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19th Hole

Masters honorary starter debate: Should anyone fill Arnie’s spot?



First things first: No golfer or combination of golfers could ever “fill” Arnold Palmer’s spot alongside Jack Nicklaus and Gary Player in the trio of honorary tournament starters.

He was, and forever will be, the King.

But this year’s tournament will be the second since Mr. Palmer’s passing, and presumably Jack Nicklaus and Gary Player will reprise their longest drive competition on the first tee to kick off the tournament.

In this vein, GolfWRX member LVG raises some interesting questions: Should ANGC bring in a third? What is the trajectory of honorary Masters starter?

He posits we’ll see Ben Crenshaw, Tom Watson, and Bernhard Langer as the triumvirate on the tee in ten years. 

Other WRXers offered different perspectives.

golfgirlrobin says

“I don’t know that you need to add one right away, but I’d argue for Crenshaw.  He’s got that gentlemanly thing going that fits in at The Masters.”

Darth Putter may have the best response

“It will be just Jack and Gary for a while. Then just Gary. Then Tiger and Phil will join Gary. And then it will probably just be Gary again.”

Indeed, Gary Player will outlive us all. bscinstct puts his chips behind Faldo

“Sir Nick has 3 green jackets ; )’

Farmer suggests Palmer should retain his place, in a sense, as he did last year

“Put a chair on the first tee with Arnie’s green jacket draped on it, Jack and Gary drive, everyone weeps.  There is no player of such iconic stature to replace Arnie.”
What do you think, GolfWRX members? Should Augusta National add anyone to Jack and Gary in the near future? Who will succeed these two legends of the game?



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  1. Lenny

    Mar 28, 2018 at 2:03 pm

    Willy Wood.

  2. Terry Taylor

    Mar 28, 2018 at 1:44 pm

    Stormy Daniels should get the nod.

  3. Brett Weir

    Mar 28, 2018 at 12:42 pm

    Me personally, starters should be from the same generation. Player, Nicklaus, and Palmer are great examples. There should be no one to fill Palmer’s place and the remaining 2 should still keep being starters until they croak, just like Snead and Sarazen before them.

  4. Alex G. Galvan

    Mar 28, 2018 at 12:20 pm

    I always thought Billy Casper would have been a great addition with Mr Palmer, Mr Nicklaus, Mr Player in previous years….now both Mr Palmer and Mr Casper are gone….maybe Mickey Wright or Kathy Whitworth. Thanks Alex

  5. Looper

    Mar 28, 2018 at 12:19 pm

    WOW!!! I don’t always enjoy your column BA, but most I do… Classy retort to people who are just haters… Golf isn’t that person…

  6. BH

    Mar 28, 2018 at 11:52 am

    Do you have nothing to write about than this drivel? Go practice your short game or something instead you pathetic moron.

    • Ben Alberstadt

      Mar 28, 2018 at 12:00 pm

      Thanks for the reply. We try to feature hot threads from the forums on the main page to continue foster the debate and discussion that make GolfWRX unique. I’m sorry you don’t find that valuable.

      • Man

        Mar 28, 2018 at 3:58 pm

        It’s disrespectful just to even discuss this topic by calling it hot. Because it’s not a hot topic in any way shape or form. You doing it for stupid click bait

        • Luke

          Mar 28, 2018 at 5:25 pm

          ^^^^ These two seem stable. Jesus.

        • Ben Alberstadt

          Mar 28, 2018 at 8:07 pm

          Disrespectful to who exactly? Based on views in the Tour Talk board, it’s a hot topic…as in it has objectively received a number of views and replies since its posting on 3/23 to earn a “hot” button: check it out. This doesn’t mean you have to like me or the post, but the designation is a fact.

          • George

            Mar 29, 2018 at 7:11 am

            Nobody likes you because all you do is write fluff pieces on Woods non stop.

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19th Hole

Tony Finau says he’s hitting 8-iron the same distance he did at 16; no need to roll back ball



Tony Finau is currently second on the PGA Tour in driving distance. He pounds his driver an average of 317.6 yards off the tee.

18Birdies’ Josh Hayes spoke with Finau on the aptly named 18Birdies podcast about distance in the game and proposals to roll back the golf ball.

“Where are you at with the distance debate?” Hayes asks. “Do we need to roll the ball back? Do we need to leave it alone?”

Finau says we should leave the ball alone, saying “We have to believe in evolution,” and adding, “athletes get better and stronger. To this, Finau adds the thought that technology gets better and players have more knowledge and technology at their fingertips to enhance performance.

“Things progress…part of that is guys hitting the ball farther,” Finau says. “Maybe there’s a debate that the average is a little bit longer, but guys have been hitting it far for a really long time. John Daly was hitting it 300 yards 15-20 years ago.”

He did make an interesting point with respect to distance across all clubs.

“If I look at how far I hit an 8-iron today, I was hitting my 8-iron the same distance when I was 16 years old…I don’t know if the debate is about the ball or the driver. From what I hear, it’s the ball, and I don’t know if I believe that. The only club I’m hitting farther is the driver.”

Finau also mentioned that he doesn’t think rolling back the ball will help grow the game or make it attractive to new players, “Kids like to hit it far…hitting it 280 yards isn’t even cool,” Finau said, adding, “It’s not as fun to watch someone hit it 280 yards as it is to watch Dustin Johnson.”

Finau agreed with Josh Hayes that the responsibility to challenge players lies with the PGA Tour and course setups, rather than with governing bodies imposing regulations.

You can check out the full pod below

What do you think, GolfWRX members? Certainly, it’s interesting to hear what one of the Tour’s most impressive natural athletes and longest hitters has to say. Do you agree with his remarks? Should his opinion carry extra weight given his “bomber” status? Less? Let us know!

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19th Hole

POLL: It seems like Tour players like non-traditional events. Do fans?



This week, the PGA Tour heads to the revamped Zurich Classic for the second year of the two-man team competition. Tournament organizers continue to refine the format (adding walk-up music this year!), but players are embracing the competition…perhaps to a surprising degree.

Golf Channel’s Ryan Lavner addressed this

“PGA Tour players are trying to tell commissioner Jay Monahan something: They like new…In the second year of the two-man team format at the Zurich Classic, 10 of the top 14 players in the world have signed up, including all four reigning major champions…Sure, some sponsor obligations are involved in boosting the field here, but there’s no other way to look at this: Today’s PGA Tour players are not only willing to play events that are a departure from the 72-hole, stroke-play norm. They’re encouraging it.”

Before discussing the merits of Lavner’s claim, let’s look at the field from the European Tour’s GolfSixes event to see who shows up for that tournament.

Here’s what last year’s field looked like

1. ENGLAND: Chris Wood, Andy Sullivan
2. THAILAND: Thongchai Jaidee, Kiradech Aphibarnrat
3. AUSTRALIA: Sam Brazel, Scott Hend
4. SOUTH AFRICA: Darren Fichardt, Brandon Stone
5. DENMARK: Thorbjørn Olesen, Lucas Bjerregaard
6. FRANCE: Alexander Levy, Grégory Bourdy
7. SPAIN: Pablo Larrazábal, Jorge Campillo
8. WALES: Bradley Dredge, Jamie Donaldson
9. USA: Paul Peterson, David Lipsky
10. NETHERLANDS; Joost Luiten, Reinier Saxton
11. BELGIUM: Nicolas Colsaerts, Thomas Detry
12. SWEDEN: Johan Carlsson,Joakim Lagergren
13. INDIA: S.S.P Chawrasia, Chikkarangappa S
14. PORTUGAL: Ricardo Gouveia, José-Filipe Lima
15. ITALY: Matteo Manassero, Renato Paratore
16. SCOTLAND: Richie Ramsay, Marc Warren

Neither Chris Wood nor Andy Sullivan are among the 10 best English golfers. Although, the top six play primarily on the PGA Tour. Looking through the rest of the teams, however, several countries’ top players turned up. Saying the top players on the European Tour were showing up en masse last year would be inappropriate, but clearly the event was embraced (and is returning this year).

So, let’s ourselves embrace the idea that players (at least some/enough players) like non-traditional events. Whether they want to see more of them is another question, and one which we don’t have data on.

We can, however, compile some data on what the fans think and whether they want to see more non-traditional tournaments, and that’s where you come in GolfWRX members. Let us know by responding to the polls below, we’ll be sure to share your results with the PGA and European Tours!

Do you like watching non-tradition Tour events? (such as the Zurich Classic, GolfSixes)

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Would you like more non-traditional events on the Tour schedule?

View Results

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19th Hole

Mets slugger Yoenis Cespedes blames lack of golf for slump



If you’re a Mets fan, perhaps you’re wondering what’s wrong with star slugger Yoenis Cespedes. Cespedes is hitting just .195 through 20 games, and he leads the league with 37 strikeouts.

Well, here’s the problem, straight from the horse’s mouth (per James Wagner of the New York Times)

“In previous seasons, one of the things I did when I wasn’t going well was to play golf…This year, I’m not playing golf.”

Cespedes, by all accounts, is mad for golf–going so far as to suggest he’d like to play professionally when he retires from baseball. However, after last season, in which he missed more than 80 games due to hamstring issues and was scrutinize for teeing it up, he’s staying off the fairway. And not golfing, in Cespedes’ mind at least, is costing him.

Obviously, Cespedes is not the baseballer to enjoy whacking a smaller white ball around, but he is perhaps the first to suggest that not golfing has had an adverse effect on his performance at the plate.

Specifically, Cespedes says he’s making contact with the baseball too early. His front shoulder open–a power leak of sorts–he’s hitting the baseball equivalent of weak slices.

“With golf, I had to keep my hands inside and keep watching the ball in order to hit it well,” he said in Spanish, per Wagner. “I think that helped me.”

While correlation doesn’t imply causality, the Mets might want to encourage Cespedes to get back on the golf course–even if it’s only because it could be the placebo pill he needs to play better baseball. Also, we at GolfWRX always advocate for the curative powers of the game.

Thus, we modestly propose: #LetYoenisGolfAgain

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19th Hole