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Ricky Barnes WITB 2017

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Equipment is accurate as of the 2017 Shriners Hospitals for Children Open (10/30/17).

Driver: Wilson Staff C300 Prototype (9.0 degrees)
Shaft: Fujikura Atmos Tour Spec 6X

Driver: TaylorMade M2 (9.5 degrees)
Shaft:  Fujikura Atmos Tour Spec 7X

3 Wood: Callaway XR16 (15 degrees)
Shaft: nVentix Nunchuk

Hybrid: Wilson Staff D200 (17 degrees)
Shaft: nVentix Nunchuk 370

Irons: Wilson Staff C300 prototypes (4, 6), Wilson Staff FG Tour V6 (6-9)
Shafts: Nippin N.S. Pro Modus3 Tour 120TX

Wedges: Wilson Staff FG Tour PMP (48-08, 52-08), Wilson FG Tour PMP Raw (55-12, 59-10)
Shafts: Nippin N.S. Pro Modus3 Tour 120TX (48 degrees), Nippin N.S. Pro WV125 Tour Only (52, 55, 59)

Putter: Odyssey O-Works #9
Grip: SuperStroke Slim 1.0

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Discussion: See what GolfWRX members are saying about Barnes’ clubs.

Discussion: See what GolfWRX members are saying about Barnes’ clubs.

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WADA ends rumor that a positive drug test took place following 2018 Ryder Cup

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The World Anti-Doping Agency has quashed rumors that a positive drug test had occurred at this year’s Ryder Cup at Le Golf National.

Golfweek’s, Eamon Lynch, reported that following this year’s Ryder Cup, members of the French Anti-Doping Agency (AFLD) arrived unannounced to conduct random drug tests, with eight players asked for tests. According to European Tour spokesman Steve Todd “four from Europe, four from the U.S. – were tested at the Ryder Cup.”

It was the first drug test that had ever occurred at the Ryder Cup, and recently hearsay had spread that a U.S. team member had tested positive. However, that gossip turned out to be false, as Maggie Durand, a spokeswoman for the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA), confirmed.

“All the results are in, and there were no positive tests.”

According to Lynch, managers of just four of the 24 players involved at Le Golf National were open to discuss whether their players were involved in the tests that occurred on the Tuesday following the Ryder Cup. Rory Mcilroy and Ian Poulter’s agents confirmed that they were amongst the eight to be tested in Paris, while Thorbjorn Olesen and Tommy Fleetwood’s representatives stated that neither man conducted a test.

WADA further stated that in the event of a negative test, public disclosure is up to the athlete.

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Tour Rundown: Kuchar, Westwood snap victory droughts; Langer wins Schwab Cup

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Playoffs are winding down on three of the world’s major tours. Both the European and LPGA played their penultimate events for the 2019 playoff runs, while the Champions Tour crowned regular- and playoff-season champions in Arizona. The PGA Tour, meanwhile, kept its wraparound season chugging along, as golfers gathered in Mexico for the 2nd-last individual event before the winter break. Despite the long grind, the only thing rundown about professional golf is this week’s Tour Rundown. Let’s have a look at all the winners and what led to their trophy lifts.

Kuchar wins first since April 20, 2014; So does Westwood

Matt Kuchar and Lee Westwood have much in common: both represented their sides in multiple Ryder Cup competitions; neither has won a major title, although such was predicted and nearly accomplished, again on multiple occasions. Now we can add the most unlikely commonality: the ending of 4+ year winless streaks, started and completed on the same days. Let’s begin with Kuchar at Mayakoba.

The Georgia native was left off this year’s USA squad that lost to Europe in France. Kuchar arrived in Mayakoba as one of many, but through 7 of 8 nines this week, he looked unbeatable. Over the final 9 holes, the reality of an 8th tour title set in, and his putting stroke quickened. Despite missing a handful of shortish putts on the way in, Kuchar was able to withstand a Danny-Lee challenge and claim PGA Tour Title the ocho on the Yucatan peninsula. In the land of Maya and cenotes, Kuchar sidestepped the big abyss of pressure and hoisted the unique winner’s shell. As for Lee, a 2nd PGA Tour title will have to wait. His final-round 65 was splendid, marred only by a 15th-hole bogey and a massive misread on his tying birdie putt at the last. For Kuchar, his local caddie El Tucan and the fortuitous bounce at the last, were the stuff that forms unlikely wins.

Lee Westwood has had his share of missed opportunities over the years, certainly more than Kuchar. In South Africa this week, the English champion dumped the bagel that had followed him since mid-April, four years ago. Over the course of the final round, Westwood did battle with Sergio Garcia and Louis Oosthuizen, golfers with the major-championship cred that has escaped the Englishman his entire career. As Westwood piled on the birdies, Garcia and Oosthuizen played slower and slower, eventually reaching the attention of tour officials. Garcia looks poised to repeat his 20+ regrips of year past, but victory was not to be his this week. Hoping to enchant the home-country crowd, Oosthuizen got wayward, way too often, and finished 3rd alone at -11, one behind Garcia. Westwood’s closing 64 featured an early eagle and 6 birdies, superior stuff to anything his challengers had on offer.

Gaby Lopez claims 1st LPGA win at Blue Bay

Gaby Lopez, in the midst of her third season on the LPGA Tour, played sublime golf this week on China’s Hainan Island. Staring down a challenge from the great Ariya Jutanugarn, Lopez nearly balanced her bogeys (5) and birdies (4) and escaped with a 1-shot victory, her first on tour. Jutanugarn showed the erratic play that plagues her, making four bogies in five holes to fall well off the pace. Similar dismay befell Sung Hyun Park, ranked 2nd in the world behind Jutanugarn. The Korean had three bogeys and a double in her closing round, falling from contention to also-ran status. As for Lopez, even a missed, four-feet putt at the last could not steal the win away. Finishing at -8, one ahead of Jutanugarn, Lopez moved inside the top 50 in the season-long CME Globe race.

Singh, Langer elevate trophies as Champions Tour season concludes

They say that the first human to reach 150 years of age might already live among us. I propose Bernhard Langer as a candidate. The German giant won but twice in 2018, but his consistently-high level of play brought him a 5th, season-long Schwab Cup title. Langer held off Scott McCarron by 250 points. Winning this week was Vijay Singh, whose 10 birdies on Sunday gave him 61 on the day, -22 on the week, and a 4-shot margin over runner-up Tim Petrovic. The aforementioned McCarron, in the catbird’s seat on Sunday morning, failed to come through in the season’s final round. With victory in clear sight after opening rounds of 65-64-66, the California native made two double and two bogies in round four, tumbling to 72, a tie for 3rd, and no Schwab Cup. Singh’s victory moved him to 4th on the season-long list, just ahead of Spain’s Miguel Angel Jimenez and behind Langer, McCarron and Scott Parel.

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GolfWRX Morning 9: Kuuuch (and Leeee) | Ryder Cup doping scandal? | Driver wars cometh?

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

November 12, 2018

Good Monday morning, golf fans.
1. Kuch!
Matt Kuchar ended a four-year victory drought at a tournament he hadn’t planned to play.
Cameron Morfit of PGATour.com with the game story…
  • Matt Kuchar survived some shaky play down the stretch and rattled in a par putt from just inside three feet on 18 to shoot a final-round 69 for a one-stroke victory over Danny Lee (65) at the Mayakoba Golf Classic on Sunday.
  • “It feels extra sweet having kind of had to suffer through a year of not playing great in 2018,” said Kuchar, whose last victory before today came at the 2014 RBC Heritage in Hilton Head, South Carolina. “Being four years removed since my last victory I realize how difficult it is to win on the PGA TOUR.”
  • With his regular caddie, John Wood, at a reunion, Kuchar won with a club caddie, David “Toucan” Ortiz, who had been assigned to him by the tournament director. Ortiz, a father of two from Playa del Carmen who caddies every day at El Camaleon Golf Club, was in tears as he accepted congratulations and rolled up the flag on 18 as a souvenir.
2. Meanwhile, in South Africa…
…another veteran ended a four-year dry spell.

ESPN report…

  • Lee Westwood bagged five birdies on his back nine to storm to victory in the Nedbank Golf Challenge at the Gary Player Country Club on Sunday, his first title on the European Tour for four years.
  • Westwood, 45, carded a faultless 64 that included an eagle and six birdies for a tournament total of 15 under-par, three shots ahead of overnight leaderSergio Garcia.
  • The Spaniard, who had led from the first round into Sunday, could only manage a 70 as his two-shot overnight advantage was swallowed up by a magnificent finish from Westwood.
  • The Englishman secured a 24th European Tour title, the eighth most of all time, and a third at the Nedbank Golf Challenge after previous wins in 2010, when he was ranked the No.1 golfer in the world, and 2011.
  • “I’m a bit emotional,” a tearful Westwood told reporters. “You are never sure if you can do it again. And I needed to.”
3. Vijay wins, but Bernhard gets the cup
John Strege writes…”Singh, 55, began the final round trailing by six, but posted a 10-under par 61 to win the season-finale Charles Schwab Cup Championship by four at Phoenix (Ariz.) Country Club on Sunday.”
  • “It was his third win of the season, yet only his fourth on the senior tour. Twenty-two of his 34 PGA Tour victories that landed him in the World Golf Hall of Fame came in his 40s.”
  • “Singh’s victory paved the way for the seemingly ageless Bernhard Langer to win the season-long Charles Schwab Cup yet again. Langer, 61, won the cup and a $1 million bonus for the fourth in the last five years and fifth time overall.”
  • “It never gets old,” Langer said. “At age 61 to do it is quite an achievement. Maybe there’s another one in me, you never know.”

Full piece.

4. Viva, Gaby!
Ron Sirak with some perspective on Gaby Lopez’s Blue Bay win.
  • Sometimes when you scrawl your name into the record book the achievement is amplified by the names next to yours. And sometime when success arrives the thrill of victory is intensified by the obstacles overcome. Both were true for Gaby Lopez on Saturday when her one-stroke victory in the Blue Bay LPGA united her with the legendary Lorena Ochoa as the only tour winners from Mexico after Gaby persevered in a gutsy final-round showdown with the two top players in the world.
  • Before the round, Lopez made it clear she was playing for her country as she dressed in the national colors of Mexico and after she held off Rolex No. 1 Ariya Jutanugarn, the 25-year-old product of the University of Arkansas dedicated the trophy to her grandfather, Jose Lopez, who died earlier this year.
5. Driver wars!

The Forecaddie suggests there could be a seismic shift in the world of driver sponsorship on the PGA Tour ahead, of which Justin Rose’s move to Honma is an indication.

  • “While an industry source confirmed plans for the move to The Forecaddie – even as Rose is refusing to affirm for obvious contractual reasons – expect the 20-year TaylorMade man to slowly ease into his new partnership. Europe’s highest-ranked player will stick with his TaylorMade woods until he’s comfortable moving to Honma’s gear and is even sticking with the TaylorMade TP5 ball for the foreseeable future.”
  • “The Man Out Front also hears Rose is not the only Honma adoptee in 2019, with at least one high-profile player already signed and possibly as many as two more names you know headed to the company leaning on former TaylorMade CEO Mark King for guidance as it expands into markets outside of Asia. Not coincidentally, King signed Rose two decades ago.”
  • “TMOF is hearing from agents that TaylorMade is reducing its program paying middle-tier Tour players to use their big sticks. New owner KPS Capital Partners is pinning its marketing hopes on big names and recent high-priced signees. With Rory McIlroy, Jason Day, Dustin Johnson and Tiger Woods leading the way, that’s an impressive roster of marketing firepower.”

Full piece.

6. No doping drama, says WADA
Credit to Geoff Shackelford for the context and Eamon Lynch for the original report.
  • Shack writes…”Golfweek’s Eamon Lynch reports on the red-hot rumor mill that had players gossiping in recent weeks about a positive test result at the Ryder Cup. Lynch explains on the surprise (Bonjour!) test administered at the team hotels by France’s AFLD, still smarting from the Tour de France issues over the years.”
  • Lynch…”All the results are in and there were no positive tests,” said Maggie Durand, a spokeswoman for the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA), to which the French AFLD affiliate reported its findings. When asked about the method of testing, WADA confirmed it was urinalysis. And about the players tested? In the event of a negative test, public disclosure is up to the athlete, WADA echoed.”
7. Who needs a pro looper?
Geoff Shackelford“It was a big weekend for 2018 Ryder Cup VC’s who put away their driving gloves and rode the classic Cup boost to victories. I’m not sure which is more meaningful-Lee Westwood at the Nedbank or Matt Kuchar at Mayakoba-both both pulled off their feats without full-time pro jocks.”
  • Helen Storey, Westwood’s girlfriend, did the honors for him, and Kuchar relied on a local looper nicknamed El Tucan (phenomenal).
8. Scottish golf in trouble? 
Our Stuart Bell (a Scotsman) filed an excellent perspective piece on the state of the game in its ancestral homeland.
  • “So with participation numbers dwindling and clubs struggling, are the kids now having less influence from within the family to take up the game? Is the drop in adult participation affecting the influx from the juniors? That’s worrying, as it’s never been easier, or more affordable (relatively speaking) to get into a golf club. 25 years ago there was waiting lists and huge joining fees. Not now. You can pretty much join up anywhere with little or no joining fee. This trend looks like continuing with the variety of alternatives out there – with little or no encouragement, what incentive is there for a junior to go out in the wind and rain to learn a game that it is deemed expensive and time consuming, and one that takes years to learn when you know you’ll never master it?”
  • “Hopefully some of Scotland’s youngsters could take inspiration from the Scots at the elite level of the game – but who exactly would that be? At the time of writing there is ONE Scot in the top 100 of the official golf world rankings. Russell Knox at 59. The next best placed is Martin Laird who isn’t even in the top 150 at present. Both of these guys are based in the US but their skills were honed in Inverness and Glasgow respectively. In the cold and wet. Like the Lyle’s, Torrance’s and Montgomerie’s before them. We invented this game and that is what we have to show for it?
  • Can you imagine the outcry if the United States stopped producing football players, the Canadians gave up on their ice hockey, or heaven forbid, the All Blacks became an also ran in the Rugby world? So why do we accept it?”
9.Practice like you play
 
A bit of advice in the No. 9 slot this morning from our Tom Stickney as he delves into the cliche of “practice like you play.” Sounds great, right? But what the heck does it really mean in practice.
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