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Dialed In – PGA Tour Preps For AT&T at Aronimink

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No matter if the world’s #1 played is not 100% on task as far his game is concerned, the mere presence of Tiger Woods changes the look and feel of any PGA Tour event. Of course, he is the defending champion this week, and at a new venue as well – giving everybody a lot to talk about.

Suburban Philadelphia and the Aronimink Country Club is playing host to the AT&T National for the next couple years in place of Washington-area’s Congressional Country Club where preparations are well underway for the 2011 United States Open.

The AT&T National title was just one of 6 titles Tiger captured in 2009 but this year the 14-time major winner has just two top ten’s in five PGA Tour starts – both in major championships at The Masters and the U.S. Open.

While he is busy defending this week against a bevy of talented tour players, all the golfers will face the challenge of playing a layout many have not had the pleasure to play previously.

In their chase for the winner’s $1.16 Million share of the $6.2 million purse they will have to navigate a course that players are learning to love very quickly. The initial response form them this week has been nothing but positive. 

Originally a Donald Ross design brought to life in 1928, Aronimink was reshaped in 1998 by Pete Dye and Bobby Weed. Prior to that time it had been host to such prestigious events as the 1962 PGA Championship, 1977 US Amateur, and 1997 US Junior Amateur. 

In 2003 it hosted the Senior PGA Championship. That same year Ron Prichard, a noted golf architect from the Philadelphia area and the foremost authority on Donald Ross’ design philosophy, completed a 3-year restoration project at Aronimink that recaptured classic Ross features that had been diminished or lost over time. Panoramic views were restored to their original shapes and sizes, and his unique bunkering style was recaptured. Length was added to neutralize the effect technology has had on golf and bringRoss’ unique design features back into play. The result was the par 70, 6,955-yard test the players will face this week.

Some players will not have to acquaint themselves too much with Aronimink, Sean O’Hair is actually a member at the club and that will play into his hands this week. The 3-time PGA Tour winner has just one top-ten finish this season but within his 12 cuts made he has been in the top 25 eight times. There would be no better place to return to the winner’s circle than in his adopted hometown event.

Another player with a Pennsylvania tie is Jim Furyk. Furyk, already a two-time winner in 2010 is the 2nd highest ranked player in the field after the defending champion, Woods. Watch for Furyk to thrill the Keystone Crowd with the big tour making its first return to the state since the 2006 84 Lumber Classic.

Also lurking this week will be Dustin Johnson, playing his first PGA Tour round since his dramatic collapse on the final day at the U.S. Open. In the same redemption ode will be Justin Rose, playing the AT&T and trying to recover from the 3-shot final round lead he squandered last week at the Travelers Championship.

Familiar faces, including the world #1, with a brand new course should make for a tournament worth watching.

This report provided to GolfWRX.com by Flagstick Golf Magazine (www.flagstick.com)

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Tour Rundown: Casey stumbles, Bubba wins his third Travelers Championship

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The third week of June 2K18 brought a respite from the men’s U.S. Open madness. The PGA Tour traveled a bit north, to Connecticut, while the Webbies went to Kansas. The Champions tour found itself in the Cheese state, while the Euros trekked to Germany. Oh, and the LPGA Tour took the week off, preparing for its Women’s PGA Championship this week. After the mayhem of Shinnecock Hills, and with anticipation high for the Open Championship at Carnoustie next month, a bit of leisure was a fit prescription. Here’s a rundown of all the week’s scores.

Watson leads parade of horses for courses at Travelers

The Travelers Championship was one of the first to practice awarding spots to highly-ranked amateurs. For that reason, golfers who might normally skip Connecticut, feel a loyalty to the tournament. Bubba Watson wasn’t one of them, but his affinity for the course is evident. His third career win at TPC River Highlands came by 3 strokes on Sunday, over a  quartet of runners-up. Bubba’s card wasn’t clean on the week, but he found a way to make a few more birdies (and a few less bogeys) each round, than the competition. A third of the lanky Floridian’s PGA Tour titles have come along the banks of the Connecticut river, so expect another one soon.

Stewart Cink doesn’t win often on tour (apologies to 59-year old Tom Watson) but he tends to contend at the Travelers. The same affection can be applied to J.B. Holmes, Paul Casey and young Beau Hossler. Those four edged their way past Kevin Tway and Brian Harman, to 14-under and a tie for second place. Cink birdied 7 of his first 10 holes on Sunday, and made 3 more coming home. Those would have brought him within a whisker of the magical 59, but alas, he had 2 ill-advised bogeys during that same, closing stretch. Hossler charged at the end, with 4 birdies over the closing sextet. If any young golfer catches our eye these days, as the next to break through for victory, it is the Californian-turned-UTexas alum. He lost to Ian Poulter in Houston this spring, and should break through before trees shed their leaves.

Of all the also-rans, it was a gutted Casey who leaves town with regret. A day after starting his own 62, the Englishman stumbled home with 72. He made one birdie on day 4, and that was at the 1st hole. Still in the mix at the closing bell, the expat bogeyed 2 of his final 3 holes to complete his wretched story.

Schnell accepts props for first Web.Com Tour title

Brady Schnell received a decorative propeller as trophy for his inaugural Web win, but we suspect a print of the closing hole might have been more suitable. After flirting with the cut line on Friday, Schnell finished with a firm handshake, including birdie at the last. On Sunday, he birdied the hole 2 times in a 3-man playoff. The first helped to send Scott Pinckney away, and the second dismissed Brandon Hagy. Hagy went out in 30 on Sunday, but could apply enough tour sauce coming home, to end the event in regulation. Pinckney held the reigns on Saturday night, but 2 bogey bumps over the final 7 holes undid his fine week of work. With the trophy, Schnell jumped all the way from 68th to 12th in the chase for a PGA Tour card. Both Hagy and Pinckney moved inside the top 60 on the same list.

McCarron’s first 2018 win comes at American Family

Scott McCarron came out on PGA Tour Champions in 2016, and rolled 2 wins during that inaugural campaign. When he followed it up with a stellar 2017, including his first senior major among 4 triumphs, aficionados wondered if a dynasty was brewing. Since September, the McCarron train left the tracks for the yard, but it seems to be back. The California native held off home-stater Jerry Kelly by a stroke, thanks to a 3-birdie run from holes 14-16 on day 3. The victory was his 7th on the senior circuit, and elevated him to 3rd on the season points list, behind leader Kelly and Bernhard Langer. With a slim lead on the home hole, McCarron stuck an approach from a slightly-hanging lie to 15 feet, then 2-putted for the win.

Esteban Toledo had the 36-hole lead, but he found out what a closing 73 gets you on the Champions Tour: very little. The 4-time winner on Tour Champions faded away with 3 front-nine bogeys on Sunday. In addition to Kelly, Colin Montgomerie (64) and Steve Stricker (65) finished strong, joining defending champion Fred Couples at 13-under, one behind Kelly, in a third-place tie.

Wallace wins second of campaign at BMW International

Matt Wallace inserted himself into a trend of young Englishmen breaking through. Along with lads like Andy Sullivan and Andrew “Beef” Johnston, Wallace has quietly started a noteworthy, professional golf career. His third career title, and 2nd of 2018, came by one stroke over a trio of dissimilar runners-up. A resurgent Martin Kaymer nearly made good in front of the home crowd. Although he birdied the last, a bogey at the penultimate hole cost him a playoff spot. Mikko Korhonen won his 1st tour title a fortnight ago, and nearly doubled-down in Germany. After birdies at 15 through 17, the Fin could not add a 4th at the closer, and matched only Kaymer.

Try as Wallace and company might, they could not steal the spotlight from the capricious Dane, Thorbjorn Olesen. The Mighty One’s erratic week went like this: open with 73, then improve by 5 strokes to make the cut. Drop 9 strokes higher on Saturday to enter afterthought status. Close Sunday 16 strokes better with 61 and tie for second. Now…breathe. Olesen had 9 birdies and 1 eagle on day four, elevating his standing by 40 places over the final 18 holes. In the end, it was Wallace who accepted the hardware and moved into 11th spot in the season-long Race To Dubai.

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GolfWRX GolfWRX Morning 9: Compassgate | Better ball, better Bubba? | Golf’s most entertaining swing

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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 25, 2018

Good Monday morning, golf fans.
1. Compassgate brewing   
Bryson DeChambeau plotted his course to a T9 finish at the Travelers Championship using a compass…literally. Well, he didn’t literally plot a course with the compass (geometry kind, not Boy Scout kind), but he did literally use one.
  • Unfortunately (perhaps) for DeChambeau, the PGA Tour spotted the former physics major utilizing the device. While it’s highly irregular/quite expected from DeChambeau, the powers that be aren’t certain of the legality of compass use.
  • Why did the Golf Scientist do this? “Figuring out true pin locations. The pin locations are a little bit off every once in a while, so I’m making sure they’re in the exact right spot.”
Obviously.

 

2. The swing that’s sweeping the golf world

 

If somehow you haven’t seen Hosung Choi’s action from the Korea Open, you’re missing out. And really it’s not just the swing, it’s Choi’s whole joie de vivre on course.

 

Josh Berhow on Choimania:
  • “The 44-year-old pro blew up social media on Saturday and Sunday while competing in the Korea Open. The golf world fell in love with his one-footed follow through and colorful behavior. Pros tweeted about him, the Golf Channel ran a segment on him, Brandel Chamblee broke down his swing and even Web.com Tour players tried to imitate his swing on the range.
  • “Unfortunately for the golf world, Choi didn’t receive one of the two invitations to this year’s British Open at Carnoustie (he finished T5), but there’s already a petition in the works trying to get him there.’

 

3. Better health + better ball = Better Bubba

 

Travelers winner Bubba Watson lost 25 pounds during the course of the 2016-2017 season for publicly unknown reasons. He also played a Volvik S4 golf ball: something no other elite PGA Tour professional does.
  • Watson, who returned to a Titleist Pro V1x for 2018, doesn’t blame the ball. “I don’t think it has had any (role) in my success,” Watson said (per Golf Channel’s WIll Gray). “My clubs weren’t going the distance that I used to. I couldn’t shape it the way I want to. Luckily for me, I know the problem, and the problem was with health and not all these other things.”
  • Or, maybe it’s the #RVlifestyle
  • Watson: “The RV lifestyle now, it’s been so much fun, it’s been a blessing to have all the kids there, have the bunk beds, they enjoy it, spending time with other guys with RVs. It’s been a blast, this year’s been like a new year, a rookie season for me.”
4. Rory rising?

 

Golf Channel’s Will Gray…”Rory McIlroy believes he has work to do on his swing, even if the stats don’t back it up. McIlroy shot a 3-under 67 in the final round of the Travelers Championship, completing a week in which he shot 11 under and led the field in strokes gained: tee-to-green but was last among the 74 players who made the cut in strokes gained: putting.”
  • “While the Ulsterman lamented a number of misses from close range – 17 from inside 10 feet over the course of the week, to be exact – he contended that the strokes gained data may have been “flattering” his performance with the other 13 clubs.”
  • “I don’t feel like I hit it that well tee-to-green,” McIlroy said. “It says that I’m probably No. 1 tee-to-green, but it didn’t feel like it. Yeah, obviously I would have loved to have putted better. But I felt like all parts of my game just needed to be a little bit sharper.”
We’ll next see Rory in action at the Dubai Duty Free Irish Open.

 

5. Nasa!

 

Ron Sirak on Nasa Hataoka‘s impressive LPGA Tour W:
  • “Houston, we have liftoff. Nasa Hataoka is a 19-year old from Japan with a very American name, her mother using the initials of the U.S. space program to inspire her daughter to shoot for the stars. It could be that Hiromi Hataoka set the bar too low. Right now, the sky seems to be the limit for Nasa. Hataoka picked up her first LPGA win with a sizzling 63 on Sunday for a six-stroke victory at the Walmart NW Arkansas Championship, the largest margin of victory on the LPGA this season.”
  • “Hataoka has now finished in the top-10 in five of her last six starts and rolls into next week’s KPMG Women’s PGA Championship, the third major of the year, as someone who has to be considered a top contender. Nasa nearly snared her first victory at the Kingsmill Championship in May, losing a playoff to Ariya Jutanugarn, who birdied both extra holes.”
6. Proud Ping

 

Cheers to Ping for the major tour double with Bubba winning on the PGA Tour and Matt Wallace capturing the European Tour’s BMW International Open.

 

Watson’s WITB
  • Driver: Ping G400 LST (8.5 degrees, at 7.6 degrees) Shaft: Grafalloy Bi-Matrix Pink X-Flex
  • Fairway Wood: Ping G (14.5 degrees, at 13.2 degrees) Shaft: Fujikura Tour Spec 8.2X
  • Irons: Pin iBlade (2 iron), Ping S55 (4-PW) Shafts: True Temper Dynamic Gold Tour Issue X100
  • Wedges: Ping Glide 2.0 (52-12 SS, 56-12 SS, 60-06 TS) Shafts: True Temper Dynamic Gold Tour Issue X100
  • Putter: Ping PLD Anser (Blast Finish)
Wallace’s setup…
  • Driver: PING G400 (8.5 deg; LS Aldila Rogue Silver 70TX tip ¾” 45.5″, MultiComp Black/Black 60 R +2,D4)
  • Fairway: PING G400 (14.5 deg; (Small Minus) PX HRXDRS YELLOW  76g 6.5 Tip 1.25″, 43″, D3)
  • Irons: PING i200 (2 iron); PING Prototype irons (3-5); PING iBlade (6-9 KBS C-Taper 130X Black Ltd Edition +1/4″, 1.5 D3)
  • Wedges PING Glide 2.0 Stealth 46; Prototype Wedge 52,58
  • Putter: PING Sigma G Darby 32.75″, 2 Deg Loft, 3.5 Upright Two Thumb Classic Grip
7. (An ultimately un)important golf question returns

 

Is Paul Casey a choker? Casey, who started the final round of the Travelers Championship ahead by four, is now one of four in finishing off 54-hole leads. His 2 over Sundy effort was hardly the stuff of champions, and needing just one birdie down the stretch, he got two bogeys instead.
  • The counterpoint is Casey merely had a bad day and regressed to the mean following a Saturday 62.
  • Casey, for his part, mentioned a tight neck, saying he “Didn’t have a comfortable swing to go out there and do something with.”
  • He also said this, which, well, is apparently a statement about golf:  “This is merely kind of posturing for what could be a very good climax.”

 

8. Brooks’ bacheloring X2
 
Brooks Koepka, who honored his commitment to the Travelers Championship following his U.S. Open win and respectably tied for 19th, is off to Boston for a bachelor party coming week.
  • He’ll begin his prep for Carnoustie the next week with…another bachelor party, apparently. “I was really hoping to get some rest…But I don’t know how much that will happen,” BK said after his finish.
9. PSA: Tiger this week

 

As the earth revolves around the sun, so too does planet golf revolve orbit Tiger Woods (as we all know). So here’s your reminder that he’s in the field this week for the Quicken Loans National.
  • However, it’s been interesting to see expectations for Woods temper over the course of his comeback, isn’t it? At first, we held our breath with every swing, every tight-gripped hack out of the rough, then, a TW win looked imminent. Heck, he was among the favorites heading into the Masters.
  • Lately, however, even though he’s turned in decent results, there seems to be a sense that Woods is further from winning after the second major of the year than he was heading into the first. Even though he’s hitting the ball better from tee to green, there’s a feeling that something is fundamentally broken with his putting stroke. It’s odd, isn’t it?
  • A good week of putting at the National, however, and narratives of a Woodsian coronation at Carnoustie will be everywhere. Further struggles, and Woods at 25-1 to win The Open will seem sensible indeed…even though it perhaps should not.
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Pro golfer Hosung Choi has the most ridiculous golf swing you’ll ever see

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Professional golfer Hosung Choi, playing in the third round of the Kolon Korea Open at Woo Jeong Hills Country Club, has set the golf Internet on fire with his wildly entertaining golf swing. And while it may look ridiculous, he’s currently sitting at 8-under for the event through three rounds, only two shots back of the leader. It’s worth noting that the top two finishers in the Korea Open will earn a spot in the 2018 Open Championship at Carnoustie next month.

Enjoy the videos of his golf swing below!

Top-100 swing instructor and GolfWRX’s resident swing expert Tom Stickney has this to say about Choi’s golf swing: “The club goes up and away with a nice rerouting motion from the top into a perfect delivery and impact position. It’s obvious that this guy can play from those two positions, however, I’m not sure about the dismount. Nor can I even guess why he does it…I’m betting he was self-taught and made that move from day one. Great lesson to all the “golf swing” centric people playing today, why change it if it brings you to the dance?!?!”

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