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Waste Management Phoenix Open preview

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By Seth Kerr (Cooper)

GolfWRX Staff Writer

The PGA Tour heads 377 miles East on I-10 this week to the Waste Management Phoenix Open. The tournament is almost as well known for its raucous atmosphere as the tournament itself. The 162-yard par three 16th hole features fans surrounding the players on all sides, with the crowd routinely booing or cheering players’ shots. Last year Jarrod Lyle made a hole in one on the 16th during the second round of the tournament, which sent the crowd into a frenzy.  Players trying to capture the crowd’s good graces are often seen throwing hats, frisbees, gloves, and anything else they can find in their bag into the stands as they walk from tee to green.

Mark Wilson returns to the 7,214-yard TPC of Scottsdale looking to repeat as champion after his playoff victory over Jason Duffner last year. The mild mannered Wilson overcame frost delays, which forced a Monday finish, and a strong field to beat Duffner on the second playoff hole to win his second tournament in three starts. Wilson will be looking to repeat the same feat again, having already won at the Humana Challenge this year.

Kyle Stanley, a relative unknown prior to last week, is back looking to bounce back from his finish at last week’s Farmers Insurance Open. Stanley had a three shot lead in the fairway on No. 18, but then spun his wedge off the green into the water and three putted for triple bogey. That forced a playoff with Brandt Snedeker. After both players made birdie on No. 18, Snedeker got up and down on No. 16 and Stanley three putted to give Snedeker his second come from behind victory in as many years.

Stanley, no stranger to heartache after watching Steve Stricker birdie the final two holes to win the John Deere Classic last year, thanked his Twitter followers for all their support and said he is looking forward to playing in Phoenix.

The Waste Management Phoenix Open, which touts itself as the “greenest stop on the PGA Tour”  is also bringing back the “Green Out” event on Sat. February 4th. For each spectator who wears green on Saturday, the Thunderbird Charities will donate some green to Keeping Arizona Clean and Beautiful. Last year’s Green Out raised $35,000, so if you are planning to head to the tournament make sure you wear green on Saturday.

Nine of the top 10 players on the money list will be in the field this week, with only Steve Stricker not playing. Ian Poulter is making his first start of the year since the birth of his son Joshua last week. The tournament airs Thursday and Friday on Golf Channel from 4-7 p.m. EST. CBS has the coverage on Saturday and Sunday from 3-6 p.m. EST.

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Wednesday’s Photos from the 2018 Honda Classic

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GolfWRX is live this week from the 2018 Honda Classic at PGA National’s Champion course (par 70: 7,110 yards) in Palm Beach Gardens, Florida.

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The field this week is stacked at the top, and it includes defending-champion Rickie Fowler, 2017 FedEx Champion Justin Thomas, four-time major champion Rory McIlroy, and reigning Masters champion Sergio Garcia, who’s making his first PGA Tour start of 2018. Also in the field is Tiger Woods, who committed to play in the event just last week. Woods is coming off a disappointing missed cut at the 2018 Genesis Open.

Last year, Fowler won by four shots over Morgan Hoffmann and Gary Woodland, despite playing his final round in 1-over par.

Check out our photos from the 2018 Honda Classic below!

Wednesday’s Photos

Discussion: See what GolfWRX members are saying about the photos in our forums.

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USGA, R&A to roll out new World Handicap System in 2020

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A new handicap system is here, or rather, it will be once the USGA and R&A begin to fully implement the World Handicap System in 2020.

The new system focuses on achieving three main objectives: 1) encouraging as many golfers as possible to maintain a handicap, 2) enabling golfers of different abilities, genders, and nationalities to compete fairly, and 3) determining the score a golfer is reasonably capable of shooting at any particular course anywhere in the world.

Currently there are six handicapping systems worldwide, owing to the existence of six handicapping authorities: Golf Australia, the Council of National Golf Unions (CONGU) in Great Britain and Ireland, the European Golf Association (EGA), the South African Golf Association (SAGA), the Argentine Golf Association (AAG) and the USGA.

The six handicapping authorities represent approximately 15 million golfers in 80 countries who currently maintain a golf handicap.

Under the new program, the USGA and R&A will oversee the World Handicap System and the governing bodies will be in charge of local administration.

The USGA presents the WHS as a better system that simplifies the existing structures. Not surprisingly, the organization believes the WHS will compel more golfers to maintain a handicap.

“For some time, we’ve heard golfers say, ‘I’m not good enough to have a handicap,’ or ‘I don’t play enough to have a handicap,’” USGA executive director Mike Davis said. “We want to make the right decisions now to encourage a more welcoming and social game.”

Davis sees the new system marching arm-in-arm with the revisions to (and simplification of) the Rules of Golf.

“We’re excited to be taking another important step – along with modernizing golf’s rules – to provide a pathway into the sport, making golf easier to understand and more approachable and enjoyable for everyone to play.”

Key features of the WHS include:

  • Flexibility in formats of play, allowing both competitive and recreational rounds to count for handicap purposes and ensuring that a golfer’s handicap is more reflective of potential ability.
  • A minimal number of scores needed to obtain a new handicap; a recommendation that the number of scores needed to obtain a new handicap be 54 holes from any combination of 18-hole and 9-hole rounds, but with “some discretion available for handicapping authorities or national associations to set a different minimum within their own jurisdiction.”
  • A consistent handicap that “is portable” from course to course and country to country through worldwide use of the USGA course and slope rating system, already used in more than 80 countries.
  • An average-based calculation of a handicap, taken from the best eight out of the last 20 scores and “factoring in memory of previous demonstrated ability for better responsiveness and control.”
  • A calculation that considers the impact that abnormal course and weather conditions might have on a player’s performance each day.
  • Daily handicap revisions, taking account of the course and weather conditions calculation.
  • A limit of net double bogey on the maximum hole score (for handicapping purposes only).
  • A maximum handicap limit of 54.0, regardless of gender, to encourage more golfers to measure and track their performance to increase their enjoyment of the game.

The USGA and R&A conducted quantitative research in 15 countries around the world. 76 percent of the 52,000 respondents voiced their support for a World Handicap System, 22 percent were willing to consider its benefits, and only 2 percent were opposed.

The research also helped model the tenets of the WHS, but, as mentioned, don’t tear up your GHIN cards just yet: We’ve only just begun the two-year transition period prior to the implementation.

To provide feedback to the USGA on the new World Handicap System, golfers can email the USGA at whsfeedback@usga.org, or see usga.org/whs for more info.

Additionally, the USGA created this FAQ.

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Tuesday’s Photos from the 2018 Honda Classic

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GolfWRX is live this week from the 2018 Honda Classic at PGA National’s Champion course (par 70: 7,110 yards) in Palm Beach Gardens, Florida.

Related

The field this week is stacked at the top, and it includes defending-champion Rickie Fowler, 2017 FedEx Champion Justin Thomas, four-time major champion Rory McIlroy, and reigning Masters champion Sergio Garcia, who’s making his first PGA Tour start of 2018. Also in the field is Tiger Woods, who committed to play in the event just last week. Woods is coming off a disappointing missed cut at the 2018 Genesis Open.

Last year, Fowler won by four shots over Morgan Hoffmann and Gary Woodland, despite playing his final round in 1-over par.

Check out our photos from the 2018 Honda Classic below!

Tuesday’s Photos

Special Galleries

Discussion: See what GolfWRX members are saying about the photos in our forums.

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