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GolfWRX Morning 9: USGA scrutiny begins | PGA Prez DUI | Tom Brady can putt

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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 14, 2018

Good Thursday morning, golf fans. Enjoy the action from Shinnecock.
1. Don’t screw it up
For the reactionary par protectors at the USGA, as has been discussed ad nauseum, the 2018 U.S. Open at Shinnecock has to go well. The combination of having, on some level, screwed up the last three U.S Opens and returning to venue where they definitely screwed up in 2004 only serves to accentuate this fact.
  • Accordingly, every decision the governing body makes this week will be heavily scrutinized. Not an enviable position to be in, to be sure.
  • An early decision to note, per Geoff Shackelford…USGA CEO Mike Davis: “We have purposely slowed the greens down a little bit today, knowing the kind of winds we’re going to get tomorrow…We’ve also changed up some of the hole locations, just to make sure they’re in areas that can handle this kind of wind.”
  • “I would also say that if we get some of the top winds that they’re predicting, it doesn’t matter how slow the greens are and how flat the surfaces are,” Davis said. “You will see balls blowing, and that’s just the nature when you get up into 30-mile per hour plus, which we might get gusts.”
2. Rory: Better safe than sorry (obviously)
After plenty of U.S. Open experience (and a win!) Rory McIlroy has settled on the right approach to dealing with a U.S. Open setup.
  • “I think I’ll adopt quite a conservative strategy off the tee,” McIlroy said. “You’re hitting into big targets. So even if you’re leaving yourself back and maybe hitting a couple of extra clubs into these greens, it’s not such a bad thing. I’d rather be doing that than hacking my way out of the rough.”
3. “Tom Brady can putt”
The Rickie Fowler, Phil Mickelson, Tom Brady practice round was widely reported yesterday, now Rickie is adding some color to the reports with a few details on the round at Friar’s Head.
  • Will Gray of Golf Channel writes  “As is often the case with Tuesday matches involving Mickelson, there was a little something on the line. And after winning five Super Bowl titles, Brady can now also boast about the time that he teamed with a five-time major champ to take down the team of Fowler and Dunne.”
  • “I’ll tell you what, Tom Brady can putt,” Fowler said, adding that he was “on the wrong side of it” against Mickelson. “So if I can take that into this week, I think that’s the one thing I took off of him that will help me.”
4. PGA + DUI
PGA of America president Phil Levy was hit with a DUI. Look, I’m not here to sift through anyone’s trash or kick a man when he’s down, but it the firing of Ted Bishop over his infamous “lil girl” tweet (also while drunk) makes you think the next PGA prez may be a teetotaler.
Per Golf Channel:
  • “Levy, 57, was traveling on Highway 111 on June 7 when he veered off the road and crashed into a posted sign,according to a release posted on the county’s website.Officers responded to a call about the single-car crash at 11:22 p.m., and though he did not sustain any injuries, Levy showed signs of being under the influence, the report said. He was transported to an area hospital for evaluation and later booked into the Riverside County Jail in Indio at 1:48 a.m.”
  • “Paul Levy has accepted responsibility for his terrible lapse in judgment,” a PGA of America spokesman said in a statement. “He has expressed deep regret and fully understands how irresponsible his actions were..The PGA of America will support Paul as he seeks counseling, faces the consequences of his actions and works through the legal process in the months ahead.”
5. Breaking 100 can be painfully easy (emphasis on painfully)
GolfWRX Editor-in-Chief, Andrew Tursky recently switched to southpaw in an effort to continue playing golf while saving his injured back.
He broke 100 for the first time from the left side of the plate and offers advice that includes
  • Ignore par
  • Don’t make triple bogeys
  • Limit your use of the driver
  • Don’t take risks
  • Treat every putt as a lag

Check out his piece for additional advice.

 

6. Best of U.S. Open week merch
Geoff Shackelford hit up the U.S. Open merchandise, well, mall, it’s pretty much a mall to check out the best of the wares.
He reported on nautical themage in abundance, a “Shinnecock Fescue Breeze” candle, and more.

Check out the piece.

7. Rory McIlroy’s “fun golf”
Taking the Zac Blair approach, Rory McIlroy has been playing more golf for fun lately following his father’s membership at famed Florida track Seminole.
  • “For maybe five or six years, I never played fun golf…It was all to do with getting ready to play tournaments. I didn’t understand people who went out and played a lot,” McIlroy said.
  • McIlroy recently played National Golf Links of America, Friar’s Head, and Garden City Golf Club.
8. Backstopping poll
Amid the furor over backstopping on the PGA Tour, after seeing plenty of venom related to the subject on Twitter, after reading Tour pros’ takes, I still wondered what the average golf fan thought of the practice.
  • So far, 41 percent of votes say it’s not really a big deal. 32 percent said they don’t care either way, and only 27 percent said it sure is a big deal.
9. Michael Williams talks to Hale Irwin
Hale Irwin joined GolfWRX’s 19th Hole podcast for a chat with Michael Williams. Subjects discussed include: Irwin’s epic victory at the “Massacre at Winged Foot,” the 1974 U.S. Open. Irwin also compares his contemporaries to the players of today in terms of talent and competitiveness.
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  1. LOLer

    Jun 14, 2018 at 5:13 pm

    … and Tiger was driving under the influence of a 9-iron … 😀 😀 😀

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Equipment

Brooks Koepka with Mizuno JPX 919 irons, TaylorMade M5 driver in the bag at Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship

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Brooks-Koepka-Mizuno-JPX919

Brooks Koepka is in action this week at the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship equipped with a new driver and set of irons.

Golf.com’s Jonathan Wall broke the news, via Twitter, that Kopeka has TaylorMade’s new M5 Driver in his bag this week, as well as Mizuno’s JPX 919 Tour Irons.

The three-time major champ used TaylorMade’s M3 460 Driver and Mizuno’s JPX 900 Tour irons throughout 2018, and it appears as if Koepka is happy to make the transition to both manufacturers latest additions of those series of clubs right from the get-go in 2019.

Brooks-Koepka-Mizuno-JPX-919

Koepka is currently T13 after two rounds of play at the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship and sits five shots off the lead.

 

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European Tour members have heated exchange over cheating incident…from 2013

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Social media appears to have become the new playground for golfers to air their issues with each other, and this week it was the turn of two European Tour members.

The two men involved were Spain’s Gonzalo Fernandez-Castano and England’s Simon Dyson, and the subject of the feud revolves around a new change in the rulebook of golf. As of 2019, players are allowed to repair spike marks on the greens, an act which Dyson was found guilty of doing when it was prohibited back in 2013, and subsequently found himself slapped with a fine and a suspension.

Fernandez Castano kicked off the fun and games following his opening round at this week’s Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship. The Spaniard said how the new rule “will take some time to get used to” before adding the punchline  “Unless you are Simon Dyson and you have been doing it for years.”

The bad blood between Fernandez-Castano and Dyson appears to be fully down to Dyson’s misdemeanour in 2013, as one year later on Twitter when the Spaniard was asked for his opinion on Dyson; he bluntly replied: “Used to like him, not anymore”.

Asked why he hadn’t tagged Dyson in his tweet yesterday, the Spaniard claimed that the Englishman had blocked him, before Dyson took to the stage, with a different rationale. In a since-deleted tweet, Dyson stated that Fernandez-Castano didn’t have the cojones (or something similar) and stated that the Spaniard is a “sad little man”.

After getting that off his chest, Dyson approached the incident differently, saying that he, unlike Fernandez-Caetano supposedly, had moved on from the affair which occurred six years ago.

Nothing quite like a good old confrontation on social media with a peer to begin your professional year, eh?

 

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Morning 9: Watch out, intentional double hitters!| LPGA Tour in on betting | Heart surgery for Rose’s caddie |

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

January 17, 2019

Good Thursday morning, golf fans.

 

1. Tiger to return at Torrey
As expected, Tiger Woods will be in the field for the Farmers Insurance Open at Torrey Pines next week. Woods made the announcement today via his social media channels.
  • The 43-year-old has won at the venue eight times (seven Farmers, one U.S. Open). He most recently claimed a W at the La Jolla, California, course when he won the 2013 Farmers Insurance Open. He tied for 23rd at the event last year.
  • We last saw the 14-time major champion in action at his Thanksgiving weekend showdown with Phil Mickelson. He hasn’t played an official PGA Tour event since winning the Tour Championship at the end of September.
  • Woods is also officially committed to the Genesis Open, which is run by his foundation and begins February 14 at Riviera.
2. LPGA Tour getting on the betting bandwagon?
Golf Channel’s Randall Mell…”If legalized gambling is going to boost interest in golf, the LPGA doesn’t want to be left behind.”
  • “Commissioner Mike Whan is positioning the tour to be ready to manage and benefit from real-time betting when it takes off.”
  • “He’s preparing to invest the tour in a shot-tracking system that would give the LPGA real-time data similar to what PGA Tour ShotLink offers. The system would be specifically designed to accommodate the intense new interest gambling could bring.”
  • “Regardless what I think of legalized gambling, it’s here, and it’s only going to get more significant,” Whan told GolfChannel.com. “You can stick your head in the sand and act like it’s not going to happen, but you’re still going to have betting issues. So, wouldn’t you rather get control of it, make sure you educate your players, make sure you understand the audience and make sure the data disseminated is real, accurate and managed by people you trust?”
3. Fooch to have heart surgery
Hoping for the best for Justin Rose’s caddie…
  • Golf Channel’s Will Gray…”Mark Fulcher has been on the bag for many of Rose’s biggest achievements, including his 2013 U.S. Open win and gold medal triumph at the 2016 Rio Olympics. But while Rose is in the California desert for this week’s PGA Tour stop, Fulcher is in New York awaiting heart surgery.”
  • “According to a report from Golf Channel’s George Savaricas, Fulcher plans to undergo a heart valve replacement on Thursday. While he is on the mend, Rose will have Gareth Lord on the bag in the near future. Lord caddied for the past several years for Henrik Stenson until the pair split in November.”
  • “According to Savaricas, Fulcher hopes to return to life inside the ropes for the current world No. 1 when the PGA Tour heads to Florida in late February.”
4. Dou wins in the Bahamas
AP Report…”Zecheng Dou birdied the final three holes Wednesday for a two-stroke victory in the Web.com Tour’s season-opening Bahamas Great Exuma Classic”.
  • “Dou shot a 2-under 70, holing a 55-foot birdie putt on the par-5 18th at Sandals Emerald Bay to finish at 18-under 270. Three strokes ahead entering the round, the 21-year-old Chinese player rallied after bogeying three of the first six holes on the back nine.”
  • “Dou earned $108,000 for his second Web.com Tour title.”
5. Callaway + European Tour
Our Gianni Magliocco writes…”For the European Tour, Callaway now becomes the official driver, shoe and golf bag brand of the Tour, while Odyssey is now the official putter, OGIO the official luggage brand, and Callaway Apparel along with Travis Mathew brand, is the official on-course apparel.”
  • “Speaking on the deal, which will also see Callaway supply Chrome Soft balls to each driving range at European Tour events, Neil Howie, President & Managing Director of Callaway Golf Europe stated”
  • “Securing this important leadership position with such a forward-thinking and committed organisation as the European Tour aligns perfectly with our own business goals of making the game more enjoyable and accessible through market-leading innovation and superior product performance.
  • “Callaway continues to enjoy a very strong and loyal following among players on the European Tour, Odyssey has been the number one brand for more than ten years and Rogue Drivers were the number one model in play across 2018, and we are excited about the impact of our recently launched Epic Flash family.
  • “We also look forward to the many tournament, broadcast and content opportunities that this new partnership will bring.”
6. Speaking of European Tour golf…
AP Report...”Irish golfer Shane Lowry is looking to reignite his career after losing his card on the PGA Tour last year.”
  • “Beginning 2019 with a 10-under 62 is pretty much the ideal way to start.”
  • “Lowry rolled in 10 birdies and did not drop a shot in the first round of the Abu Dhabi Championship on Wednesday, giving him a three-stroke lead in the European Tour’s opening event of the year.”
  • “Down to 75th in the rankings and now 3½ years without a win, Lowry is adjusting to life back as a full-time European Tour player after failing to successfully juggle his commitments on both sides of the Atlantic in 2018.”
7. Lexi’s family to stay on the bag

Golfweek’s Beth Ann Nichols...”Brother Curtis Thompson was on the bag for Lexi at the CME. He’ll be on the bag again this week at Tranquilo, driving down on Wednesday evening after a qualifier. Curtis plans to caddie for his sister when he’s not competing. Otherwise their father, Scott, will take his place.”

“Lexi said she isn’t currently searching for a caddie outside the family.”

  • “I think I realized that’s who cares about me the most right now,” she said. “My dad’s been my coach my whole life. If I have him on the bag, I know he can help me out tremendously. Same thing with Curtis. He knows my golf swing very well too. He can always keep me laughing out there.”
8. A vintage rules spat
Vintage, in the sense that it has fermented since 2013…
Alex Myers at Golf Digest…”The fun started when Gonzalo Fernandez-Castano, following his first round of 2019 at the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship on Wednesday, commented on the new rule that allows players to repair spike marks on the green and said, “it will take some time to get used to it.” Before adding this jab out of left field: “Unless you are Simon Dyson and you have been doing it for years.”
9. Intentional double hitters, beware!
Geoff Shackelford at Golfweek…”The double strikes were inspired by Rule 11.1. In the simpler language of golf’s refreshed rules, the kinder, gentler governing bodies are no longer penalizing player for the dreaded “double-hit” made most famous by T.C. Chen in the 1985 U.S. Open but all too-often in embarrassing fashion for everyday golfers.”
  • “While some of golf’s top trickshot artists may be magnificent with a club in their hand, they missed the part about “accidental” in the title of 11.1. With so many copycats, there is a perception that a rules loophole has been exposed.”
  • “Golfweek asked the USGA for clarification and received this from a spokesperson:”
  • “The videos showing golfers deliberately hitting the ball twice (such as getting around a tree) are not allowed under the Rules. Most of these videos demonstrate a player making two strokes at the ball, with the second being made at a moving ball, which results in two penalty strokes. In total, the player has made two strokes and gets a two-stroke penalty.”

 

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