On this week’s episode of the Stick & Hack Show, Golf Channel’s Damon Hack chats with the guys about this year being one of the best years in golf, plus much more.

The following excerpt has been edited for space. You can watch the rest of the episode here.

Stick & Hack: We talked about in the first part there around TV and broadcasting and a couple of those tournaments that are going to be showcased next year. Come from Torrey Pines. That’s where you and I met for the first time, at the US Open you and I met, would you say that you were a bit starstruck? 

Damon Hack: Oh, a hundred percent. Especially when I found out the name of your show, Stick & Hack, I’m like, wait a second. This is like, meant to be, so I was very, very nervous and very much in awe that you wanted me to be a part of your show. So I’m lucky. 

S&H: Let’s walk through the year of golf. We had the Olympics. We’ve had the Ryder Cup. The fans are back.We’ve got all these young rookies out on tour. We’ve got a ton of LPGA superstars. We’ve got Bryson versus Brooksie. Give us the rundown in your view of 2021. 

Damon Hack: Yeah, like the old Brady bunch, “Marsha, Marsha, Marsha,” to me, it’s Bryson Bryson Bryson. And I go back to March during the Arnold Palmer invitational at Bay Hill when we saw Bryson kind of have the sport in the palm of his hands, then he was taken on the par five, six hole, nearly driving it. And just the roars that we heard, he was taking the game to the next level. 

His year almost went full circle at the Ryder Cup, where he was like a hero again. And I had a feeling that if there was a week for Bryson to get back on the right side of the fans, it would be during the great weekend. So what an incredible year he went. The Ryder Cup, of course, to the World Long Drive Championship where acquitted himself very nicely. So for his benefit and also his demise, he has been front and center as much as anybody in golf in 2021.

S&H: You have young stars, superstars, you have the LPGA, which I arguably think is having one of its best years in recent memory. The Ryder Cup was almost boring after Saturday afternoon- I still watched every hole- but there were so many storylines this year. You had the return of Jordan and his play. You have Sam Burns, you have the Korda sisters, you have the Olympics, you have Morikawa. I mean it was almost writing itself.

When you look back at this year and the coverage that you guys were able to do, do you get excited that you are a part of perhaps one of the best years of golf that we can remember? 

Damon Hack: It was a fascinating year, in many ways. The year of the comeback. You mentioned Jordan Spieth in Valero… it was fascinating how much he had been struggling and- you know, had the Ryder cup happened in 2020 as it originally was supposed to, he wouldn’t have even been a part of that team. So to see him kind of rise from the ashes, to see Lydia Ko, put her game back together; you had, 40 somethings like Stewart Cink and Brian Gay winning and Colin Morikawa stabbing himself as one of the best irons of this generation. And then you did have the Korda sisters, and it’s funny, you mentioned the Korda’s- I was just doing an outing with them on Monday in advance of the Founder’s Cup, and I posted a picture of me standing between Jessica and Nelly and got more text messages from buddies about how jealous they are.

I was feeling pretty good about not just the year as a whole, but also the last couple of weeks and hanging out with the Korda sisters, but it’s been a fantastic season.

S&H: Yeah, and it doesn’t look like it’s going to slow down much. You know, you, you get your buddies excited about the text about the Korda sisters, imagine when they find out you’re on this thing.

Damon Hack: No doubt. A hundred percent. I’ll make sure my phone is fully charged for the text.

S&H: You got the shot tracer, and stats have certainly added to the experience of watching golf; as have some of the great personalities that are in the booth and on the course. There’s some excitement now watching golf, but is there anything else that can happen or have we reached the cap of how golf is exciting to watch? 

Damon Hack: I tell you what, the energy at the Ryder Cup was a reminder to me that golf can continue to transcend golf fans and bring in sports fans.

And I think back to 2018, when the Americans lost in Paris- and had a neighbor come up to me, who is a casual golf fan and just was so bummed out about the U.S. losing and how excited they were when the U.S. won. Seeing the personalities come out, seeing Bryce waving to the crowds. Seeing Burger and JT shotgunning beers on Saturday before the matches were even done. Now I’m not suggesting that week to week, PGA tour golf was going to see players shotgunning, but I would like to see the players, whether it’s through interviews, camera work, technology, or competition… different stuff. Whether it’s putting the PGA tour and LPGA tour players together, having a Lexi Thompson compete alongside deChambeau, something to mix it up because I do think that the majors are special.

The Ryder cup is an incredible entity unto itself. We’ve got World Golf Championships and the Olympics. Now we’re blessed with an incredible amount of events, but some of them look too similar. And if there’s any way to differentiate and bring in other sports fans to grow the tent, I’m all for that.

S&H: Damon, you’re a seasoned interviewer, but, in golf, the after-round interviews all seem to be similar. Does that annoy you?

Damon Hack: As someone who’s an interviewer often talks to the players after their rounds? Yes, I do think that it’s an interesting and challenging skill. To see that someone shot at 67, but then you have to ask them about the round, or maybe you ask them about something else. One thing I try to do, especially Thursday, Friday, when the tournament is still far from being decided is get some personality.

I interviewed Bubba Watson for the U.S. Open for NBC and Golf Channel coverage. He played very well. And I asked him about his relationship with Matt Wolf, who’d been dealing with some off-course issues and talking about mental health, and Bubba went off for like a minute and a half about the challenges of golf, and how thankful and blessed he is, but also kind of the pressure of trying to be too perfect and trying to be a pleaser. And it’s one of my favorite things to do. And as a journalism major, as you mentioned off the top, I love kind of getting behind the stories, getting outside the ropes to find out what’s going on with these players.

So anything that brings out personality or brings out something different other than, “I hit a five iron into 12 and made that.” I think that the viewer would appreciate that because for the most part, the golf fan watching TV has seen the shots and knows that X player, Y player, Z player shot 66, 67 and 68.

So what can we do to kind of get that personality out a little bit to tell some stories? ‘Cause after all I think great journalism is about a great reporting and great story. 

Check out the rest of the episode here to listen to Damon talk more about working in golf broadcasting, as well as more discussion about being a golf fan.