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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

Amateur makes 3 holes-in-one in 36-hole competition

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We’d like to say congratulations to Ali Gibb, 51-year-old amateur golfer, for winning her club championship at Croham Hurst Golf Club in England, Monday. Oh, and she made three holes-in-one on the day.

That’s right, during the 36-hole final, Gibb aced the fifth hole twice and only needed one shot at the 11th hole during her second 18.

“Today was just a weird day. It was just very, very strange,” she said, per a BBC report. “On my card I had a nine, two eights, sixes, fives, fours, threes, twos and three ones.

“I have had a hole-in-one before – three actually. One was here on the seventh, one at Surrey National Golf Club, and one at the Atlantic Beach Golf Estate in South Africa,” Gibb added.

“It’s just absolutely extraordinary. I think I will wake up tomorrow asking if I’ve just been dreaming about it and if it is club championship day today instead!”

Hopefully, Gibb doesn’t have to buy three drinks for everyone at the club.

What can you say about a story like this? Beyond once-in-a-lifetime stuff. If the odds of an average golfer making a hole-in-one are 12,500 to 1, what are the odds of a player making three aces in 36 holes? You probably have a better shot of winning the Powerball. Incredible stuff.

 

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Nick Faldo: Tiger Woods said his career was over in 2017

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It’s safe to say only the most optimistic of fans expected Tiger Woods would contend on the weekend at two major championships in the 2018.

We’ve heard murmurings that Woods himself doubted he would make a comeback, such as his 2015 “I think pretty much everything beyond this will be gravy,” remarks.

However, we’ve never heard explicitly that Tiger Woods thought he was finished playing professional golf. Sure, he’s said he didn’t know how well he’d be able to play and that he’s been surprised by his speed and power, but we haven’t heard anything as extreme as what Nick Faldo claims Woods said at last year’s Masters Champions Dinner.

Talking with Dan Patrick, Monday, Faldo had this to say.

“What he’s been able to do, Dan, is unbelievable, remarkable,” Faldo said. “To go from a frozen back, I know he whispered to another Masters champion two Masters dinners ago, ‘I’m done. I won’t play golf again.’ And here we are 18 months later.”

“He was in agony. He was in pain,” Faldo said. “The pain down his legs, nothing enjoyable, he couldn’t move.”

“What he’s been able to do is, it’s unbelievable, remarkable,” Faldo told Patrick. “To go from a frozen back—I know he whispered to another Masters champion two Masters dinners ago ‘I’m done. I won’t play golf again,’ and here we are, 18 months later…”

“No, I won’t mention the name, but he’s a Masters champion. He said ‘I’m done, my back is done.’ He was in agony, he was in pain, the pain down his legs, there was nothing enjoyable. He couldn’t move.”

Woods had his fourth back surgery April 20th, shortly after the Masters, which put him on the path that ultimately led to a runner-up finish at last week’s PGA Championship.

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19th Hole

An airline lost Thorbjorn Olesen’s golf clubs…and his backup clubs…and his suitcases

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Thorbjorn Olesen has arrived in Sweden for the Nordea Masters. Unfortunately, his golf clubs have not…nor have his back up clubs.

He tweeted this, Tuesday.

“So the comedy continues, @British_Airways have managed to now lose 5 suitcases and 2 sets of golf clubs in 10 days! Decided to bring my only backup set of clubs on this morning’s flight to the Nordea Masters in case my other lost set don’t arrive and BA have also now lost these!”

Thousands of tour pros fly hundreds of times per year, yes, but doesn’t it seem like more golf bags are getting lost than should? Sidebar: Masterful GIF game, Mr. Olesen.

Olesen hasn’t provided an update on his bag(s) since the tweet above, so we’re not sure where things stand now. BA responded with this

Nope…doesn’t sound good at all…

Olesen also fired off this tweet–good he can see the humor in what has to be an utterly enraging situation.

Guess this is a #PlayBetter so you can afford NetJets, etc, situation, because it’s certainly not ever going to be a #AirlinesStoppedLosingBags situation. Also Ship Sticks is at least theoretically in play, right?

Or, of course, there’s option 3: Telescoping golf clubs in a collapsible bag that you can take as a carry on. That’s the surest bet: Just stash ’em overhead! Gotta get to work inventing those…

But really, rough stuff, and here’s hoping the Dane gets his bats back.

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