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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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News

Phil phires a 60 | Lowry leads in Abu Dhabi | Bernhard the bricklayer’s son

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

January 18, 2019

Good Friday morning, golf fans.
1.  Desert Classic
A “rusty” Mickelson leads with nothing less than a 12-under 60…
Golf Channel’s Ryan Lavner…”If this is his idea of rusty, it could be another special year for Phil Mickelson…Before heading out to begin his 28th year on the PGA Tour, Lefty alerted his 250,000-plus Twitter followers that he was “excited” and “fresh” and “ready to get started,” but also, um, “rusty,” which is a golfer’s subtle way of suggesting that expectations should be lowered. Mickelson even told his playing partner, Aaron Wise, the reigning Rookie of the Year, as much before the round: “I’m rusty, so don’t expect much.”
  • “But Mickelson has been doing the improbable for nearly three decades now, and so maybe it shouldn’t have been such a complete surprise that in his first round of 2019, at 48 years of age, with no expectations, he carded his lowest score in relation to par in his long and decorated Tour career – a 12-under 60, to take the lead Thursday at the Desert Classic.”
  • “It was kind of a lucky day in the sense that I did not feel sharp heading in,” Mickelson said afterward. “Sometimes it’s just one of those days when it clicks.”
2. Meanwhile, on the LPGA Tour…
AP Report…”Nearly three months after Lewis became a mother, and six months after she last played on tour, she opened with seven birdies on Thursday for a 5-under 66 that left her one shot behind Brooke Henderson and Eun-Hee Ji at the Diamond Resorts Tournament of Champions.”
  • ”Pleasantly surprised,” Lewis said. ”Had pretty low expectations going into the day. Just really made a lot of putts. I had some weird shots, which I knew was going to happen having not played in a while. I don’t know where it came from, but I’m going to take it.”
  • “Henderson overcame a slow start with a bogey on the second hole and a par save on No. 3 at the Tranquilo Golf Club at Four Seasons. She birdied five of her last eight holes for a 65 to tie Ji, who had a bogey-free round.”
  • “The tournament – the first season-opener in Florida for the LPGA since 2015 – is only for LPGA winners each of the last two years.”
3. European Tour
A report from The National...”Shane Lowry has a three-shot advantage to take into Saturday’s final round of the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship presented by EGA.”
  • “A birdie at the 18th gave him a round of 67 to leave him on -17, three ahead of South African Richard Sterne.”
  • “An eagle on the final hole from Ian Poulter lifted the Englishman to -12 and gives him hope he can prevail on Saturday.”
  • “Pablo Larrazabal will start the final round on -11 ahead of a quartet of Maximilian Kiefer, Thomas Pieters, Soren Kjeldsen and Scott Jamieson.”
4. The bricklayer’s son
Bernhard Langer’s “My Shot” runs in Golf Digest this month.
A few morsels…
  • “My father built our house. When I was a boy, he would call on me to help him lay bricks. I would shovel the material for the mortar into a small mixing machine, then join him in laying the bricks, setting them carefully, one by one, using string to make sure everything was straight. I consider it a miracle to have come this far.”
  • “WE CADDIES were given four hand-me-down clubs to share. There was a 2-wood, 3-iron and 7-iron, all with bamboo shafts, and a putter with a shaft bent like an archer’s bow. By the time I was 12, I saved enough money to buy a new set of Kroydon irons. They weren’t top of the line, but they were shiny, new and all mine. I added a Blue Goose model putter that had a small indentation in the head. It was a magical putter, and I quickly became the best putter at the course, Golfclub Augsburg, and possibly all of Germany. One day the putter went missing. I frantically went through the members’ bags, and sure enough, found my Blue Goose with the indentation. But I was in a terrible situation. I couldn’t confront the member-he surely would deny everything, and I would be fired. So I kept it to myself. I never did get the Blue Goose back. I’ve spent the past 50 years looking for a putter that suits me as well.”
5. Latin American Am
AP Report…“Alvaro Ortiz of Mexico had an ideal start Thursday in hopes of turning his fortunes in the Latin American Amateur Championship, opening with a 6-under 66 to build a three-shot lead after the opening round.”
  • “Ortiz has been runner-up in the Latin American Amateur the last two years. He finished five shots behind Joaquin Niemann of Chile last year, and he lost in a three-man playoff to Toto Gana the previous year.”
  • “The winner earns a spot in the Masters in April, and is exempt into the final stage of qualifying for the U.S. Open and British Open.”
6. Pins in at Augusta National? Maybe…
Golf Channel’s Nick Menta…”Will players really be allowed to putt with the pins in during at the Masters?”
  • “Asked that question Thursday at the Latin America Amateur Championship, Augusta National chairman Fred Ridley didn’t say no.”
  • “Under the new Rules of Golf, which went into effect on Jan. 1, players are now allowed to leave the flagstick in while on the greens, as Bryson DeChambeau so eagerly demonstrated.”
  • “Addressing the possibility of Augusta National going against the Rules of Golf during Masters week, Ridley first thanked the USGA’s Mike Davis and R&A’s Martin Slumbers for their work, then preached a message of “consistency” at the game’s highest levels.”
  • “We will, as we always do, collaborate with the governing bodies. We will talk about those local rules and conditions that will be implemented,” Ridley said.”
  • “We think it’s important that there be some consistency in top championship golf, and so you should expect that the Masters Tournament, from a rules perspective, will look very much, if not the same, as what you’re seeing in the major championships and the professional tours.”
7. The weirdest lies in golf history
Great stuff here from Coleman Bentley rounding up some of the most absurd lies (and resultant shots) in golf history (although it’s hard to believe there’s any way his list could be comprehensive, but hey, headlines, and you have to admire the effort)
  • “Golf is a game of minutely controlled chaos. Atoms crashing into atoms. Weight swooping into inertia. A ballet of bounces, spins, kicks, and ricochets that goes wrong just as often as it goes right. The beauty of a such an unpredictable game-one of inches, not yards-however, is that when it goes right it’s spectacular and when it goes wrong, well, it’s equally spectacular. Beg to differ? Well, keep on begging, because as the weirdest, wildest lies in golf’s weird, wild history prove, chaos is a beautiful thing indeed.”
  • “Shane Lowry – 2018 Abu Dhabi Championship…Before Shane Lowry could tie the course record at the 2018 Abu Dhabi Championship, he first had to conquer Trash Heap Corner. P.S. If no one’s taking that couch, we might know a guy who’s interested.”
  • “Phil Mickelson – 2014 Barclays Championship…The Leave: Just to the left of Big Jeff’s Hotdog Haus. One day Phil Mickelson will save par from the surface of the moon. We’re sure of it. Until then, his walkabout at the 2014 Barclays Championship will have to suffice.”
8. Kang & McNealy
A couple of Las Vegas-based golf pros are a couple!
Golf Channel’s Randall Mell...”Danielle Kang watched Maverick McNealy with special interest when he was mic’d up on Golf Channel’s telecast of the Web.com Tour event in the Bahamas earlier this week.”
  • “They are dating.”
  • “Kang wasn’t sure whether to reveal McNealy is her boyfriend, but she couldn’t help herself.”
  • “He’s a dork,” she cracked when asked to review his running dialogue on Golf Channel. “But he’s my dork.”
  • “She was applying the Kang needle. Both she and McNealy live in Las Vegas. She said they met at a golf course there, The Summit Club.”
  • “He’s a sweetheart,” Kang said. “I have so much respect for him and vice versa.”
  • Aww!
9. Back in black!
Titleist 718 AP2 Black and AP3 Black released in limited quantities. Previously only available in a traditional chrome finish, the new Titleist 718 AP2 Black and Titleist 718 AP3 Black irons are finished with a sleek, high polish black PVD coating. The irons feature True Temper AMT Onyx shafts stock.
  • Titleist has unveiled new 718 AP2 Black and 718 AP3 Black irons in limited black finish that will be available to purchase from March 1.
  • Previously only available in a traditional chrome finish, the new Titleist 718 AP2 Black and Titleist 718 AP3 Black irons are finished with a sleek, high polish black PVD coating. The irons feature True Temper AMT Onyx shafts stock. The shafts’ powder coat matte black finish aims to minimize glare (in addition to looking cool). An all-black Golf Pride Tour Velvet 360 grip is standard as well.
  • Speaking on the move to release the irons in black, Josh Talge, Vice President, Golf Club Marketing said
  • “One request we heard from both tour players and amateurs, particularly those who have gravitated toward our Jet Black Vokey SM7 wedges, was if they could have these same irons in a darker finish. Our team spent a lot of time making sure the aesthetics were done just right. It’s a look that you just have to see.”
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Equipment

Brooks Koepka with Mizuno JPX 919 irons, TaylorMade M5 driver in the bag at Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship

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Brooks Koepka is in action this week at the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship equipped with a new driver and set of irons.

Golf.com’s Jonathan Wall broke the news, via Twitter, that Kopeka has TaylorMade’s new M5 Driver in his bag this week, as well as Mizuno’s JPX 919 Tour Irons.

The three-time major champ used TaylorMade’s M3 460 Driver and Mizuno’s JPX 900 Tour irons throughout 2018, and it appears as if Koepka is happy to make the transition to both manufacturers latest additions of those series of clubs right from the get-go in 2019.

Brooks-Koepka-Mizuno-JPX-919

Koepka is currently T13 after two rounds of play at the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship and sits five shots off the lead.

 

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News

European Tour members have heated exchange over cheating incident…from 2013

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Social media appears to have become the new playground for golfers to air their issues with each other, and this week it was the turn of two European Tour members.

The two men involved were Spain’s Gonzalo Fernandez-Castano and England’s Simon Dyson, and the subject of the feud revolves around a new change in the rulebook of golf. As of 2019, players are allowed to repair spike marks on the greens, an act which Dyson was found guilty of doing when it was prohibited back in 2013, and subsequently found himself slapped with a fine and a suspension.

Fernandez Castano kicked off the fun and games following his opening round at this week’s Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship. The Spaniard said how the new rule “will take some time to get used to” before adding the punchline  “Unless you are Simon Dyson and you have been doing it for years.”

The bad blood between Fernandez-Castano and Dyson appears to be fully down to Dyson’s misdemeanour in 2013, as one year later on Twitter when the Spaniard was asked for his opinion on Dyson; he bluntly replied: “Used to like him, not anymore”.

Asked why he hadn’t tagged Dyson in his tweet yesterday, the Spaniard claimed that the Englishman had blocked him, before Dyson took to the stage, with a different rationale. In a since-deleted tweet, Dyson stated that Fernandez-Castano didn’t have the cojones (or something similar) and stated that the Spaniard is a “sad little man”.

After getting that off his chest, Dyson approached the incident differently, saying that he, unlike Fernandez-Caetano supposedly, had moved on from the affair which occurred six years ago.

Nothing quite like a good old confrontation on social media with a peer to begin your professional year, eh?

 

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