, "because I wanted to make some money," he said, jokingly, to Alan Shipnuck. The two dive deep on a number of topics that Na has faced in his career, like slow play, his struggles with the yips, his lone career victory, and much more.


John Ashworth

Some guys just have it, that hard-to-define but unmistakable cool factor that draws people to them. Arnold Palmer had it. Fred Couples has it. And so, too, does John Ashworth. At 58, Ashworth is ruggedly handsome and projects an appealing surfer-dude mellowness, sprinkled with the karmic wisdom of a yogi. In fact, the surf culture has had a deep impact on this Southern California native, and it shows in the relaxed vibe of his new passion project, Linksoul. Alan Shipnuck sat down with...


BOLD Predictions for 2018

2018 is almost here, so assembled a group of five fortune tellers to predict how 2018 will shake out. Five fortune tellers making predictions at the same time. Hopefully that isn't too much for your earbuds. We make predictions for Rory's world ranking, Jordan Spieth's legend, Phil Mickelson's wardrobe, Tiger Woods' schedule and Team Europe's Ryder Cup chances. Agree with us? Disagree? Let us hear about it.


What's the value of a muni? On the life and death of Lakeshore Golf Course

For so many golfers, the city- or county-owned course, better known as a “muni,” is a sacred part of the game. But nowadays, new stories pop up every day of cities considering shuttering their courses for other, more profitable opportunities...things like commercial real estate, public housing, or even just an open public park that a greater percentage of the population could take advantage of. It’s natural that cities across the country are eager to balance their budgets, but munis occupy...


The Tiger Takes

Tiger Woods is back and feels better than he has in years, but what does it all mean? We're here to tell you. Four staffers offer their takes on what this latest Tiger comeback will amount to. We predict victories, Ryder Cup matches, even a distant major championship...and we also predict failure. These are the Tiger Takes.


Maverick McNealy

Maverick McNealy is the most intriguing young golfer to come along in quite some time. Yes, the kid can play: He spent much of 2016 and '17 as the top-ranked amateur in the country while earning a degree in engineering and management science. But what makes McNealy so unusual is his backstory, as his father Scott is a Silicon Valley legend, having co-founded Sun Microsystems, which was sold to Oracle in 2010 for $7.4 billion. Maverick grew up in gilded circumstances — for years the family...


John Feinstein

The 2016 Ryder Cup played out over three days last fall in chilly Minnesota, but John Feinstein began researching the story of that event 12 months prior. You see, he's wanted to write a Ryder Cup book ever since he attended the event in 1993 at The Belfry. Now, just 13 months after the Americans won at Hazeltine, Feinstein's newest book "The First Major" details the inside story of that memorable event, with all the background and team room details a golf nut desires. Feinstein joined the...


Olin Browne

Olin Browne is one of golf’s great late-bloomers. The Occidental College grad didn’t break through on the PGA Tour until he was 39, when he won the Greater Hartford Open. Two more victories followed, including the Deutsche Bank Championship at the ripe age of 46. Six years later he took the U.S. Senior Open, torching Inverness. At 58, he continues to dig the secrets out of the dirt on the Champions tour. Olin sat down with Alan Shipnuck recently to talk about all things growing old in the...


Steve Flesch

If you watched Steve Flesch over the years on the Golf Channel, or during his recent gigs on Fox, you might've noticed a twinkle in his eye. The guy is bursting with opinions, many of which he has had to censor on-air over the years. They occasionally leak out on Twitter, thankfully. Well, Flesch went deep with Alan Shipnuck on a number of topics, including his sneaky-good career, which included four victories in the span of four years on the PGA Tour, sending him to a career-best 24th in...


Stanford Golf Coach Conrad Ray

Conrad Ray runs one of the most successful college golf programs in the nation in Palo Alto. As glamorous as that may seem, he'll be the first to tell you it isn't easy. Ray caught up with Josh Berhow recently to discuss the many aspects of his job, what it was like watching his players in the recent Walker Cup and how he helps those players move on to their professional careers. Ray, who was a sophomore on the Stanford Men's team when a budding Tiger Woods arrived in the early 90s, also...


Adidas Golf President Jeff Lienhart

Five months ago, it was announced that Adidas would sell golf brands TaylorMade, Ashworth and Adams. Now that that deal is finally complete, Adidas looks to continue owning a significant space in the golf world, but how exactly? The president of the brand, Jeff Lienhart, joined the podcast in New York this week to discuss that deal, where he sees potential and what he's most excited about with Adidas Golf.


Scott McCarron

Scott McCarron is doing his best to dethrone the machine that is Bernard Langer. Who knows if that is even possible, but if this podcast is any indication, McCarron is up to the task. The 52-year-old joined Alan Shipnuck recently to talk about California golf, his weird ascension into professional golf, how the long putter changed his life and why Langer might be the greatest "old" athlete on the planet. McCarron also sets the record straight on the controversy that is anchored putting.


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