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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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GolfWRX Morning 9: Ryder Cup pairing clues? | Toughest tee shot in golf? | Chamblee: I’m a huge Tiger fan

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

September 26, 2018

Good Wednesday morning, golf fans.
1. The most nerve-racking tee shot in golf?
Interesting perspective piece from Beth Ann Nichols at Golfweek that reminds us the Ryder Cup–and Ryder Cup pressure–is a different animal entirely, and the first tee shot makes seasoned pros’ knees weak (just ask Webb Simpson).
  • A few bits…”Even Tiger Woods tried to talk partner Mark O’Meara into letting him tee off on the even holes in 1997 to avoid that first tee shot.”
  • “The best piece of advice that definitely (Ian) Poulter’s given me,” said Fleetwood, “and Rory (McIlroy) says the same thing: He says, it’s the most special you’ll ever feel. Whatever nerves you felt up to now, times it by 10, and that’s what you have.”
  • “Actually, at Le Golf National outside Paris, it might be worse. This is a golf course that was built to host championships, which means there’s plenty of room. The massive grandstand surrounding the first tee seats 6,900. That’s more than three times the size of the first tee at Glenagles. The stand on the first tee at Hazeltine sat 1,668.”
2. Pairings speculation
Steve Dimeglio reports…”If the groups that went off the first tee Tuesday at Le Golf National are an indication of what’s to come, Jordan Spieth and Patrick Reed have split…And Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson could play together.”
  • “Instead, Reed was grouped with Tiger Woods, Phil Mickelson and Bryson DeChambeau. Right behind them was the group of Spieth, Justin Thomas, Rickie Fowler and Dustin Johnson. The third group was Bubba Watson, Webb Simpson, Brooks Koepka and Tony Finau.”
  • “Sergio Garcia, Alex Noren, Henrik Stenson and Justin Rose led off the Europeans’ practice rounds. They were followed by the group of Rory McIlroy, Jon Rahm, Thorbjorn Olesen and Paul Casey. The third group was Tommy Fleetwood, Francesco Molinari, Ian Poulter and Tyrrell Hatton.”
3. Tiger Woods is on Tiger Woods’ Mount Rushmore of golf                       
Our Andrew Tursky…”Who’s on your “Mount Rushmore” of golf? For Tiger, apparently, it’s Snead (Sam), Jones (Bobby), Nicklaus (Jack), and “me” (Tiger Woods). He put himself on the Mount Rushmore of golf!”
  • Woods made the comments in a promotional video for the Ryder Cup.
  • Andrew writes..”What makes this video so great though is that there are so few athletes in all of sports who have the confidence (arrogance?) to put themselves on a list like this. Michael Jordan would definitely put himself on the Mount Rushmore of basketball, and surely Joe Namath would put himself on the Mount Rushmore of football. But in golf where respecting tradition is so important, it’s shocking to hear a statement like this… in the absolute best way possible for Team USA ahead of the 2018 Ryder Cup.”
4. Chamblee on why Tiger can win another major
Often regarded as a “Tiger hater,” Brandel Chamblee told our Johnny Wunder on the Gear Dive podcast that his is, in fact, a huge Tiger Woods fan and always has been.
  • Chamblee spoke further about Woods and the 14-time major champion’s latest victory on the Gear Dive. The full 50-minute interview is well worth a listen, as Chamblee discusses modern instruction, the most important recent invention in golf teaching technology, what’s in his bag, and much more-but here are a few of his best Tiger Woods takes.
  • Commenting on the magnitude of Woods win for the golfer’s career, Chamblee said, “It sort of got this historical freight train back on the tracks. Everything is on the table. It’s possible he could win more majors. It’s possible he could get to 90 wins…he looks healthy. He’s pain free.”
  • “I’m far more convinced with what he did this week than what he did at the PGA Championship. At the PGA, the golf course was really soft and that allowed him to miss fairways…but ever since the PGA…he’s been a much, much better driver of the golf ball. All of a sudden, that makes major championships a possibility for him.”
  • “In my opinion, he’s the greatest player who’s ever played. Nobody has ever played golf like him. But he didn’t just beat his competitors…he defeated his demons. That’s what made it so compelling. We’re all familiar with his issues. Most of relate to most of them…we’re all fixated on them..We know it slowed his career down…he was knocked off the highest pedestal. To re-establish his reputation as a leader in the game…as a an intimidating player…it went a long way toward becoming the alpha male again in the game of golf.”
5. Wrist injuries for Thomas, Spieth ahead of RC
Golfweek’s Brentley Romine writes tendonitis has come for the U.S. squad.
  • “Thomas is battling tendonitis in his right wrist, the injury flaring up during the final round of the BMW Championship, while Spieth, according to Golf Channel’s Todd Lewis, is suffering from the same ailment in his left wrist.”
  • “It’s just kind of more precautionary than anything, just a little tightness, and it probably looks a little worse than it is,” Thomas said last Tuesday before he tied for seventh at the Tour Championship…Spieth echoed Thomas’ comments on Tuesday, telling Lewis that the injury was “not a big deal.”
6. No time to reflect
PGATour.com’s Mike McAlister writes…”Tiger, though, simply hasn’t had time to process unforgettable. Less than 48 hours after completing a year-long comeback from career-threatening back surgeries, Woods has turned his attention to beating the Europeans on their home turf for the first time in 25 years. Not until next week will he have a chance to reflect on the improbable climb back into the winner’s circle.”
  • “I saw a couple of [videos] on some French news channel [of] the people rushing behind me, but I haven’t sat down and watched it yet,” Woods said. “I still have this event to do.
  • “Post-Ryder Cup, it will be a different story. I will look back and soak it up and really reflect on what really transpired that entire week.”
7. Captain America, ready for duty
Cameron Morfit on Patrick Reed, match play dynamo.
  • “The bonkers singles victory over Rory McIlroy at Hazeltine in 2016. The grind-it-out takedown of Henrik Stenson at Gleneagles in 2014, when Reed shushed the European crowd. Other Reed exploits, like the college grudge matches against Harris English (Georgia) and Uihlein (Oklahoma State) that were part of his 6-0 record as Augusta State won national titles in 2010 and ’11, we’ve heard about enough to feel like we were there.”
  • “In college, he was so excitable for match play, his nickname was Next Level. But excitement and enthusiasm only go so far; Reed, more than most players this side of Ian Poulter (more on him shortly), somehow utilizes that run-through-a-wall spirit to elevate his play.”
  • “I just get more jacked up, more excited,” Reed says of his Captain America persona. “Just really pumped and goin’, and that’s why even if it’s a 5-footer for par, I’m screaming. I think just the show of emotion gets the crowd going, gets me kind of going, kind of picks you up. That’s a week that’s all on adrenaline.”
8. The forgotten Ryder Cupper
Kevin Van Valkenburg returns to the narrative that Brooks Koepka remains overlooked.
  • “A lot has happened since that Ryder Cup two years ago. Koepka has won three majors, including two this season. In doing so, he’s establishing himself as perhaps the most formidable big-game hunter of his generation. He has just one regular-season PGA Tour victory, the 2015 Waste Management Phoenix Open. But get him in a major, or a Ryder Cup, and the people around him can actually see his focus narrow, his preparation intensify. He is not one for chest-bumping theatrics or egging on a hostile crowd the way Patrick Reed is, but if the United States is going to win this Ryder Cup this week on European soil for the first time since 1993, it will likely be because Koepka turned in another dominant performance.”
  • “How much respect Koepka deserves for his accomplishments, and how much he’s received for them, has been something of a sensitive topic this year on the PGA Tour, particularly in Koepka’s camp. Though he has risen to No. 2 in the world, it’s become obvious Koepka doesn’t feel golf media — or the sport’s fans — are giving him the attention that Jordan Spieth, Justin Thomas and Dustin Johnson frequently receive. Koepka isn’t particularly forthcoming in interviews, but when he does open up, he’ll sometimes share anecdotes he is clearly using to fuel the narrative of disrespect.”
9. Phil wants strokes
Mickelson tweeted…”I just played with Tiger today and it is the best I’ve ever seen him swing the club. It is so on plane and solid. I’ll be asking for a shot a side for our Thanksgiving match. I doubt I’ll get it though.”
Patrick Reed told reporters he didn’t think a stroke a side would be enough to give Mickelson a chance.Ouch.

 

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GolfWRX Morning 9: U.S. RC team flying high | Tour Champ ratings skyrocket | DIY Ryder Cup pools

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

September 25, 2018

Good Tuesday morning, golf fans.
1. A strong sendoff
PGATour.com’s Mike McAllister with a look at how the U.S. Ryder Cup team was flying high (before flying high).
  • “The U.S. team room at the Renaissance hotel near the Atlanta airport was buzzing Sunday night while anticipating the arrival of its latest winner. Finally, the moment came.”
  • “A giant roar when Steve Stricker walked in the room after his victory last night,” captain Jim Furyk said Monday, doing his best to suppress a smile.
  • “No offense to Stricker, whose wire-to-wire win at the inaugural Sanford International was his third in just seven starts on the current PGA TOUR Champions season. A most impressive performance, to be sure, but even vice-captain Stricker would admit the biggest buzz for the Americans on Sunday was generated by Tiger Woods, who ended his five-year drought on the PGA TOUR by claiming the TOUR Championship.”
  • “Several of the U.S. players had stayed at East Lake late Sunday to congratulate Woods. Then they gathered at the hotel for a team dinner before jumping on a plane that landed in France at approximately 12:45 p.m. locally Monday afternoon.”
2. Setting up Le Golf National
TMOF with a look at how Captain Bjorn will attempt to advantage his team with the setup in France.
  • “After a quick walk around Le Golf National, The Man Out Front can say the 2018 Ryder Cup venue is in sensational condition but is noticeably cruel to tee shots missing the landing areas by more than 10 yards. The course features a lush cool season mix of grasses throughout, with a 3-yard wide transitional cut between fairway and 3-inch maintained rough in length, give or take a few strains of grass.”
  • “After the 10-yard wide transitional area of maintained rough – no picnic for even the strongest players- the rough turns downright nasty. Clearly cultivated to severely punish tee shots, expect to see some lost ball searches and hack-out shots at the many holes where water fronts the green complexes.”
  • “Accuracy and conservative play will be at a premium at the 2018 Ryder Cup. Couple the extra pressure on driving with European team’s experience, and Team USA has a lot of preparation ahead over three days of practice.”
3. Wager this way
Shane Ryan with some solid thoughts on hopefully getting in your friends’ pockets a little during the Ryder Cup.
  • “In golf, the majors don’t really lend themselves to fun, interactive, dynamic pools. Sure, you can do the thing where you pick a player or two from various world ranking categories, but for a sports pool nut like myself, it feels a little empty, a little dull. The Ryder Cup, on the other hand, is that rare event whose format is so unique that it practically begs you to devise sophisticated games of chance. Along with being one of the best sports exhibitions on the world, it’s also a bed of fertile soil for pool-minded zealots like myself.”
  • “1. The Pod Pool…This pool, invented by yours truly for the 2016 incarnation, is tried and true and very fun. I’m leading with it because if you partake in just one pool, it should be this one. It would take more space than we have to explain the rules, so I’m going to refer you tothis post from the Hazeltine Ryder Cup that details everything. The pod pool is a true joy, and it works best with at least 10 people (we had around 35 last time). The new pods for 2018 are below…feel free to tweak if you disagree:”
  • “Pod 1: Dustin Johnson, Patrick Reed, Justin Rose, Rory McIlroy Pod 2: Brooks Koepka, Justin Thomas, Ian Poulter, Jon Rahm Pod 3: Jordan Spieth, Tiger Woods, Tommy Fleetwood, Henrik Stenson Pod 4: Bryson DeChambeau, Rickie Fowler, Francesco Molinari, Alex Noren Pod 5: Phil Mickelson, Bubba Watson, Paul Casey, Tyrrell Hatton Pod 6: Webb Simpson, Tony Finau, Sergio Garcia, Thorbjorn Olesen”

4 more suggestions in the full article

.
4. Tiger Woods Effect: Tour Championship edition
Perhaps not surprisingly, with a 5.21 overnight rating, the final round of the Tour Championship was the highest-rated (non-major) PGA Tour telecast of 2018.
  • Tiger Woods’ 80th PGA Tour win was the highest-rated broadcast in FedEx Cup history, with viewership was up 206 percent compared to 2017.
  • Golf’s big Sunday followed an impressive Saturday. As Golfweek’s Martin Kaufmann noted
  • “In the TV-ratings world, a mediocre football game typically drubs even some of the PGA Tour’s biggest events. Yet during Saturday’s third round, with Woods in the final group, NBC’s coverage of The Tour Championship drew more viewers than every college football game except the Alabama-Texas A&M game. Because, as we all know, nobody beats Alabama – not even Tiger Woods.”
  • Across NBC Sports Digital’s platforms, Sunday’s final found saw 18.4 million minutes streamed (up 561 percent year-over-year).
5. Meanwhile at the Mid-Am…
Golfweek’s Brentley Romine writes…”Stewart Hagestad made three birdies and an eagle to easily advance Monday at the U.S. Mid-Amateur…Hagestad, the 2016 U.S. Mid-Amateur champion from Newport Beach, Calif., defeated Minnesota’s Bradley Wohlers, 8 and 6, in the Round of 64 at Charlotte (N.C.) Country Club.”
  • “Top seed Stephen Behr, a former Clemson golfer who is playing in his first U.S. Mid-Amateur, beat Jeffrey Osberg of Bryn Mawr, Pa., 3 and 2. He will play Belgium’s Samuel Echikson in the Round of 32. Echikson is one of just four non-Americans left in the field.”
  • “On other notable matches: Sam O’Dell def. Todd Mitchell, 4 and 2; Jordan Sease def. Kyle Downey, 8 and 6; Grant Schroeder def. Marc Dull, 3 and 1; Matthew Mattare def. Bradford Tilley, 2 and 1; and Andres Schonbaum def. defending champion Matt Parziale, 3 and 2.”
6. And the nominees are…
PGA Tour Player of the year nominees...(AKA Brooks Koepka and the other guys who won’t win)
Bryson DeChambeau
Dustin Johnson
Brooks Koepka
Francesco Molinari
Justin Rose
Justin Thomas
Rookie of the Year nominees
Austin Cook
Satoshi Kodaira
Keith Mitchell
Joaquin Niemann
Aaron Wise
7. Cross-handed DJ cometh
After switching to a cross-handed putting grip during the Tour Championship, Dustin Johnson plans to do the same at Le Golf National.
  • Our Gianni Magliocco writes, “Dustin Johnson made a weekend charge at the Tour Championship, and it was almost good enough for him to capture the FedEx Cup title (and with it the $10 million jackpot). Although he fell short, the revival gave him a third-place finish at the season finale, after he fired back to back rounds of 67 at East Lake. The most interesting part about his weekend performance? Well, during the sixth hole on Saturday, Johnson decided to putt for the rest of the event cross-handed.”
  • “So how did Johnson perform with the cross-handed technique? Well, the American gained strokes over the field on the greens on both days over the weekend. For the two days of action, Johnson gained 0.63 strokes over the field with the flatstick, which incidentally was more than he managed over the opening two days in Atlanta. However, a missed birdie chance from inside six feet on the 18th hole on Sunday evening doomed his chances of taking home the FedEx Cup.”
8. Chamblee: Europe should be favored
Brandel Chamblee, appearing on the Golf Channel podcast, said (beyond home continent advantage), the reason the European Ryder Cup squad ought to be favored is Le Golf National will place a premium on driving accuracy, something the American squad struggles with.
9. No social media shutdown
Geoff Shackelford reports on Captains Furyk and Bjorn’s cool daddery…”During these events, I don’t see a lot of our players on their phones and on social media – they are such busy weeks,” Furyk said. “I don’t really have any policies, per se, other than you obviously want to keep everything straight and narrow, and I think social media is great when it’s fun. But past that, you know, I don’t really see any issues or concerns.”
  • “European captain Thomas Bjorn has no plans for a blackout, either. He sees social media now as part of an athlete’s life and image, especially the younger players….”I think if you put restrictions on what they can do and how they live their lives, it changes them a bit,” Bjorn said. “I have no problems with social media. But as Jim says, it’s so busy; a high-pressure week and a sensitive week, and I’m sure they on both sides will respect that.”

 

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Tiger Woods’ Tour Championship win delivered a big ratings boost

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Perhaps not surprisingly, with a 5.21 overnight rating, the final round of the Tour Championship was the highest-rated (non-major) PGA Tour telecast of 2018.

Tiger Woods’ 80th PGA Tour win was the highest-rated broadcast in FedEx Cup history, with viewership was up 206 percent compared to 2017.

Golf’s big Sunday followed an impressive Saturday. As Golfweek’s Martin Kaufmann noted

“In the TV-ratings world, a mediocre football game typically drubs even some of the PGA Tour’s biggest events. Yet during Saturday’s third round, with Woods in the final group, NBC’s coverage of The Tour Championship drew more viewers than every college football game except the Alabama-Texas A&M game. Because, as we all know, nobody beats Alabama – not even Tiger Woods.”

Across NBC Sports Digital’s platforms, Sunday’s final found saw 18.4 million minutes streamed (up 561 percent year-over-year).

“Tiger Woods’ win at the TOUR Championship was an unforgettable event in golf,” said Mike McCarley, President, Golf, NBC Sports Group. “The massive gallery following Tiger up the 18th fairway was matched by record viewership across NBC Sports’ platforms. Golf is experiencing a surge in momentum with Tiger and the young stars of the Tiger-inspired generation atop leaderboards. We look forward to this momentum continuing this week at the Ryder Cup.”

Woods has boosted ratings every time he’s teed it up this season. At the British Open, where Woods tied for sixth, ratings were the highest in 18 years. Similarly, PGA Championship ratings were the highest since 2009.

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