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Wyndham Championship Preview

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This is the last week before the playoffs start, and no I am not talking about nascar, baseball or football, or hockey.  We are talking about golf and the FedEx cup which will start following the conclusion of this weeks Wyndham Championship.  Despite the lack of fire power this week, there will be some fireworks as the season long, $10 million dollar FedEx cup field will be set on Sunday afternoon.

Formerly known as the Greater Greensboro Open, The Wyndham Championship will be held at the Forest Oaks Country Club, in Greensboro, North Carolina.  One of the oldest events on the tour, this week will mark the 68th occasion for North Carolina’s premiere golf event.  The par 72, 7,311 yard layout was redesigned by Davis Love III in 2002.  Love, who also happens to be the defending champion of this week’s event, did not believe the redesign aided in his victory, "I don’t think Jack (Nicklaus) or Arnold (Palmer) or any of those guys that built a lot of courses have found that it’s the secret. You don’t get any secret knowledge. When you hit the golf ball it doesn’t know who designed the course. It just knows where you send it."  Since the redesign Love has received nothing but complements on his efforts.  Many players including Rocco Mediate echoed the same sentiment, "Now it’s better than it was 20 years ago, when it was awesome."  Great praises from your peers. 

This week’s field will include Bubba Watson, Lucas Glover, Carl Petterson, Steve Flesch, John Senden, and Joe Durant. Pablo Martin, the highly touted Brazilian golfer received a sponsor’s invitation and will be in the field.  Glover, who was just selected onto his first president’s cup team, will be looking to show that his selection to the team was no fluke.  Petterson, who is the highest ranked player in the field at 48th in the world, played his college golf locally at N.C. State and lives in Raleigh.  Also keep an eye on John Rollins, and Brandt Snedeker, both of whom come into the event looking to move up on the FedEx cup points list.  Davis Love III, and K.J. Choi both withdrew this week due to medical problems. The defending champion, Davis Love III, is scheduled for surgery to remedy a kidney stone problem that has been ailing him for some time.  A disappointed Love said, "I was hoping that we could take care of this matter between tournaments but my doctor has advised me to take care of it as quickly as possible."  Choi, who cited fatigue as the reason for his late withdrawal is another late loss for this weeks event as he was the highest ranked player in the field. 

The Wyndham Championship has a storied history and many greats have hoisted the trophy in victory.  Sam Snead has to be the greatest of the champions, having won the event eight times.  Some of the other past champions of this event include, K.J. Choi, Mark O’Meara, Davis Love III, Hal Sutton, Steve Elkington, Seve Ballesteros, Raymond Floyd, and Frank Noblio.  Nobilo’s story has to be one of the better ones because he was actually going to skip the event until his then roommate, Ernie Els, convinced him to honor his commitment and play in the event.  That victory would be his crown jewel as it would be his sole PGA Tour victory in 173 starts. He made the cut 63 percent of the time on the PGATOUR and finished in the top 25 more than 35 times.

There will be 25,000 FedEx Cup points available this week.  The $5 million dollar purse will allow the winner to take home a check of $900,000 dollars. 

Television Coverage

Thursday         8/16     3-6 PM ET GOLF
Friday              8/17      3-6 PM ET GOLF
Saturday          8/18     1-4 PM ET CBS
Sunday            8/19     1-4 PM ET CBS

Championship Website

www.wyndhamchampionship.com

 

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Morning 9: Why Reed was the right Prez Cup pick | Undercover Tour Pro: We know the cheaters | Jason Day

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1. Reed was the right call
Golfweek’s Adam Schupak praises Captain Woods’ selection of one Patrick Reed…”Woods could have justified the selection of the hot hand, Kevin Na, who has won twice in his past 10 starts, including at the Shriners Hospitals for Children Open in October. He could’ve picked Rickie Fowler and few would have batted an eye. He could have ignored the standings and current form and gone for veteran leadership and taken Phil Mickelson or went with his gut and Jordan Spieth.”
  • “But Woods made the right call in taking the 29-year-old Reed to round out his team going to Australia this December, despite the fact that, as the saying goes, his baggage doesn’t fit in the overhead compartment.”
  • “Definitely was fired up to get the phone call from Tiger saying that I was a pick and that he can’t wait for me to be a part of the team and that I’d bring a lot to the team,” Reed said in a conference call with media on Tuesday night. “That means a lot, especially coming from one of the greatest golfers ever to live on this planet. For him to trust in me and the team to trust in me means a lot because it means that I’ve worked hard and that I’m doing what I’m supposed to be doing, and that’s try to go out and play the best golf I can.”
2. What’s eating Jason Day?
Golf Channel’s Will Gray…”Day has had a mediocre year by his lofty standards, as the former world No. 1 is down to 29th in the latest world rankings. That’s his lowest position since before the 2013 Masters, and it’s a byproduct of a solid but unspectacular stretch that has included just one top-10 finish since the Masters.”
  • “Speaking to reporters at Mayakoba, Day shared that he didn’t have a trainer for most of the year, a decision he regretted after a back injury sparked his withdrawal at Bay Hill and lingered throughout the season.”
  • “…He also pointed the finger to a revolving door on his bag. Day has employed four different caddies this year, including a short-lived union with Steve Williams. He’s back to friend David Lutterus this week on the El Camaleon course.”
  • “I went through three caddies – I’m on my fourth – and my back was injured. Like, that’s not a good formula for success,” Day said. “What do I need to be successful? I need to not have to worry about any of this. All those things that I was worrying about throughout the year is a distraction.”

Full piece.

3. We know who the cheaters are
The Undercover Tour Pro says on the PGA Tour, everyone knows who the cheaters are but there’s little to be done…
  • “Earlier in the week, I remember nearly spitting out my drink when I read what Phil Mickelson said in his press conference. His quote was, “I know a number of guys on tour that are loose with how they mark the ball and have not been called on it. I mean, they’ll move the ball two, three inches in front of their mark, and this is an intentional way to get it out of any type of impression and so forth, and I think that kind of stuff needs to stop.”
  • “Now, if there’s anyone prone to hyperbole, it’s Phil. The truth is, there’s exactly one guy who is known to mis-mark his ball by two or three inches. Ask any player about cheating, and they’ll all tell you the same name. I was paired with this notorious individual recently, and I witnessed it. Using his hand to obscure the distance behind the ball, he picks up his coin so fast that you almost can’t be certain of what you’ve just seen. But when you see it enough times, it becomes pretty obvious. What’s more, this was just after the anchor ban, and he was using a long putter. He wears baggy shirts, but I could tell that he was anchoring. After the round, we got into a heated debate in the scoring trailer when I refused to sign his card. He claimed that if the end of his grip touched his chest, it was accidental. The way the rule is written, it’s all about intent, and an official signed his card.”

Full piece.

4. Ancer grinding for Prez Cup form
PGATour.com’s Cameron Morfit…”Ancer, 28, made history earlier this year when he was one of eight players to earn a spot on the International Presidents Cup Team, which will take on the U.S. at Royal Melbourne, Dec. 12-15. He is the first Mexican to make the International side.”
  • “It’s a big deal for a Mexican to be on that team,” said countryman Carlos Ortiz. “We’re all going to be watching.”
  • “That’s a sentiment shared by others, but Ancer, who last season finished 21st in the FedExCup, has been admittedly slow to let it sink in. He’s simply been too busy.”
  • “I know it’s big,” Ancer said at El Camaleón Golf Club, where he played a rain-delayed nine holes in the pro-am Wednesday. “I get so caught up in like just playing good every week. I’m just so focused when I’m doing that, kind of (need to) take a step back and really think this is something that’s never been done before, which I’m really proud of and I’m really excited.”
5. Fast Eddie gets his card
Eddie Fernandes, five times a Q-School failure in the early 2000s, reborn as a long driver…
  • “…I’d been to Stage 2 once before, but I’d never felt as optimistic as I did this time. Going into the tournament I’d won seven straight mini-tour events-averaging 67.4 strokes per round. I’d coasted through Stage 1.”
  • “And then I missed the cut. Peaked too early, I guess. I was 34. My wife, Eileen, was pregnant with our first child, and I just thought, Eddie, it’s time. Time to take a break from golf and get on with life and having a family.”
  • “I probably played only 20 rounds between 2004 and 2014. I worked as a video-surveillance consultant and opened my own business. I worked in restaurants. I tried a lot of things. And for a long time, I didn’t miss golf. I was focused on providing for my family. But I guess the itch was hiding there somewhere.”

Full piece.

6. Tough decisions 
Golf Digest’s Keely Levins…”Previously in Q school, any college players who earned LPGA membership had to decide immediately whether they would turn pro and play the next season, forgoing any remaining collegiate eligibility. Starting last year with the launch of the Q-Series, collegiate players could turn pro right away and start the LPGA season with the rest of the Q-Series graduates, or defer their status until the end of May and the completion of their collegiate spring season.”
  • “While more flexible than the old rules, the current choice remains difficult. Turn pro right away, and you leave your college team mid-season and miss out on the chance to play in the NCAA Championship (or the newly created Augusta National Women’s Amateur if you’ve qualified). But wait to start your the LPGA season in June, and you leave yourself fewer events to earn enough to be among the top 100 on the money list at season’s end and keep your status for the next year. Failure to finish in the top 100 then puts those players right back where they started: Q-Series.”
  • “In 2018, the first year of the new deferral option, two collegiate players made the choice of skipping the early LPGA events to stay in school: Jennifer Kupcho and Maria Fassi. Both enjoyed the benefits of remaining amateur; Kupcho won the inaugural ANWA and Fassi claimed the NCAA individual title. And then both also retained their LPGA cards after turning pro in June. Kupcho’s rookie season was highlighted by a T-2 at the Evian Championship, helping her finish No. 38 on the money list. Fassi played in 11 events and earned $129,164, good enough to finish No. 98.”

Full piece.

7. Aidan Kramer: scholar, golfer and philanthropist
That’s how Golfweek’s Adam Woodard introduces the collegiate golfer.
  • In the little downtime Kramer has from hitting the books or golf balls, he enjoys watching football and movies or playing ping pong, like most teenagers. That said, he’s unlike most his age, especially when asked about his dream golf foursome. His answers? Bobby Jones, Tiger Woods, Ben Hogan and Arnold Palmer (upon realizing he forgot himself, he would later bench Hogan).
  • For the last two years, his free time has also been spent working with Orlando’s local Fairways for Warriors organization, which is dedicated to decreasing the number of veterans who commit suicide and helping them readjust to civilian life when they return from combat.
  • “They use the game of golf to bring people together and form camaraderie between veterans,” explained Kramer. “It’s really been amazing to see the impact (Fairways for Warriors) has had on veterans in the area.”
  • “Kramer not only volunteers. He also started an equipment drive for the veterans in need through donations from local golfers, equipment manufacturers and clubs in the area.”
8. Video-game based friendship
Excellent stuff on a unique friendship from Cameron Morfit...”Not quite a year after a chance encounter on “Call of Duty,” Harold Varner III finally met gamer pal Arturo at the Mayakoba Golf Classic on Tuesday. Carlos Ortiz, one of seven players representing Mexico here, and Preston Lyon, Varner’s childhood friend and agent – both of whom also know Arturo through the game – were also on site.”
  • “They’ve spent hundreds, maybe thousands of hours together, but this was the first time they had met in person.”
  • “I can’t believe this is happening,” said Arturo, a 22-year-old college student from Mexico, smiling through his braces. He wore jeans and a red Tommy Hilfiger sweater and admitted to being too nervous to have slept much the night before.

Full piece.

9. The man who played too much
Tamar Lapin of the NY Post...”One of Britain’s most exclusive golf clubs gave a member the boot for teeing off too much – and the golfer is striking back with a lawsuit.”
  • “John Cawood, 72, is taking a swing at the Sunningdale Golf Club in Berkshire over claims the club revoked his membership for allegedly playing more than 30 rounds a year, The UK Times reported.”
  • “The club charges a reported $77,000 to join, with high-profile members including former James Bond actor Sean Connery, Hugh Grant and ex-soccer pro Gary Lineker.”
  • “Cawood, a retired lawyer from Australia, was paying a yearly discounted overseas membership of about $1,500 – until members in 2011 began to gripe that he was hitting the green too often.”
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Morning 9: Kuchar on caddiegate | Billy Mayfair’s messy DQ | Tiger in for Genesis

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By Ben Alberstadt
Email me at ben.alberstadt@golfwrx.com and find me at @benalberstadt on Instagram and golfwrxEIC on Twitter.

November 13, 2019

Good Wednesday morning, golf fans. 
 
**Just a reminder we’re looking for advertisers for 2020. Drop me a line if you’d like to talk about getting your message in front of the M9 readership.** 

 

1. Kuchar on caddiegate
Golfweek’s Adam Schupak…”Matt Kuchar concedes he made a mistake last year when he didn’t reward David Giral Ortiz, his fill-in caddie during his victory at the Mayakoba Golf Classic, with a fitting tip for a job well done.”
  • “What happened post tournament with David is something I’m not proud of, made some headlines that certainly I’m definitely not proud of, but I’ve done my best to make amends, to make things right with David, to do things right by the community,” Kuchar said on Tuesday in his pre-tournament press conference.”
  • …”It’s a moment I’m not proud of, but it’s one of those things you do your best as a father to teach kids lessons, and there’s no better thing than to show them – taking the lead and showing them the right steps to take. When you have moments you’re not proud of, you make amends for them, you do your best to make it right and try to keep moving forward and staying positive,” he said on Tuesday. “I think I equate it a lot to team sports, you know. You learn a lot in losses, you learn a lot in hard times. Certainly it’s given me an opportunity for growth, for self-betterment.  I try in situations to definitely not make that mistake again but to be better in so many areas, to try to be more charitable, try to be more giving, try to take more opportunities to do the right things and do really good things.”

Full piece.

2. Disappointing grandma!
ESPN’s Bob Harig…”Now, a year later and back at the PGA Tour event near Cancun, Mexico, Kuchar, 41, again apologized on Tuesday and noted that he even heard from his grandmother in the aftermath of the controversy.”
  • “That was a tough thing on me and my family, but it was really tough when I heard from my grandmother and she’s reading headlines about her grandson,” said Kuchar, who will have his regular caddie, John Wood, on the bag this week. “I think I’ve always tried to make her proud. I’ve got kids of my own, you try to set a good example.”
  • “I’m disappointed in myself. It’s a moment I’m not proud of, but it’s one of those things you do your best as a father to teach kids lessons, and there’s no better thing than to show them, you do your best to make it right and try to keep moving forward and stay positive.”

Full piece.

3. Tiger commits to Genesis Invitational 
Golf Channel’s Will Gray…“Tiger Woods has committed to play in the 2020 Genesis Invitational, where he will serve as tournament host for an event with newfound status.”
“Woods made his PGA Tour debut at Riviera Country Club as a 16-year-old amateur in 1992, and in February he’ll return to headline the field for what was formerly known as the Genesis Open. Last year the PGA Tour granted the event elevated status, meaning the field will be trimmed from 144 to 120 players, the purse will jump from $7.4 million to $9.3 million and the winner will receive a three-year Tour exemption rather than the two-year exemption that most other tournament winners get.”
4. Big rights push
Via Geoff Shackelford…”When news of CBS securing Champions League rights broke over the weekend, there was a natural question about what this meant for their PGA Tour rights.”
“SBD’s John Ourand considers takeaways from Champions acquisition and notes:”
  • “….I’m told that CBS has put forth an aggressive bid for PGA Tour rights, which is expected to be decided by the end of the year. Last fall, in a minor surprise, it renewed a deal for the PGA Championship. Under the direction of Sean McManus and David Berson, CBS Sports always has prided itself on deep relationships and historically has had success keeping the rights it wants…”

 

5. Mayfair’s mess
Where to begin with this one? Michael Bamberger penned a massive missive on Billy Mayfair’s Champions DQ.
  • “In the space of seven holes, Mayfair had two serious rules issues. By Sunday morning, golf’s two harshest consonants were beside his name, by then at bottom of the full-field list: DQ. There would be no third-week homecoming. Instead, he was consulting with his lawyer.”
  • “Explaining the ‘advice’ rule at the center of the explosive LPGA Q-School rules controversy Mayfair’s first rules problem on the afternoon – Saturday, Nov. 2 – came on the 11th hole, where he had a lengthy search for ball and, later, a seemingly inaccurate recounting of the search to a rules official.”
  • “His second rules problem came on the 17th hole, where his ball moved at least six inches in the rough. The issue there was not the ball’s movement but how Mayfair described the event to a rules official on the scene, versus what actually happened.”
6. Tiger’s sage advice to amateurs
Golf.com’s Jessica Marksbury discussing TW’s appearance on an Australian radio show…“Throughout the chat, Woods sounded like he was in quite an amiable mood, eliciting laughs from the hosts and giving lengthy, thoughtful answers to questions. Woods even offered some advice for recreational players when one of the hosts confessed to being embarrassed by his play during his most recent round of golf.”
  • “To get better, I would say more than anything, try to make little swings and build up, make bigger swings but hit the ball in the middle of the face,” Woods said. “That’s something I stress with every single junior golfer and every amateur, start with a little pitch shot 10 yards, and then 20, 30. Work your way out and try to hit the ball in the middle of the face.
  • “If you can find the middle of the face consistently, your game is going to improve by so many shots, you’re going to enjoy the game so much more, but if you can’t find the middle of the face it’s going to be quite frustrating, and this game is frustrating enough.”

Full piece.

7. McCumber the surfer
Helen Ross profiles surfing aficionado Tyler McCumber, who is playing his debut season on the PGA Tour. Always interesting to hear from a PGA Tour pro who is passionate about something outside the ropes!…”The beach was Tyler’s happy place when he was a kid, and truth be told, it still is. The PGA TOUR rookie started surfing when he was five or six, first learning to stand up on a boogie board and now riding waves in such far-flung places as Australia, Peru, Portugal and Barbados.”
  • “I just fell in love with the ocean,” Tyler says simply. “It became my favorite hobby. I wish I could have made a career out of it, but that wasn’t going to happen.”

Full piece.

8. MacLaren the scribe
Randall Mell on LET golfer Meghan MacLaren’s skill with a pen…”The 25-year-old Englishwoman won her second Ladies European Tour title this year, but she’s making a mark beyond her run at the tour’s Order of Merit title. She has carved out a special place in the game beyond her own golf. She’s a gifted young writer.”
  • “Her blog at megmaclaren.com is like that wardrobe in C.S. Lewis’ book within the “Chronicles of Narnia” series. It’s a gateway that leads to another world behind the one we see. MacLaren is like having Susan Pevensie in the “Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe” as our guide, taking us on an adventure through golf’s hills and valleys, through the challenges young players face.”
  • “MacLaren’s gift is in how delightfully she frames the joy and angst of the beautiful, maddening sport she loves. She writes in a way that makes you feel as if she’s sharing her thoughts with you alone.”

Full piece.

9. “Golf’s ultimate pressure”
Golfweek’s Alistair Tait on what the European Tour Q-School hopefuls will be facing…relative to their tour counterparts.
  • “There’s a lot of pressure riding on this week’s European Tour event. No, not the $7.5 million Nedbank Golf Challenge, but the European Tour Qualifying School.”
  • “There is no pressure in Sun City. These guys have made so much money this season even their caddies are probably looking forward to buying some nice Christmas presents for their loved ones.”
  • “Zander Lombard was the last man into the Nedbank field. He’s earned €516,066.22 this season, $586,671.44 on today’s dollar exchange rate. The guys playing the Final Qualifying Stage at Lumine Golf Club in Tarragona, Spain November 15-20 dream of earning that sort of money.”

 

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The Dufner signing says a lot about Cobra

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Editor’s note: Cobra Golf announced today Jason Dufner is signed to a multi-year full-bag deal.

In all honesty, if you have been following Jason Dufner over the past 9 months, this announcement may not surprise you. He spent 2 years living out every gear heads dream by being an equal opportunity player. He had some epic bags, most notably the drool-worthy National Custom muscle backs finished off with Auburn Tiger BB&Co Ferrules. It was amazing, but even he admits that yes it can be fun messing around but it’s still playing with career fire.

I think it needs to be pointed out that Dufner, believe it or not, is a tough nut to crack when it comes to his clubs. The guy is incredibly smart, precise and knows what he needs….and like Tiger, will not compromise. Those compliments can be a blessing and a challenge for companies all at once. The latter being a guy that is a hard switcher, a hard sell and won’t budge unless it’s perfect.

This critical eye isn’t reserved for only certain clubs, they all have to fit into a very thin pocket. For instance, Jason is a low launch, low spin, average distance player. His lofts are a nod to the late ’90s with a 28 Degree 5 Iron and 48 Degree Pitching Wedge but the guy has no interest in picking up 20 yards. His clubs need to go a certain number every time out of certain flight window. Yes, he looks at Trackman, but imagine selling a car to a guy that isn’t attracted to speed or gadgets but only the granular feel of making a right turn and how far his eyes track over the steering wheel. There are no Trackman numbers for feel and instinct.

But like TaylorMade getting Tiger into an iron he likes, Cobra signing Jason Dufner says more about the quality of work of the people behind the scenes than anything. As a Tour Truck junkie, I’ve gotten to know a bunch of the guys and in particular Ben Schomin of Cobra. As this process went on, I would text him questions about working with JD and I could literally feel his excitement around the process through text.

I can still remember the day late this summer that I saw Cobra wedges in Dufners bag. At that point I knew today was coming. Ben Schomin has become someone Jason trusts, trust that is earned at least equipment wise. Most of the stories around Dufner came around his wedges. The grinds, bounce, shaft, grips need to be perfect and if they are just a whisper off, it’s a non starter. I can only think of a few guys on tour that are like that. Guys that can tell you the yardage and spin numbers on a wedge shot before it even lands…that’s Jason.

So although this signing may seem typical for this time of year, for me it’s awesome. Jason Dufner is extremely interesting to follow, and when he’s playing well, it’s always a good time. But most importantly it’s a testament to the hard work of the folks at Cobra and in particular Ben Schomin. Well done Benny, very well done!

 

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