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GolfWRX Morning 9: Phil already going full Mickelson | Singular US Open stories

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Good morning, GolfWRX members. As most of you are signed up for our newsletters, you likely already know that I’ve been sending this little Morning 9 roundup of nine items of note to start your day.

In case you’ve missed it, or you prefer to read on site rather than in your email, we’re including it here. Check out today’s Morning 9 below. Feedback is always welcome–send everything from news tips to complaints (hopefully more tips than complaints)!

If you’re not signed up for our newsletters, you can subscribe here.

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

June 12, 2018

Good Tuesday morning, golf fans. Yesterday I asked if there was anything I ought to ask Sergio Garcia. Per a request, I asked him about changing wedge grinds for Shinnecock. He said he hasn’t changed anything and doesn’t plan to.
1. Vintage Phil
Mickelson, who will be practicing off site until the U.S. Open begins, spoke with the scribes at Shinnecock in a press conference Monday. He did not disappoint.
A few morsels.
  • “So the notes that I had in 2004 are all accurate. In fact, they were 100 percent the same from 2004 as they are today,” Mickelson said. “But the notes that I took weren’t precise, like this putt breaks ‘X’  amount. The notes were that you must stay here for this pin, you must go here for this pin, the odds of getting up and down from this spot are 50 percent, 10 percent.”
  • “The difficulty is, when you dream of a championship as a child – whether it’s U.S. Open or the Masters, whatever event – and you dream of winning these tournaments as a child and you work hours and hours and you fly in days and days and do all this prep work, and then you are left to chance the outcome, as opposed to skill, that’s a problem. That’s the problem that I have with it.”
2. Spotlight on singular U.S. Open stories
Given its unique open qualifying format and system of exemptions, the U.S. Open always produces a narratively rich field.
  • There are plenty of stories on that front. Joel Beall at Golf Digest looks at Matt Parziale, the Massachusetts firefighter who won the Mid-Am and has already played in the Masters.
  • Parziale on shelving his pro golf dreams: “Every decision I make, I don’t have any regrets,” Parziale said. “I just do what I think is right. I could be wrong. No, I’m still able to play golf and compete, and I enjoy that, and I have a career that I’m able to do, family. I didn’t want to miss out on life. I could be 35 years old and never make it happen. Then where do you start?”
  • In a similar vein, this AP profile of Garrett Rank, the NHL ref who qualified for the competition.
  • “Cancer for me was kind of a blessing in disguise,” Rank said. “It gave me a way better approach to hockey and golf and kind of changed my attitude that, hey, maybe that bad shot isn’t really that bad or, hey, maybe this missed call really isn’t that bad at the end of the day.”
3. USGA and Shinnecock Nation to Build Oscar Bunn Golf Facility
Press release
  • The USGA and the Shinnecock Nation have released a joint public statement today, confirming their shared commitment to a successful U.S. Open at Shinnecock Hills Golf Club this week.
  • “The USGA and the Shinnecock Nation share a long history that began in 1896 with the start of our relationship and will again be celebrated during the 2018 U.S. Open.
  • “The leadership of both organizations has worked together for several months to identify opportunities to recognize the Shinnecock Nation’s contributions to the golf course, honor its heritage and engage its members in the championship.
  • “The USGA will not only engage the Shinnecock Nation in various ways during the championship but will also provide a lasting tribute with the development of the Oscar Bunn Golf Facility, which will offer a place for Shinnecock golf enthusiasts and juniors to learn to play the game and enjoy it for a lifetime.”
4. Goodwin gets in
Dave Shedloski profiles on the the beneficiaries of a recent USGA decision.
  • “Last fall, the USGA announced that the champions of the U.S. Junior Amateur and the U.S. Mid-Amateur would be granted exemptions into the following year’s U.S. Open.”
  • It was a rush of emotions and a dream come true,” the Texas teen said Monday at Shinnecock Hills Golf Club, where he will make his U.S. Open debut on Thursday. “Any teenager dreams of playing in the U.S. Open, and you always visualize making that putt to win the U.S. Open. So to have that dream come true at just 17 years old is something I could have never wished for.”
5. Remember the VAS?
Jonathan Wall catches up with Corey Pavin and Roger Cleveland to discuss the singular Cleveland VAS irons Pavin won at Shinnecock with in 1995.
  • “The VAS (Vibration Absorbing System) irons had a teardrop-shaped head that was a half-inch larger than conventional irons and a wide sole that allowed the club to rest squarely at address. Then there was a large purple badge in the cavity and rounded inset hosel that gave the heel a pronounced point and helped the head turn over at impact.”
  • “Cleveland wanted the clubs to have a more traditional shape, but the company that owned Cleveland Golf, French manufacturer Skis Rossignol S.A., wanted to build something that would elicit a reaction from the equipment industry and beyond.”
6. 10 years of turmoil
The great Jaime Diaz looks back at a surreal decade in the life of Tiger Woods.
7. Just the (Shinnecock) facts
Sean Martin at PGATour.com put together a great list of Shinnecock-related morsels
  • “Legendary golf writer Herbert Warren Wind wrote that after Shinnecock Hills opened “the United States for the first time had a golf course that looked like a golf course.”…It was a 12-hole course when it opened in 1891. Willie Davis designed the layout, while 150 members of the Shinnecock Indian reservation built the course.”
  • “The crew “removed the blueberry bushes from the rough, utilized the Indian burial mounds as obstacles before the greens or made them into sand traps, cropped and manicured the sandy turf,” Wind wrote.”
  • “One-hundred dollar shares of the club were sold in September 1891. Forty-four men and women purchased between one and 10 shares apiece. The clubhouse, designed by famed architect Stanford White (who was later murdered atop Madison Square Garden), opened in the summer of 1892. The club’s membership already had grown to 70 members.”

More.

8. How the favorites should fare
Malcolm Herbert breaks down the contenders.
Tiger Woods
  • Evidence for Success: Tiger has won three U.S. Opens, all at tough classic courses (Pebble Beach, Bethpage Black, and Torrey Pines). He has hit his irons beautifully this year, ranking fourth in Strokes Gained Approach-the Green and fifth in Strokes Gained Tee to Green. He is coming off a strong week at the Memorial, where he also hit 71 percent of his fairways.
  • Evidence for Failure: Tiger ranks 120th in Strokes Gained Off the Tee and a horrible 184th in Driving Accuracy. He is 102nd in Greens in Regulation. He also putted terribly at the Memorial, losing 1.924 strokes to the field.
  • Consensus: This isn’t a great setup for Tiger with his driving and recent putting woes. If he can get the ball in play and putt well, however, he can certainly make some noise.
9. Odds!
A quick look at the oddsmakers‘ top 10 (via Bovada)
  • Dustin Johnson 9-1
  • Rory McIlroy 11-1
  • Jordan Spieth 14-1
  • Justin Thomas 14-1
  • Jason Day 16-1
  • Justin Rose 16-1
  • Tiger Woods 16-1
  • Rickie Fowler 16-1
  • Brooks Koepka 18-1
  • Jon Rahm 20-1
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2 Comments

2 Comments

  1. Mr. Replier Guy

    Jun 12, 2018 at 1:33 pm

    Are the burial mounds still in play? Seems obscene.

  2. W

    Jun 12, 2018 at 8:59 am

    Sometimes, when you make too much of something, it totally ruins it. That’s what they’re all fighting against, especially Phil.

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19th Hole

Brooks Koepka says Patrick Reed cheated at the Hero

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Kimberly White/Getty Images for SiriusXM

On Monday, while speaking on SiriusXM during a PGA Championship media tour, Brooks Koepka claimed that Patrick Reed cheated at the Hero when he was adjudged to have improved his lie in the bunker by moving sand from behind his ball.

The four-time major champion was typically in no mood to mince his words when asked by host Sway Callaway whether or not he felt Reed had cheated at the event, responding “Yeah” before adding

“I mean, I don’t know what he was doing, building sandcastles in the sand but you know where your club is. I took three months off, and I can promise you I know if I touched sand.”

Koepka further compared Reed’s actions to the controversy surrounding the Houston Astros who were caught stealing signs during the 2017 World Series, stating

“It’s one of those things where you know if you look at the video; obviously, he grazes the sand twice, and then he still chops down on it. 

“I guess the Astros are going through that right now. Jim Crane said it when he got asked, ‘Is it cheating?’ And he said, ‘No, we just broke the rules.’ If you play the game, you understand the rules. You understand the integrity that goes on. I mean, there’s no room for it.”

The 31-year old also suggested that incidents like the Reed controversy go “on a little more than people think” on Tour and though he has “bitten his tongue in the past” he expressed how if he were to see a player improving their lie going forward he would “call them out.”

 

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19th Hole

The 6 best #GolfWRX photos on Instagram today (2.18.20)

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In this segment, we’ll be taking a look at some of the best #GolfWRX tagged photos on Instagram. In case you aren’t already, there’s a whole load of action going on at our page, so follow us: @golfwrx

Let’s get to it then, here are six of the best #GolfWRX photos from the past 24 hours.

Jason Dufner’s custom Scotty.

Twisty Neck from Mackmade Workshop.

One for Team Europe supporters.

Our Johnny Wunder showing his sweet looking Fourteen SF714 5W some love.

Great giveaway from Sugar Skull Golf.

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Special Prototype Instagram Giveaway! __________________________________ Details on how to enter: Post this picture OR your favorite SSG product on your Instagram page and tag us in the post. Then, like this post, make sure you are following us and comment “done.” On Sunday, February 23rd at 9:00 pm Eastern, we will draw a winner on Instagram to receive this (1 of 2) white special prototype headcover! __________________________________ Best of luck! __________________________________ We are giving the other one away on our Facebook page so head over there to enter and increase your chances! #sugarskullgolf #golf #headcover #puttercover #golfcover #headcover #limitedrelease #golfwrx #giveaway #golfgiveaway #instagramgiveaway #instagramcontest #sugarskull #ironman #contest #avengers #marvel #nopurchasenecessary #goodluck

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An awesome look at Palmetto Golf Club courtesy of Jonathan Evans.

Get hashtagging your golf posts #GolfWRX for your chance to feature in our best of Instagram posts in the future!

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19th Hole

The young Euro Tour pro in the WGC-Mexico field whose inspiring story you need to know

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@modestgolf

World Golf Championships are reserved for the elite players in the sport, and joining that group this week for the second time in as many WGC events is Christiaan Bezuidenhout, who has overcome a number of arduous hurdles on the road to cracking the world’s top-50.

For those unaware, Bezuidenhout’s destiny was shaped earlier than most when on the streets of his native South Africa the then two-year-old picked up and drank from a bottle of coke – the contents of which contained rat poison.

The South African narrowly avoided death after the hospital completely pumped his stomach to purge him of the poison. Still, the poison infected his nervous system, leaving Bezuidenhout with a speech impediment that would have him develop a severe case of anxiety.

In a blog post for the European Tour last year, the 25-year-old explained the depths of the level of anxiety the stammer caused him growing up.

“I was basically just living in my own world because I was always scared of having to engage in conversation. When I talked to people, I knew I would struggle and it would take time for me to deliver my words, so I always had a fear of answering the phone, saying my name or being asked a question.”

Through therapy, Bezuidenhout got his life back on track but was then hit with another bombshell in 2014 when he was nominated for a random drug test that resulted in him being handed a 2-year ban from the sport.

The South African had been prescribed Beta Blockers to help control his stutter, and his sentence was subsequently reduced down to nine months.

What has happened since then has been a remarkable rise from being outside the world’s top-1500 on his return and outside the world’s top-500 at this point last year, to inside the world’s top-50 at the age of 25.

Victory on the Sunshine Tour in 2016 was Bezuidenhout’s first triumph. He then followed that up last year, hitting the headlines by winning one of the most significant European Tour events on offer, the Andalucia Masters.

Since then, the 25-year-old has gone from strength to strength. He finished third at the European Tour’s flagship event – the BMW PGA Championship, before recording a top-15 finish at the DP World Tour Championship to end 2019 inside the world’s top-100 for the very first time.

In 2020, things have only got better.

After a playoff defeat at the Dubai Desert Classic, the South African finished T21 at the Saudi International before notching a win at the Dimension Data Pro-Am last week for his second win on the Sunshine Tour. A victory which included a clutch eagle on the final hole to win by a stroke, in a week where he recorded a mammoth 29 birdies.

From rat poisoning, crippling anxiety, and a drugs ban, Bezuidenhout is now the second-highest ranked South African player in the world and will compete in his second WGC this week, having finished T17 at the HSBC Champions back in November.

Bezuidenhout’s story is inspirational and a testament to his courage and defiance. He’s a player which you are surely only going to hear more and more of on golf broadcasts in the future, and a man who will have his eyes firmly set on securing a spot at this year’s Masters – a feat he will achieve should he remain inside the world’s top-50 at the end of March.

 

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