Alan Shipnuck, longtime Sports Illustrated senior writer and GOLF.com contributor, makes covering the golf beat look easy. He strolls into pressrooms around midday, just in time for lunch. He gossips with his fellow scribes, fires off a few cheeky tweets, then repairs to the course to schmooze with caddies, agents and players’ wives, often with the primary mission of finding the best place to eat in town. You might have seen Alan on TV. He’s the guy with the enviable mop of hair chatting up Amy Mickelson.
Alan is also the guy who gets the story, invariably with a formidable blend of access, insight and color that few writers can match. Don’t be fooled by his mellow NorCal vibe — Alan is a dogged reporter with a nose for ferreting out the truth and bringing stories to life, with or without his subjects’ consent.
“Years ago, Dan Jenkins summed up Alan in a single, perfect word: fearless,” Alan’s friend and SI colleague Michael Bamberger told me the other day. “He is, and I’m not even referring to the time he hid out in the powder room of Butler Cabin in pursuit of Bubba Watson, newly jacketed Masters champ. But as a reporter and writer — and man — fearless is only Alan’s starting point. Whether he’s analyzing Dustin Johnson or Kevin Na, Augusta National or Chambers Bay, Olympic golf or the Honda Classic, Alan writes (and tweets and podcasts and…) with unparalleled insight, humor and incisiveness.”
And now you can find all those goodies in one place. As part of the new-look GOLF.com, we’ve carved out a nook for Alan to flex his muscles across various mediums. It’s called The Knockdown, and if you’re fan of Alan’s work — which is to say a fan of golf — this vertical will be required reading (and watching and listening and…).
“For two decades I’ve focused primarily on magazine writing,” Alan says. “Now I’m going all-in on every other kind of storytelling: podcasts, video vignettes, daily musings, mailbags, listicles and, of course, magazine-quality features.” The endgame: to take readers inside the game in ways that other outlets are either unable or unwilling.
Consider Alan’s schedule in the last month alone: He’s dined on stuffed pork chops at Pat Perez’s house in Scottsdale, played drinking games with LPGA rising star Alison Lee and her college pals at Lee’s apartment in L.A., and podcasted with Phil Mickelson in Lefty’s living room in La Quinta, Calif. He’s also had his butt whipped by a kick-boxing Symetra Tour player (video to come!) and free-dived with two teens who have pulled 10,000 balls out of the waters around Pebble Beach Golf Links. In the coming month Alan will hit the road again to cover tournaments in San Diego, Dubai, Pebble and L.A., and he’s cultivating features in South Africa, England, Brazil and Cuba.
Now that you have something to look forward to, dig into the current slate of offerings on The Knockdown and let us know what you think via Twitter or Facebook. Better yet, let Alan know — you can hit him up on Twitter at @AlanShipnuck.
Knowing Alan, he might just write back.