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Destination Doral: WGC-Cadillac Championship Preview

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By Pete Pappas

GolfWRX Staff Writer

I never imagined these words would be uttered from my lips; let alone believing I’d have the thoughts to begin with.  So forgive me.

But golf is starting to take on a sort of superhero-like meaning to me.  And it’s become the most exciting sport on the planet to watch as well.

Just take a gander at this week’s World Golf Championships-Cadillac Championship, the second WGC of the 2012 PGA Tour season.  Showcasing Florida’s TPC Blue Monster, I dare say it approaches a DC Comics “Hall of Justice” type of gathering.

But instead of a congregation of “Super Friends” in deranged costumes and wacky tights, you have a field of PGA Tour superheroes consisting of 49 international players from 16 different countries, including 16 major championship winners.  And every player from the Official World Golf Rankings Top 50 will be at Doral for only the third time since 2005.

It’s a bird!  It’s a plane!  It’s Bubba Watson’s drive off the tee!  If you have a favorite player, he’s probably in the field.  And every winner from each of the nine PGA Tour events this year will be present.

OK, so who’s the villain?  Why the course itself, of course.  The Blue Monster might not be quite as fabled as the Lock Ness Monster, but it’s definitely far more harrowing, even wicked to the players.  Particularly No. 18, the signature hole; considered by many to be the toughest hole on the PGA Tour.

“If the winds come into you, though, you’ll see all sorts of numbers, “ said Paul Casey, the No. 26-ranked player in the world.  “You never know what’s going to happen on that hole.”

No. 18 is a threatening par 4, 467 yard gauntlet, with a “monstrous” water hazard running up the entire left side (some might recall that Sir Nick Faldo baptized his tee shot in 1995), and a glutinous sprawl of palm trees sitting in deep, wiry Bermuda rough on the right side (flyers and knucklers from these parts).

Players fortunate to be lying unscathed in the fairway should wait to count their blessings though.  On approach they will fire into a severely sloped green, with wayward shots finding miscreant water (still) on the left, and an ungenerous host of bunkers on the right. 

“Tough tee shot, tough second shot, take your four and run, said the No. 15-ranked player in the world, Graeme McDowell.

Yeah, good luck with that. It’s right out of Dante’s Inferno, the PGA Tour’s version of the “Ninth Circle of Hell” (Treachery).

Never Tell Me The Odds

RORY MCILROY (6/1).  Can lighting strike twice?  McIlroy is the frontrunner to be the first back-to-back winner, and multiple-winner on the PGA Tour this season.  Yes he’s the world’s No. 1 ranked player.  Yes his ability is extraordinary.  But he’s also won on the PGA Tour a total of (drum-roll) three times.

McIlroy is still only an “idea”.  He’s a player in gestation.  His potential not yet realized in any outward form.  And it wasn’t so long ago McIlroy was being called the new Sergio Garcia: emphatically talented, prodigiously whiny, and extremely immature (recall McIlroy lamenting the British Open weather in 2011).

I’m not saying McIlroy is overrated, or that he won’t prosper for many years.  He has abundant and uncommon talent, no question.  And he is currently playing better than anyone on tour.

But I am saying the young Irishman has the same number of major wins as guys named Vic Ghezzi, Mungo Park, and Dow Finsterwald.  Let McIlroy win a few more times before he’s crowned greatest player in the game today.

TIGER WOODS (7/1).  Tiger has clawed his way back to No. 16 in the World Golf Rankings.  He’s a six-time WGC winner, including one victory at Doral.  And he’s never finished outside the top 10 at the WGC-Cadillac Championships.

However what might be most important, is what Tiger’s final-round 62 last week at The Honda Classic meant. It was the best final round of his career.

No one’s asking “What’s wrong with Woods?” anymore.  A charging Tiger with birdie-eagle finish on No. 17 and No. 18 at the Honda put everyone on notice that he’s still very dangerous. And it’s no longer a matter of process (Tiger often referring to his comeback many times as a process), but a matter of time.

And don’t think Tiger didn’t hear what McIloy said when asked about a Woods-McIlroy rivalry?  “I think it’s more the media that build up the rivalries more than anyone else.” McIlroy said.  “In golf, you can have a rival if you want, but at the end of the day, your biggest rival is the golf course.  You have to beat that,” he said.

We saw what happened last week when reporter Alex Miceli made Tiger mad.  You mess with the Tiger; you get the teeth (something like that).  A Woods-McIlroy final grouping on Sunday is very possible.  And very intriguing.

PHIL MICKELSON (12/1).  His days are numbered.  He’s too old.  Diminishing skills.  He’s playing with a debilitating injury.

You remember those yahoos don’t you?  Heck, you might have even been one of the howling naysayers.  It’s ok, you weren’t alone.

Well after winning the AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am, and nearly winning the Northern Trust Open after forcing a playoff with a flabbergasting putt on No. 18, you now know that his days aren’t numbers, right?

And with Tiger joining Mickelson in the field for the first time since Pebble, “Lefty” gets an opportunity to wax Woods.  Again. 

LEE WESTWOOD (14/1).  Westwood has to be the PGA Tour’s version of Rodney Dangerfield.  How else do you explain going out Sunday at Honda, shooting a final round 63, and barely getting mentioned on Monday?

Yes it was the Rory-Tiger Show last week.  But we’re talking about a final round 63.  We’re talking about the No. 3 player in the world.  We’re talking about his best final round score in America.  And no one made a peep in the mainstream media.  No one said a word about it.

So I’m putting Westwood in the top four on principle alone.  Westwood’s two fourth-place finishes in two PGA Tour events entered this year (WGC-Accenture Match Play Championship and Honda) also signals his readiness to take on the TPC Blue Monster.

Of course he could always just bounce his tee shot down a spectator’s sweater again (like he did on the par 5, No. 13 at Northern Trust) to get noticed.  But it’d probably be easier if he just wins the WGC-Cadillac Championship. 

The Super Sleepers

LUKE DONALD (25/1).  Last year’s “Donald Double” (finishing on top of the money list on both the PGA and European Tours) was unprecedented.  And the PGA Tour’s reigning Player of the Year finished inside the top 10 a staggering 20 times in 26 events entered last year

But Donald, who spent 40 weeks at No. 1 in the World Golf Rankings before losing his spot to McIlroy last week, really hasn’t been in the mix yet in 2012 (T-33 at WGC-Accenture, T-56 at Northern Trust).

A T-6 finish last year at TPC Blue Monster bodes well for Donald.  However he’ll need to find his touch around the greens that made him the world’s best golfer in 2011 (fifth best on tour last year in sand saves, compared to No. 168 this year; and No. 41 last year in GIR, but outside the top 150 this year).

MATT KUCHAR (30/1).  In 2010 Kuchar finished T-3 at TPC Blue Monster.  In 2011 he finished T-5.  Kuchar likes Doral, no two ways about it.

And his T-5 finish this year at WGC-Accenture showed he’s currently in a good place with his game.  Don’t be surprised to see the World No. 14 pick up his fourth career win on the PGA Tour this week.

HUNTER MAHAN (30/1).  Mahan defeated McIlroy two-and-one at WGC-Accenture two weeks ago, jumping up to No. 10 in the world with his victory.  And a win Sunday at Doral gives him the opportunity to become only the third player to win three or more WGC events (Woods and Geoff Ogilvy).

Mahan’s ball striking has been sharp in 2012.  He’s No. 21 in GIR.  But at T-87 in driving distance, he’ll be at a marked disadvantage from the rest of the field on the long fairways of TPC Blue Monster.

Boulevard of Broken Dreams

DUSTIN JOHNSON (25/1).  I hate to put Johnson in this group, but given his talent and near misses, he remains one of the biggest disappointments on tour.  To his credit he did finish well (T-5 at Pebble, and T-4 at Northern Trust), and has three top 10 finishes this year.

But he just seems to have a knack for taking holes off, and falters when it matters most.  He had the 54-hole lead last year here at the TPC Blue Monster, but I haven’t seen anything this year to suggest he’ll avoid breaking down at some point and contend at Doral.

NICK WATNEY (25/1).  I probably shouldn’t put Watney in this group; clearly he’s the defending champion, and has a runner-up finish here to boot.  He played well knocking out Woods at the WGC-Accenture, before being eliminated by Westwood the following round.

Like Donald, he’s been somewhat slow to start the season, at least by Watney’s own standards.  He’s grabbed one top 10 finish in his five events played in 2012.  But every tournament he’s had trouble scoring (he’s ranked 114th in scoring with a 71.33 average).  And I don’t see him turning it on at Doral.

Perfect Pairings

McIlroy, Donald, Westwood

With the top 24 players being grouped by their place in the Official World Golf Rankings, this is unquestionably the spotlight pairing.  No. 1 McIlroy, No. 2 Donald, and No. 3 Westwood also are the last three men to hold the No. 1 ranking in the world.  When the sun falls over Doral on Sunday evening, any of them could be No 1.

And don’t discount the little feud between McIlroy and Westwood that kindled late last year when McIlroy fired mutual agent Chubby Chandler.  When Westwood learned about the dismissal, he publicly tweeted “bizarre decision” to McIlroy. That of course led the mercurial McIlroy to “unfollow” Westwood on twitter.

Woods, Sergio Garcia, Watney

Woods is third in scoring average on tour, and fifth in driving accuracy.  Watney is No. 131 in driving distance at 283.6 yards, and No. 18 in GIR at 70.14 percent.  Sergio Garcia looks to build on the momentum he gained at Northern Trust, when he shot seven-under on Sunday, jumping 45 spots up the leader board.

Mickelson, Mahan, Adam Scott

Mickelson is the PGA Tour Player of the Month.  Mahan is ranked No. 10 in the world, and No. 10 in scoring average.  Adam Scott is ranked No. 11 in the world.

Alvaro Quiros, Kyle Stanley, Gary Woodland

Big bombers in this group; and that gives them a distinct advantage at Doral.  Quiros averages 315.9 yards on the European Tour.  Stanley, winner of the 2012 Waste Management Phoenix Open, is second on PGA Tour in driving distance averaging 307.6 yards (behind only Bubba Watson).  And Woodland is ranked No. 23 in driving distance at 298.9 yards.

Justin Rose, Bubba Watson, Mark Wilson,

Rose was in contention one shot back of McIlroy last week at Honda until he put one in the drink at No. 15.  Wilson is already a winner this year at the WGC-Accenture, and has played well all season with two top 10 finishes.  And there’s talk Bubba might incorporate a “Lebron James’ chalk toss” into his pre-shot routine.  “You’re welcome!”

Notes:

Television Coverage:

Thursday 2 – 6 p.m. EST, Golf Channel.

Friday 2 – 6 p.m. EST, Golf Channel.

Saturday 12 – 2 p.m. EST, Golf Channel; 2 – 6 p.m. EST, NBC.

Sunday 1 – 3 p.m. EST, Golf Channel; 3 – 7 p.m. EST, NBC.

Radio Coverage:

SiriusXM Satellite Radio

Thursday – Saturday, 12 – 6 p.m. EST.

Sunday, 1 – 7 p.m. EST.

Odds:
Odds provided by Las Vegas PGA Tour Golf Betting Odds.

Click here for more discussion in the “Tour Talk” forum.

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Pete is a journalist, commentator, and interviewer covering the PGA Tour, new equipment releases, and the latest golf fashions. Pete's also a radio and television personality who's appeared multiple times on ESPN radio, and Fox Sports All Bets Are Off. And when he's not running down a story, he's at the range working on his game. Above all else, Pete's the proud son of a courageous mom who battled pancreatic cancer much longer than anyone expected. You can follow Pete on twitter @PGAPappas

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GolfWRX Morning 9: Mickelson’s mea culpa | Pros slay USGA | RIP to a pair of HOFers

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Good morning, GolfWRX members. As most of you are signed up for our newsletters, you likely already know that I’ve been sending this little Morning 9 roundup of nine items of note.

In case you’ve missed it, or you prefer to read on site rather than in your email, we’re including it here. Check out today’s Morning 9 below.

If you’re not signed up for our newsletters, you can subscribe here.

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

 

June 21, 2018

Good Thurday morning, golf fans. Four days after the end of the U.S. Open, the items dominating the news wire all pertain to negative elements of the national championship. Injecting this for balance: Brooks Koepka played really well!
1. Mickelson’s mea culpa
Four days after his inglorious performance on Shinnecock’s 13th green, Phil Mickelson sent a text message to a group of reporters that included the words, “I’m sorry.”
  • “I know this should’ve come sooner, but it’s taken me a few days to calm down. My anger and frustration got the best of me last weekend. I’m embarrassed and disappointed by my actions. It was clearly not my finest moment and I’m sorry.”
  • Critics will say the apology is too late in coming and doesn’t go far enough. Supporters, those amused by Mickelson’s antics, will see it as a PR gesture in the face of pressure to atone.
2. “Mike Davis is Dean Wormer”
PGA Tour players are slaying the USGA and its chief Mike Davis

Just look at these quotes from Brian Wacker’s bit for Golf Digest.

  • “It’s a private fraternity and you abide by their rules,” one multiple major winner said. “[USGA CEO] Mike Davis is Dean Wormer, except the ending is not as good as Animal House.”
  • James Hahn: “To me, that’s amateur hour...They don’t know how to run a professional event because they don’t run professional events.”
  • “Not only have we lost trust in the USGA as players, but I’ve lost trust in our national open to be in the hands of an organization like that. For how well other tournaments are run, the U.S. Open has fallen to the worst major that we have.”
  • “A lot of players are disenchanted with the organization, the tournament and the setup,” said a former winner of the event. “No, I don’t trust them.”
3. McIlroy laughed too                                                                   
The image of 48-year-old Phil Mickelson jogging after his golf ball on the 13th green at Shinnecock, Saturday, was bizarrely comedic. Even if you condemn Mickelson in the strongest of terms, taken on its face, the scene is a silly one.
  • That said, it’s interesting that two of the biggest names in the game–Rory McIlroy and Jordan Spieth– had the same response: laughter. Speaking before the Travelers Championship, Rory McIlroy said
  • “I saw what happened…and honestly, I laughed. I felt there was a massive overreaction to it. Knowing Phil, he knew what he was doing, and as a player who has been in that head space before in a tournament, I can see it happening.”
4. RIP to a pair of greats of the game
News of the passings of Hubert Green and Peter Thomson hit the wires yesterday. Thomson, 88, had been battling Alzheimers, and throat cancer felled Green, 71. (No disrespect intended by not leading with this story; death is, I know, a helluva lot more significant than the USGA or the ramifications of its course setups.)
  • Hubert Green’s obituary, here.
5. Spieth’s blackout
No, nothing alcohol induced, but rather, Jordan Spieth reflected on his Travelers Championship-winning bunker hole-out and the jubilant celebration (and botched chest bump) that followed.
  • “Just that celebration in general, I blacked out,” Spieth said. “It drops and you just react. For me, I’ve had a few instances where I’ve been able to celebrate or react on a 72nd, 73rd hole, 74th hole, whatever it may be, and it just shows how much it means to us.”
  • “There’s been a lot of pretty bad celebrations on the PGA Tour. There’s been a lot of missed high-fives…I’ve been part of plenty of them. Pretty hard to miss when I’m going into Michael for a chest bump.”
6. What is “feel” in putting, really?
PGA Master Professional Rod Lidenberg offers a thorough introduction to the stimpmeter and how determining green speeds is the basis for “feel.”
  • He writes: “The key to the entire process is allowing yourself to make a subconscious connection between what your eyes have observed and the associated outcome. You must then trust what you have learned at a sub-conscious level. A conscious attempt to produce a given outcome will short-circuit the system. When it comes to judging speed, you must be prepared to surrender your conscious mind to your sub-conscious mind, which is infinitely wiser and more capable of calculating speed.”
7. Cool! Coul plans passed
The Coore & Crenshaw project near Royal Dornoch, Coul Links, has gotten the go-ahead.
Here’s something of a pull-back-the-curtain portion on the road to approval from the press release (h/t Geoff Shackelford)
  • “First, a world class links course near Dornoch would prove economically transformational, perhaps creating the Highlands as the third major golf destination in Scotland.”
  • “Second, Coul Links is an extraordinary site ecologically and our plans will improve it. We will disturb 13.4 hectares of dune habitat, but we will improve 20 hectares and provide a site management plan in perpetuity.
  • “The people in the community of Embo have spoken confidently with their outstanding support. We are humbled and thankful to be their neighbours and partners.
  • “Third, after three exhaustive years, virtually everyone in the Highlands wants this project completed. Yes, there are objectors with legitimate concerns, and we respect them but make no doubt the voice of the people has been heard.
8. Phil’s robo froyo
Not an Onion story; real thing that is actually happening here. Phil Mickelson and his manager/business partner, Steve Loy have signed a deal with Generation NEXT Franchise Brands, Inc. and its flagship subsidiary, Reis & Irvy’s, to open 30 yogurt locations in San Diego.
  • We’ll just quote directly from the press release, because, who can paraphrase language like this?
  • “Reis & Irvy’s-branded signature robot characters of the same name can dispense servings of frozen yogurt, ice cream, gelatos and sorbet topped with a selection of six delicious toppings in under 60 seconds. With self-checkout touch screen ordering and payment options, video animation, music and delicious frozen dessert provided exclusively by Dannon, robot vendors meet consumer demand for convenience, entertainment and a superior quality product.”
9. Place your bets 
A quick look at the favorites for the Travelers Championship (via Bovada)
  • Justin Thomas +1200
  • Rory McIlroy +1200
  • Jordan Spieth +1400
  • Brooks Koepka +1600
  • Patrick Reed +1600
  • Jason Day +1600
  • Paul Casey +2000
  • Webb Simpson +2000
  • Marc Leishman +2500
  • Bryson DeChambeau +2500
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Phil Mickelson apologizes for U.S. Open display

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Phil Mickelson has apologized for his actions at Shinnecock Hills, Saturday.

In a text sent to a select group of reporters, Mickelson said Wednesday

“I know this should’ve come sooner, but it’s taken me a few days to calm down. My anger and frustration got the best of me last weekend. I’m embarrassed and disappointed by my actions. It was clearly not my finest moment and I’m sorry.”

Mickelson spoke briefly with reporters after exiting the scoring tent, Saturday. To refresh, it was then that he said

“It’s certainly not meant (to show disrespect). It’s meant to take advantage of the rules as best you can. In that situation I was just, I was just going back and forth. I’ll gladly take the two shots over continuing that display,” and “I’ve had multiple times when I’ve wanted to do that, and I finally did.”

The left-hander didn’t speak with the media Sunday, and he hadn’t issued any statements prior to the text.

He was penalized two shots for hitting a ball in motion, but the USGA stopped short of disqualifying Mickelson, believing that his actions didn’t constitute a “serious breach” of the rules. Mickelson spoke with USGA chief Mike Davis at length about the incident, and the governing body remained steadfast in its conclusion.

Responses from the media and his peers ranged from amusement, to support, to outright condemnation. Additionally, just how calculated Mickelson’s actions were was a subject for debate, with some believing Mickelson merely lost his head and the calculated “taking advantage of the rules” explanation was merely a post hoc invention.

The apology, and the timing and method of the apology, will do little to satisfy Mickelson’s critics on the matter. For those, like Jordan Spieth, who believe Mickelson was merely using the rules in his favor, the mea culpa was likely unnecessary.

Surely, the text message will not put the incident to bed.

Mickelson is next expected in the field in two weeks at The Greenbrier.

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GolfWRX Morning 9: Mickelson still on pros’ minds | Scotty Cameron speaks

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Good morning, GolfWRX members. As most of you are signed up for our newsletters, you likely already know that I’ve been sending this little Morning 9 roundup of nine items of note.

In case you’ve missed it, or you prefer to read on site rather than in your email, we’re including it here. Check out today’s Morning 9 below.

If you’re not signed up for our newsletters, you can subscribe here.

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

 

June 20 2018

Good Wednesday morning, golf fans. What a golf world we live in. I’ve been getting a few emails from readers saying someone from the USGA mispronounced low amateur Matt Parziale’s last name during the U.S. Open trophy ceremony. I didn’t see it; but if so, good grief.
1. Mickelson on their minds

 

Perhaps you’re tired of hearing about Phil Mickelson’s actions Saturday at Shinnecock, but players on the PGA Tour aren’t tired of talking about the subject. Additionally, several gentlemen’s early U.S. Open exits means this week at the Travelers is the media’s first chance to catch up with them (Spieth, McIlroy, Day).
  • …and of course, anonymous takes! (via Brian Wacker) “He should’ve been disqualified,” insisted one former major champion. “Why don’t these governing bodies just enforce the friggin’ rules? It was like Tiger [at the Masters] in 2013. That was a hard one, but this one Phil knew what he did and told everyone what he did, which was worse. It’s like robbing a place, walking out and saying to the cops ‘I did it,’ and the cops go, ‘It’s OK, it’s just you.'”
  • Brandt Snedeker: “He hit a moving ball and tried to use the rules to his advantage,” said Brandt Snedeker, who was among those who thought Mickelson should not have been DQed. “The USGA had a chance to disqualify him for being egregious and they didn’t, so no. The rules screw us over so many times, so more power to him for using them.”
  • Jordan Spieth: “I laughed, I thought it was really funny…”Phil knows the rules,” he said. “There was a chance it was going to go back behind the bunker and he’s got to chip back, or he was going to play off the green anyways, so he was potentially saving himself a shot. So if that was the intent, then what’s the harm in that?”
2. Jason Day pulls no punches

 

Taking one particularly hot take off the plate of responses, Jason Day (who won’t face awkwardness with Mickelson in any Ryder or Presidents Cup locker rooms) was pretty clear in stating Mickelson ought to have been disqualified.
  • “It’s just unfortunate that it happened at the USGA’s tournament, where they enforce the rules, like the R&A. And I think they may have, they probably should have enforced a different outcome for Phil….But it is what it is. It’s done. It’s just disappointing that that is overshadowing the winner of the whole week. I think if they had it back again, they may have chosen a different outcome.”
The Australian also had some choice words for golf’s governing body regarding course setup.
  • “…Saturday was a total, it was like two different golf courses, practically, on the greens Saturday versus Sunday,” Day said. “I just wish they would leave it alone and just let it go. Not saying to let the greens go and let them dry out and make it unfair, I’m just saying plan accordingly and hopefully whatever the score finishes, it finishes, whether it’s under par or over par.”
3. The Phil Rule

 

All of this brings us here: Golf.com’s Dylan Dethier says it’s time for “the Phil Rule” in the wake of Lefty’s creative use of Rule 14-5.
  • “…giving Mickelson just the two-shot penalty essentially endorsed this hockey-style alley-oop as legitimate strategy. As a result, the USGA (which has not yet responded to GOLF.com’s request for comment) is left with one option: It’s time for the Phil Rule.”
  • “But the USGA ultimately cited rule 14-5, which covers strokes made at a moving ball and also calls for a two-stroke penalty, but has no clause covering additional punishment. Because of the precedent now set, a new rule should address the simple fact that hitting a moving ball just isn’t a part of golf. The so-called Phil Rule will be simple: anyone who intentionally strikes a moving ball will be disqualified.”

 

4. Johnson on Shinnecock

 

Andy Johnson at the Fried Egg is a Voice (capital V) in golf, and we’re lucky he’s emerged in recent years. His U.S. Open post-mortem is a must read.
  • A taste…”Many of today’s prototypical Tour pros appeared clueless at Shinnecock thanks to changing winds, uneven lies and vexing green complexes. The idea of flighting a 4-iron into a modest wind from 180 to control the spin as opposed to bashing a 7-iron is a foreign concept. Rather than use the ground around the greens, many immediately grabbed their 60 degree and watched helplessly as chip shots rolled back to their feet. Shinnecock Hills asked a slew of questions to the world’s best players that they had never seen.”
  • “The technology effect has been two-fold. It’s made it nearly impossible for the USGA to properly set up a golf course, and it has also robbed the game of skill. Combine the two together, and the line of a good setup and bad setup is razor thin. The vast majority of players lacked the ability to hit the shots that were needed at Shinnecock, and their first reaction was to complain.”
5. PGA’s double standard?

 

Mike Purkey of MorningRead.com takes issue with the PGA of America’s decision not to take action against president Paul Levy following his June 7 DUI…especially in light of the organization’s eagerness to remove Ted Bishop
  • Purkey writes: “Here are the facts, based on the police report: Levy got behind the wheel impaired and put people and property in danger. The fact that he hit only a traffic sign is a stroke of pure luck. The question must be asked: If Levy had hit a car with people inside, would the PGA leadership look at this incident in a different light?”
  • “If the answer is “yes,” then the PGA has the obligation to remove Levy from office. Because it doesn’t matter what – or whom – Levy ran his car into if, in fact, he was impaired. He could have injured or killed innocent motorists while on the road in his condition. That’s the disqualifying factor.”

 

6. Ted Bishop

 

Speaking of Ted Bishop, the former PGA of America president spoke at length with our Michael Williams on his 19th Hole podcast.

 

Here’s a bit of what he had to say about the U.S. Open setup
  • “You know Michael, I thought the most telling interview that I saw the entire weekend on the course set up was the one that FOX did yesterday with Patrick Reed when his round was finished. And they asked him about the Saturday setup and he said, “You know, I really didn’t have a problem with it.” He said, “There were two pins on 13 and 15 that were maybe two yards out of place and it made a completely different situation on the putting greens.” But he said, “Other than that, I didn’t have any issues with it.” And that’s his personality. He’s the guy that rolls with the flow and doesn’t make any excuses.”
  • “Now obviously, there were a lot of players that were very critical. I was just reading an article before this phone call. Some quotes from Steve Stricker, for example. And Strick’s usually a guy that doesn’t say anything bad about anything and he was very critical of about the set up. But I think the biggest controversy would be the fact that the players in the morning on Saturday were probably a different golf course than the players in the afternoon were. And that’s just sometimes in golf, the way that it goes.”

 

7. A raw release

 

Raw iron sets, at the retail level, are rare, so it’s cool to see WIlson introducing the FG Tour V6 Raw irons.
  • The new FG Tour V6 Raw irons have an unplated finish, and they’re designed to “develop a unique patina based on age, exposure and use over time,” according to Wilson. This gives each iron a unique look, and one that’s far from the clean cut original FG Tour release that had a chrome finish.
8. Scotty speaks!

 

Famed putter maker Scotty Cameron spoke with longtime equipment scribe E. Michael Johnson.

 

A morsel…What’s the coolest item you have in the Gallery right now?
  • “I made a putter for myself. I think alligator is such a gentlemanly, cool material. So I made myself a Gatorback putter. It’s kind of like an 8802, but with a wide-bodied flange. I can do the wide-body flange because I have an aluminum sole plate. But the back has something that looks like the dashboard from a Bentley. But then that long, round flange in the back is kind of a plain area of blankness.”
  • “So I milled a little pocket back there that has a rim of stainless steel, then I created a stamp the shape of the mill pocket, cut out the alligator. I used a special glue to inlay the alligator into the back of the putter, so it has a Gatorback Bentley back and bottom. It’s spectacular. And then I matched it with an alligator grip. Then I took the alligator to make headcovers to match the grip and the back. It is expensive and it’s a pain to do, but when I was done with it I went, “Oh my goodness.”

 

9. Shark in the buff

 

As he said he’d consider doing when asked by Michael Williamson our 19th Hole podcast

, Greg Norman is set to appear in the ESPN “Body Issue.”
  • The 63-year-old will follows in the footsteps of Gary Player, as well as number of other golfers, including Camilo Villegas, Belen Mozo, Carly Booth, Sandra Gal, Suzann Pettersen, and Christina Kim.
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