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GolfWRX Morning 9: How Brooks Koepka channeled Jack Nicklaus | It happened again | Mickelson theories abound

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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 18, 2018

Good Monday morning, golf fans. However poorly your start to the week is going, you can rest assured it’s better than Mike Davis’. The USGA head will continue to parry criticism about course conditions at Shinnecock and the decision not to disqualify Phil Mickelson. Needless to say, it’s not the look the folks in Far Hills wanted.
1. BK to BK
Tougher course, same winner: Brooks Koepka won his second U.S. Open in a row AND Joe Buck got Koepka’s girlfriend’s name right. Incredible performances.
  • While there’s plenty of good writing about the golf jock’s win, Tim Dahlberg’s AP columns stands out. “Titled Koepka wins an Open where the whiners go home early,” Dahlberg looks at BK’s win through the old Jack Nicklaus quote that he knew he didn’t have to worry about anyone complaining about the U.S. Open setup.
  • Now, the validity of player gripes in Nicklaus’ era versus today is up for debate. However, it is worth noting that Koepka didn’t complain once in the course of his W.
  • Said Koepka after his win: “I enjoy the test. I enjoy being pushed to the limit,” he said. “Sometimes you feel like you are about to break mentally, but that’s what I enjoy. I enjoy hard golf courses. I enjoy playing about the toughest in golf you are ever going to play.”
2. The faltering of Dustin Johnson
Not to kick a man when he’s down, but it’s worth remembering that Dustin Johnson was 4 under par after two rounds at the U.S. Open. Brooks Koepka’s winning score was 1 over, and DJ himself ultimately finished at 3 over par.
  • What went wrong for the World No 1
  • Golf Channe’s Will Gray spelled it out: “The culprit for Johnson’s regression was clear. After leading the field in strokes gained: putting through the first two rounds, he couldn’t get comfortable on the greens on the weekend. Johnson needed 38 putts to complete his third round, T-64 among the 67 players who made the cut, and his 35 final-round putts were T-63 in the same category.”

3. Tommy 63

Here’s a take: Tommy Fleetwood’s final-round tournament record-tying 63 won’t get the love it deserves both because Fleetwood didn’t ultimately win and because of the USGA’s rain god routine prior to the final round
  • This is a shame. Fleetwood’s 7-under final round was one bad putt read at the 18th hole away from a 62. The score would not only have been a historic achievement–the lowest round in U.S.Open history–but it would have tied him with Brooks Koepka.
  • Here’s another take: We focus too much on the Englishman’s hair and beard (both of which are epic at the moment). He has top-10 finishes in the last two U.S. Opens and has added his name to a shortlist of players on the verge of a major breakthrough.
4. USG-let it get aw-A-y
Helped by a few dicey pins and more wind than expected, Shinnecock Hills got away from the USGA late Saturday. And while the tournament is over and the damage done, plenty continue to discuss the topic.
  • Geoff Shackelford broke it down nicely for Golfweek.
  • “Shinnecock Hills 2018 will be remembered for Wednesday night’s round-saving watering, not hydrating enough Saturday and an emergency drenching Sunday to keep the place from spilling into absurdity.”
  • “For two of its final three days, the U.S. Open faced bright, dry and potentially fast conditions. The U.S. Golf Association fed Shinnecock Hills enough water. History, however, will remember Saturday’s gaffe when players putted off browned-out greens as balls would not stop rolling and, most disappointing of all, the morning wave faced wildly better course conditions compared to the beleaguered afternoon leaders.”
  • “The lessons of 2004 were not learned….The mistake that could never happen again, happened again.”
5. Mickelson’s field hockey remains baffling
What to say about Phil Mickelson? The left-hander’s child-playing-putt-putt routine Saturday continues to confound, especially after Mickelson declined to talk to reporters Sunday and engaged in a mock celebration at the 13th hole (scene of the Saturday crime) Sunday.
  • Some scribes question whether Mickelson’s move (essentially taking the penalty to save time and avoid pain) was as calculated as Lefty later made it seem. Reports indicate Mickelson told playing partner Beef Johnston he wasn’t sure what the rules dictated in such a situation…before later telling reporters he knew the rules and was using them for his advantage.
  • Plenty continue to discuss the incident from an etiquette standpoint. Just as many debate whether Mickelson ought to have been disqualified or withdrawn from the tournament. And of course, some celebrate the gesture as a perceived middle finger to the USGA, its course management, and hole locations.
  • In short, Mickelson’s polo playing will remain a topic of discussion.
6. Parziale and father
No. 6 was going to be Ian Poulter complaining about the USGA and U.S. fans, but really, whose life is going to be enhanced by that? So, instead, how about Matt Parziale?
  • The reigning U.S. Mid-Am champ, already much discussed owing to his Massachusetts firefighter backstory, not only made the cut at the U.S. Open (as you probably know), but he had his father on the bag all week.
  • Heckuva Father’s Day! Parziale finished 5 over par Sunday to tie for low amateur at 16 over for the tournament.
7. Other golf!
In case you missed them, there were professional golf tournaments not named the U.S. Open played last week. Here’s one.
  • So Yeon Ryu won the Meijer LPGA Classic. Lydia Ko finished three shots back. The win is the sixth of the South Korean’s career and represents a return to form.
  • “If I look back on my season, I wasn’t really satisfied with it and I’ve been really, really struggling, I had a lot of crazy moments,” said Ryu. “I had some good rounds, I had some really bad rounds, so I couldn’t even really finish top-10 much compared to any other season. So all those reasons just drove me crazy.”
8. Gear Dive
Johnny Wunder goes deep with Mizuno Golf Engineer Chris Voshall. Voshall speaks on how Brooks Koepka was the one that almost got away, and why Mizuno irons are still secretly the most popular on Tour.
9. USG-pay d-A-y
The cleverness in this section’s title is over the line, just like Shinnecock Hils, Saturday.
Here are the payouts for top finishers at the (big money) U.S. Open.
  • 1: Brooks Koepka, $2,160,000
  • 2: Tommy Fleetwood, $1,296,000
  • 3: Dustin Johnson, $812,927
  • 4: Patrick Reed, $569,884
  • 5: Tony Finau, $474,659
  • T-6: Xander Schauffele, $361,923
  • T-6: Tyrrell Hatton, $361,923
  • T-6: Henrik Stenson, $361,923
  • T-6: Daniel Berger, $361,923
Rough stuff for Tony Finau, whose double bogey at the 72nd hole cost him more than 200 grand. But at least he didn’t dislocate an ankle in this major championship
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GolfWRX Morning 9: Carner, 79, shoots her age at USSWO | The “problem” with Hogan | Praising slow greens

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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.

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.

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

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

 

July 13, 2018

Good Friday morning, golf fans. PSA: It’s Friday the 13th, for what that may or may not be worth to you.
1. JoAnne Carner shoots her age at USSWO

 

How can this not be today’s No. 1 story? Especially after the USGA took 79-year-old JoAnne Carner’s wedge of 30 years out of her hands the day before the tournament started.
  • Heck the woman said she doesn’t even walk golf courses anymore and she’s walking her fourth round this week. She’s almost 80! She’s tied for 50th at the U.S. Senior Women’s Open! Only five women were under par Thursday!
  • And “Big Mama” wasn’t even happy with her round: “I hit some good shots, but I hit some awful shots, really,” Carner said. “I had some 6- and 7-irons into the greens and just really hit awful shots. One went in the water. I was fighting it all the way.”
Cheers to you!

 

2. Luke List leads after 1 in Scotland, Fowler 1 back

 

AP Report…”American golfer Luke List equaled the Gullane course record with a 7-under-par 63 to start the Scottish Open on Thursday. List moved into the lead with his ninth birdie on the 15th hole and held it to finish the round ahead by one stroke.”
  • “He was followed by five players in a tie for second; Rickie Fowler, Lee Westwood, Robert Rock, Scott Fernandez of Spain, and Jens Dantorp of Sweden….Masters champion Patrick Reed was part of an eight-strong group a shot further back following a 65, with Danny Willett continuing his resurgence with a 66, and Olympic champion Justin Rose returning a 67.”
  • Phil Mickelson opened with an even par 70. He saved his best work for media center.
3. Your first ever U.S. Senior Women’s Open leader is…

 

Golf Channel’s Randall Mell sets the scene…”Hall of Famer Nancy Lopez couldn’t play after undergoing knee replacement surgery, but she was on the first tee at day’s start. She introduced players as the ceremonial starter.”
  • Pause. How cool is that?
  • “Hollis Stacy, whose eight USGA titles include three U.S. Women’s Open titles and three U.S. Girls’ Junior titles, savored starting in the first group with Carner and Sandra Palmer. “It means a lot, because as I’ve said all along, the USGA has been the custodians of golf,” Stacy said. “They’ve done a great job, and they want to do what’s right. Having a Senior Women’s Open is the right thing to do, and they did it in such a first-class way, coming to Chicago Golf Club and making it first class.”
  • “Laura Davies and Juli Inkster, favorites to win the event, moved into early contention, but Elaine Crosby topped the leaderboard at day’s end….A two-time LPGA winner, Crosby opened with a 3-under-par 70. She plays the LPGA Legends Tour, but she had to play her way into the U.S. Senior Women’s Open. She earned a spot in one of the 17 sectional qualifiers staged around the country.”
4. In praise of slow greens, featuring Rickie Fowler

 

Interesting thoughts from Rickie Fowler, conveyed by Geoff Shackelford (who certainly has skin in the game)
  • “While Gullane is playing firm and fast tee-to-fringe, the greens themselves are kept much slower than the typical European Tour course due to the possibility of high winds. Fowler enjoys the challenge of slower greens and even suggested they expose mis-hit putts more than fast surfaces.”
  • “”I think it’s kind of nice because (you) actually get to hit the putt, you’re not just trying to hit it to a spot and letting it work to the hole unless you have a downhill, downwind putt,” he said. Fowler, who played North Berwick on Monday, enjoys the challenge of greens in nine to ten Stimpmeter-speed range. Especially when the wind blows.”
  • ‘”You have to use your imagination as far as creativity and trying to judge how much the wind will affect it,” he said. “At the end of the day, you just have to hit solid putts.”‘
  • “Slower greens may accentuate a mis-hit putt more,” he said. “Whereas if you have a downhill putt in the States you kind of just have to hit it to get it going. Here, you mis-hit it a little bit uphill, into the wind and it can be a pretty big difference.”
5. Mucho Mickelson

 

I wrote yesterday…Coming on the heels of Alan Shipnuck’s superb ride along with Phil (as in, riding in Mickelson’s souped-up golf cart) the other day, Lefty had plenty of noteto say at the Scottish Open (per John Huggan).
  • Question: Do you think the backlash has been over the top?
  • “You have to be accountable for yourself,” said Mickelson. “I do a lot of dumb stuff. I had that rules deal at Greenbrier last week. And last year at Greenbrier I picked up my ball in the middle of the fairway, marked it and cleaned it. I have these like just moments where I’m in a ‘cloud.’ I’m not really sure what I’m doing. I’m just going through the motions and not really aware of the moment. I’ve done that a bunch in my career. I keep doing stuff like that. That’s the way my mind works.”
  • And here’s a snippet of an anecdote from Xander Schauffele…”Phil’s about to tee off, and he’s pretending to struggle. He was like, ‘Oh, gosh, it’s so hard to swing.’ I was like, what’s going on? And Phil goes, ‘Here Charley, you mind holding onto this?’ And he pulls this wad of cash out of his back pocket! The whole day, I was sitting in the cart, just lookin’ around, like, ‘I’m not gonna say anything here; I’m just gonna let these guys battle it out.’ And it was so much fun. Phil showed how competitive and fun he can make golf.”
6. DeChambeau injured

 

I don’t make jokes about athletes’ injuries, but if I did, I would say Bryson DeChambeau poked his eye out with his compass. In reality, BAD injured his shoulder on shot out of the rough and withdrew from the John Deere Classic.
  • The defending champ offered a decidedly Bryson analysis after the round…”They said there was some instability in the joint,” DeChambeau said. “On 2, I hit the shot out of the rough on the right, and I just didn’t feel right after that. I probably overloaded the muscle, my [deltoid], and that’s something I gotta work on in the future, to get a little stronger so that stuff doesn’t happen.”
  • He’s hoping with a few days of rest he’ll be good to go for next week’s Open Championship.
7. The “problem” with Hogan

 

Quotations mine, because, well, how many greats in the world of sport are without their issues, neuroses, and outright disorders? It ain’t normal to be a world-class competitor singular obsessed with winning! And with respect to Hogan, the man was in the house, possibly in the room, when his beloved father shot and killed himself…I think he could have turned out worse saddled with that trauma!
  • Anyway, John Barton, a “London-based counselor and psychotherapist,” filed a breakdown of the Hawk’s psyche for Golf Digest.
  • A few morsels…“For many, Hogan is an icon of what it means to be a golfer and a man. Clean-shaven, immaculately dressed, scrupulously honest. Modest. Hard-working. Disciplined. Stoical. A lone wolf, battling nature and the elements, internal ones as well as external.”
  • “The Austrian psychoanalyst Alfred Adler argued that men often overcompensate for their fear of vulnerability with a lurch toward stereotypical male aggression and competition. What fellow analyst Carl Jung called the anima, the feminine, is denied; the animus is embraced. (To be whole, Jung said, both must be integrated.) The boy-man is pure animus-animosity-shorn of anything that might be considered anima-the animating effects of emotion, creativity, compassion, collaboration.”
  • “Adler called this the “masculine protest” and regarded it as an evil force in history, underlying, for instance, the rise in fascism in the 20th century. To be taken seriously as a leader one must appear devoutly unempathetic, unfeeling, uncompromising, unflinching. When men get together-in locker rooms, strip clubs, prison movies-often a kind of competitive manliness ensues. The buddies trip degenerates into a PG-version of “Fight Club.” The most macho are the most afraid.”

 

8. I’m practicing, but I’m not getting any better!

 

Instructor Will Shaw offers some suggestions.
  • “To super-charge our learning, we must first realize that practice itself does not make us better at golf. This is an empty promise. It is close to the truth but incorrect. Instead, practice, when done correctly, will cause changes in our body to make us more skillful over time. This is a subtle, but important difference. There is no magic type of practice that universally builds skill, however, there are a handful of factors that can speed up, slow down or even stop your progress.”
  • The most important elements, according to Shaw: Give your body clear and precise feedback, and make your practice suitably difficult.

 

9. For your listening pleasure

 

If you have a bit of time this weekend, as some of us are blessed to, I wanted to call your attention to a couple of GolfWRX podcasts.
  • First, Michael Williams got a first-hand look at the already legendary goat caddies at Silves Valley Ranch.
  • Second, the Two Guys Talkin’ Golf talked about the recently spotted TaylorMade GAPR iron as only they cand.
  • Third, Johnny Wunder talked with Patrick Boyd of National Custom works about what the upstart company has going on, including its work for Jason Dufner.
All three pods can be found here.And remember: No goats, no glory.
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Augusta National reportedly adding 30 yards to 5th hole

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The venerable club is pleading the fifth with respect to confirming that its moving the tee box at the 455-yard fifth hole back 30 yards.

However, Golf Channel’s Tim Rosaforte reported Wednesday night on “Golf Central,” that the club is going ahead with plans first discussed (publicly) in February.

“The new hole will play upwards of 485 yards in an attempt to restore the shot value that has been taken away by the distances achieved by the modern game,” Rosaforte said. “Instead of 3-woods and 7-irons, the new fifth should require a driver and a 5-iron, at the very least, depending upon the conditions.”

As you can see, the fifth tee is extremely close to the fourth green. Moving the tee beyond the existing Old Berckman’s road would help solve that problem. The road would then curve behind the tee.

In February, Golf Channel’s Will Gray wrote that former Masters chairman Billy Payne (essentially) highlighted the fifth tee as an area ripe for change.

“We are always looking at certain holes, certain improvements to the golf course,” Payne said. “We have a great opportunity now in that we now own the Old Berckmans Road. It gives us the ability, as it touches certain holes, it gives us some way to expand or redesign – not redesign, but lengthen some of those holes, should we choose to do so, and all of them are under review.”

For reference, here’s a crude illustration of the area in question, with the existing teebox in the lower right hand corner of the yellow box.

This would be the first course change since six holes were altered in 2006.

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GolfWRX Morning 9: Non-conforming wedge at U.S. Senior Women’s Open | Compassgate | ANGC lengthening the 5th?

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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.

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.

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

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

 

July 12, 2018

Good Thursday morning, golf fans.
1. A non-conforming wedge…at the U.S. Senior Women’s Open

 

One the hand hand, this makes sense: The competitors at the U.S. Senior Women’s Open are largely amateurs or pros who are no longer playing. Thus, it was always going to be likely that some of the women were, say, playing with wedges that no longer conform, etc.
  • Still, it’s a shocking headline along the lines of “senior citizen gets arrested”
  • Per Golfweek’s Beth Ann Nichols…”JoAnne Carner got the shock of her life when she got to player registration at the inaugural U.S. Senior Women’s Open. At the end of the table was a gentleman from the USGA who manages equipment conformance who asked Carner a few questions. It wasn’t long before Carner realized that her trusty Wilson R-90 wedge wouldn’t make it to the first tee.”
  • Carner estimates she’s had the club in her bag for three decades, roughly the same amount of time she has waited for a Senior Women’s Open. “Oh, it was awful,” said Carner of parting with a club that’s been critical to her game around the greens and from 75 yards out for so many years. It felt like parting with an old friend.
  • Full story…and note the featured image is a Wilson R-90 not Carner’s actual R-90
2. Latest in Compassgate 

 

  • “Look, I’ll say one thing on that,” he told reporters. “I will say it’s unfortunate. That was never my intention, to skirt the rules or anything like that. It was just a device I thought had been used for a long time in different fields. It shouldn’t be an issue. It’s not a distance-measuring device. It’s just a referencing tool.”
  • “I’m not trying to push the game in any direction; I’m trying to utilize every tool in my brain to be able to reference information and get information in a way that I can utilize to the best of my ability,” he said Wednesday. “We want to see what’s allowable, and what information we can gather, and how much resolution can we have under that type of information.”

 

3. ANGC lengthening the fifth?

 

While the venerable club is surely pleading the fifth, sources say the home of the Masters is in the process of adding 30 yards to the fifth hole.
  • Per Golf Chanel…“The hole currently plays upwards of 455 yards and was the fifth-most difficult par 4 at this year’s Masters Tournament.”

 

  • “The new hole will play upwards of 485 yards in an attempt to restore the shot value that has been taken away by the distances achieved by the modern game,” Rosaforte said. “Instead of 3-woods and 7-irons, the new fifth should require a driver and a 5-iron, at the very least, depending upon the conditions.”
  • “It was first reported in February that the fifth hole would likely be lengthened. The change is expected to alleviate congestion between the tee and the nearby fourth green and includes plans to curve the road – which has been closed to public traffic since 2015 – around the new fifth tee…This is the first club-enacted course change since six holes were altered in 2006.”

 

4. 2 big problems with club fitting 

 

Writing for GolfWRX, the eminent Bobby Clampett says…

 

  • “The first culprit is clubs that are designed to correct a slice. I’ve had several first-time students take lessons with me this season who had been recently fit for clubs from a wide range of club fitters. Some of these students had significant out-to-in swing paths through impact and all were chronic faders/slicers of the golf ball. The clubs recommended to them were “anti-slice” clubs. All the grips were small (standard size), and the woods (especially the drivers) were upright with the sliding weights put in the heel. The irons were “jacked-upright” as much as 8 degrees.”
  • “The second problem that seems to be growing in the industry is the focus on increased distance with the irons. I don’t mean to be too blunt here, but who cares how far you hit an 8-iron! Today’s pitching wedge is yesterday’s 9-iron. My pitching wedge is set at 49 degrees, and my 9-iron is 44 degrees (about the standard loft for today’s pitching wedge). The only two clubs in the bag that should be designed for distance are your driver and your 3-wood. All the other clubs should be set for proper gapping and designed to improve consistency and proximity to the hole.”

 

5. Reed: Tiger & Phil should put up their own money in match
 
It’s a sentiment that has been voiced elsewhere, but to hear Patrick Reed say it is interesting: Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson should each wager $5 million of their own money in their potential $10 million duel.
  • “I would pay a little bit more to watch it if it was for their own money, for sure,” Reed said. “It’s going to be entertaining. I think it would be more entertaining if it was for their own money because I think the guys would grind even harder. 
  • “I’ll be curious to see it because I feel like one match, 18 holes, not your own money, it’s just kind of an exhibition.”
  • Captain America also offered this suggestion: “I think it would be pretty cool if it was at night, like a three-round knockout,” Reed said. “Have old school (equipment), persimmon woods and balata balls, and then put them in their normal stuff and play a round at night. Have fun with it.”
6. On that note: Tiger vs. Phil prop bets

 

While the match between the two golfing heavyweights is yet to be confirmed, and a date is yet to be set-heck, Tiger Woods hasn’t even said anything about the possibility since The Players-that hasn’t stopped the oddsmakers from SportsBettingDime.com from setting lines and configuring prop bets.

 

  • Odds to Win the $10 Million Tiger-Phil Match…Tiger Woods 2/3…Phil Mickelson 3/2
  • Odds of being selected to play in the “Undercard” of Tiger-PhilPGA Tour Pros-Rory McIlroy: 4/1-Patrick Reed: 4/1-Dustin Johnson: 7/1-Rickie Fowler: 9/1-Jordan Spieth: 12/1-Sergio Garcia: 15/1-Brooks Koepka: 15/1
7. “It’s awesome”


Phil Mickelson took a spin
around upcoming Ryder Cup venue, Le Golf National.

  • “”It’s awesome,” Mickelson told Golf Channel’s Tim Rosafortelate Tuesday. “Not many drivers if any at all…long irons and poa greens. I love it.”

     

  • Mickelson played the course Monday ahead of his traditional appearance at the Scottish Open.
8. Place your bets!

 

Odds to win the John Deere Classic (via Bovada)
  • Francesco Molinari 10-1
  • Bryson DeChambeau 11-1
  • Zach Johnson 12-1
  • Joaquin Niemann 18-1
  • Ryan Moore 18-1
  • Steve Stricker 22-1
  • Chesson Hadley 22-1
  • Kyle Stanley 25-1
  • Austin Cook 33-1
  • Wesley Bryan 33-1
9. Nearly $20K to charity, thanks to TW’s bag

 

The camouflage bag Tiger Woods used over the weekend in his previous start at the Quicken Loans National has raised a nice sum of money for his foundation.

 

  • Woods autographed and signed a personal message to the highest bidder on the bag. Auctioned off, it raised $19,000 for his TGR Foundation, according to Golf Channel
  • Why don’t we do more of this: one-off bags for tour pros…auctioned off for charity? Add some spice to the redundant staff bag/billboard space!

 

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