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18 quick takeaways from Tiger/Peyton’s pro-am round at The Memorial

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It’s been awhile since I’ve watched Tiger Woods play a round of golf live. I watched him a bunch while growing up — U.S. Opens, PGA Championships, the Open Championship, local tournaments, and even the Tavistock Cup one year. When I was younger, I’d run around and sneak as close to the ropes as I could on every shot. As I got a bit older, dealing with the enormous and pushy crowds became more exhausting, so following just Tiger for 18 holes became less enticing. But, watching Tiger play live is always fun, and since he played his pro-am on Wednesday at The Memorial with Peyton Manning, I figured I’d follow their group for the first nine holes.

Here are my takeaways from Wednesday at Muirfield Village Golf Club watching Tiger and Peyton play golf together.

1) Peyton Jerseys

As expected, there were tons of Peyton fans, Denver Broncos fans, and Indianapolis Colts fans following the Tiger-Peyton group, many of them donning their No. 18 jerseys. Some were local Ohioans who happened to be Peyton fans, while others made the trip just for the occasion.

2) Peyton haters

There were some of those, too. I heard some rumblings about Tom Brady being better, and a few more passionate (re: vulgar) words regarding Peyton. The guy is just trying to play some golf with Tiger. Relax on the hate, you know?

But like… Tom Brady is better.

3) No-maha

I’m proud to report that I did not hear one fan scream “Omaha” after one of his shots ala “mashed potatoes.” Great job, golf fans. I expected much less and for that I’m ashamed.

4) Tiger’s bunker play was sharp

Tiger nearly holed a bunker shot on No. 1, and another on the par 3 4th. With two new TaylorMade Milled Grind wedges in the bag, he still looks comfortable in the sand.

5) His chipping also looks sharp

On hole No. 8, Tiger holed a flop shot off a downslope from deep rough. And although it’s a pro-am, the roar was reminiscent of an Augusta Sunday roar. People were fired up.

6) Tiger’s short game looking good means one thing…

He didn’t hit many greens. Some left, some right. I counted 4 missed greens on the front. But…

7) Tiger’s hitting lots of fairways

By my count Tiger hit every fairway except for one, and he was splitting them. That’s gotta be comforting for Tiger fans. Just gotta hit a few more greens.

8) Buckets

Split fairway on No. 2. Juicy short iron to 10 feet. Bang bang! Tiger made two birds on the front (the other being his hole-out), against one bogey — he had a nice par save on the 9th hole from about 5 feet after a shaky first lag putt from about 40 feet.

9) Close-up of Tiger’s new TaylorMade wedges

For more information on Tiger’s new Milled Grind wedges, click here. Based on the photo above, his new 60-degree has 10.5 degrees of bounce.

And here’s a not-so-close-up look at the face…

10) Peyton misses left a lot

Peyton spent most of the front nine hitting from the left rough off the tee, although he hit a few great approach shots with his irons. His face gets really shut on the backswing, so this isn’t terribly surprising.

11) No, it’s an 18

12) Autographs

Peyton signed A LOT of autographs. Between every shot, fans screamed out “Peyton, Peyton, will you sign?” and he spent a bunch of time signing. He signed footballs, jerseys, flags, golf balls, everything.

13) Hey kid, nice catch

Here’s a look at one of Peyton’s game-used Titleist ProV1 No. 18 golf balls, signed by Peyton himself. According to this kid’s mother, he had a broken index finger but still caught the ball that Peyton threw. Nice catch!

14) Peyton WITB

All PXG 0311 irons and wedges, and a PXG 0311X driving iron. He looked to have a PXG driver with a Graphite Design Tour AD-TP shaft as well, but don’t quote me on that (hey, there were a lot of people out there it was hard to get close, gimmie a break!).

15) Instructor Tiger

Tiger and Peyton walked the fairways together for much of the front nine, talking and laughing, telling stories. They talked a lot. Every now and then, Tiger would start making air swings, showing Peyton the ropes. Hopefully he was telling him how to open the face more on the backswing, and judging from the photo above, that’s exactly what he was doing.

16) Interviews on interviews

It’s just a pro-am, so mid-round interviews are acceptable.

But I can’t imagine these mid-round interviews don’t get annoying. There’s a team match going on after all!

17) Team Tiger

Through 9 holes, Team Tiger was just 4-under par, 3 shots behind Team Johnson.

18) No pressure

Don’t worry guys, you’re just playing with Tiger Woods and Peyton Manning in front of thousands of people. No worries.

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Andrew Tursky is the Editor-in-Chief of GolfWRX. He played on the Hawaii Pacific University Men's Golf team and earned a Masters degree in Communications. He also played college golf at Rutgers University, where he graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in Journalism.

4 Comments

4 Comments

  1. MW

    May 31, 2018 at 7:42 am

    And so the Tiger gushing begin.

  2. The dude

    May 30, 2018 at 8:35 pm

    Anyone see the photo with Tiger and Larry Fitzgerald?…..Tiger looks like a little boy….and LF is a receiver……..LOL!,,

  3. High-n-Right

    May 30, 2018 at 7:40 pm

    Have you read “The Big Miss”? He dominates off the tee Mon-Wed.

  4. dlygrisse

    May 30, 2018 at 3:40 pm

    Peyton must of been scared, being that Tiger is built like a linebacker. 🙂

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Opinion & Analysis

Golfholics Course Review: Spyglass Hill Golf Course

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In this new course review series, Marko and Mike from Golfholics provide their takes on the golf courses they’ve played around the world. The first episode starts with the famed, yet often overlooked Spyglass Hill. Enjoy the video below, and don’t forget to check out more videos from Golfholics on their YouTube page!

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News

Redkacheek’s DFS Rundown: 2018 CJ Cup

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Wow, what a crazy start to this season! Not only has the cheat sheet and slack chat plays over at the Fantasy Golf Bag been on complete fire, but the new golf betting model has now hit on two outrights and one FRL in back-to-back weeks! We get a much better field this week so definitely plan to keep this heater going here at the CJ Cup this week. Brooks Koepka will be teeing it up for the first time since being named the 2018 POY, along with guys such as Justin Thomas, Jason Day, Paul Casey, Billy Horschel, and our new favorite Sungjae Im. As you can see, this will be a fairly exciting event for a setup as similar as last week’s tournament.

Let’s go ahead and take a look at this course and see if we can pinpoint some key stats to take us to another Big GPP win or at least a couple good choices for an outright win.

The CJ Cup will be played at the Club at Nine Bridges, a 7,196 yard par-72 golf course in South Korea. Although this may appear like a similar course to TPC Kuala Lumpur last week, this one will play quite significantly tougher. As you can see below, in 2017 there were more bogeys than birdies for the week which doesn’t happen much outside of majors. Justin Thomas won last year’s event after shooting 63 in the first round but failed to break 70 the following three days. JT finished at nine under, which tied Marc Leishman, who coincidentally won this last weekend (2019 Fall Swing narrative). So why so tough if it appears so short? Let’s take a look.

So first off, let’s get this out of the way first. These greens are brutal. No joke; these greens were the single most difficult greens to putt on all of last year. Everything from one-putt percentage to 3-putt avoidance, these ranked the No. 1 most difficult on Tour all year. But here’s the problem: We all know putting is the single most variable stat, so using SG:P will tend to lead to a very disappointing pool of players. For example, coming into last year the players ranked Top 10 in SG:P finished 11-33-47-40-28-64-36-26-71-36, respectively. There is a still a stat that helped fine-tune player pools last year that I will recommend this year: my first key stat to consider this week is 3-putt avoidance.

The next section here I will just briefly touch on the driving accuracy and GIR percentage for this course. It is very average for the PGA Tour…that is really all you need to know. Driving accuracy ranked 48th and GIR percentage ranked 38th in 2017. This course is not difficult tee-to-green, plain and simple. I will certainly add the usual SG:T2G this week along with GIR percentage, but this course will favor most guys this week.

So besides putting, why are these scores so poor considering the appearance of an easy course? Well besides putting on these greens, scrambling here is brutal. Scrambling also ranked No. 1 most difficult here last year but again, this is a stat that is extremely tough to see useful trends. I will, however, encourage you to use SG:ARG to help narrow down your player pool more efficiently.

Remember that this segment of the Fall Swing will not yield strokes-gained data, so we must only utilize the traditional stats the PGA Tour keeps. On top of all the micro-scoring stats mentioned above, let’s take a closer look at this course from a macro level. This will be fairly straightforward when building your model. The par 4s here are extremely difficult, so add SG:P4 Scoring to your research (par 3 scoring is also very difficult but sample sizes are usually too small to include each week). Par 5 scoring was difficult as well but there is a better stat we can use than the P4 scoring mentioned above. The final stat we will be using is simply bogey avoidance. This will do a fantastic job of incorporating T2G, scrambling and putting into our model/research.

Overall this course is really an amazing layout but will pose a difficult task for the players. Just like last week, I encourage you to ease into the season by playing light and also primarily playing GPPs.

With all that out of the way, let’s get into my core plays for this week…

Justin Thomas (DK $11,600)

Justin Thomas finally makes the core writeup. After a mediocre finish last week (5th place), he comes to Nine Bridges as the defending champion. Ironically, he beat out Marc Leishman, last week’s winner, in a playoff last year and I think he is going to be the guy to pay up for over $10k. JT won both CIMB Classic and The CJ Cup last year, and I would be very surprised if he doesn’t leave this leg of the Fall Swing (Asia) without a win. There’s a lot going for him outside of his recent form and course history (if that wasn’t enough), he ranks first in both SG:T2G and SG:APP, second in par 4 scoring, eighth in bogey avoidance and finally, surprisingly, 11th in 3-putt avoidance. If you are building only a few lineups this week, I think JT should be in around two-thirds of them.

Byeong-Hun An (DK $8,700)

Mr. Ben An makes the list again! Byeong-Hun An received a lot of praise from both Jacob and myself on the FGB Podcast last week and he did not disappoint with a 13th place finish, and really a strong chance to win going into the weekend. As part of a common theme you will see here, Ben An is the kind of consistent ball-striker to rely on each and every week. On the PGA Tour in the last 50 rounds, he ranks third along with a strong ranking in bogey avoidance (third) and GIR percentage (also third). He did play this event last year, finishing 11th at 4-under par, and if it weren’t for a final round 73 he had a realistic chance for the win! The price on Ben An is getting a little steep but I think we can still get some value out of it this week.

Kyle Stanley (DK $8,200)

Kyle Stanley should be considered a core play almost every week he is under $9K on DraftKings. One of the most elite ball strikers on Tour, ranking ninth in SG:T2G, 11th in SG:APP, sixth in GIR percentage and 14th in par 4 scoring, he sets up for another solid top 20. Last week Kyle finished 13th in Kuala Lumpur and now comes to Nine Bridges where he ended the tournament in 19th place last year. Kyle tends to be very “mediocre” so upside for a top 3 always seems to come sparingly during the season, but you still cannot ignore his skills at this price.

Charles Howell III (DK $7,700)

Charles Howell III is a lock for me this week. Coming off a strong showing last week (T5) but also an 11th-place finish at this event last year, he grades out as one of the strongest values this week at only $7,700. CH3 hadn’t played on the PGA Tour for over a month before appearing at Kuala Lumpur, causing him to fly well under the radar on his way to a solid top five finish. Always known as a superb ball-striker, Howell actually rates out 16th in bogey avoidance and 10th in 3-putt avoidance, both key stats for this golf course. Additionally, CH3 ranks inside the top 20 of both par 4 scoring and GIR percentage. In a no-cut event on a difficult ARG golf course, count on CH3 to gain enough placement points to pay off this solid price tag.

Ian Poulter (DK $7,600)

Ian Poulter may be extremely sneaky this week. We haven’t seen him since the Ryder Cup and most people that play DFS have severe recency bias. Poulter is a grinder, and considering the winning score should only be around 12-under par with lots of opportunities for bogeys, he should keep the wheels on all four days and have a chance on Sunday. One of the most surprising stats for me in my research on Poulter is that he ranks first in 3-putt avoidance, along with some impressive tee-to-green stats where he ranks inside the top 25 of all of my key stats mentioned above. Why is the 3-putt avoidance stat so important? As I noted in the course preview, these were the single most difficult greens to putt on last year with the worst 3-putt percentage. Outside of the key stats, it does seem like this course fits his eye as he finished 15th here last year. Ian Poulter will be another core play but I think he may come in quite under owned from where he probably should.

Joel Dahmen (DK $6,900)

Chalk Dahmen week is upon us and I am going to bite. Dahmen has been a DFS darling this year and last week was no different. Dahmen ended up finishing 26th which was largely due to a poor final round 71, which dropped him 11 spots. Even with that poor finish he was able to pay off his sub-$7K price tag, which is where we find him again this week. Dahmen ranks top 10 in this field in several key stats, including: SG:T2G, SG:APP, and bogey avoidance. If you need some salary savings but unsure about anyone under $7K, Dahmen should be your first look this week.

Also consider

Brooks Koepka
Jason Day
Marc Leishman
Paul Casey
Ryan Moore
Sungjae Im
Kevin Tway

Good luck this week everyone!

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Podcasts

Mondays Off: Bermuda vs. Bent grass, How to chip when into the grain

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How do you chip into the grain off of Bermuda grass without chunking the ball? Club pro Steve Westphal explains how to best handle the situation. Also, Westphal and Editor Andrew Tursky give advice on how to play in qualifiers or PAT (players assessment test) events, and they tell a few stories of their own.

Check out the full podcast on SoundCloud below, or click here to listen on iTunes!

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