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19th Hole

Are players majorly unhappy with Quail Hollow redesign?

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Quail Hollow was shut down following James Hahn’s win at the 2016 Wells Fargo Championship for requisite pre-PGA Championship doctoring under Tom Fazio’s scalpel.

Golfweek’s Bradley Klein detailed the surgery with far more eloquence and expertise than I can muster here, but a quick sketch of the changes looks like this.

Before the 2016 shutdown, Fazio and company had already worked to move the first and 10th tees, ninth and 18th and greens for more spectator room, as well as strengthen the 14th through 18th holes. They also moved the par-4 16th hole 50 yards to the left.

Since 2016, the greens were regrassed with a new variety of bermudagrass. Predictably, tree work, rebunkering followed.

As Klein writes

“The old first and second holes have been combined into a demanding dogleg right par 4 measuring 524 yards (played as a par 5 for members). The old third and fourth holes were re-sequenced as the second and third holes, then comes a virtual splitting up of the old par-5 fifth into two holes through use of some lateral land.

“The new fourth hole, a 184-yard par 3, calls for a forced carry over three front bunkers. A new fifth hole, a 449-yard par 4, was flipped to the right.”

Interestingly, it seems like some players are less than enthused about the changes to the first hole and fourth green, as ESPN’s Michael Collins found in his latest Caddie Confidential feature.

“Collins: All the players in front of the camera are saying the course (Quail Hollow Club) is fine, but off camera that ain’t what they’re saying. What’s the truth?

“Caddie: I would say most of the guys are not happy with No. 1 or No. 4, to be fair. I would say No. 1 should be played as a par-5. The green was designed to be a par-5 green.

No. 4, I think the green is just too penal. It’s too severe for the length of shot. I think if it was a shorter shot, you’d actually have a third (tee) box for that to be fair.”

Collins then indicated he heard from a Quail Hollow member that there are plans to entirely redo the fourth green.

Now, it’s important to keep in mind that the opinions of the anonymous caddie are not necessarily representative. However, Collins, a former caddie himself, is one of the most plugged in guys out there. If he says this is what the chatter is, you have to be inclined to believe him.

All of this leads to the obvious question: Why has Fazio’s carte blanche doctoring yielded two holes players hate before even facing them in competition?

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19th Hole

11 insights from Rory McIlroy and Padraig Harrington’s wide-ranging chat

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Paul Kimmage of the Irish Independent got Rory McIlroy and Padraig Harrington to sit down for an extensive and wide-ranging interview. That alone is an achievement.

McIlroy and Harrington, the greatest golfers in recent memory from Northern Ireland and Ireland respectively, have never been the best of friends. That isn’t to say they’ve been adversaries, they’ve just never been particularly chummy.

Both men, accomplished and insightful, are great interviews individually. Together, however, the transcript is even better. Harrington, for example, can probe McIlroy in a way a reporter can’t. And McIlroy is compelled to answer the elder statesman when he calls him on the carpet for trying to act like Tiger Woods in press conferences, for example.

Here are a few of the more insightful portions of Kimmage’s Q&A.

Harrington and McIlroy prepare for tournaments in very different ways

PH: And we have a very different way of preparing for tournaments. He likes to play early, I like to play late. I’m not prepared to do his thing, he’s not prepared to do mine…
RM: Yeah, what’s the best way to prepare?
PH: I like a good sleep and to play later.
RM: I’m up at five every morning.
PH: I can think of nothing worse than playing practice rounds when you do.

McIlroy’s tournament week is structured with little socializing outside his inner circle

RM: Yeah, for example, I’ve rented a house this week and I have a chef and everything revolves around that house. I get back (after playing) and there’s six people in the house and that’s my week: I don’t see anyone else; I don’t want to see anyone else.

See above

PK: What about you, Rory? Any player you’re close to?
(Long pause)
PK: I’ll take that as a no.
RM: Not particularly, but I think that’s more to do with the stage I’m at in my life. If Erica wasn’t with me, I’d reach out to some people or play a practice round or whatever. But I wouldn’t be particularly . . .

They keep their trophies in very different places

Where do you keep your Claret Jug?
RM: (Nods to Pádraig) Ssss . . . plural.
PH: Sitting on the breakfast bar in the kitchen at home.
RM: I don’t have it on display. I have a trophy room, but if you were in the house you would never find it.

Three majors would be a failure for Rory, both agree

PH: I’m at a stage where I’ve done what I need to do. You’re at a stage, Rory, where you’re still trying to get more . . . actually, I’m going to say this, and it’s probably not what you want to hear, but four Majors for you is a failure.
RM: I 100 per cent agree.
PH: Three Majors for me was an over-achievement. I love what I’m doing and I’d like to win another one, but I’m well aware that I’m not going to change my legacy at this stage. Whereas you’re still on that path.

McIlroy admits he doesn’t have Harrington’s “mental stamina”

RM: (smiles) Yeah, he’s the ultimate . . . at 46, I’ll probably be at the point where I accept what I have – he does not accept it. There’s always something to work on; there’s always something to get better at. That’s where we differ as well; I don’t know if I have the mental capacity or the mental stamina to get up every morning and do that.
PK: You don’t?
RM: Yeah, to practise like that. The way he goes about it is too mentally draining for me.

Self belief or the lack thereof determines the quality of Rory’s play

PH: There are two things that stand out with Rory; the first thing kills him but it also makes him and that’s his belief: when it’s there it’s phenomenal, and when it’s not there it hurts him. When he has it he sends people running scared, and when he doesn’t have it he fades – you can see that from the sideline.

Harrington thinks McIlroy often comes off as cold in interviews

PH: I don’t think I’ve ever been in your company where I haven’t walked away thinking you’re a nicer guy than I thought beforehand. And yet, media-wise, you can sound quite cold and clinical at times and I think: ‘He’s trying to be Tiger Woods.’ Because you present this . . . wall.

When Rory and Tiger played in November, Tiger insisted Rory bring his dad

RM: On the night before we played (in November) Tiger sent me a text: ‘Why don’t you bring your dad along?’. Dad wasn’t sure. “I’ll leave you two to it,” he said. “I don’t want to get in the way.’ So I sent him a text: ‘No, I don’t think he is going to make it.’ He texted me back: ‘Oh, come on! When he is ever going to get a chance to play with two former number ones?’

McIlroy thinks Spieth is golf’s most underrated player

RM: I had a chat with Brandt Snedeker last night and we both said it: “Jordan Spieth is the most underrated player in the game.” When you look at what he’s done, and what he’s achieved, but all you hear are negatives.

Neither seem to be fans of Brandel Chamblee

PH: They can’t see the X factor. Dustin Johnson hit a drive a few weeks ago (in Hawaii) and one of the main TV commentators said it was the greatest shot ever hit.
PK: Brandel Chamblee.
PH: Talk about hyperbole.
RM: It was nonsense.

All this is but the tip of the iceberg of a frank, insightful, and often funny exchange. Check out the full transcript of the sit down here.

 

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19th Hole

Rick Shiels shoots +41 in 3-round pro-am tourney. GolfWRX members discuss.

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There’s no way to sugarcoat this: Rick Shiels’ golf game did not travel with him to coastal Spain. Sorry, Rick, (who is by all accounts a great guy). The YouTube personality, instructor, and club reviewer extraordinaire teed it up in the three-round Costa Daurada International Pro-Am at Lumine Mediterránea Beach & Golf Club in Spain.

Shiels carded rounds of 88, 88, 79 to finish at 41 over par, last in the field of 17 golfers and seven strokes worse than any other pro.

Not surprisingly, GolfWRX members are discussing the popular YouTuber’s performance and asking some tough questions.

Londoner writes

“This is not intended as a bashing thread. We have all had rounds where it felt like our first. But I thought pros had some level of consistency cracked. Ric hit 41 over for 3 rounds in a pro am…
The winner was +2. How does a pro unravel like that?”

Cornwall1888 suggests

“He’s simply not very good, that’s why he makes money from YouTube and sponsors, not playing golf. He’s probably a 2 or 3 handicap who had a terrible week.”

Stumpnav continues the thought that Shiels may simply not be a good tournament player

“I think Rick spends most of his time at the range using his launch monitor and not enough on the course. He knows how to play swing but not how to play golf. Doesn’t diminish his instructional ability or the enjoyment of his channel.”

Hawkeye77 doesn’t think the scores necessarily reflect his abilities as a player

“On vacation with his family, little or no play or practice in winter, not all that surprising. I’ll bet anyone he played with had a great time.”

Plenty, like Merkury10, defended Shiels and offered potential explanations

“All pros can have a stinker like that. We just aren’t watching them on Sunday. They either missed the cut or played the early tee time not televised. I agree with what was said earlier. I suspect he spends the majority of his time in the hitting bay and not out trying to shoot low scores. Rory 5 putted this weekend, and he’s no Rory.”

03trdblack has a theory about where Shiels is deficient

“Serviceable swing but his chipping and putting are pretty bad. He’s a driving range pro that lives on the GCQuad instead of on the practice green.”

There’s much, much more to the discussion and plenty of hot takes on both sides…and plenty of folks who loved or hated the new Driver vs. Driver panelist before he fired three miserable rounds. In other words, you’ll want to check out this thread.

And it’s neither here nor there, but still worth disclosing, Shiels contributed to this site in the past. You can see his archive here.

 

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19th Hole

Jordan Spieth is a disgusting, pathetic thief, according to Billy Hurley III

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Allow your boiling blood to cool, golf fans. While Billy Hurley III did in fact call Jordan Spieth disgusting and pathetic (among other things), it was all in good fun. And believe me, you’ll have no regrets about clicking through to this article.

Spieth and Hurley are both running for chairman of the PGA Tour’s Player Advisory Council which, not surprisingly, advises Commissioner Jay Monahan on policy decisions.

Davis Love III is the current PAC chair, and the election to determine his successor ends February 13. In a calculated 11th-hour attack ad, BH3 tore into his opponent in this brilliant satirical video.

Spieth, for his part, enjoyed the Golden Man’s spot.

This is hilarious stuff. Really, really well done. Hurley has long been a favorite at GolfWRX for his brand agnosticism, and he gave us a hell of an interview back in 2015.

Well played, Mr. Hurley. You’ve got GolfWRX’s vote.

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19th Hole

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