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USGA, R&A will further study distance in the game in new Distance Insights project

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The USGA and R&A announced a joint effort to analyze distance in golf, seeking feedback from the “worldwide golf community.”

Dubbed the Distance Insights project, the initiative looks to “examine distance through a multi-pronged approach that includes global stakeholder engagement, third-party data review and primary research.” Focus groups, forums, and discussion groups will all be part of the effort.

If you’re wondering what this will look like in practice, the USGA has already set up a feedback form, which can be accessed here.

“The topic of increased distance and its effects on the game have been discussed for well over a century. We believe that now is the time to examine this topic through a very wide and long lens, knowing it is critical to the future of the game,” said Mike Davis, CEO of the USGA. “We look forward to delving deeply into this topic and learning more, led by doing right by golf, first and foremost.”

The USGA is looking for feedback from all stakeholder groups, including amateur golfers, professional golfers, professional golf tours, golf course owners and operators, golf equipment manufacturers, golf course architects, and golf course superintendents.

In a shift from merely looking at driving distances on professional tours, the governing bodies are looking for distance-related data as it pertains to course construction and maintenance, pace of play, player enjoyment, participation, and equipment.

The governing bodies are keen to point out that, well, as Rand Jerris, USGA senior managing director of public services, told Golf Digest: “This is not about a ball rollback.

He said further, “We are looking at distance in a very holistic way. The golf ball is not the focus of this project. I think we see this research resulting in multiple insights, multiple recommendations and multiple solutions…We need to broaden the discussion, get a variety of perspectives and reset the conversation about distance.”

The USGA and The R&A plan to deliver a report based on the data in 2019.

 

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  1. THOMAS J JOHNSTON

    May 19, 2018 at 10:15 am

    They changed the handicap system to slope to help those who could not hit greens in regulation because hitting a 4 iron was not within the players ability .They changed the rules because OH I give up someone can not drop a ball from shoulder height .LETS Play golf BY AGE example i am over 60 i play from a yellow marker which should allow me to hit the green in regulation if i am 70 i play from the blue marker if i put a skirt on i can play from the red markers. give me strength if you will not go take lessons and practise then go find another sport.

  2. A. Commoner

    May 17, 2018 at 7:04 pm

    People: take a look at the “survey.” It is a joke.

  3. GolfGolfGolf

    May 16, 2018 at 7:20 am

    Clearly distance isn’t a problem on the tour as is evidenced by Webb Simpson’s win and being dead last in the field for driving distance. Keep your hands and rules off my balls USGA and R&A.

  4. John

    May 15, 2018 at 4:20 pm

    I dont care if guys on the pgatour are shooting scores too low for the egos of golf course owners. Amateur scores haven’t come down. Go away dinosaurs of the USGA.

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Mickelson and Woods place $200,000 side bet, Phil explains why the event is PPV

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The $9 million jackpot that is on the line for Woods and Mickelson this Friday for their showdown at Shadow Creek isn’t going to hold either man back in placing extravagant wagers against each other, as we saw on Tuesday.

Speaking at a press conference that involved both men, Mickelson began the kidology by laying down an early challenge against Woods, stating how “I’m willing to risk $100,000 that says I birdie the first hole. So that’s how good I feel heading into this match.” Lefty then stressed that Woods didn’t have to take the bet if it made him uncomfortable to do so before the 14-time major champion calmly responded: “Double it.”

Just like that, we have a $200,000 wager on the very first hole.

Mickelson then teased the idea of a seven-figure side bet, before revealing the psychological effect that the enormous sums of cash that are on the line will have on their match on Friday and the reason why it was necessary for the occasion to be a PPV event.

“This event is designed to be a unique experience for the golf viewer and to have an insight into what goes on with the players to create a production from drone coverage to on-screen gambling, to live mics and interaction. It’s an insight into the game which you’re normally not able to see.

It’s why it’s on pay-per-view, because we had to eliminate the commercials to have that insight in-between the shots. We don’t have the history of a Masters or a major championship, which is why the (prize figure) had to be so high because that creates an uncomfortable environment for us and creates pressure.”

The move to charge $19.99 to watch the match between the two golfing superstars has been criticized by some. However, the addition of exuberant side-bets, all of which will be coming out of the two players pockets, has generated a buzz that is unique for golf.

Nobody knows just how deep Mickelson or Woods will dig into their pockets for a side-bet during Friday’s winner-take-all battle in Las Vegas. But after Tuesday’s scene, a seven-figure sized wager between the two may well be on the cards.

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GolfWRX Morning 9: Pre-Match festivities | Making the case for equal PGA/LPGA Tour pay | TW & trash talk

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

November 21, 2018

Good Wednesday morning, golf fans.
1. Match preliminaries
Dave Shedloski on some of the action from the pre-Match festivities and associated ribbing.
  • “Very little news emerged from the affair, which was shown live on WarnerMedia’s B/R Live, though the two guaranteed that the opening hole should not be missed. When the subject of their side bets was broached – in which they risk their own money for charity – Mickelson layed out $100,000 that he could make birdie on the par-4 first hole. Woods responded by telling the left-hander to double the bet. What ensued was easily the most entertaining moment of the 45-minute chat.”
  • “Did you see how I baited him like that,” Mickelson crowed. “So, $200,000 I make birdie on the first hole.”
2. Mell makes the case for equal pay
The Golf Channel columnist argues against the pay gap between the PGA and LPGA Tours.
  • “Yes, women don’t draw the gate, TV audiences and media interest the men do, but they’re still climbing out of the ancient hole they started in, still battling thinking that limits views of what is possible.”
  • “There have been spectacular breakthroughs for females in sport, where the attention paid to women surpassed the men. The U.S. Open women’s tennis final drew more TV viewers in the United States than the men’s final did five times in this decade. The excitement the U.S. women’s soccer team has created at the World Cup stands as another example of what’s possible. So do Korean women in golf, whose popularity helps the women’s majors draw larger TV ratings than all the other men’s majors televised in South Korea, including the Masters.”
  • “More and more, women in golf are talking about the gender pay gap in their sport, not just in the prize money offered, but in endorsement opportunities. The tone ranges from frustration to anger to resignation.”
3. CH III talks with WRX
Our Johnny Wunder talked with Charles Howell III about his equipment switch and 11-year victory drought.
A few morsels...JW: Let’s talk about the golf ball. You go from a 2017 Pro V1x and you transition into the new Pro V1 proto…
“CH III: I loved everything about the Pro V1x ball off the driver and the 3-wood. Now, when the [2019 Pro V1] came out, what I found out was that I gave up no ball speed whatsoever, but I picked up a little bit of a softer feel and a little more spin around the greens. So for me, right away that was a home run. Now, I say that knowing that touch and feel around the green is highly player dependent. For me, I prefer a bit of a softer feel…I could find you 10 guys who prefer a firmer Pro V1x feel around the greens…but the cool thing was that I didn’t give up any ball speed with the driver whatsoever.”
“JW: Let’s talk a little bit about the last 11 years. We talked a little bit on the podcast with you about expectations and what you went through to get back to the winner’s circle. Just kind of man to man, how difficult was it at times. – knowing how good you are and being such an amazing player and then going on a drought like that – how difficult was that?”
“CH III: You know, there were a lot of times where I questioned everything I did from how I practiced, to how I prepared, to who I worked with…just everything. And eventually, I got to a point where I sat down with Grant Waite and Dana Dahlquist who I work with, and John Graham on short game, and I said, “OK, guys, do we really think that I’m doing this the right way?” And through some discussions…the answer was, “yes.” And [I said] let’s just stay the course. Let’s just keep doing this.”
“Golf’s a funny game. In Mexico, I missed the cut there, and I thought I played close to every bit as good as I did at Sea Island. I just didn’t quite score as well. That shows you how razor thin-edged this game is. You miss a cut, then you win a golf tournament. I think the most challenging part of the game is staying the course with stuff that you truly believe in and giving it time to work out, because it’s such a results driven game, and you want results yesterday. Between social media and the way golf is covered now, it’s “results, results, results.” I think the challenge is to stay patient amongst all that.”
4. TW likes trash talk
More pre-Match chatter…
  • Golfweek’s Dan Kilbridge…”Woods was asked if he’s more comfortable with this scene than people realize….'”When it comes to competing and talking a little bit, yeah. I do this quite a bit, it’s just that at tournaments you may not see it,” Woods said. “I’ve enjoyed playing practice rounds and do it a lot at home. A lot of guys on Tour either when I lived in Orlando or now in Jupiter, we go out and play and there’s always some denominations involved, always needling involved. … There’s non-stop banter and always trying to one-up another and chide one another. And I’ve always enjoyed it.”‘
  • “Mickelson, who spent a good part of the afternoon talking about Woods’ unique brand of trash talk, piped up….”It’s an important part of competition,” Mickelson said. “You have to learn how to compete and play your best under pressure and that’s the best way to do it, to have money matches against other good players.”‘
5. Singh v. Tour settled
Not a lot of details at this point, but the deer antler spray saga has come to an end.
  • AP Report...”Vijay Singh has settled his lawsuit against the PGA Tour over how it investigated his use of deer antler spray, ending more than five years of litigation less than a week before the case was to go to trial in New York.”
  • “Terms of the settlement announced Tuesday were not disclosed….”I’m very happy for Vijay that the matter has been resolved,” said Jeffrey Rosenblum, one of his attorneys.”
  • “Rosenblum declined further comment because of a confidentiality agreement. The PGA Tour said in a statement that the settlement reflects a mutual commitment to move forward “as we put this matter behind us.”
6. The most important measure of Tiger-Phil
AP column (presumably Doug Ferguson)
  • “There is no downside to Woods and Mickelson squaring off in a pay-per-view event on a beautiful golf course at Shadow Creek that everyone seems to know but hardly anyone has seen. But when the biggest upside is that there’s no downside, selling it becomes an uphill battle.:
  • “There will be plenty of talking, and Mickelson is rarely without words. There will be side action. That’s part of what makes this different from the “Showdown at Sherwood,” a Monday night exhibition between Woods and David Duval in 1999 when they were in their prime and battling for No. 1 in the world.”
  • “The question is whether it has a future.”
7. Gratitude
The folks at Golf Digest have put together a list of 20 things in golf to be grateful for ahead of tomorrow’s holiday.
Here are a few.
  • Right-edge putts
  • Marshals that let you sneak off the back
  • Gimme putts
  • Slow players who wave you through
  • Anytime Bryson goes full Bill Nye
  • Buddies’ trips
  • The friend who has the in at every local club
8. The European Team’s 15th Club
An interesting piece from Sean Ingle at the The Guardian on victorious Ryder Cup captain, Thomas Bjorn’s reliance on golf consultants 15th Club.
  • “Times have changed – a bit – since Michael Lewis wrote Moneyball but many in sport still prefer to trust their gut over any algorithm. Which is why a tweet last week from Thomas Bjørn, Europe’s 2018 Ryder Cup captain, was so unusual. After linking to apiece titled “How analytics helped reclaim the Ryder Cup”, written by Blake Wooster of the golf consultancy 15th Club, an enthusiastic Bjørn wrote “Stick to the plan!!! These guys played a vital role. Thanks for your hard work.”
  • “Bjørn, it turned out, had embraced data and analytics as “a useful addition to his toolbox” shortly after being named captain in December 2016, when he asked 15th Club whether he should pick two, three or four wildcards. The answer? Four. Because the data showed wildcards tend to perform better than those who qualify in the last couple of automatic spots. And so began a relationship that culminated in Europe’s thumping17½ – 10½ victory over USA in September.”
9. Meanwhile, at Metro…
The World Cup of Golf is having a little trouble getting off the ground this year.
  • AP Report…”Organizers of the 28-team event at Metropolitan Golf Club have moved up tee times by an hour for Thursday’s first round of the 72-hole stroke-play tournament that features fourballs (best ball) and foursomes (alternate shot) over two rounds each.”
  • “Heavy rain is in the forecast beginning in the early afternoon Thursday….Wednesday was mostly sunny after a big storm hit the course on Tuesday evening, bringing with it hail, high winds and plenty of rain.”
Here’s hoping things dry out at the revered sandbelt track.

 

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Vijay Singh and PGA Tour settle anti-doping lawsuit

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In what has been one of the longest legal disputes the game of golf has seen, Vijay Singh and the PGA Tour have reached a settlement over Singh’s anti-doping suspension.

It was five years ago that the PGA Tour suspended Singh after the Fijian opened up to Sports Illustrated magazine about his use of deer antler spray, which contained a substance banned under the PGA Tour Anti-Doping Policy. The initial three-month suspension was overturned, but the 55-year old then opened legal proceedings against the PGA Tour, claiming his reputation had been damaged.

After five years of litigation, and less than a week before the case was set to go to trial in New York, Singh and the PGA Tour released a joint statement on Tuesday which declared that the matter had now been settled.

“The PGA Tour and Vijay Singh are pleased to announce that we have resolved our prior dispute. The settlement reflects our mutual commitment to look to the future as we put this matter behind us. The PGA Tour fully supports Vijay as he continues to be a true champion on the PGA Tour and PGA Tour Champions.

“The PGA Tour recognizes that Vijay is one of the hardest working golfers ever to play the game, and does not believe that he intended to gain an unfair advantage over his fellow competitors in this matter. Vijay fully supports the PGA Tour’s Anti-Doping Program and all efforts to protect the integrity of the game that he loves so much.”

Both parties have stated that the terms of the settlement will not be made public.

 

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