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What golfers should do instead of icing injuries

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As a follow-up to “Are golfers wasting their time icing injuries?” I had a chance to speak with Gary Reinl, author of Iced! The Illusionary Treatment Option about what golfers ought to do instead of, well wasting their time icing injuries.

Reinl has spent more than 40 years in sports medicine and has done everything from train professional athletes, to develop strength-training programs for pregnant women, to orchestrate rehabilitation programs for injured workers.

With the publication of Iced!, Reinl pointed out the erroneous nature of some popular assumptions about injury and treatment and suggested a different way forward, so he seemed like a natural point of contact.

My questions, below.

Strains and pulled muscles are common for golfers. Is there any place for icing in the treatment of these routine golf injuries?

No. Unless of course you want to delay healing, increase swelling, cause additional damage, shut of the signals that alert you to harmful movement and provide false hope (make yourself believe that you are doing something good when in fact you are doing the opposite).

Hitting out of a gnarly lie in the deep rough, you badly hurt your wrist. You know you can’t continue playing, so you head back to the clubhouse. Someone fetches you a bag of ice. What do you do next?

Politely thank them and tell them that you are going to get a professional medical evaluation before you initiate treatment (until you confirm the extent of the problem, “friendly” advice is often counterproductive and almost always ill-advised).

That said, once your doctor has given you the green light to begin facilitating the healing process via muscle activation, follow this basic rule: “Use your brain, never cause pain.” If anything beyond lightly wiggling your fingers causes pain, limit activation to finger wiggling. This is not a contest or game. Think: “No pain, all gain.”

If your doctor has written an order for you to use an FDA-cleared muscle activation device, use it as directed (several hours per day for the first couple of days is pretty standard).  Regardless of how you activate your muscles, never forget that healing is contingent upon muscle activation not absolute stillness.

You’ve just walked 36 holes. You drive home and your legs are screaming. What’s the best way to deal with the situation, instead of reaching for the ice pack?

Since the “ice pack” actually makes things worse, doing nothing is better than icing.

What’s best? Lightly activate the muscles that are tired and or sore. Muscle activation or “active recovery” is not only the best way to facilitate the healing process, it is, in essence, the key to tissue regeneration. Absolute stillness is the proverbial enemy.

What are the adverse effects of icing on golf-related injuries, generally speaking?

Icing damaged tissue delays healing, increases swelling, causes additional damage, shuts of the signals that alert you to harmful movement and makes you believe that you are doing something good, when in fact you are doing the opposite. Additionally, when you fail to optimally heal, you risk dampening your golf skills and setting yourself up for further injury.

How did we get to the point where reducing swelling and inflammation via icing are seen as good things?

First of all, icing damaged tissue does not reduce swelling or inflammation. Delay it? Yes. Increase it? Yes. Reduce it? No.

How did the medical community get it so wrong?

It all started back in 1962 when a doctor named Ronald Malt reattached the severed limb of a 12-year-old boy named Everett Knowles. Since this was the first operation of its kind, it made big news around the world. When asked by reporters, “What’s the best way to protect the severed body part while transporting it to the hospital?” The doctor responded something like this: “Keep it out of the sun, keep it cool, and put it on ice if possible.”

Over the years, the public converted the doctor’s very specific recommendation that applied only to severed body parts to “put ice on any damaged tissue,” and the myth took hold: The “ice age” was born.

Interestingly, the godfather of the ice age, Gabe Mirkin, MD, recently recanted his decades-old recommendation and now says that icing damaged tissues delays healing.

Are there any times a golfer should consider using ice?

Yes! No one likes a warm margarita. Cheers!

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31 Comments

31 Comments

  1. bobby

    Dec 26, 2014 at 11:39 pm

    1) Icing damaged tissue delays healing
    – I ice my injury and I’m much more comfortable. reduced my pain without taking dangerous oral drugs like nsaid’s. An injury that i may have caused me to take to take 2-3 off is no 2-4 days. But I’m comfortable and in considerably less pain.

    2) Icing damaged tissue increases swelling
    – Icing damaged tissue controls the rate at which fluids reach the injured site. As well as causing tissue to constrict and disperse some of the painful inflammation. Tissues warm up and loosen up and of course due to signals still be sent throughout the body, there is a backup of fluids that rush the area. Hence why icing shouldn’t be a one time application.

    3) Icing damaged tissue causes additional damage
    – the damage proper icing may induce and far less than the potential damage from inflammation
    4) Icing damaged tissue shuts off the signals that alert you to harmful movement
    – Your basically telling the people icing may numb and reduce pain at the site of injury. Don’t forget to mention all the over the counter drugs they probably take that do the same thing. But leave out the part that if their mission is to reduce pain, as safely as possible those drugs and patches are out of the equation. Pain is the signal your body uses because it afraid of injury. That does not mean every time you are in pain you are damaging tissue.

    5) Icing damaged tissue provides false hope; you think you’re doing something good but in fact you are doing the opposite.
    – ice like drugs are never going to fix the underlying problem, why your hurt. The problem is that if you were stronger, if you have perfect mechanics and posture you will properly treating yourself and decreasing your chances of that injury “flaring up” again.

  2. bobby

    Dec 26, 2014 at 11:18 pm

    How about you guys use your brain. Do you all believe everything people tell you. At what point did you put ice on an injury and believe that you have completely stopped all the swelling.

    You ice injuries you ice torn soft tissues regardless of cause. Whether it be purposely from from training or accidentally you must “CONTROL” inflammation. Elimination is impossible. Inflammation is the bodies attempt to remove undesirable, damaged tissue before repair.

    But if you believe this crap, that icing to reduce pain and inflammation is a mistake, make sure you don’t take advil and other NSAID’s (Non-steriodal anti-inflammatory drugs) for you pain. Besides 300,000 hospitalized each year form NSAID’s and 10-15% of those people die. But hey ice must be the dumbest thing you can do right !?!??

    Another idea for you fools. Why is it very important for someone to undergo SURGERY IMMEDIATELY after tearing their Achilles . Its because the inflammatory process is there for debridment. To remove damaged tissue. If someone waits more than 24 hrs to have surgery the inflammation has already removed so much of the tissue that the two ends cannot reach. This means tissue beyond the initial site of injury was deemed damaged because the inflammatory process was not managed properly. Thus not allowing the body to initiate the remodeling phase.

    You sprained your ankle. You are in pain. You having swelling impairing movement and or strength. Here are your options.
    1. Take a drug that is going to be spread to your ankle, but also your brain, your liver, your heart. This sounds harmless. But is it really?

    2. You can ice your injury, REDUCE pain and inflammation. KEYWORD: reduce, we can never COMPLETELY stop our body processes. Way to complicated to accomplish.

  3. Dan M

    May 16, 2014 at 6:12 pm

    Thanks to GolfWRX for bringing this information to the golf community. The theory that ice doesn’t help healing is entirely plausible to me. I’ve worked in medical research for 20 years, and theories that have been accepted as gospel for years are constantly overturned. I used to ice my sore back religiously after playing golf, but with age and laziness stopped doing it. Now my back feels better sooner — I recover faster. I stopped taking Advil for aches and pains years ago.

    Icing injuries has been so universal. It’s hard for people to accept that there is evidence now that it doesn’t help.

    • Gary Reinl

      May 17, 2014 at 11:33 am

      Hi Dan M, Thanks for your informed comments. I agree, the theory that ice “helps” the healing process was disproved years ago. That said “old habits die hard!”
      PS: If you want a free autographed copy of my book, please go to garyreinl.com and leave me a message (and your mailing address).
      The MELTDOWN continues!
      Gary Reinl
      @TheAntiIceMan

  4. Iceman

    May 15, 2014 at 11:53 pm

    Everybody, just ice it.

    Besides talking some mumbo-jumbo about activating muscles to heal or some bull stink like that, these yahoos don’t take into account that in humans, we feel PAIN with the inflammation and damage. If you don’t, then you’re numb already and or are not human at all to begin with. Tend to the pain and reduce it as well as inflammation at the same time. That’s why they’re called anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) because they do both – effectively and cheaply. Why do you think there is such a HUGE market for PEDs and other banned drugs for recovery and pain management? Because the things work and work great.

    For the rest of us, for minor bumps and bruises, ice it. You’ll feel better for it.

    • Gary Reinl

      May 17, 2014 at 9:10 am

      “Mumbo-jumbo” … fortunately, ignorance is not contagious.
      Loading, which is also known as active recovery (which activates muscle), is essential to achieving optimal healing of damaged tissue regardless as to whether you are merely tired and/or sore from a scheduled training session or significantly injured from an unplanned collision with an opponent’s outstretched leg that has left you upside down and twisted in the middle of a basketball court.
      Here’s a relevant excerpt from my book “ICED! … The Illusionary Treatment Option”.
      “Loading of Healing Bone, Fibrous Tissue, and Muscle: Implications for Orthopedic Practice:
      Joseph A. Buckwalter, M.S., M.D., & Alan J. Grodzinsky, Ph.D.
      Journal of the American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons,
      September/October 1999
      One of the most important concepts in orthopedics in this
      century is the understanding that loading accelerates
      healing of bone, fibrous tissue, and skeletal muscle.”

      Join the MELTDOWN!

      Gary Reinl
      @The AntiIceMan

      • Ice Ice Baby

        May 17, 2014 at 11:52 pm

        OK. Allow me to continuously PUNCH you in the face, right above the eye over and over for about 30 minutes straight, and see if you can “activate” those muscles to aid in recovery thereafter. Or would you prefer that I use ice on it to dull the pain and to reduce inflammation and swelling?

        I will administer ice and cooling to that area of anybody who gets punched as such, as it has been shown, for a couple millennia, that icing will reduce swelling and bruising immediately.

        We’re not talking about torn muscles or tendons here – we’re talking about inflamed tissues and muscles.

        Therefore, use ICE.

        • Gary Reinl

          May 18, 2014 at 4:53 pm

          Hi Dan M, Thanks for your informed comments. I agree, the theory that ice “helps” the healing process was disproved years ago. That said “old habits die hard!”
          PS: If you want a free autographed copy of my book, please go to garyreinl.com and leave me a message (and your mailing address).
          The MELTDOWN continues!
          Gary Reinl
          @TheAntiIceMan

        • Gary Reinl

          May 18, 2014 at 4:54 pm

          Hi Ice Ice Baby,
          First off, contrary to your claim, icing damaged tissue has not been used for millennia — not even close.
          Second, as I am sure that you are aware, inflammation is the first phase of the life-saving healing process (e.g. without it, you will not heal — not even you). So, fortunately for even the least-informed, ice can only delay this process.
          Further, swelling — a product of the inflammatory process — can only be evacuated through the inherently passive lymphatic system and thus can only be accelerated through movement (e.g. muscle activation). Thus, again, you can delay swelling (and, through icing, worsen the backup of it), but not reduce it. Keep in mind, that when the tissue rewarms, the inflammatory (healing) process resumes (that is why you see boxers who get hit in the face “30 times” during a fight all swollen the next day — gasp! — even if they iced).
          Regarding your claim that ice will “dull the pain,” you are correct. Icing damaged will provide temporary pain relief. But, with that said, it will also delay healing, cause additional damage, increase swelling, shut of the signals that alert you to harmful movement, and provide false hope (you believe that you are doing something good when in fact you are doing the opposite). So, no, I wouldn’t put ice on such an injury because, obviously, the negatives far outweigh the positives.

          Gary Reinl
          @TheAntiIceMan

  5. Phil

    May 15, 2014 at 9:27 am

    What about arthritic knees?

  6. Nick

    May 15, 2014 at 1:31 am

    Love it how “buy my book” manages to appear in just about every response from the author. Classy.

  7. Charlie

    May 14, 2014 at 10:55 pm

    Any advice for a nasty case of dequervain’s tendonitis in my left hand from golf? Please help!

  8. mark d

    May 14, 2014 at 6:06 pm

    Had my shoulder rebuilt in February at the Cleveland Clinic. They sent me home with little cooler/pump/jacket thing to chill my shoulder at regular intervals.

    Needless to say, all the sports med specialists at the Clinic with their many, many years of clinical training, research and success must be wrong.

    That said, “no pain, all gain.” is very good advice if you have an injury. Heal first. Work out later.

    • Gary Reinl

      May 15, 2014 at 9:17 am

      Hi mark d,
      Ironically, researchers from the Cleveland Clinic are the ones that discovered a key reason why icing damaged tissue is a bad idea (see their below article entitled “Hold the Ice” – their title, not mine).
      “Hold the Ice?
      New study shows that ice and anti-inflammatory medications may compromise healing.
      Researchers headed by Lan Zhou, MD, PhD, Neuroinflammation Research Center, Depart. of Neurosciences at the Cleveland Clinic, and colleagues, found that in response to acute muscle injury, inflammatory cells (called macrophages) within the damaged muscle itself were found to produce a protein called IGF-1, which is required for muscle regeneration.
      Source: The Cleveland Clinic, October, 2010
      So why did “all the sports med specialists at the Clinic with their many, many years of clinical training, research and success” send you home with little cooler/pump/jacket thing to chill your shoulder at regular intervals? Simple — because that is what they were trained to do. Change is often avoided regardless of the facts (or who discovered them).
      Please read the excerpt from my book “ICED!” below for an additional example:
      “Do you recognize the name, Dr. Ignaz Semmelweis? He is the one who figured out that doctors should wash their hands before surgery, especially if they just finished dissecting a rotting and/or diseased corpse.
      It’s creepy to even think that such a suggestion was ever even necessary – let alone controversial – but, at that point, it was actually spectacularly groundbreaking.
      Semmelweis also introduced the idea of sterilizing surgery tools. Again, this sounds like a no-brainer, right?
      Well, his suggestions were BITTERLY rejected by his fellow physicians.
      Why? Well, his observations conflicted with the established scientific and medical “beliefs” of the time. As odd as it sounds by today’s standards, the doctors simply did not believe that their filthy, contaminated hands and surgical tools could possibly be the cause someone to get sick.
      Believe it or not, some doctors were actually offended by his suggestion – OFFENDED – that they should wash their hands.
      This is a classic example of blind faith where people simply didn’t know what they didn’t know”.

  9. benseattle

    May 14, 2014 at 12:33 pm

    Here’s where this superficial article falls down completely: You say “no ice” but DO NOT PROVIDE AN ALTERNATIVE. Heat? Rest? (No, the “expert” says that’s out too.) Vague allusions to an “FDA-approved muscle activation device” but no details about what this is, what it does, why it’s “better” or how to get one.

    Muscle activation? What’s that mean… I should walk on my sprained ankle or hit golf balls with a sore wrist?

    GOLFWRX does no-one any favors with amateur medical advice written without useful, credible details and information.

    • Gary Reinl

      May 14, 2014 at 5:26 pm

      Hi benseattle,
      Your comments are all reasonable. I apologize for my brevity. First, the alternative to ice is muscle activation (also known as active recovery). There are several very good FDA cleared muscle activation devises on the market. Here’s a link to one the best known trainers in the world of golf explaining which brand he recommends: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8LL35EXTTtc . If you want to get one go to Marcpro.com and enter the promo code “TEAM “ to receive the maximum discount available.
      Regarding walking on a sprained ankle or hitting golf balls with a sore wrist, please re-read Ben’s interview with me (e.g. “that said, once your doctor has given you the green light to begin facilitating the healing process via muscle activation, follow this basic rule: ‘Use your brain, never cause pain.’ If anything beyond lightly wiggling your fingers causes pain, limit activation to finger wiggling. This is not a contest or game. Think: ‘No pain, all gain.’ If your doctor has written an order for you to use an FDA- pretty standard). Regardless of how you activate your muscles, never forget that healing is contingent upon muscle activation not absolute stillness”).
      Regarding your comment about “amateur medical advice written without useful, credible details and information,” this article contained no medical advice. Instead, it contained facts regarding the consequences of icing damaged tissue; not opinions, but scientifically proven facts published in multiple peer-reviewed journals (which are well documented in my book). By the way, in the third paragraph of Ben’s article he stated “With the publication of Iced!, Reinl pointed out the erroneous nature of some popular assumptions about injury and treatment and suggested a different way forward, so he seemed like a natural point of contact.”
      Since it is impractical to include the entire contents of a book in a short article, Ben mentioned my book before he introduced my responses to his questions. That said, if you want to read my book and learn all of these details, go garyreinl.com and send me a message that includes your mailing address and I will gladly send you a free copy.

      • leftright

        May 14, 2014 at 7:58 pm

        You speak of muscle activation. Ice reduces swelling allowing you to use the muscle sooner rather than later. Swelling reduces blood flow and decreases the bodies ability to recover by retaining fluid within the lymph tissues around the affected body part. I am sorry to sound so cynical but I have observed the effectiveness of ice over 4 decades and find your article borderline negligent when pertaining to sport medicine injuries. You and the doctor are in a very small minority of healthcare professionals.

        • Gary Reinl

          May 17, 2014 at 8:27 am

          Hi leftright,
          This is an excerpt from my book quoting the Textbook of Medical Physiology, “The lymphatic system is a ‘scavenger’ system that removes excess fluid, protein molecules, debris, and other matter from the tissue spaces. When fluid enters the terminal lymphatic capillaries, any motion in the tissues that intermittently compresses the lymphatic capillaries propels the lymph forward through the lymphatic system, eventually emptying the lymph back into the circulation.”
          Now, since swelling is essentially the accumulation of waste at the end of the inflammatory cycle, the only way to move that waste is via the lymphatic system, and the lymphatic system is basically a passive system nearly fully reliant on muscle activation around the lymphatic vessels; how could shutting off the signals between the muscles and the nerves — which is precisely what happens when you ice damaged tissue — accomplish that task?”
          Answer: it doesn’t (icing damaged tissue does not reduce swelling). You sir/madam are simply wrong.
          That said, you are correct when you state that “You (me) and the doctor are in a very small minority of healthcare professionals,” however I am not sure that I understand your point. Are you suggesting that those of us that have taken the time to evaluate, organize, and understand the facts should empty our brains and follow you?
          PS: I don’t know what you do each day, but I spend my time working with my clients (trainers, doctors and therapist from over 80 professional athletic teams and scores of other elites).

  10. Bruce Jones

    May 14, 2014 at 11:59 am

    You may find this article helpful, written by the doctor who first coined the term “RICE”.

    drmirkin.com/fitness/why-ice-delays-recovery.html

    Also the American Journal of Sports Medicine, July 2013 has an article that supports the idea that the use of ice does not improve healing.

    • Bruce Jones

      May 14, 2014 at 12:06 pm

      Oops, make that June 2013 for the Journal article.

    • Gary Reinl

      May 14, 2014 at 5:44 pm

      Thanks Bruce. By the way, there have been at least three other comprehensive reviews regarding the topic of icing damaged tissue published by reputable peer-reviewed journals since 2004 and they all came to the same conclusion. All, by the way, referenced and clearly documented in my book: ICED! The Illusionary Treatment Option: Learn the Fascinating Story, Scientific Breakdown, Alternative, & How To Lead Others Out Of The Ice Age”. No doubt some “experts” are finding the facts difficult to accept.

  11. Dave

    May 14, 2014 at 11:14 am

    When I saw the title to this article I immediately became interested. After reading through it I feel I just wasted time. This article contains nothing in it other than opinions. Useless article.

  12. Willy

    May 13, 2014 at 6:38 pm

    I have multiple injuries. Including having a shoulder replacement Dec 13. Ice has been and always will be my friend!

  13. Alex the Athletic Trainer

    May 13, 2014 at 2:56 pm

    How does ice increase swelling? “Shutting off signals alerting harmful movements” don’t you mean temporarily numbing (analgesic) the area. To which, this effect only lasts for a short period of time. I agree with a lot of my colleagues that icing after the first 24-48 hours is strictly for the analgesic effect.
    If icing truly caused so many problems, how am I still able to return an athlete to play within 4-10 days post ankle sprain while using a GameReady machine for the first 2 days of treatment?

    • Gary Reinl

      May 14, 2014 at 7:55 pm

      Hi Alex, Regarding your question about swelling … please read this:
      Enter the lymphatic vessels
      Meeusen’s careful research has uncovered another important fact: when ice is applied to a body part for a prolonged period, nearby lymphatic vessels begin to dramatically increase their permeability (lymphatic vessels are ‘dead-end’ tubes which ordinarily help carry excess tissue fluids back into the cardiovascular system). As the lymphatic permeability is enhanced, large amounts of fluid begin to pour from the lymphatics ‘in the wrong direction’ (into the injured area), increasing the amount of local swelling and pressure and potentially contributing to greater pain (‘The Use of Cryotherapy in Sports Injuries,’ Sports Medicine, Vol. 3, pp. 398-414, 1986). If the icing goes on for too long, the lymphatic vessels can actually be nearly obliterated, losing all of their fluid to the surrounding tissues and thus failing to carry excess water away from the injured area (6th European Congress of Sports Medicine, Budapest, Hungary, p. 179, 17-20 June, 1991). If you want more, read the related sections of my book and/or read Guyton and Hall’s Textbook of Medical Physiology.

      Regarding your next comment …
      Making the area numb does shut off the signals that alert you to harmful movement. I feel that we agree on this point. I also agree that you and a lot of your colleagues believe that icing after the first 24-48 hours is strictly for the analgesic effect. The problem is that reputable clinicians don’t recommend ice after 24-48 hours. Dr. Mirkin, the godfather of the ice age, says there is no reason to use it after 6 hours.
      That said, knowing the downside, why would you do it at all? Here’s how I see it: A clinician using ice to “make the area numb” is like the sympatric bartender that gives an alcoholic a drink so he can temporally “feel” better. Does it help? Not really. Does it hurt? Yes.
      Regarding your “4 to 10 day” question; I am very confident that if you considered all of the facts you would abandon your ice-based protocol.

      Join the MELTDOWN!

      Gary Reinl
      @TheAntiIceMan

      • Iceman

        May 15, 2014 at 11:47 pm

        What about BURNS? You’re not going to tell the world that they can’t ice something they burned on their persons, are you? No, you wouldn’t, because you would be insane.
        Inflammation MUST and NEED to be have its HEAT (inflamed! duh!) removed and reduced, otherwise it would not heal as quickly nor will the pain be tolerable!

        You’re bogus and you know it.

  14. Gary McCormick

    May 13, 2014 at 2:21 pm

    Poor article — contains no explanation of WHY icing is contra-indicated.

    For soft tissue injuries I have always used light application of ice, removed after a few minutes. The body reacts to the cooled-down area by dilating capillaries to increase blood flow, which aids healing. If that’s wrong, I’d like to hear an explanation why, rather than just “Don’t do it — because we said so!”

    • leftright

      May 14, 2014 at 7:53 pm

      Gary Reinhl is an idiot. We have mentally ill ideologues running the country with PhD’s and government experience but that does not mean they know what they are doing. Ice helps and that is through pure observation. To not ice a lateral or medial epicondylitis after playing golf or tennis is paramount to negligence on the athletes part. NSAIDS will help also if taken appropriately. Ultimately rest will heal the offending part but who can rest these days, who wants to rest but sometimes that is what we have to do. If you want to heal faster and have less pain don’t listen to this guy, he is a quack and in a very very small minority of sports trainers and specialists. I know a Internal Medicine doctor who put all his Insulin dependent diabetes patients on Chromium supplements. Most ending up back in the ER in Diabetic Ketoacidosis in several days. Trace Chromium is an essential mineral but the body processes what it wants and adding did not help these patients. He might as well said “go lick you car bumper.”

    • Gary Reinl

      May 14, 2014 at 8:58 pm

      Hi Gary, No explanation of WHY icing is contra-indicated? OK. Please allow me to try again.
      1) Icing damaged tissue delays healing
      2) Icing damaged tissue increases swelling
      3) Icing damaged tissue causes additional damage
      4) Icing damaged tissue shuts off the signals that alert you to harmful movement
      5) Icing damaged tissue provides false hope; you think you’re doing something good but in fact you are doing the opposite.

      If it’s proof you want, I suggest you read my book. I literally spent years traveling the country interviewing hundreds of elite trainers, doctors, therapists and athletes and read hundreds of related articles and a dozen or so books. I organized and presented the facts in such a way that even the ice gurus avoid debating me. Sure, every once in while some “expert” will claim that I got something wrong or referenced it out of context … but, thus far, not a single claim has turned into a legitimate issue.
      Regarding your “dilating capillaries to increase blood flow” comment … are you aware the your innate intelligence does precisely that in response to damage? Meaning, the damaged vessels constrict and the surrounding healthy vessels dilate and increase perfusion. Seems odd to me that you believe you can better regulate this process than your innate intelligence … and that you do it with an ordinary ice cube!

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The FedEx Cup overhaul is official. Here are the details

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The PGA Tour substantiated the rumored changes to the FedEx Cup Playoffs, Tuesday, unveiling a new playoff format in general, an overhaul of the Tour Championship in particular, and a new regular season points race.

As had been previously established, the Tour will move from four playoff events to three. Most dramatically, the rumored staggered Tour Championship scoring, with the No. 1 player on the points list starting at 10 under, is now a reality. The next four players in the standings will being a 8 under through 5 under. No 6-10 will start at 4 under. Every five players after that will start a stroke further back, with No. 26 through 30 beginning at even par.

There will also now be a $10 million regular season bonus pool sponsored by Wyndham Rewards, aptly named the “Wyndham Rewards Top 10.”

The FedEx Cup Playoffs will wrap prior to Labor Day, thus finishing before the NFL season kicks off. The field for The Northern Trust will be 125 players, 70 for the BMW Championship, and 30 for the Tour Championship, with the points remaining the same for the first two events.

“This is a significant and exciting change for the PGA Tour, our players, our partners and – most importantly – our fans,” said PGA Tour commissioner, Jay Monahan. “As soon as the Tour Championship begins, any fan – no matter if they’ve followed the PGA Tour all season or are just tuning in for the final event – can immediately understand what’s going on and what’s at stake for every single player in the field. And, of course, players will know exactly where they stand at all times while in play, which will ratchet up the drama, consequence and volatility of the competition down the stretch.”

Regarding the $10 million Wyndham Rewards Top 10, the Tour says it, “will also put an even greater premium on excelling over the course of the FedExCup Regular Season.”

The leader of the top 10 will earn $2 million, with the runner-up pocketing $1.5 million. The existing FedEx Cup bonus pool will now total $60 million—$25 million more than the existing pool. Accordingly, the FedEx Cup champion will earn $15 million, rather than the $10 million in the current system.

Alternatively, there’s Geoff Shackelford’s summary of the changes: “This will be easier to follow than the current system where algorithms proved consistently boring to follow. This has to be better…the FedExCup as we knew it, did not work.”

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GolfWRX Morning 9: The real problem with the FedEx Cup | Golfer at gunpoint | What elite junior golfers all do

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

September 18, 2018

Good Tuesday morning, golf fans.
1. Feinstein: the FedEx Cup Playoffs still aren’t right
Most agree the PGA Tour is yet to deliver the FedEx Cup (pardon the pun) of our collective dreams. John Feinstein offered some constructive criticism.
“Chances are good though, based on reports of the planned changes, that the tour still won’t get it right. It has been trying-sort of-for 12 years now to get it right. The problem is it doesn’t REALLY want to get it exactly right. Which is sad, because it shouldn’t be that difficult.”
  • “Because it wants so badly to convince the public that the events it controls are REALLY important, the tour barely gives more credit to those who win a major than to those who win the John Deere Classic or The CareerBuilder Challenge.”
  • “The winner of a regular tour event receives 500 FedExCup points. Those who win a WGC event-also part of the tour-receive 550 points.”
  • “Which is why a major should count for at least three times as much as a regular tour win in the points system. Winning a major is SO much harder than a regular tour event: the quality of the field; the pressure on Sunday; the understanding that you are playing for history, not just money.”
  • “It is ludicrous that Brooks Koepka won two majors this year and goes into the Tour Championship in seventh place on the points list. Tony Finau, who has not won anywhere, is third. Koepka could add the Tour Championship to his resume this week and NOT win the FedEx Cup. Seriously?”
Additionally, Feinstein levels the suggestion most of us agree on: the Playoffs should be actual playoffs.
2. …and speaking of still not right
Joel Beall follows up on the story of Montana parents being barred from watching their children play high school golf.
  • “It appears Kelly’s group has garnered a partial victory, as the MHSA has introduced a rule on a trial basis this fall that will allow non-participants on the course during events. Twelve guideline have been implemented, which state that spectators have to stay 40 yards from golfers and that cell phones must be turned off upon entering the property.”
  • “We will try it at all levels and see how it goes,” Luke Kloker of the MHSA executive board said to Montana’s Sidney Herald. “Every other state seems to be able to figure out how to make it work.”
  • “However, this pilot program will come with a price. The MHSA also announced that it will charge $10 for admission to the course for golf events. While it’s common for high-school sports like football, basketball, and baseball to charge entrance fees, it’s highly unusual for golf.”
What’s the rationale? Funding a beer cart?
3. Rosaforte on how Keegan made it all the way back
Tim Rosaforte does his usual picking of the low-hanging fruit and juicing it for all its worth with his latest: a look at Keegan Bradley’s resurgence. (Not a criticism of Tim. He does what he does and he does it well)
  • A morsel…”The decline in Bradley’s young career started with an exchange of high-profile swing coaches starting 2013, when he left Jim McLean for Chuck Cook and went back to McLean before settling on Darren May, an English teaching pro at The Bear’s Club.”
  • “We worked hard on making him accept the fact that he needs to be somewhat of an average putter, because his ball-striking and driving stats are so good,” May explained. “They’re all shooting scores in different ways.”
  • “Ranked second in strokes gained: approach and sixth in strokes gained: tee-to-green, Bradley ultimately fed off the success his close friend Webb Simpson achieved in 2018, when he overcame the anchor ban with a win at The Players and a spot on Furyk’s team.”
  • “Our career arc has been the same,” Bradley said, referring to Simpson. “Watching what he did really changed my mentality.”
  • “The final piece of Bradley’s resurrection were the words of encouragement passed along by Michael Jordan through a relationship cultivated at The Bear’s Club. Not long after he signed for the 78 at Ridgewood, Bradley started reading MJ’s inspirational words on his phone. His basic message: Take from the experience and build on it.”
4.  Evian finally has that major feel
Randall Mell writes (rightly) that major championships cannot be manufactured. Thus, the Evian was always going to have to grow into to fine garments the LPGA bought for it in awarding that status.
  • “There’s more to creating major-championship tradition than jacking up the purse, renovating a course and draping the winner in her country’s flag after it came flapping from the heavens under a skydiver’s parachute.”
  • “It takes Sundays like the one Angela Stanford delivered at Evian this past week….It was a big day for more than Stanford, who was such a feel-good story, breaking through at 40 to win her first major with her mother at home fighting a second bout with breast cancer.”
  • “It was a big day for LPGA commissioner Mike Whan and Evian Championship founder Franck Riboud…The Evian Championship finally measured up.”
5. Patty’s new Scotty?
While Reed is a free agent, he’s had nothing but success with an Odyssey White Hot Pro 3. Scotty Cameron is turning on the charm however, making the putter above to woo Captain America, according to David Dusek.
“A yellow box arrived at Titleist’s PGA Tour van Monday at East Lake Golf Club, containing a new, customized Scotty Cameron Tour Rat I putter that has a slightly darker, non-glare finish. While Reed is not a Titleist staff player, the putter, trimmed in red, white and blue, has Captain America stamped into the bumpers of the head, a nod to Reed’s nickname after the 2016 Ryder Cup.”
6. Want to be an elite junior golfer?
Our Brendan Ryan found some interesting results in exploring where PGA Tour pros played their junior golf.
  • “Based on the data of these 24 PGA Tour players, their average home course has a yardage of 6,772 and slope of 132. Wowzers! Can’t believe it? It makes perfect sense: To be competitive in golf, you must shoot under par. Shooting under par, like riding a bike, or walking, or writing, is a skill. It is developed through a combination of repetition and feedback.”
  • “Easier golf courses allow players the opportunity to shoot lower scores and build confidence. Over time, these skills become habit. When players enter tournaments, it is more likely they shoot under par. Breaking par at your home golf course is only the first step towards becoming an elite junior golfer. The data suggests that players (both boys and girls) need to average approximately 69 per round to win on the AJGA – on 6,800-yard courses for boys and just under 6,000 yards for girls.”
  • “No major championship venue has ever had a junior member go on to win, or even play, the PGA Tour. That’s right: the PGA Tour is not filled with junior members from Augusta National. Why? Because while playing Shinnecock Hills is an absolute treat, the course is extremely difficult, and 74 is a great score. Junior members at such courses create habits of shooting 74, and when they enter tournaments, like the AJGA, in general, they get beat.”
7. Coastal resorts weather the hurricane
Golfweek’s Martin Kaufmann reports…”Hurricane Florence inflicted untold millions of dollars of damage on the Carolinas, but most of the popular resort destinations along the coastline were not hit as hard as initially feared.”
“The hurricane looked like it was going to deliver a direct Category 4 blast to the coastline where North Carolina and South Carolina meet. The storm weakened as it made landfall but still wreaked havoc as it moved slowly across the Carolinas. But the damage was not as bad as initially feared.”
“North Myrtle Beach, S.C., Mayor Marilyn Hatley told the Myrtle Beach Sun News that she felt “blessed and thankful” that the area, while hit hard, didn’t suffer the devastation that had been anticipated.”
8. Odds to win the FedEx Cup
Per the Westgate Las Vegas SuperBook…
2/1: Bryson DeChambeau
11/5: Justin Rose
6/1: Tony Finau, Dustin Johnson
8/1: Justin Thomas
16/1: Brooks Koepka
40/1: Jason Day, Rory McIlroy
50/1: Keegan Bradley, Billy Horschel, Webb Simpson, Francesco Molinari
60/1: Bubba Watson, Cameron Smith
100/1: Tiger Woods, Phil Mickelson, Xander Schauffele, Patrick Reed, Patrick Cantlay
150/1: Tommy Fleetwood
250/1: Jon Rahm, Rickie Fowler
500/1: Aaron Wise, Paul Casey, Hideki Matsuyama, Kevin Na, Kyle Stanley
1000/1: Marc Leishman, Gary Woodland
5000/1: Patton Kizzire
9. Golfer threatened at gunpoint…for trying to retrieve his golf ball from somebody’s yard
Just the facts, ma’am…
KDKA CBS Pittsburgh report…”Police say a Butler County man pulled out a pistol and threatened a golfer who was trying to get a ball out of the man’s yard.”
  • “According to state police, a 42-year-old Butler man was playing golf at the Bonnie Brook Golf Course on Serene Lane around 2 p.m. Sunday when he hit a golf ball in the direction of a nearby home.”
  • “When the man went to retrieve the golf ball from the yard, a 55-year-old man came out and the two got into an argument…During the argument, the man pulled out a pistol and threatened the golfer.”
  • “The 55-year-old man will be cited with terroristic threats, simple assault and harassment. He has also been told not to contact the victim.”

 

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Tour News

Tour Rundown: Sangmoon Bae is headed back to the PGA Tour

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The schedulers may have whiffed with Tour Championship and Ryder Cup in back-to-back weeks, but that’s what we have on the horizon. As the 2017-18 PGA Tour season comes to a close, and with it, the Web.Com Tour playoffs, number one on everyone’s mind is next season: where will I play? Do I have status? Some of those questions were answered last week, so let’s run down the answers to the questions, in this week’s Tour Rundown.

Bae back on PGA Tour after Web.Com playoff win

The oldest event on the Web.Com Tour was the site of Sang-moon Bae’s comeback completion. Two years of mandatory military service in South Korea did little to derail the 32-year old’s professional career. Bae birdied the 72nd hole to hold off his challengers, including the eponymous Anders Albertson, to win the Albertson’s Boise Open at 19-under. Bae was a stroke off the first-round lead, then moved into a first-place tie after 36-holes. He continued to advance, seizing the 54-hole lead. Albertson caught fire on Sunday, making 5 birdies in his opening 9 holes. After a bogey stall at the 11th, Albertson birdied 5 of the closing 8 holes. Roberto Diaz of Mexico was tied with Bae after round 3, but a Sunday 68 dropped him back to 5th place. Bae guaranteed a return to the 2018-19 PGA Tour with his Idaho triumph.

Wu works wonders in Holland for KLM victory

Like Bae, Ashun Wu of China birdied the 72nd hole at The Dutch club, host site of The KLM championship on the European Tour. Like Bae, his closest pursuer (Chris Wood) failed to match it, and Wu walked away with his third career European tour title. Wood held a 1-stroke lead over Wu after 54 holes, and the battle to see which “W” would emerge with the “W,” came down to the final 9 holes. Wood played well, making 3 birdies in the inward half. They were sandwiched around a double-bogey at the 12th, and the Englishman closed with 5 pars to finish at 15-under. Wu’s card included only one hiccough, a front-nine bogey, and he was a bit more clutch when it counted. The victory moved Wu inside the top 50, in the season-long Race To Dubai.

Stanford claims first LPGA major title at Evian

For her entire career, Angela Stanford has been a fixture in the top 5 of major championships. It has been a wonder that she did not claim one of them until the fall of 2018. In France, Stanford mounted a final-round comeback, overcame 3rd round-leader Amy Olson, and captured the Evian Championship by one shot over Olson and 3 others. Stanford opened with 72 on Thursday, then dived into the 60s with abandon. Rounds of 64-68-68 brought her to 12-under par. The Texan was able to keep her head, despite an eagle-double-birdie stretch on holes 15-17. Austin Ernst had a clean card on Sunday, but 3 birdies were 1 shy of victory. Mo Martin also had 3 birdies on day 4, but 2 bogeys brought her back to 11-under with Ernst. Sei Young Kim and Olson both went above par in the 4th round, after playing marvelous golf through the first 3 days. Despite their struggles, they also finished in that second-place tie.

Broadhurst claims third title of PGA Tour Champions

Paul Broadhurst won his first 2 Champions title in 2016. After taking a break in 2017, the Englishman returned with abandon in 2018. Wins at the 2-man Bass Pro and the May Senior PGA were followed this week with a triumph in Michigan. Broadhurst overcame a surging Brandt Jobe, who birdied 5 of his firs 6, back-9 holes, before he stalled. Jobe reached 13-under to claim second place alone. Broadhurst finished in style, with birdie at the last, for a 2-shot win.

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