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GolfWRX Morning 9: John Daly vs. USGA in cart battle | Mickelson speaks | Bryson’s compass saga continues

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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)

 

June 26, 2018

Good Tuesday morning, golf fans. Plenty of fairway to traverse today.
1.From #compassgate to #cartgate

 

John Daly petitioned the USGA to use a golf cart during the U.S. Senior Open (pursuant to the Americans with Disabilities) act.
  • Here’s Daly’s tweet…“Unfortunately- I had to WD from the US SENIOR OPEN. The deteriorating osteoarthritis isn’t helping my rt knee. I fall under the@ADANational but@USGA turned down a cart for me this week. Just going to give the knee a rest. Don’t know what’s ahead for me.”
  • Per Golf Channel…“Daly said that he is covered by the Americans with Disabilities Act, which requires players or caddies to submit medical documentation proving “substantial impairment” and that the use of a golf cart is necessary. The USGA can deny the use of a cart if providing it to a player “fundamentally alter(s) the fairness of the competition.”
  • “A USGA spokesperson confirmed Monday that Daly requested the use of a cart but declined to comment on Daly’s condition or the specific reasons why his request was denied, “as it is considered private, personal information.”
  • “The USGA posted an additional statement through its Twitter account, saying that Daly’s request “did not support a waiver of the walking condition. We offered Mr. Daly the opportunity to provide additional information to support his request for a cart. He informed us this morning that he decided to withdraw.”‘
  • Daly then added (via Twitter): “I’m not going to mislead the media or my fans. No “additional information” was ever requested, or it would have been provided. I “WD” bc@USGA had already made their decision after our exhaustive medical submission. Any claim to the contrary is pure fiction.”
2. Mickelson speaks!

 

Mickelson was at Soldier Field in Chicago on Monday to help promote this week’s KPMG Women’s PGA Championship. Mickelson took part in a skills challenge for kids and spent time afterwards signing autographs and taking pictures.
  • And not just via text message this time!...(via Golfweek)…”It wasn’t the right decision,” Mickelson said while speaking on Golf Channel’s Golf Central. “It wasn’t the smart decision. The Rules of Golf actually address that for next year, so I don’t think anybody will be looking at it as a smart play. But at the time I really didn’t care about the stroke difference.”
  • “It took a little while for my anger and frustration to subside enough to where I could see clearly that I made not my best move,” Mickelson said. “It wasn’t my best moment. And so I apologized. Now, moving forward, the best thing I can do is to start promoting the game again in a positive way.”
  • “I have pretty thick skin and I’m aware that I’ll probably hear about this for some time,” Mickelson said. ‘Fortunately, I can take it, and I hope at some point we’ll all be able to laugh about it.”
3. Further investigation into Bryson’s compass

 

The PGA Tour has been looking into Bryson DeChambeau and his compass, as we know. It released a statement Monday night.
  • “Bryson DeChambeau’s use of a compass to make notations on exact hole location in his greens book came to light during Saturday’s round at the Travelers Championship, and PGA TOUR Rules Officials met with Bryson after the round. After consulting with the USGA, there is no clear precedent on the use of a compass in this manner and it is not currently prohibited under the Rules of Golf. The USGA is reviewing the matter, with our feedback, and is expected to make a ruling on its conformity with the Rules soon.”
4. Tour’s tax exempt status under siege…again

 

Also on the Tour front, In an emerging congressional tradition unlike any other, challenging the PGA Tour’s (and NFL, NHL) tax exempt status.
  • We’ll let Rex Hoggard take it from here….According to an ESPN report…”U.S.-based tournaments in 2011 (the most recent year available) gave an average of 16 percent of their income to charity, compared to the industry norm of 65 percent.”
  • ‘”The lion’s share of the money is going to big prizes, cash prizes for athletes and all the promotion around it, so it’s really pathetic, actually,” Charity Navigator president Ken Berger told ESPN. “Every single taxpayer in this country ultimately is bearing the burden of having to pay the taxes for this wildly inefficient organization that’s giving so little to charity.”‘
  • “But Tour officials claim the circuit’s charitable contributions far exceed any tax breaks it gains from its nonprofit status, which are estimated to be up to $200 million over the past 10 to 20 years. The Tour donated $130 million to charity in 2012, bringing its overall total to $1.9 billion.”
  • “It’s as if no good deed goes left unpunished,” Ty Votaw, the Tour’s executive vice president of communication and international affairs, wrote in an e-mail. “This isn’t a bake sale where there is no overhead and everything is contributed.”
A bake sale! More.
5. Chatting with Bridgestone Golf’s new CEO

 

I had a chance to speak with Dan Murphy, new President and CEO of Bridgestone Golf, on his first day in the office.

 

He had plenty of interesting things to say and hinted at some major product innovations, and the company appears to be doubling down on ball fitting.
  • “Yeah. Well, there’s no doubt it’s a business of momentum, and you have to find ways to build momentum and create a brand…obviously the Tour is a great way to do that. But then…sometimes the Tour is, well, the Tour. It’s difficult to predict and control…but I do think within the control of a marketer is shaping the message in a way that really compels folks…to engage the brand, to find enough interest in the brand…to spend time researching the brand. Ball fitting or us is a great engagement tool we think we can utilize again to create that momentum.”

 

6. Cruising with Kiradech

 

In arguably his finest work, Alan Shipnuck spent time with the irrepressible Kiradech Aphibarnrat in Thailand, riding shotgun in the flamboyant golfer’s Lamborghini.
  • A taste…”Aphibarnrat’s appetites are like his tee shots: prodigious. He has more fancy watches than he can count, including a jewel-encrusted Richard Mille valued at $1.5 million…But seemingly every pro golfer has a handful of luxe timepieces; more revealing is Aphibarnrat’s obsession with Yeezys, the limited edition Adidas sneakers designed by rap god Kanye West.”

 

7. From “can’t miss” to “will it be missed?”

 

Writing for Golf Digest, John Feinstein bursts out of the gates with this lead: “It started out in 2007 as a slam dunk for the PGA Tour and for Tiger Woods. It will end this coming Sunday as an embarrassment for both.”
  • The veteran scribe breaks down the difficulties that befell the National, hitting both Tiger Woods and the jumping between courses hard.
  • “One might have thought his apparent return to health could inspire a sponsor to jump in and take a chance on Washington, but Woods didn’t seem to really care very much if that happened. His foundation is now the beneficiary of the annual PGA Tour event played at Riviera Country Club outside Los Angeles.”
  • “The L.A. event has the kind of stability never established in Washington. It has been played at Riviera for 44 of the last 46 years, as opposed to the D.C. event which will have been held at four golf courses in 13 years, none for more than three consecutive years.”

 

 

8. Bubba’s big donation

 

Bubba Watson grossed $1.26 million for winning the Travelers. Per the tournament’s Twitter account, Watson donated $200,000 to the tourney’s charities. The Hole in the Wall Gang Camp, for children with physical and mental disabilities, is the primary beneficiary. Hopefully, he’s able to make the donation with pre-tax dollars…
  • And in another notable act of charity: A 90-year-old man, RJ Smith, is donating proceeds from the sale of his collection of 70,000 golf balls to charity.
  • “Smith said he was recently diagnosed with cancer, and isn’t sure how far the disease has spread. He feels it’s time to part with his prized trophies, tellingKARE 11 his collection is for sale. Better yet, he plans on donating every penny to charity. “God has given me everything I’ve ever wanted in life and I’ve never had to ask,” he said.” (Joel Beall, Golf Digest) .
9. Farewell Freddie?

 

Fred Couples, bedeviled by a bad back for much of his career, tells John Strege that his playing days are nearly over.
  • “I’m 58, and I’ve said I’ll play as long as I can…And I think my time’s running out.”
  • “To be honest with you, the last couple years my back has been not so good. In Hawaii, it was mostly putting. Every time I putted the ball and I straightened up [he felt pain]. I told myself I would never do that ever again unless it was at Augusta. And at Augusta, it kind of flared up a few times.”
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  1. gif

    Jun 26, 2018 at 12:22 pm

    As for Daly’s request for a golf cart, I say no. He could use a motorized wheelchair… and his caddy should carry the clubs and occasionally help push the wheelchair up steep inclines so that Chuck doesn’t lose control and total himself.

  2. Caroline

    Jun 26, 2018 at 11:28 am

    Daly once made the comment he would not exercise until he could not walk 18 holes….get to the gym John, loose 30 lbs you may be able to walk again and maybe get all the way through with your swing.

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Tiger Woods fires third-round 65, takes a three-shot lead into final round

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Tiger Woods walked to the first tee at East Lake today like a gladiator entering an amphitheatre. Beginning the third round of the Tour Championship with a share of the lead, a sea of supporters were there to hoot and holler as he strode purposefully towards the opening tee. Expectancy was in the air, as after all Tiger Woods has converted a 36 hole share or solo lead into a win a remarkable 77 percent of the time throughout his career.

Both at Valspar and the Open Championship, Woods was unable to find that extra gear when he found himself atop the leaderboard. Today, however, was a different story, and Woods delivered the performance that came so natural to him when he was in his pomp.

Woods began his round with a piped drive down the first fairway, and after his approach shot landed just outside 20 feet on the first green, it appeared that the 14-time major champion was on his way to a steady start. However, when he rolled that birdie putt into the center of the cup, the galleries of East Lake responded with a cacophony of noise. Tiger Woods was on the march.

After a two-putt par at the second hole, Woods began a charge that turned into the performance he had been searching for all year when he’s found himself in contention. Woods birdied the third hole after stuffing a wedge to eight feet and burying the putt, and when he then birdied the par-4 fourth hole measuring 479 yards after nailing another putt from outside 20 feet, the crowd and Woods began to believe that today could be special.

To say Woods fed off that sublime birdie and the energy of the crowd would be an understatement. The 79-time PGA Tour champion put on a clinic over his next couple of holes, draining consecutive birdie putts from inside 10 feet, The great man then produced a scintillating approach shot from the fairway bunker on seven which just crept over the greenside trap and settled five feet away from the hole for an opportunity for Woods’ fifth straight birdie. Woods slammed the putt right in the middle to take him to six-under par for the day and 13-under par for the event.

Woods’ one blemish on the opening nine came on the tricky par-3 ninth hole, double-crossing his tee shot and failing to get up and down from off the green. Despite the error, Woods’ opening nine scorecard made for an imposing sight. 30 strokes that included six birdies and gave him a four-shot lead.

A clutch seven-foot par save on 11 kept the momentum rolling and it didn’t take long for the American to capitalise on that impetus, cutting his iron approach into the par-4 12th to seven feet. He then walked that birdie putt in to take him back to 13-under par.

Woods then parred his way to the 16th hole, a hole which he took a six on in round two, and it looked set to be another big number on the cards for Woods after he missed the green with his approach and then saw his ambitious flop shot run back to his feet. But Woods executed a nerveless bump into the hill with his next shot that took all the sting out of the ball and trickled out to tap in range for a superb bogey save.

On Woods’ penultimate hole, he barely missed his birdie putt, and after popping in his par putt, he approached the 18th tee with a three-shot lead. Woods striped his driver down the middle of the fairway, but a pulled approach into the back greenside bunker and a disappointing splash out meant Woods had to settle for a par to finish a thrilling round of 65, giving him a three-shot lead entering tomorrows final round.

Ask any Woods supporter, and they’ll tell you the one element missing from the great man returning to the winner’s circle in 2018 has been his inconsistent driving. Well, the decision to change recently from the Mitsubishi Tensei Orange shaft that he had been using for most of the year, to the Mitsubishi Diamana D+ Whiteboard shaft may well be the final piece of the complicated Tiger Woods puzzle. Woods looked as good as ever off the tee with the chief in hand on Saturday afternoon, finding 10 of 14 fairways on day three.

A victory tomorrow would be Woods’ first since 2013. His first win since four back surgeries that threatened to end his career. His first win since the majority of golf’s talking heads declared he had the chipping yips. His first victory since he suffered public derision after he received a DUI which turned out to be the cause of a toxic mix of prescription drugs. There is no way to downplay it, a win for Woods tomorrow would be one of the most memorable of his career. He has pulled himself off the canvas to within touching distance of his third Tour Championship victory. Should he claim that victory tomorrow, it may well be Woods’ finest hour outside of his 14-major championship wins.

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GolfWRX Morning 9: Driver now a weapon, Tiger leads | What makes Bryson so good | Paulinagram

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

September 21, 2018

Good Friday morning, golf fans.
1. Tiger in front again
Another FedEx Cup playoff event, another Tiger Woods first-round lead.
Golf Channel’s Rex Hoggard…”Woods finished his day at the finale with a closing nine of 31 after a slow start and was tied with Fowler atop the season-ending leaderboard at 5 under par. He’s been in this position before from Tampa to St. Louis and was equally impressive two weeks ago at the BMW Championship when he opened with a first-round 62 for a share of the lead….But Thursday at East Lake felt different. It felt better.”
  • “This was by far better than the 62 at [the BMW Championship],” said Woods, who is playing at East Lake for the first time since 2013. “Conditions were soft there. It’s hard to get the ball close here. There’s so much chase in it. If you drive the ball in the rough, you know you can’t get the ball close.”
  • “On Thursday he had the look of a complete golfer, a five-tool player whose only limitation was running out of holes. Statistically he finished inside the top 10 in strokes gained: off the tee (eighth), tee to green (third), fairways hit (fourth), driving distance (eighth), greens in regulation (fifth), proximity to the hole (sixth), scrambling (first) and strokes gained: putting (eighth).
  • “I felt in control today,” Woods said without even trying to hide the knowing smile that inched across his face. “I had a lot of control over my shots.”
Golf Digest’s Joel Beall noted Woods’ warmup didn’t suggest a low number was forthcoming…”It was not an auspicious start. The warm-up wasn’t smooth, a fair share of drivers sailing over the left-field fence that separates the East Lake range from the 16th hole. The irons were a little thin, and he wasn’t dropping many putts on the practice green. There were a few grabs towards his back, the infamous part of his frame that kept him sidelined for so long. That someone forgot to tell the golf gods to turn on the A/C-a couple degrees from an Atlanta record high, apparently-wasn’t helping matters, the print of his shirt already unrecognizable from sweat when he arrived to the tee.”
“So when Tiger Woods three-jacked from 30 feet on the first hole, it felt like the opening salvo to a song-and-dance we’ve seen too many times before.But not on the only face that mattered.”
2. Also, Rickie
A PGA Tour.com report notes that Fowler (who co-leads the Tour Championship with El Tigre) is feeling good”Now he’s tied for the lead in the season-ending TOUR Championship at East Lake, his 5-under 65 holding up for the best score of day one with Tiger Woods.”
  • “I haven’t been on any type of painkillers,” Fowler said of his strained right oblique, which kept him out of the first two Playoffs events, THE NORTHERN TRUST and Dell Technologies Championship. “Like just standard Advil. And the big thing and reason why, I didn’t want to mask anything, just because if something did come up, I wanted to get the real response from my body.”
  • “Fowler’s body responded most especially on the greens, where he made nearly 92 feet of putts and ranked second in the field in Strokes Gained: Putting.”
3. The big stick delivereth
Golf Channel’s Mercer Baggs…”Ever since making adjustments to his driver – which included adding loft and changing the shaft – at The Northern Trust, Woods’ long game has become one of his greatest assets.”
  • “Woods hit 10 of 14 fairways in the first round at East Lake Golf Club, which led to hitting 14 of 18 greens in regulation.”
  • “It’s not as though Woods has completely traded distance for accuracy. He hit his drive on the par-5 18th 320 yards and hat helped produce an eagle.”
  • “It’s more like he now has the ability to control his driver. Those wayward tee shots we had become accustomed to seeing aren’t so offline. That means sometimes he’ll send one 296 yards – like he did on the first hole – and sometimes he’ll gear up and knock one 328 yards – like he did at the fifth.”
  • Woods had this to say…“[I]f I hit it normal, I hit it just as far. And so that’s to me like 300 yards in the air,” he said. “But … the neat thing about this one is that if I miss it and spin it a little bit, those spinners stay in play instead of chasing off on me, and I can turn this ball.
  • “And so, yeah, if I hit controlled shots, they’re in play and they’re shorter. But if I go ahead and step up and launch one, I’m just as far. The neat thing is I don’t have to swing it as hard to hit the ball as far. And so it puts a little less toll on my body. I don’t have to have my speed up there at 120, 121, 122 miles an hour to carry it 305, 310 like I did before.”
4. Paisley
Meanwhile, on the Web.com Tour…AP Report…”Chris Paisley birdied four of the last five holes for a 10-under 61 and the first-round lead Thursday in the season-ending Web.com Tour Championship.”
  • “The South African Open winner in January for his first European Tour title, Paisley played the back nine first at Atlantic Beach Country Club, holing a bunker shot for an eagle on the par-5 18th. On the front nine, he birdied the par-3 fifth and finished with three straight birdies.”
  • “I think just all around was really good,” Paisley said. “I hit it well off the tee, which gave me a lot of kind of short irons into the greens and opportunities. I hit a lot of really good iron shots close, and then a few other bonus kind of things happened where I holed the bunker shot on 18 and holed a long putt on No. 8.”
5. What makes Bryson so good?
Our Peter Sanders takes a headfirst dive into the data.
A few morsels…
  • “He averaged over 300 yards, 15 yards longer than the field, and hit more fairways than the 2017 winners.  Further, Bryson (Blue arrows below) had 35% fewer driving errors than those made by the 2017 winners.”
  • “Bryson did hit more greens-in-regulation (blue arrows below). BUT remember he hit more fairways and made fewer errors. Finally, Bryson’s proximity when he hits the greens* is closer to the 2017 Tour average than it is to the 2017 winners”.
6. Rory PACIlroy?
A Golf Channel report indicates Mr. McIlroy may have a seat at the Player Advisory Council table…”I’m not on the PAC. I’m probably going to join the PAC next year. Nice to sort of know what’s going on and give your input and whatever.”
  • Input and whatever! McIlroy also said he likes the new Tour Championship format, sort of.
  • “I like it for the FedExCup. I don’t necessarily think it should be an official Tour win. I don’t know how the World Ranking points are going to work,” said McIlroy, who is tied for fifth after a first-round 67 at East Lake. “There’s a lot of stuff that still needs to be figured out. But in terms of deciding the FedExCup, I think it’s good.”
7. New Web.com schedule
Golfweek’s Brentley Romine with the details...”The 2019 Web.com Tour season will now end on Labor Day, the PGA Tour announced on Thursday.”
  • “The new schedule features 27 events, including three new events and a three-event Finals (down from four). The three new events are the Suncoast Classic Feb. 14-17 in Lakewood Ranch, Fla., Evans Scholars Invitational May 23-26 in Chicago and TPC Colorado Championship July 11-14 in Berthoud, Colo. The Finals will consist of the Nationwide Children’s Hospital Championship (Aug. 15-18), Albertsons Boise Open Aug. 22-25) and Web.com Tour Championship (Aug. 30-Sept. 2).”
  • “The Web.com Tour has enjoyed tremendous momentum in recent years and has created a platform from which graduates are enjoying immediate success on the PGA Tour,” said PGA Tour Commissioner Jay Monahan. “The revamped schedule will allow for a more natural cadence to the season for our fans, while providing an earlier finish that enhances the visibility of the Web.com Tour Finals.”
8. JT pain free
Golf Channel report...”After injuring his right wrist during the final round of the BMW Championship he spent last week in south Florida getting therapy after being diagnosed with a case of tendinitis and little else.”
  • “Thomas explained that he tested the wrist earlier this week to be sure he was pain-free and conceded he considered not playing the Tour Championship in order to be as healthy as possible for next week’s Ryder Cup.”
  • “If it would have hurt at all, I wouldn’t have played,” said Thomas, who will be a rookie on this year’s U.S. team. “No. 1 most important part is my future and my career. I don’t want to do anything that’s going to put me out for a while. But to me, second most important is Ryder Cup. I would rather not play this week and play the Ryder Cup and be fresh and make sure I’m going to get as many points for the team as possible.”
9. Interpreting Paulinagram
Charles Curtis of For The Win on an Instagram story Paulina Gretzky posted that features the Great One’s daughter listening to a song.
  • “As some people have noted, these are the lyrics to the Dustin Lynch song attached to that photo:..I’d be jealous too, if she was with you…I’d be out of my mind, watching her move…If I was just a guy with across the room view….I’d be jealous too, if she was with you, with you.”
What does it mean? Who knows? Who cares? Some combination of the two?

 

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Tour News

Tiger Woods catches fire after a slow start, shoots 5-under 65 at Tour Championship to tie lead

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Tiger Woods, who came to the Tour Championship 20th on the FedExCup points list, is making early moves at the Tour Championship at East Lake. After an opening-hole 3-putt from 25 feet for a bogey, and then three straight pars, Tiger played the rest of his round 6-under par (birdies at 5, 6, 12 and 14), capping it with a 27-foot eagle putt at the 18th hole. In the end, it was a 5-under 65 for Tiger, who currently sits tied for the lead with Rickie Fowler.

Here’s his approach to the par-5 18th hole, which measures 590 yards in total:

And here’s the eagle putt, to which he reacted with a few casual fist pumps and a putter raise.

As we’ve reported, Tiger recently switched back to his Scotty Cameron Newport 2 GSS putter with which he’s one 13-of-14 majors throughout his career. He may have found the spark of old on the greens.

The only problem is, even if Tiger wins this week’s Tour Championship, he’s going to need some help winning the FedExCup and $10 million payout. Here are the scenarios he needs to happen:

But hey…

Here’s where the top-5 players on the FedExCup points list sit currently on Day 1:

  1. Bryson DeCheambeau (+3 thru 15, T27)
  2. Justin Rose (-2 thru 15, T6)
  3. Tony Finau (-2 thru 16, T6)
  4. Dustin Johnson (+2 thru 16, T23)
  5. Justin Thomas (-3 thru 16, T4)

Who do you think is going to win the Tour Championship and the FedExCup?

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