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USGA finds “unusual and concerning” distance increases in annual report

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The USGA and R&A released the whispered-about report expressing concern over the largest increase in driving distance on professional tours in a decade, Monday.

The report is clear about the substantial uptick in distance off the tee in 2017

“The 2015 and 2016 editions of the distance report presented the increases in driving distance since 2003 as a slow creep of around 0.2 yards per year. The 2017 data shows a deviation from this trend. The average distance gain across the seven worldwide tours was more than 3 yards since 2016.”

It is also unequivocal about the problems posed by such gains

“Increases in distance can contribute to demands for longer, tougher and more resource-intensive golf courses at all levels of the game. These trends can impact the costs to operate golf courses and put additional pressures on golf courses in their local environmental landscape. The effect of increasing distance on the balance between skill and technology is also a key consideration. Maintaining this balance is paramount to preserving the integrity of golf.”

However, per the press release, further review/no immediate action is the order of the day, even though the statement that the organizations “remain committed to the spirit” of the so-called line in the sand (the 2002 Join Statement of Principles), which clearly stipulates action should the distance boom continue.

As Golf Digest’s Mike Stachura points out after a close read of the report, not only are we seeing all-time highs in driving distance across all tours, and a 2.5-yard increase in distance on the PGA Tour since 2016-2017, but the percentage jump from 2016-2017 to 2017-2018 thus far is more than 10 times the average annual uptick in pro golf from 2003 to 2016.

USGA chief Mike Davis and R&A head Martin Slumbers have ramped up the alarmist narrative in recent months, with Davis calling distance increases “horrible” for “all golfers.” Even so, as mentioned, the governing bodies are not currently taking any action.

“Building on the extensive research we have undertaken in recent years, we will conduct a thoughtful conversation about the effects of distance prior to making any specific proposals. We remain open-minded and our absolute priority is to ensure that all key stakeholders are involved in an open and inclusive process, and that we move forward together in the best interests of golf at all levels. There is no fixed timetable, but we will commence this process immediately and endeavor to reach a conclusion as promptly as possible.”

Here is the PDF of the full report  from the governing bodies.

 

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  1. GMatt

    Mar 7, 2018 at 12:05 pm

    Again, the USGA is out of touch with 99.99% of the golfers in the world. Why are they concerned with distance of maybe 1,000 touring pros in the world when the distance of millions of normal amateur golfers hasn’t really changed, same as handicaps….

    For an organization that is supposedly around to grow the game, they sure are doing their best to stagnate it a best. What is increasing distance? (not necessarily in order of importance) agronomy-better turf conditions than in years past, better equipment, lower spinning ball, bigger and more athletic players. So I guess in addition to rolling back the ball, the USGA should limit strength and size of us players, they should roll back the care of the course to goat pastures of years past, they should take over the equipment companies and tell them to no longer innovate and improve golf clubs and balls.

    Does this all sound absurdly stupid to you? Perhaps the USGA should listen to the very people they claim to represent and not cater to their own agenda. Both Matt Adams and Michael Breed this morning were extremely outspoken about this very subject

  2. JThunder

    Mar 6, 2018 at 11:25 pm

    Instead of rolling back the ball, how about a limit on height and fitness of tour players?

    If you want to protect par, just reduce the par by one on every PGA Tour hole.

  3. JThunder

    Mar 6, 2018 at 11:23 pm

    If they want real numbers, maybe they should be measuring more than two holes per tournament. Seems like a lot can go wrong with that baseline, as I believe the PGA Tour and others are now pointing out.

    Have they genuinely kept track of “driver use” on these holes over the years. Today’s top players seem to hit 3 wood less and less – Dustin, Justin, etc. It doesn’t take much to change a stat by 3 yards (at 300 yd drive ~ 1% gain) if a few pros go from 3wd to driver.

  4. MT

    Mar 6, 2018 at 4:32 am

    Don’t know about you guys, but I hate one sided half the story reporting.

    They state the 3 yards as some huge “Oh No”.
    What they don’t mention is the average swing speed of tour players over the last 10 years.

    To prove their point. They need to show swing speed staying the same while distance is increasing.

    The data is all there and available. Swing speed vs ball speed vs distance.

    • Matt

      Mar 6, 2018 at 10:29 am

      Roll it back!!

      This isn’t about hackers. If you carry it 220 or less off the tee, which something like 90% of golfers do, you won’t even notice a difference. You don’t compress the ball enough for it to matter. These changes will stop the 200 yard 7 irons and 330 yard drives. Bring back some shaping and skill. Shorten courses, so you can walk them, and play in less than 6 hours. The longer the ball goes the further off line it goes. Less time in the woods, less time waiting behind foursomes looking for balls. Etc. etc. etc.

      Roll it back!

      • Matt

        Mar 6, 2018 at 10:30 am

        Didn’t mean to reply to your comment – just a general comment.

  5. Steve

    Mar 5, 2018 at 7:26 pm

    I just took up golf this past summer. I am not very good, but I have learned that eventually I will know the distance for each club. I would think the pros should be much more efficient at that than I am, so who cares what the length of the course is.

  6. DaveT

    Mar 5, 2018 at 5:42 pm

    My position is that the USGA is not interested in protecting golf; they are interested in protecting par. They’d do a lot more for golf if they ignored the 3yd/drive/year increase, and allow the Tour to amaze us viewers even more than they do now. That will sustain interest in the game on TV. I guarantee nobody I play golf with is going to threaten the viability of today’s golf courses. If you make the courses play longer (either by changing the courses, the ball, or the clubs), you’ll anger the vast majority of golfers.

  7. Anthony

    Mar 5, 2018 at 3:43 pm

    3 yards? Better make the golf courses 8000 yards to combat that!
    What a load of the proverbial!!!!

  8. John

    Mar 5, 2018 at 3:29 pm

    For years the PGA and R&A have tried to tackle the distance issue by lengthening courses. Any fool can see that this merely plays into the hands of the bigger hitters. If I had anything to do with it I’d shorten the courses and bring the shorter guys into the picture. Make the course layouts reward skill rather than brute force. The old ‘drive for show, putt for sigh’ maxim still holds true but to a far lesser extent nowadays. Shorter courses might also address the nonsense of six hour rounds. Not by much probably but any reduction would be welcome.

    • John

      Mar 5, 2018 at 3:32 pm

      ‘Drive for show, putt for dough’ obviously. Damn autocorrect!

  9. Alfredo Smith

    Mar 5, 2018 at 2:42 pm

    SHANK! The only thing that needs rolling is a big fat doobie after reading this nonsense.

  10. Patricknorm

    Mar 5, 2018 at 2:33 pm

    I’ve been to many PGA Tour events, and the one that I notice right away is how big most players are. 30 years ago the odd player was over 6’1” but today when you see a Tony Finau or Dustin Johnson even Matt Kuchar, they’re all over 6’3”. 30 years ago before Tiger came along and purses increased, those athletes may have tried other sports like tennis or basketball. Plus, you can’t dismiss the John Daly effect who gave kids permission to “ grip and rip” the ball. Today most players , when they drive the ball, are out of their shoes.
    And then add in technology and better agronomy, well it was bound to happen.

  11. joe

    Mar 5, 2018 at 1:13 pm

    Make the pro’s go back to persimmon, we’ll see who the best golfers really are…

    • Mikele

      Mar 5, 2018 at 2:24 pm

      Let’s go back to Radio Shack 64k RAM computers so we can see who the real computer users are.

      Dumb, dumb, dumb.

      • Dr Troy

        Mar 5, 2018 at 4:18 pm

        Exactly….3 yards is nothing. Everyone needs to go chill out and move on to other world problems in Golf.

  12. george

    Mar 5, 2018 at 1:09 pm

    No need to roll back the ball for us amateurs. Just outlaw the Trackman/Flightscope/GCQuad.

  13. JD

    Mar 5, 2018 at 12:43 pm

    Yeah I’m sure the cost of extending a par 4 at Augusta is going to trickle down to the muni courses I play.

  14. Rich

    Mar 5, 2018 at 12:40 pm

    WOW! Are you kidding me? The players are in better condition,use better methods in training,video usage and the equipment has better materials and technology designs while meeting the rules.. It isn’t the ball it’s the layout of courses .The course should be designed or altered to make it a PLAYER’s course ,MORE RUFF,SAND,TREES,WATER,SHRUBS GREENS that have more shape and contour deeper sand traps. The Tour had decided wrongly that people wanted to see lower scores when in we really want tougher courses .That’s why the British open ,US open are the best matches and watched by more people than the regular tour matches. IT’s ABOUT SHOT SHAPING, DECISION MAKING AND RISK TAKING !!!

  15. Brian

    Mar 5, 2018 at 12:25 pm

    Maybe fairways shouldn’t be designed to allow a hundred yards of roll out?! Rather than dial back the golf ball, dial back the course set up a little. But this is what the USGA wanted, along with everyone else: to see the likes of DJ ripping the ball further than anyone has ever done before on national tv. Now that everyone is doing it, it’s not cool anymore and by golly we need to fix this “equipment problem”! No one stops to think for a second that with the heyday of the TW era, the youth who grew up watching him physically dominate courses are now in the tour and working out, getting stronger, and more physically dominate than ever before as a whole coupled with course set ups to allow it. But keep telling yourselves it’s the equipment and golf ball’s fault…

  16. juliette

    Mar 5, 2018 at 12:09 pm

    I get it about distance. As someone more or less in the lowest percentile of distance compared to the mostly men who comment on golf wrx I should be the most opposed to changes limiting my distance. But I see Mike Davis’ point about resource utilization in an era where most of us agree that something is going on here with this Earth and this extreme weather. Needing more land for golf courses, more water, more fertilizer more more more more more is not the time to start being blind to this and caring only about how far your 6 iron goes.

    • Murv

      Mar 5, 2018 at 12:22 pm

      Yeah, we need to reduce golf ball distance to save the world from global warming.

      • Bub

        Mar 5, 2018 at 1:24 pm

        Good plan, that way anyone that doesn’t want to ‘roll back’ the golf ball can be accused of hating the planet and children.

    • Mikele

      Mar 5, 2018 at 2:29 pm

      Juliette – You aere wasting your time with that argument on this website. Your sincere concern will be deemed political by the cretin crowd here. You don’t really think they bothered to read the report, do you? That would put it into context and god forbid they should go beyond the headline or blurb.

      • youraway

        Mar 5, 2018 at 5:56 pm

        Perfect – absolutely perfect response.

    • Wyomick

      Mar 6, 2018 at 7:39 am

      Anybody want to bring up Hitler? I’m sure the long ball hitters that want to destroy the planet are related or st least guilty of his nefarious intentions. Good grief. Go away, far away from golf please.

      • dvers

        Mar 6, 2018 at 10:57 am

        Is this GolfWRX or CPAC? For a group that alludes to the “snowflakes” of the opposing ideology, commentators on many of these articles get irrationally defensive about a political claim that often doesn’t even exist. Golf isn’t exclusively for men with Rs after their names. Lighten up and/or take it to the Breitbart forums please.

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Valentino Dixon on his time in prison, his golf art, gratitude, and hope

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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 — joined Michael Williams on the 19th Hole podcast.

While the full interview doubtless represents one of the most important and impactful GolfWRX podcasts to data, we wanted to present a few excerpts for the more textually inclined.

On the events that led to him spending 27 years in prison

Valentino Dixon: “This was Buffalo, New York…I grew up in a bad area, a drug infested area, a lot of violence and stuff like that and these guys pull up, they start shooting, they shoot a friend of mines and another friend of mines return fire, ended up killing the guy. Anyway, long story short, when the shots rang out I was inside the deli across the street and I actually ran out afterwards and ran to my car, I pulled off.

“Shortly thereafter I was pulled over and taken into custody and questioned and ultimately charged with shooting three people.”

“I knew that I was going to be cleared or at least I felt I was going to be cleared because there was 80 witnesses. So I said, there’s no way that they’re not going to straighten this out and I’ll be out the next day, but that didn’t happen. Two days after I was arrested, this friend of mines turned himself into police, told them what happened. Actually the physical evidence matched his story, they found the dead guy’s gun on the scene and they disregarded him, told him that they didn’t believe him. Seven witnesses came forward, they disregarded those witnesses.”

“I found myself going to trial ten months later, my lawyer promised the jury that he was going to call these witnesses and introduce this confession and did not do it, and this is all on public record. I had a public defender and the jury found me guilty. I didn’t know that later on the jury foreman went to the judge and asked the judge, “Hey, why his lawyer didn’t call the witnesses he promised us?” The judge told him not to worry about it, to go home and sleep well and the judge never revealed that this happened.”

“It was our local paper that went to the foreman and said, “Hey, what happened during the deliberations?” He said, “Hey, I went to the judge and told him I didn’t feel right about this, that something was wrong here.” Anyway, the judge denies that that even took place. I was given 39 years.”

On getting started doing golf course art

VD: “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.”

On the positive reception his art got in Attica

VD: “Well let me tell you this. Right. Like I said, there’s so many guys … I mean guys that done killed three, four people were stopping at the cell saying, “Wow, I love that golf course.” These are guys that had never golfed before. So I’m saying if these guys love the golf courses that I’m drawing, I can only imagine how golfers would feel, because I mean these guys never golf. Maybe one out of 10 have golfed. You know what I’m saying?”

“So it really gave me the boost, the determination it gave me and inspired me to keep pushing it. I felt like, wow, this is something that you really like doing now because I got satisfaction out of other people looking at my drawings and loving them. This is what motivates me.”

On how he spent his time in prison

VD: “Well the thing is, is this. God was always with me. I prayed a lot. I prayed every day. Okay. And I just stayed positive. I read hundreds and hundreds of self help books, motivational books, anything to fill my mind with positive things and energy so that I wouldn’t become negative or fall into that whole negative thing that you see. I’ve seen a lot of prisoners fall into where they lose hope, they become bitter, angry, upset with the world and all that other stuff. I was determined not to allow that to happen to me. So I had to push my willpower to the max.”

“At the same time, I was drawing up to 10 hours a day. So I was really like, listen, if I got to become the best artist in the world in order to get my freedom, then that’s what I’ll do. And this is why I mean I pushed myself to the limit. I’ve done some golf drawings that were … these are all drawings now, not paintings. I’ve done some drawings that people have never even seen. I got a 60 by 90 drawing.”

On his artistic style

VD: “…I had to develop my own style over a course of I would say 20 years. Just every day I had to learn from error. I didn’t have no teacher, so I had to learn through trial and error of what to do, what not to do, how to blend colors, what worked, what didn’t work, how to layer everything on top of each other. My goal has always been to make the drawings look like a painting.”

“Take the whole paper out of it. So when you look at it, you’d say, “That ain’t done on no paper.” That’s the whole goal there. So I had to put so many colors on top of each other to get that painting effect and then drawings are so much more strenuous than paintings because I know how to paint also. But drawing is so much more strenuous because there’s no shortcuts. You got to sit there for … I might sit there for two hours and just do one little corner because you got to get all the detail in there. You know what I’m saying? So it’s way more work that goes into what I do in regards if I was painting. I mean if I’d had done this stuff in painting, I would have thousands of golf painting.”

On gratitude and his perspective

VD: “I’m a very grateful person. I don’t want to sound too religious or anything like that, but we should always be grateful to the creator for what the things that he’s given us. So I mean, I was in a bad situation. I’m sitting in the cell and I’m looking at the people around me and the people around me is doing 10 times worse than me and I had to be grateful. So that’s how I look at it. We had these little eight inch TVs that we could buy on commissary for like $149. Okay. So, right. Yeah, they would beat us on every level that they could. So I’m watching this TV when I can and I’m looking at the world. I’m looking at what’s going on with people out in society.”

“I hate to say it. I was in the worst prison and I’m in a six by eight cell and I felt like I was more blessed than a lot of people on the outside, but people are really struggling out there and doing really bad. Here it is, God preserved me, he kept me in shape, he kept my mind sane, he gave me this talent, he gave me a loving family.”

“So I had to count all those blessings and say, “You know what? I could really be twisted up in here and messed up. So you know what, don’t be bitter, don’t be angry, don’t complain, don’t cry, count your blessings, push your willpower to the highest level. Just push, push, push, push and be the best artist that you can be in the world.” That was my goal.”

You can find the full podcast here, or click here to listen on iTunes, or here to listen on Spotify.

All images via Valentino Dixon’s website. His golf art is available for purchase here.

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GolfWRX Morning 9: Tiger talks 2019 | Phil’s legacy | Koepka snubbed again

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

December 12, 2018

Good Wednesday morning, golf fans.
1. Brooks snubbed again
“I get no respect!” Who said it, Rodney Dangerfield or Brooks Koepka?
  • Golf Channel report…”That narrative received a little more fuel to the fire Tuesday when ESPN released its list of the top 20 most dominant athletes of 2018. On a list that included Olympic gymnast Simone Biles (No. 1), NBA superstar LeBron James (No. 13) and LPGA golfer Ariya Jutanugarn (No. 4), Koepka was notably absent.”
  • “Koepka won two majors this year, the U.S. Open and the PGA Championship, and also captured the CJ Cup @ Nine Bridges this fall.”
  • “For a guy who already believes he’s been overlooked during his career, this certainly won’t help change his mind.”
2. Tiger talks 2019
Woods sat down for an exclusive with Golf.com. Here are a few morsels from an interesting conversation.
  • “Let’s shift gears for a moment. If you could steal one part of any player’s game – any player ever – what would you make your own?…Well, I figure if I could hit every fairway for the rest of my life I’d be all right. [Laughs] From there, I can figure out how to get it on the green, I can make my fair share of putts and I can get it up and down. But if I could hit it in the fairway [every time] about 320, maybe 340 yards, I’d be all right.”
  • “So, Greg Norman?…Well, it depends. In that era, 280 was a long drive. Now it’s, “Hey, can you carry it 320 in the air?” The game has evolved and, I was telling some [people in Melbourne], when I came down here to play the Presidents Cup in 1998, some of the guys were transitioning out of persimmon. The game has changed dramatically since then.”
  • “So what does a successful 2019 look like for you?…I had one win this year. It was amazing to have [2018] culminate with the Tour Championship. I’m not going to win every tournament – I never have. But if I can just get myself in contention, I think I’ll win my share.”
3. Mickelson’s legacy
Did 2018 change the way we think about Lefty?
  • Golfworld’s Dave Shedloski...”When Phil Mickelson raced across the 13th green at Shinnecock Hills Golf Club in the third round of the 118th U.S. Open and whacked his ball while it was careening down a slope away from the hole, he crossed through the fourth circle of golf hell. Not only did he change the direction of the shot as it was moving, but, it was believed, he had altered the direction of his career narrative. Whatever the artful player did going forward, that unhinged moment when he broke the rules and arrogantly explained that he did so intentionally, all occurring on his 48th birthday, was sure to affix itself permanently to Lefty’s legacy. Or so went the predominant opinion.”
  • “Five months later in Las Vegas, as part of a mega-hyped match against Tiger Woods, Mickelson won $9 million. Never in the lead up to the winner-take-all match or during coverage of it or in the postscript was the U.S. Open or the incident mentioned-except by Woods, who taunted his rival when he ruthlessly pointed out that he had never won the national championship. Neither was the L’Affair Shinny a topic of discussion in September at the Ryder Cup in Paris, not even among the tabloids. Nor in August at the PGA Championship in St. Louis.”
4. Shots o’ the year
Doug Ferguson goes through the bag, highlighting some of the most memorable shots hit with various clubs in ’18.
  • A few…“3-IRON…Just about every tournament brought a moment that indicated Woods was back to being Woods. One of those moments was the opening round of the BMW Championship at rain-softened Aronimink. From 242 yards on the par-5 16th, Woods hit a 3-iron high and straight. It landed 8 feet in front of the hole and stopped 5 feet next to the pin for an eagle on his way to a 62. It was the first time he had at least a share of the lead after any round in five years.”
  • “PUTTER…The most memorable shot with the putter didn’t go in the hole. Phil Mickelson only wanted to make sure it didn’t go off the front of the 13th green on Saturday at the U.S. Open. So he trotted over and slapped at the ball as it was still moving , an egregious rules violation. Mickelson says he knew the penalty (two shots) and liked that better than having to play from off the green. He also knew his U.S. Open was over. He made a 10 and shot 81, matching his worst score in the only major he hasn’t won.”
5. Louisville Golf
Our Peter Schmitt paid a visit to arguably the finest purveyors of persimmon, Louisville Golf.
  • “Jeremy Wright gets it. Taking over at Louisville Golf is not for everybody. This isn’t a multi-billion-dollar revenue generating machine with private research facilities and elaborate corporate complexes. It’s not about money…or fame…or 385-yard drives. Gerard Just, the youngest of the Just brothers who started Louisville Golf might have summed it up best:”
  • “You know, I guess you could say we’re simple people. We don’t really go on vacations. But we work hard and we enjoy what we do. We don’t make a lot of money. I don’t think my kids could afford to work here to be honest, but they hate their jobs. We never really had that problem.”
  • “Louisville Golf was established in 1974 by Elmore Just and Steve Taylor when they left Hillerich & Bradsby (crafters of Louisville Slugger baseball bats and Power-Bilt golf clubs). Elmore ran the business side of the company and Steve oversaw the manufacturing aspect. Back then, in the heyday of persimmon, the club manufacturers were on an allotment. Since persimmon (remarkably well-suited for golf clubs due to its strength and density) is a relatively slow-growing wood, there was only so much material to go around and upstart Louisville Golf had to fight for every block they got. Eventually, they built the business into a major player, making 800 clubs a day for the likes of Hogan, MacGregor, Wilson, Spalding, and others.”
6. Patrick Sullivan
He who putted a ball into the water and missed a four-footer at Q-School, Patrick Sullivan, isn’t letting it get him down.
  • A bit of Brentley Romine’s profile…”Life on the mini-tours was tough. He lost as much as $8,000 when the U.S. Pro Golf Tour, which had promised million-dollar purses, folded. He competed in Q-School, which was then offering PGA Tour cards, every year, but only made it to second stage once. Several times, he was eliminated at first stage by a shot.”
  • “By 2010, he decided to settle down. “I was tapped out,” he said. He married his girlfriend, Talia, and took a job as an assistant pro at the Alotian Club in Roland, Ark., and later moved to Pleasant Valley Country Club in Little Rock.”
  • “Working 60-hour weeks, though, eventually grew on Sullivan. One day, Talia asked her husband, “You really want to play golf again, don’t you?”
  • “Sullivan re-committed himself to pro golf in 2015, and that year won the Arkansas Open, for a third time. But he still couldn’t get over the Q-School hump. He finished just shy of advancing at first stage in two straight years, by one shot.”
7. What we learned
Kyle Porter looks in the rearview mirror at what we learned in 2018.
  • “1. Tiger is not human: It still doesn’t seem real. To come from the place he came from to the place he got to — winning the Tour Chamionship over 29 of the best golfers on the planet — was remarkable. If I was floored at the PGA Championship when he shot 64 on Sunday to nearly steal the show, I was flabbergasted that Woods was able to win a month later. I know nothing he does should surprise, but if you’ve been following closely, you know he was completely cooked — and then he wasn’t.”
  • “2. Jordan Spieth is human: After averaging over three wins and 12 top 10s a season in the previous three seasons, Spieth came back down to earth in 2018. I’m still purchasing all of the stock (and will do so if you want to sell some to me), but prolonged success at the two-or three-win level per year might be an impossibility in this era.”
  • “3. Justin Rose is the most consistent top player: He might not have all the wins to back it up, but Rose finished in the top 10 in 15 of 22 events worldwide in 2018, which means he’s finished in the top 10 in 20 of 47 events over the past two years. Thirty of 47 events!”
8. Reed against the world
That’s Scott Michaux’s headline in piece for Golf Digest.
  • A portion…”So now what? In what should have been a triumphant season in the continued development of one of America’s top young talents, Patrick Reed instead faces a different reality. What kind of environment has he created for himself moving forward, not just with fans trying to figure him out but also with his peers?”
  • “Reed’s tarnished relationship with his Ryder Cup teammates follows the same pattern as his collegiate experience. He was persona non grata when he was kicked off the team at Georgia in 2009 after one season, and others on the Augusta State roster tolerated him as a necessary evil in helping deliver the school consecutive NCAA championships in 2010 and 2011.”
  • “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,” said Kevin Kisner, a Georgia alum who predated Reed’s arrival in Athens and lives 20 minutes from Augusta in Aiken, S.C. “I don’t know that they’d piss on him if he was on fire, to tell you the truth.”
9. Valentino Dixon
Our Michael Williams talked with Valentino Dixon about the Golf Channel documentary detailing his at once inspiring and heartbreaking saga in the latest episode of the 19th Hole.

 

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Brooks Koepka does not appear happy with being left off ESPN’s list of most dominant athletes for 2018

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On Tuesday, ESPN The Magazine released their list of the 20 most dominant athletes of 2018. Amongst that list included household names such as Lebron James, Novak Djokovic and Drew Brees, while the American gymnast, Simone Biles, took the top spot on ESPN’s list.

One man who did not appear amongst the roll of honor of sporting royalty, however, was golf’s Brooks Koepka. The 28-year-old captured two major championships in 2018, but that wasn’t enough for him to feature on ESPN’s list, which included the triple crown winning horse, Justify, in 16th place.

Learning of his exclusion, Koepka took to social media and made this post, which suggested that he was not too pleased with his omission.

The list evaluated athletes against their fellow competitors, and then analysed their performance against the accomplishments of other great athletes within their sport from 1998 to present.

Explaining Simone Biles score of 3.25, the compiler of the list Peter Keating stated “So what does Simone Biles’ dominance score of 3.25 mean? In 2018, she was 3.25 standard deviations better than the typical top-four performer in all-around women’s gymnastics since 1998—rendering her the year’s most dominant pro athlete.”

The LPGA’s Ariya Jutanurgarn was the only golfer to feature on the list, who Keating judged to have been the fourth most dominant athlete of 2018. The Thai player won three times on Tour in 2018, which is the same number of times as Koepka; however, just one of those wins was a major championship title, compared to Koepka’s two major victories this year. Jutanugarn did, though, have a total of 13 top-five finishes in 2018, compared to Koepka’s five, and also won every year-end LPGA award that was possible for her to win.

In the past, Koepka has spoken concerning the lack of respect that he feels that he is given, in particular by the media. The American has previously suggested that certain players get their names written about more than him because they “kiss up”, and this year the current world number one let the press know that he doesn’t forget an insult, stating “Come Sunday, I won’t forget it when everyone wants to talk to me because I just won. I don’t forget things.”

Judging by Koepka’s reaction on social media to ESPN’s list, this will be yet another incident that the 28-year-old is unlikely to forget. The chip that Koepka carries around on his shoulder has fueled him to win three of the last six major championships that he has appeared in, and this latest snub from the media has given him plenty of incentive to once again prove people wrong in 2019.

GolfWRXers, was Koepka’s omission from the list justified, or another show of disrespect towards golf’s current best player?

 

 

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