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Ponderings and Musings on 2008

I sit here looking out the window at the snow falling thinking winter hasn’t officially begun and already I’m tired of it. Twelve inches have fallen since 11PM last evening. HO HO HO. This is the way March ended, then came April and the flooding rains came. I played one round of golf in April and one in May due to the rains. The last round I played was September 24th, after which the cold arrived on a huge gust of wind. Global warming indeed. I didn’t get even 20 rounds in this year. But enough of my whining, the year itself was quite entertaining.

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I sit here looking out the window at the snow falling thinking winter hasn’t officially begun and already I’m tired of it.  Twelve inches have fallen since 11PM last evening.  HO HO HO.  This is the way March ended, then came April and the flooding rains came.  I played one round of golf in April and one in May due to the rains.  The last round I played was September 24th, after which the cold arrived on a huge gust of wind.  Global warming indeed.  I didn’t get even 20 rounds in this year.  But enough of my whining, the year itself was quite entertaining. 

From Rocco Mediate and  Paul Goydos to Anthony Kim and Camilo Villegas players both old and new popped onto the radar creating lasting memories and the promise of bright futures.  The worlds best player puts himself on the shelf and an Irishman wins two majors, never blinking on the back nine.  I should have known it would be a whacky kind of year when the first tournament goes to sudden death and two of the tours best putters, Daniel Chopra and Steve Stricker miss putt after putt. 


 

 If you had told me in December of 2007 that Rocco Mediate would take Tiger Woods 91 holes at the US Open my initial reaction would have been: "Right, and I’ll be the next schmoe selected to play the US Open challenge for the TV cameras."  Well, one out of two isn’t bad.  As amazing as that was Padraig Harrington, he of the splay footed walk and glacial pace of play, winning two majors.  Were it up to me I’d award all three gentlemen Player of the Year award. 

Paul Goydos and Sergio Garcia at the Players Championship convinced me that Mr. Garcia learned how to putt (or rather relearned how to putt).  Mr. Goydos reminded all of us how to be graceful in defeat, and that class plays well not just in Peoria, but everywhere.  He would be my choice for Sportsman of the Year. 

The Ryder Cup was as entertaining as it was compelling.  I won’t soon forget Anthony Kim headed off the 14th green in his match with Mr. Garcia not knowing that he’d won the match 5 and 4.  Hunter Mahan described it best, "He wanted to win 6 and 3".  Paul Azinger would be crowned King of the World, well at least the American golf world, in what will eventually be remembered as the most over rated captaincy ever.  Nick Faldo took another shot to his reputation, but at least Brenna Cepalek didn’t pound his car with a 9 iron again.  Boo Weekly wins the award for Entertainer of the Year mostly for riding his driver off the tee like a horse.  I can’t remember laughing that much watching a golf match. 

How sad watching the Masters.  No back nine charges, no roars, everything seemed a touch "off" somehow.  Hootie Johnson may be remembered as the guy who brought the US Open to Augusta and took all the fun out of the carnival.  Mr. Johnson rigged all the games so that no one will ever go home with the huge stuffed animal when he made all those changes to the golf course.  Intent, I believe that was the word which precipitated the changes to the course.  What was the architects intent?  Since the architect is a dead guy, that opens the door to interpretation and eventually all the clarity of muddy water.  It’s pronounced tomaTOE; no it’s toMAto.  I felt like I was in mourning all week.

Anthony Kim grew up, and won twice.  Very cool.  I like Mr. Kim for his style and his talent.  And that voice!  I hear his voice and I think I’m listening to a guy who is 6’4", 325lbs.  Somewhere he got hooked up with the wrong voice.  I think he got into the golf talent line about three times and got stuck with a leftover for a voice.  Not a bad thing, just amusing. 

The Playoffs.  Vijay Singh and Camilo Villegas put on a show, but to call this a playoff?  Sorry.  It’s golf.  Playoffs don’t have 144 participants,  even Hockey eliminates some teams during the regular season.  And to have the winner determined after two of the four events is beyond bizarre.  To win the Super Bowl a team has to win the Super Bowl.  The World Series is decided during the World Series not the League Championship Series.  Go ahead and call it the FedEx Cup but don’t call this a playoff.  It’s contrived.  Call it something else or nothing at all, anything but playoff.  What Tim Finchem has done is remove the luster from Mr. Singh’s and Mr. Villegas’ victories by shining a very bright light on "playoffs" instead of golf tournaments.  Dear Mr. Finchem, back away from that word.  Thank you.

And finally, my Christmas wish for Seve Ballesteros is continued recovery from illness, may he find the fairway again soon.

May the Holidays bring joy to you all.  Thanks for helping make this year entertaining and memorable.  Merry Christmas and Happy New Year.

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Morning 9: Women’s PGA | Fox: best golf coverage in the biz? | Michelle Wieturns

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By Ben Alberstadt (ben.alberstadt@golfwrx.com)

June 19, 2019

Good Wednesday morning, golf fans.
1. Henderson, Thompson sizzling heading into Women’s PGA
Golf Channel’s Randall Mell…”Brooke Henderson and Lexi Thompson couldn’t get hotter at a better time.”
  • “With three major championships over the next seven weeks, they’ll be looking to make the most of their winning form. They each have a chance this week to reach No. 1 in the Rolex Women’s World Rankings for the first time.”
  • “Henderson won the Meijer Classic last week, Thompson the ShopRite Classic two weeks ago.”
  • “Ladbrokes makes Henderson the co-favorite to win the KPMG Women’s PGA Championship with Jeongeun Lee6 at 11/1 odds, with Thompson at 12/1 odds.”
2. Wieturning again
Ron Sirak for LPGA.com…
“But perhaps the most difficult digits to digest are those detailing the impact of the injuries that have disrupted Wie’s career. Without the constant interruptions, her five career wins with one major championship would almost certainly be more. Now, she tries once again to get back into action.”
  • “I’m feeling hopeful,” Wie said Tuesday at Hazeltine National where, on Thursday, she will tee it up for just her ninth tournament round of the year. “It’s still a process. It’s been hard sitting out during the middle of the season. There’s really nothing worse. But I had to take the time to get myself back to where I want to be.”
  • “There is almost no a part of Wie that has not been damaged, beginning with an injury to her left wrist when she fell while jogging in 2007. Since then, she’s had issues with a finger, knee, hip and the other wrist. At times, it almost appears as if her body is held together by multi-colored physiotape.”

Full piece.

3. Arrival of the Wolff
Sean Martin at PGATour.com…”This week’s Travelers Championship is Matthew Wolff’s first tournament as a professional. It may be the most anticipated pro debut in a decade. The consensus collegiate player of the year combines charisma with a swing that is identifiable from a few fairways over.
  • “He wins. He’s unique. His swing is different, so it catches everybody’s eye,” said Golf Channel analyst Brandel Chamblee. “And then there’s the incredible speed.
  • “When you see somebody with speed … it gets your attention.”
4. Fox the best?
An interesting take from Sean Zak at Golf.com…
  • “In its five years as the USGA rights-holder, Fox has added something new every year, which, for a sport whose visuals seem to never change, is refreshing and important. One year it was the mic’d up holes, even shadows on the greens to display slopes. Some of it sticks from year to year, some of it doesn’t, but Fox is trying new things and adding new context.”
  • “This year the novelty was epic, highlighted by delicious drone shots along the coast. Blimp shots are great and were more relevant this week than most, but the drones that floated up over Carmel Bay, gliding along with the players, providing the perfect scale of the property – those were new and beautiful. A good broadcast shows viewers everything they must see to better understand a course, but also makes them a bit jealous of everyone there on the grounds.”
5. JT pain free
A few quotes from Thomas…”I have zero pain. I can do everything normally.”
“I could have played Colonial – easily – but it would have been stupid and [my wrist] could have been lingering the entire year,” he said. “This injury should never be an issue again in my life, as long as I do the proper things and don’t do anything stupid. That’s why I waited as long as I did.”
6. Not a fan
The Herald’s (Scotland) Nick Rodger…
  • “As everyday life hurtles along at a furious rate of knots, the golf season too is hammering on. Three men’s majors have already been played and in just four weeks’ time the curtain will come down on the quartet of grand slam events at the Open Championship. It’s rather like uploading a Youtube video onto your laptop and quickly spooling through to the best bits.”
  • “It’s all happening a bit too quickly for my liking,” gasped Colin Montgomerie as the dust settled on last weekend’s US Open even though there’s still probably dust lingering from the previous majors of the US PGA Championship and the Masters.”
7. Jin Young Ko dreaming of Brooks?
Golfweek’s Beth Ann Nichols…“On a day when LPGA stars filed in and out of the press room at the KPMG Women’s PGA, Ko delivered the line of the day. When asked what it is that she likes about Koepka and how he inspires her play, Ko said: “I met him in my dream, and then we had really great time.”
  • “…He always (has) like a poker face and then like stone.”
  • Ko, 23, put her arms out wide and said, “I like big guy.”
8. What Gary was aiming for
Our Gianni Magliocco…“U.S. Open Champion Gary Woodland made an appearance at SiriusXM’s Manhattan studios on Tuesday, where he sat down to discuss a multitude of topics with Adam Schein on his Mad Dog Sports Radio program – Schein on Sports.”
  • “Woodland also discussed beating Tiger Woods’ total of 12-under-par from the 2000 U.S. Open at Pebble Beach. The 35-year-old first mentioned how he recognized that Woods won that tournament by 15 strokes, before adding how he was aware of beating his 72-hole total, saying…”
  • “I knew it, but I was trying to two-putt. I wasn’t trying to make that putt. Once it got halfway there and it went in I obviously let the emotion out. My caddie came over to tell me congrats and I said, ‘You know that clipped Tiger by one?’ And he said, ‘No I didn’t.’ He was focused on the wrong stuff, he was focused on winning, I was focused on beating that record.”
9. A Phireside chat
How to introduce Phil Mickelson’s first Phireside with Phil video…? Mickelson tells a story of an early morning restart at the Memorial some years back and a, um, crappy situation.
My question: This is a clear violation of the rules of tournament play. Is there a provision for situations that make the hole/toilet unusable after restart and necessitate cutting a new cup?

 

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TaylorMade signs Matthew Wolff to a multi-year deal; Wolff WITB

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TaylorMade Golf has officially announced the signing of Matthew Wolff on a multi-year agreement that will see the 20-year-old play the company’s metal woods, irons, wedges, putter and ultimately, TaylorMade’s flagship golf ball, the TP5x.

Wolff had previously unveiled that he would be making his professional debut at this week’s Travelers Championship, and just as top prospect Collin Morikawa did earlier at this month’s Canadian Open, Wolff will do so as a TaylorMade staffer.

The NCAA All-American and 2019 NCAA Division I individual champion made his debut on the PGA Tour at the Waste Management Phoenix Open earlier this year where he finished T50 after opening his week with a round of five-under par.

Matthew Wolff WITB

Driver: TaylorMade M6 (8 degrees)
Shaft: Graphite Design TP 7TX

Fairway Wood: TaylorMade M6 (15 degrees)
Shaft: Project X HZRDUS Smoke 6.5 TX

Utility Iron: TaylorMade P760 (2)
Shaft: Nippon Modus 130x

Irons: TaylorMade P750 Tour Proto (3-PW)
Shafts: Nippon Modus 130x

Wedges: TaylorMade Milled Grind Raw (52, 56, 62 degrees)
Shaft: True Temper Dynamic Gold X100

Putter: TaylorMade Spider X Copper

 

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5 questions with Justin Kinney of Virtual Golf Caddy

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We chatted with Justin Kinney, founder and CEO of startup Virtual Golf Caddy about his product, which serves both courses and players, by offering drone arial photography of golf courses (with graphics overlayed).

While drone photography and videography of golf courses is an established phenomenon, using the photos and video for better course management and preparation is a relatively new approach.

We wanted to learn more about what VGC is doing, and Kinney was kind enough to answer a handful of questions and include an example of the company’s work.

1. Tell us a bit about your background

I am 38 years old, born and raised in Connecticut. Lifelong golfer. Just finishing up my career as a middle school math teacher to focus on VGC full-time. I also have five years of business experience managing people’s retirement accounts. I played as many sports as I could growing up, and love the thrill of competition.

2. What’s the opportunity you saw?

I agreed to caddie for one of my students two summers ago. When researching the courses he was going to play, there was NO info on the courses. I thought there was a huge opportunity to provide course management strategies for players and give players a view of the entire courses with drones. No one was really doing anything like that, so I spent the past two years working on and building my business plan. Two months ago I secured funding to work on this full-time.

3. What is Virtual Golf Caddy, exactly?

VGC is a golf preparation and mental conditioning program designed to help give golfers a game plan to attack courses with. We provide drone views of each hole as well as course management strategies on how to best play each hole. Shot suggestions are given based on how far and confident players hit their clubs. We include mental conditioning tips and exercises to help players “zone in” more often and consistently. We are considering getting into golf fitness and nutrition as well to help build the whole golfer. Players purchase access to each course’s videos and info for either $15 or $25 per course, depending on how much info they want. They get unlimited access to the videos and can watch them wherever (home, airport, hotel, course).

4. What stage is the business in, and can you show us an example of VCG in action? 

We are still in the start-up phase. We are making agreements with and filming at courses. The website is being redesigned and will be up in June. It appears like things may take off quickly so stay tuned!

For an example, check out the video below.

6. What else should GolfWRX members know?

We are looking for courses to partner with. We will give courses free publicity on our site, a promotional video from the footage to use on their site, and share 15 percent of their courses profits with them. A win-win for everyone involved! If readers know of any courses, please email us.

One other thing to add: the mental prep/conditioning program is being built by renowned sports psychologist Bill Cole, MS, MA. It is legit and comes from over 40 years of research and experience! We’re also pursuing options in fitness and nutrition.

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