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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

Laura Davies’ Winning WITB: Senior LPGA Championship

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Driver: Lynx Parallax

Shaft: Fujikura Speeder Evolution 757

3-wood: Lynx Black Cat

Hybrid: Lynx Parallax Hybrid (17 degrees)

Irons: Lynx Tour Blade (2), Lynx Parallax Forged (4-9)

Wedges: Lynx Tour (50, 56, 60 degrees)

We’re investigating the Odyssey putter and SuperStroke grip.

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GolfWRX Morning 9: Caddie suit against Tour dropped | Hand surgery for Wie | Former DJ advisor guilty

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1. Caddie suit dropped
T.J. Auclair, writing for the Caddie Network (an outlet heretofore unknown to me)…”A lawsuit filed by PGA Tour caddies in 2015 against the PGA Tour has come to an end. Very soon, the Tour will be implementing a healthcare program for all caddies on the PGA Tour that will significantly help caddies and their families off-set healthcare costs.”
  • “The Association of Professional Tour Caddies (APTC) had been seeking a way to minimize the rising costs of healthcare insurance. Those measures included trying to find sponsors for a small part of their caddie bibs, shirt sleeves and hats to heavily subsidize the health costs, which for some caddies, was in excess of $25,000 to cover themselves and their families.”
  • “The caddies lost their class-action suit in District Court in February 2016 and then lost an appeal in August 2018.”
2. Michelle Wie has hand surgery
Our Gianni Magliocco…”Michelle Wie was far from her best at last week’s LPGA KEB Hana Bank Championship, finishing on a total of eight-over par, which was only good enough for a T66 finish. It was Wie’s first appearance since her withdrawal from the British Open back in August, and today Wie detailed how she has been suffering from an avulsion fracture, bone spurring and nerve entrapment in her right hand since competing at Royal Lytham & St Annes.”
  • “The American stated in a social media post how after countless MRI’s, X-Rays and doctor consultations, she has undergone successful hand surgery, and is on a hopeful path back to being pain free.”
  • Wie…”I made the decision after Hana Bank to withdraw from the rest of the season, come back to the states, and get surgery to fix these issues. It’s been disheartening dealing with pain in my hand all year but hopefully I am finally on the path to being and STAYING pain free!”
  • “Happy to announce that surgery was a success today and I cannot wait to start my rehab so that I can come back stronger and healthier than ever. Huge thank you to Dr. Weiland’s team at HSS for taking great care of me throughout this process and to all my fans for your unwavering support. It truly means the world to me. I’ll be back soon guys!!!! Promise.”
3. Former DJ advisor found guilty
Per Golf Channel…”A federal jury has found Nathan Hardwick, a former advisor to Dustin Johnson, guilty of embezzling $26 million in funds from his now-bankrupt real estate closing firm, Morris Hardwick Schneider.”
“Per Golf.com, citing Law.com, a 12-person jury convicted Hardwick of “one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud, 21 counts of wire fraud and one count of making false statements to federally insured banks.”
The Sun News of Myrtle Beach, citing Law.com, explains where the money went.
  • “The alleged spending included $18.47 million on gambling, private jet travel and women from 2011 through August 2014. The prosecution submitted two binders of documentation as evidence that Hardwick spent $4.39 million on “female social companions,” including one testifying witness who claimed to have met him through SugarDaddy.com.”
  • “Other alleged expenditures described in testimony include more than $7 million at casinos, more than $3 million with a bookie, $680,000 for a luxury condo at The St. Regis Atlanta, $273,000 on a diamond ring, $186,000 on a deposit for a party on a private island, and $635,000 on a trip to the 2014 British Open for golfing buddies that included a customized jet and round at St. Andrews.”
4. The PGA Tour (Latinoamerica) returns to Doral
Golf Channel’s Nick Menta…”PGA Tour Latinoamérica announced Wednesday that it will play its season finale, the Latinoamérica Tour Championship-Shell Championship, at Trump National Doral from Nov. 29-Dec. 2.”
  • “The limited-field event will feature the top 60 players on the circuit’s money list competing on Doral’s Golden Palm Course.”
  • “We are very happy that we will continue playing the Latinoamérica Tour Championship-Shell Championship in South Florida, and Doral is a tremendous community that we know will open its arms to our players and this tournament,” PGA Tour Latinoamérica president Jack Warfield said in a statement.”
  • “The PGA Tour ended its more than 50-year relationship with Doral and the resort’s Blue Monster course back in 2016, when Cadillac’s title sponsorship of the World Golf Championship lapsed.’
5. Brooks Koepka’s No. 1 scenario
Golf Channel…”Brooks Koepka got the inside track against Justin Thomas in their head-to-head battle this week for world No. 1.”
  • “Koepka shot 1-under 71 on Thursday at the CJ Cup, while Thomas shot 1-over 73…Chez Reavie leads after 18 holes at Nine Bridges in Juju Island, South Korea, following a 4-under 68.”
  • “Koepka, currently world No. 3, needs to win this week or finish solo second [without Thomas winning] in order to reach the top spot in the rankings for the first time in his career. Thomas, currently No. 4, must win to reclaim the position he surrendered in June.”
6. Does playing the Fall Series matter?
Shane Ryan wonders not just whether we care about fall PGA Tour action, but whether the narrative that getting of to a hot start in autumn can propel a player to a strong season.
  • “Putting aside the appeal of the fall swing, and the tour’s clever ways of ensuring participation, there’s a bigger narrative to contend with: The idea that success in the fall can jumpstart a player’s season, and potentially even establish a spot in the top 30 on the FedEx Cup points list that carries through to the Tour Championship a summer later.”
  • “If that’s true, then sure, it’s a great argument for why the fall matters. It would be like telling an NFL team that if they play really well for the month of September, they can secure a spot in the playoffs. It adds a ton of significance-if you care about the Tour Championship, the narrative goes, then it’s wise to also care about the fall.”
  • “Does the narrative hold up? On the surface, the simple answer is yes: Most fall events are worth 500 points to the winner, just like a normal summer event. (The exceptions are the WGC-HBSC Champions, worth 550 points, and the Sanderson Farms Championship, played that same week and worth 300.) So if a player won in Malaysia, Korea, Las Vegas and Georgia, that player would have 2,050 points. In 2018, only two players had 2,050 FedEx Cup points when the playoffs began, and in 2017 the number was four. Which means if you sweep the fall, you could take the entire year off and still be confident of a top-five position by the time The Northern Trust came around in mid-August….”
Further number crunching confirms the hypothesis. Read Ryan’s full piece here.
7. Bruntsfield joins modernity
BBC Report…”Bruntsfield Links Golfing Society – the fourth oldest golf club in the world – has become the latest to permit women members after a vote.”
  • ‘The Edinburgh club, founded in 1761, has revealed that 83.7% of members casting their vote on Thursday were in favour of the change.”
  • Captain Mike Smith said: “This is an historic occasion for the society…This change, together with a £1.2m investment in our course, will ensure we are well positioned for the future.”
8. Marshal breaks leg
Bernie McGuire writes…”A female volunteer is the latest casualty at a major golf event after breaking her leg in two places while looking for a lost ball on day one of the Andalucia Valderrama Masters in Spain.”
  • “The 64-year old marshal slipped badly on wet grass breaking her fibula and tibia in right leg in searching for an errant dive off the 11th tee by Spaniard Pablo Larrazabal.”
  • “Play on the hole was delayed for close to 30-minutes and with four groups banking-up on the tee  as medical crews treated the woman’s injuries before an ambulance arrived at the clubhouse to convey her to a local hospital.”
Get well!
9. For your listening pleasure…
Johnny Wunder talked to reigning Western Amateur champion, all-around amateur standout, and incoming Texas freshman, about equipment and a host of other subjects.

Listen here.

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Michelle Wie undergoes successful hand surgery, to miss rest of 2018

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Michelle Wie was far from her best at last week’s LPGA KEB Hana Bank Championship, finishing on a total of eight-over par, which was only good enough for a T66 finish. It was Wie’s first appearance since her withdrawal from the British Open back in August, and today Wie detailed how she has been suffering from an avulsion fracture, bone spurring and nerve entrapment in her right hand since competing at Royal Lytham & St Annes.

The American stated in a social media post how after countless MRI’s, X-Rays and doctor consultations, she has undergone successful hand surgery, and is on a hopeful path back to being pain free.

Here’s to a quick recovery.

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