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Q&A with Wesley Bryan, 18Birdies new ambassador

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18Birdies, mobile technology startup, just signed Wesley Bryan to a multi-year partnership.

Bryan will be featured as an 18Birdies ambassador by wearing the brand logo on his apparel, using the app to post “Live Rounds,” as well as other exclusive content in the app’s golf-focused social feed and making special personal appearances.

Since launching in 2016, 18Birdies has seen rapid growth and now claims more than 750,000 users. The app seeks to gamify the game of golf, as it were, and foster a social community. From GPS, to shot tracking, to stats, to custom recommendations in its Premium mode, 18Birdies is an impressive app.

Bryan certainly makes sense as an endorser, and he was kind enough to answer a few questions for us.

Wesley 1

Ben Alberstadt: Taco Bell, Skechers, now 18Birdies. You’re amassing a unique stable of sponsors. Is there a tie that binds? What do you look for in a sponsor relationship?

Wesley Bryan: I’m fortunate enough to partner with companies that share the same vision that I do.  I’m all about making golf fun, enjoyable and approachable. It’s important to me that brands I represent on Tour have that same approach.

BA: Considering YouTube, which is among other things an app, raised your profile and helped you earn a living before making it on the Web.com Tour, you have a unique perspective on apps among pro golfers, no?

WB: Technology is really an amazing thing – being able to connect with fans all over the world is something that I love doing. I recently played my first Tour event in Asia last week in Malaysia – it was incredible to hear so many fans referencing the content I’ve done with Dude Perfect!, amongst other things.

BA: Do you think apps like 18Birdies have a role to play in the growth of the game?

WB: Absolutely. We need to find a way to keep younger audiences interested in the game and one way to do that is integrating more technology and social media into it, which 18Birdies does a great job of. Kids these days are tech savvy and are used to being able to do everything on their smartphones, so an app like 18Birdies fits well into their lifestyle.

18Birdies-Premium-Caddy+-Shot-Tracking

BA: Social media was/is obviously important to the Bryan Bros, but what motivates you to stay active and connected to fans now that you’re a PGA Tour winner and have no need for self promotion?

WB: Having the ability to impact even just a single fan of the game is huge.  If nothing else, I hope that I can help grow the game’s appeal as I continue my pursuit of wins on TOUR.

BA: How important is shot and stat tracking to you as tour pro?

WB: Very. It’s what helps us improve as Tour players. We’re lucky that the Tour provides detailed analytics for us so that we really know what areas of our game need a little bit more attention than others. With 18Birdies, weekend warriors can devote that same level of detail to their games, too. I really think that taking detailed stats on the app will help players understand what they need to work on, rather than just practice without purpose.

GPS rangefinder

BA: Do you think the average golfer can plan for upcoming rounds aided by 18Birdies?

WB: I’ve been impressed with the accuracy of their GPS rangefinder. It’s a pretty cool way to “walk” the course before you arrive to get a sense of how you should play it and what you can expect.

BA: Why should golfers download 18Birdies?

WB: They have a lot of useful features that golfers can take advantage of on the course from an awesome GPS rangefinder to score/stat/round tracking to distance and shot tracking and a virtual caddy that provides custom club recommendations.

Not only that, they do a good job of promoting a golf community by incorporating social into the app. I’ll be posting Live Rounds in the app throughout the season, so fans can follow my rounds in real-time and interact with me.

I really like what they are doing with their DreamGames campaign as well. Rewarding people for just going out and playing golf is a great incentive to go out there and play.

18B-app-screens-Stats

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  1. jack

    Oct 28, 2017 at 12:58 pm

    Need to do what they do in Europe. All golfers pass training tests, qualify on a short course and build real handicaps through tournament play. No fake handicaps, no playing without having learned the rules…

  2. 097

    Oct 27, 2017 at 2:51 am

    Good. Lets inundate bad players and newbies with more of this stuff and keep them occupied and confused, their egos crushed because the Stats on these screens tell them they suck at the game. But we good players can’t have them tinkering with more of this stuff while they play and slow the rest of us down! Enough chumps out there blasting their music and chugging beers and not paying attention. Yeah. Thumbs up! Not.

  3. ReggieW

    Oct 25, 2017 at 8:00 pm

    If you’re a bogey golfer you don’t need this gizmo and probable you shouldn’t be carrying a driver or more than 10 clubs either. It’s only for pros and rec golfers who have more money than brains or talent.
    “Golfers are gullible.” — Harvey Penick, Little Red Book, page 74…. believe it.

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GolfWRX Morning 9: A “FedEx Cup” for the Web.com Tour? | Shots of the year | Tigermania 2018

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

December 14, 2018

Good Friday morning, golf fans.
1. Web.com moving to a points system 
Following approval by the PGA Tour policy board, the Web.com Tour will move to a FedEx Cup-like points system in 2019.
  • Golf Channel’s Rex Hoggard…”The PGA Tour policy board approved a provision that will transform how success is measured on the Web.com Tour, from earnings to a points-based system similar to that used on the PGA Tour.”
  • “According to a memo sent this week to members, a points-based system – as opposed to prize money – to determine eligibility was widely supported in a player survey in 2017.”
  • “Like the FedExCup format on the PGA Tour, points will be awarded based on a player’s finish, with 500 points going to the winner of regular-season events. The winner of the final regular-season event (WinCo Portland Open) will be awarded 600 points and the circuit’s three Finals events will award 1,000 points to the winner.”

Full piece.

2. Dunhill Championship Update

EuropeanTour.com report...”David Lipsky fired a bogey-free 66 to set the clubhouse target and open up a one-shot lead on day two of the Alfred Dunhill Championship.”
  • “The American is making his first appearance at Leopard Creek Country Club this week and an eagle and four birdies moved him to eight under as he made himself right at home.”
  • “Scott Jamieson has two top fives in this event and he continued that form to match Lipsky’s score and sit at seven under alongside fellow Scotsman Marc Warren….Doug McGuigan made seven birdies on the back nine to record the lowest nine holes of the season and make it three Scots in the top four a further shot back.”

Full piece.

3. Speaketh the Shark

While the Greg Norman didn’t watch The Match and was no fan of the spectacle, he would like to see the return of other made-for-T.V. money games.
  • Golfweek’s Kevin Casey quoting Norman…”I thought the Skins Game was a good thing every year because the players had to earn their way into it,” Norman said. “(‘The Match’) was just two players being invited to play. I’d like to see the Skins Game come back in some way, shape or form.”
  • “Norman expounded here, pivoting to the fact there are a lack of mixed men’s and women’s competitions….He pointed to the old JCPenney Classic as an example of how such events can bring intrigue, and that he hopes to see future growth in this realm.”
  • “Those events (mixed men and women) I think should come back on the calendar,” Norman said. “We saw what Lexi Thompson did last week and the year before at the (QBE) Shootout, she did a phenomenal job. Obviously (the women) can hold their own. I’d like to see a little bit more integration with that because you see it a lot in tennis and other sports … I’d like to see something like that happen in golf too.”

Full piece.

4. Shots o’ the year 

Golfweek’s Dan Kilbridge assembles his top 10 shots of the year.

Here are two.

  • “Tiger Woods, British Open…Woods had just taken the lead when his tee shot at No. 10 found a bunker. What he did next was unbelievable to watch in real time and likely the best shot he hit all season.”
  • “Brooks Koepka, PGA Championship…Clinging to a one-shot lead with three holes to play, Koepka pured a 4-iron from 248 yards out and proved he wasn’t going to flinch down the stretch while securing his third career major title.”

Full piece. 

5. Golf success begins at 30?
Golf Digest’s Brian Wacker, on the occasion of Rickie Fowler’s 30th birthday, catalogued a few players whose greatest successes on Tour have come in their third decades.
  • “Phil Mickelson...Lefty is perhaps the modern-day poster boy for hitting your stride in his 30s. It’s easy to forget that he didn’t win his first of five majors until he was 33 at the 2004 Masters. Sure, he picked up 16 titles on tour in his 20s, including one while still an amateur, but he nabbed 23 of his 43 PGA Tour wins, including his other four majors, in his 30s.”
  • “Justin Rose…The Englishman fared a lot worse than Fowler did early on, missing 21 straight cuts his first year as a pro. He recovered just fine, winning twice in the U.S. and four more times on the European Tour in his 20s. But it wasn’t until Rose’s 30s that his career really took off with seven wins on the PGA Tour, including the U.S. Open at Merion, four more on the European Tour, a gold medal in the Olympics and a spot atop the Official World Golf Ranking. And he still has another season-and-a-half before he turns 40.”
  • “Bubba Watson…The long-hitting Watson didn’t even make it to the PGA Tour until he was 27, so naturally most of his success came in his 30s. Watson’s first victory came at 31 at the 2010 Travelers Championship, and he has since added 11 more wins to his résumé, including two Masters titles in 2012 and 2014 as well as a World Golf Championship before turning 40 in November.”
6. Rules crash course
Jason Lusk at Golfweek rounds up 15 rules-related items you need to know for 2015.
  • Here’s one of ’em…”Flagstick…Players will be permitted to leave the flagstick in the hole while playing a shot from the green, and there is no penalty if the ball strikes the flagstick. In the past, players had to pull the flagstick from the hole or have somebody else (a caddie or another golfer) tend and pull the flagstick before the ball struck it.”
  • “This rule was changed to help speed up play, but it might have implications beyond pace of play. For example, PGA Tour player Bryson DeChambeau has said he will leave the flagstick in the hole even on short putts because he believes the flagstick will help keep more shots from racing past the hole. There has been research by several players and students of the game, including by short-game guru Dave Pelz, that claimed players have a statistically better chance of a ball dropping into or coming to rest near the hole if the flag is left in place.”
  • “It still will be against the rules to position the flagstick in such a way as to create a perceived benefit. That is, you can’t intentionally lean the flagstick forward in the hole to try to deflect a ball downward. The flagstick still must be placed upright in the center of the hole unless a player finds that it is leaning in a certain direction when he or she arrives at the green. In that case, the player could leave the flagstick as they find it or center it in the hole.”
7. Update on Bubba’s retirement plans
Via Bunkered…
If you recall...”Not long after winning the 2014 WGC-HSBC Champions, he said he would consider retiring from golf if he got to ten PGA Tour wins….”I’m going to keep trying until I get to ten, and then I’ll switch it from there,” Watson told AP. “Or retire.”
  • But now…“He is now at 12 PGA Tour wins following glory at the WGC-Dell Match Play and Travelers Championship and has set his sights on 15 victories, which could get him into the Hall of Fame.”
  • “Am I Hall of Fame worthy? I’m going to be dead honest with you – it would be the most joyous occasion in my life when it came to the game of golf,” he said. “I can’t tell you if that’s in or not. But my new goal is three more, see if I can get to 15.”
8. Tigermania 2018
Continuing the outlet’s “Newsmakers of the Year” series, Golf Digest’s Joel Beall takes a look back at the readings on the Tigermania meter in 2018.
  • From….”Jan. 4: Announces he’ll start season at Torrey Pines…This wasn’t necessarily a surprise; Woods had played-and more importantly, looked-relatively well a month prior at his Hero World Challenge, and the Farmers Insurance Open served as his opening tournament in 2017. Still, given Woods had appeared in precisely one official PGA Tour event in the previous 29 months, the routine announcement was like the first warm day of winter, offering hope that the long, vapid coldness was coming to an end….Tigermania-meter: Prepare the twirls.”
  • To…”Sept. 23: Wins the Tour Championship…A birdie at the first pushed his lead to four and cranked the crowd volume to 10. The next 13 holes were part golf tournament, part homecoming parade. The issue became slightly in doubt on the 16th and 17th, but a knee-knocker save on the latter sealed the day, transforming the 18th hole into a coronation. The king, back on his throne, marching down the aisle with his people by his side. The greatest comeback since Hogan was complete: Tiger Woods was a winner once again…Tigermania-meter: I’m not crying. You’re crying”

Full piece.

9. $500 set of clubs challenge
Our Trey Buchanan lays out this scenario in a fun piece…”You have a golf trip planned in two weeks. One day after work, you head to your car to hit the range and get some grinding in for the trip. As you walk to your car you notice your car has been broken into and your clubs are gone. Not good. You need new clubs for the trip but aren’t in a position to shell out the $2,000-$3,000 for a brand new set. What are your options? I recommend hitting the used market.”
  • “Every year, thousands of used golf clubs go on the market. Some of the clubs had a rough life and some have barely been hit. As an exercise to see what you can get for your dollar, I browsed one of the web’s largest used golf equipment sites (3balls.com) with a budget of $500 for a full set of clubs in my specs. What I found was really interesting.”
  • Here’s the big stick he went with...”Driver…Since I play a low loft driver with a low launch, low spin shaft, I knew I was in for a challenge with finding a driver. Once I took a minute to search, I found this beauty of a driver. I remember hitting the Ping G10 back in the day, and it was one of the most forgiving drivers at the time. Plus, it was very close to my specs at standard length, 7.5 degrees, and a mid-launch Grafalloy shaft.”

 

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GolfWRX Morning 9: Pro overcomes bad math to win | Koepka | Rory may not limit Euro Tour schedule after all

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

December 13, 2018

Good Thursday morning, golf fans. (featured image credit: PGA.com)
1. Overcoming bad math
Craig Dolch writing for PGA.com with the details of, a computational error that ultimately worked out in a club pro’s favor at the PGA Tournament Series.
  • “It’s a good thing for Matt Borchert he’s better with his putter than with his math…Borchert thought he had shot a 69 Tuesday and finished a shot behind Bob Sowards until Sowards told him they both had 68s. Borchert re-checked his scorecard and realized his mistake. They were tied at 8-under 136.”
  • “Ten minutes later, Borchert drained a 20-foot birdie putt on the first playoff hole to win Event No. 4 of the PGA Tournament Series at PGA Golf Club. It was the first PGA Tournament Series victory for the PGA Professional at Isleworth Golf & Country Club near Orlando.”
  • “It was too long of a day on the golf course,” Borchert said of the scoring issue. “I was trying to figure out where I stood on 18. I thought we both played great. Bob was solid. I was just lucky to sneak a few more putts in.”
2. Papadatos!
Meanwhile, early at the Alfred Dunhill Championship…
  • EuropeanTour.com report...”Dimitrios Papadatos opened up a one-shot lead over defending champion Brandon Stone as round one of the Alfred Dunhill Championship got under way at Leopard Creek Country Club.”
  • “Papadatos is playing on an invite after narrowly missing out on gaining his card via the PGA Tour of Australasia and made four birdies in his first 12 holes to move to four under.”
  • “Home favourite Stone was also bogey-free after nine holes to sit a shot ahead of Spaniard Adri Arnaus, Scot David Drysdale, Swede Robert Karlsson, Welshman Stuart Manley and South African Erik van Rooyen.”
3. Brooks on top, chip on shoulder
Eamon Lynch examines some of the criticism of Brooks Koepka and the reality as he sees it.
  • “He became the first man in almost 30 years to successfully defend the U.S. Open. At the PGA Championship, he joined Tiger Woods, Jordan Spieth, Rory McIlroy and Padraig Harrington as the only players in the last two decades to win two majors in a season. He was voted Player of the Year, an honor he promptly celebrated by winning the CJ Cup and ascending to No. 1 in the world.”
  • “Anyone else, they’re on the cover of a Wheaties box,” said Claude Harmon III, Koepka’s longtime coach….There won’t be a Wheaties box, of course.”
  • Also…”The lazy rap against Koepka is that he doesn’t win often enough on Tour. The 2015 Waste Management Phoenix Open – the first of his five Tour wins – is his only non-major victory in the U.S. It’s an anomaly that puts him in rarefied statistical company with Andy North as players who have more wins in majors than in regular tournaments. It’s not a ledger imbalance that troubles his team.”
4. Rory to remain European Tour fixture?
Despite suggestions to the contrary…
  • “The Forecaddie is pretty certain Rory McIlroy won’t quit golf’s European Tour in 2019, despite what he said during the DP World Tour Championship, Dubai.”
  • “European Tour chief executive Keith Pelley has taken steps to make sure his star player keeps his status.”
  • If it were to be that I don’t fulfill my membership next year, it’s not a Ryder Cup year so it’s not the end of the world,” he said…Not the end of the world for McIlroy, but pretty close to it for the European Tour and Pelley, The Man Out Front thinks.”
  • “Pelley wasn’t about to hang around to let McIlroy make a decision detrimental to the tour. Pelley jumped on a plane to Northern Ireland and McIlroy’s home in Holywood for an emergency meeting with his star player.”
While nobody knows what was said, it seems Pelley was pleased with the result.
5. Highlights from Valentino Dixon
A few of the best sections of Michael Williams’ excellent interview with Valentino Dixon, who served 27 years in prison for a crime he did not commit – and took up golf course-related artwork as a hobby during that time.
  • On getting started doing golf course art…”Right. Well, I was known as the artist in Attica. I spent, out of the 27 years, I spent 25 of those years in Attica. So over the years I had publicity on my case because the local newspaper had came to believe in my innocence, but there wasn’t a judge in Buffalo that would do anything about it. So the warden and the officers in Attica knew that I was innocent of the crime and would always check in on me and look in and see if I was all right and everything like that, but they knew that I drew also. So the warden came to me one day and asked me could I draw his favorite hole, which was Augusta, the 12th hole at Augusta.”
  • “I’d never golfed before. I mean, I’m from the inner city. So it was like all right, I guess I can do it. I knew nothing about golf. I drew the Augusta 12th hole. He loved it. Other inmates loved it and one of the inmates encouraged me to draw more golf holes. I said, “What are you talking about? What for? That doesn’t even makes sense.” He says, “I love the golf course, I think you should draw more.” He planted the seed.”
  • “A week later I went around and I got some old golf magazines, Golf Digest magazines, and I start pulling out the pictures that I loved. The guy gave me some really old ones that he had in his cell. So I start pulling out the ones that I liked, the ones that I thought was pretty and then from there I started drawing them. Whenever I put my mind into something, I just go in and really hard. So for months and months, all I did was draw golf courses. Okay. “
  • “Eventually I started reading the columns out of the Golf Digest magazine and I came across Max Adler’s, called Golf Saved My Life. I kind of put the two together because it was like golf was saving my life because being there was really, really stressful and hard and every day was a challenge. I have friends that committed suicide. I didn’t know if I was going to be the next person that my mind was going to snap.”
6. The Rexys!
Rex Hoggard handed out his (annual?) Rexy Awards for outstanding achievements in the world of golf.
Here are two
  • Enigma Award. It was an eventful year for Patrick Reed….He won the Masters for his first major and unabashedly torched his former team partner Jordan Spieth and U.S. captain Jim Furyk following the Americans’ loss at the Ryder Cup….”The issue is obviously with Jordan not wanting to play with me,” Reed told the New York Times, adding, “For somebody as successful in the Ryder Cup as I am, I don’t think it’s smart to sit me twice.”…You know the deal; it’s not me, it’s him. But if we learned anything about the former “Captain America,” it’s that there is definitely an ‘I’ in Patrick.”
  • “Armageddon Award. Just after 8 a.m. on Jan. 13, a quiet Saturday in Hawaii was shattered by an emergency message sent to cell phones across the islands: “BALLISTIC MISSILE THREAT INBOUND TO HAWAII. SEEK IMMEDIATE SHELTER. THIS IS NOT A DRILL.”
  • “It would take 38 minutes for officials to confirm to the public that the message was a false alarm. For those preparing for the third round of the Sony Open, it felt like an eternity…Jordan Spieth said he hid in his bathtub for a few moments before giving up on his “shelter” plan. “I just felt stupid,” he admitted.”
  • “But the award for having the best attitude when faced with the end of the world goes to Charles Howell III, who told reporters, “We sort of looked at one another. Part of you thinks you grab a Mai Tai, go to the beach and grab a front-row seat. Part of you thinks what are you going to do?”
7. GolfTV signs European Tour deal
Sports Pro Media report...”The wide-ranging deal with European Tour includes international multi-platform live rights, in selected territories, to all European Tour events and the next two Ryder Cups, as well as Discovery collaborating to further grow the golf body’s digital platforms. The partnership will bring coverage of the European Tour and Ryder Cup together on GolfTV.”
“From January 2019, Discovery will hold exclusive European Tour linear and digital rights in major markets including Italy, Romania, Russia,and Turkey. Additionally, GolfTV has digital streaming rights in Germany, Austria and Switzerland.  Portugal, Balkan countries, Eurasia, India, Latin America, Indonesia, Thailand, Singapore and a number of territories in Asia.”
8. The Ryder Cup is never over
Shane Ryan points out the competition has swelled in scale, as has the hype. Is this a good thing?
  • A morsel…”There are approximately 20 phases to a modern Ryder Cup cycle-scholars disagree on the exact total-and while I won’t bore you by listing them out here, I will say that somewhere around Phase 9 or 10, there is a three-day golf exhibition. The rest of the phases revolve around this event, and they range from aimless speculation to strategy to pre-tournament second-guessing to shock to dread to post-tournament second-guessing to lengthy evaluations to national hand-wringing to dramatic but ultimately feckless reform … and back again.”
  • “The cycle lasts exactly two years, and although the 20-ish phases encompass an impressive and diverse array of existential conditions, there is absolutely no phase called “nothing is happening right now” or “hey, the next Cup is two years away, why are we worried about this?” or “seriously, we’re not talking about the Ryder Cup for at least a month, please leave me alone.” It’s rumored that such a phase existed once, in the fog of history, but in the current golf climate, the Ryder Cup is as ubiquitous as an American election-it’s never over, even when it’s over. Especially when it’s over.”
9. Maybe stagger the announcements, Rolex/PR folks?
(also, earthquake) The below via D.A. Points on Twitter.
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Kevin Kisner reveals the level of hatred former college teammates have for Patrick Reed

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Patrick Reed hasn’t made many new friends recently after he was the fulcrum of the messy fallout after the USA’s heavy defeat in the 2018 Ryder Cup. Reed’s outspokenness at the time didn’t provoke Tour players to voice their personal opinion on the current Masters Champion, but this week Kevin Kisner aired a stark revelation of how the Texan is view by his former college teammates.

Speaking to Golf Digest, Kisner talked about the level of animosity that Reed’s ex-college teammates still have for him, stating

“They all hate him — any guys that were on the team with him (at Georgia) hate him and that’s the same way at Augusta. I don’t know that they’d piss on him if he was on fire, to tell you the truth.”

In a book written in 2016 by author Shane Ryan, it was revealed that there had been cheating and stealing accusations leveled against Reed from his teammates at Georgia while he was playing for the university. Reed denied the claims, though was subsequently removed from the team in 2009.

It’s worth noting that, Kisner, though a graduate of the University of Georgia, did not attend the school at the same time as Reed, and none of Reed’s teammates from his time in college, including Tour pros Brian Harman, Harris English, and Russell Henley would confirm Kisner’s view to Golf Digest.

Kisner’s revelation comes after an anonymous member of the U.S. Ryder Cup side told the New York Times after this year’s team event that Reed “is so full of shit” and that the 28-year-old “has no clue how to play team golf”.

Reed held his tongue following those incendiary remarks, but whether or not he will do the same after Kisner’s statement remains to be seen.

 

 

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