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Book Review: A Course Called Scotland



The great temptation for a mediocre critic, is to find an esoteric passel of words, then title the review in that manner. In A Course Called Scotland, Robert Thomas Coyne supplies such parcels to excess. A great critic would have flagged each combine with highlighter or a sticky-note tab, for future reference. Alas, you are not blessed with a great critic…

A book like A Course Called Ireland, Coyne’s first swashbuckler’s travelogue of golf-country conquering, awakens or sows in the reader an equally-mad notion of I can do that, followed by I will do that, and concludes with Maybe I won’t, but I might do something similar. Throughout the same reading, Coyne subtly, or unwittingly (or both) gave us clues to impending changes in his personal life, which would play an unforeseen and extraordinary role in the follow-up, A Course Called Scotland. I didn’t open Scotland expecting that revelation, but its woven strands shape the sequel in a manner no other writer could manage.

With those two paragraphs as introduction, I’ll gladly access a familiar method of recalling a trip, or reviewing a tournament: four reasons why. Equal parts list, equal parts prose, this format offers a proper inspection of the writer’s work, but leaves the scrutiny and analysis to the reader. Onward, then, with four reasons why you should read Tom Coyne’s A Course Called Scotland.

Reason One: The Golf

Let’s remember precisely why we are here: we love golf, we have visited Scotland, we have read Coyne’s previous works, or we know the game of golf is credited to the territory north of England. No matter how, why nor when, it’s the golf that brings us to this tome. And Coyne seeks no shortcut in his survey of Scotia’s layouts, great and small. Unlike the Ireland volume, he drives this one. As he explains, Scotland is not nearly as compact as Ireland. Attempting to walk it would be a fool’s errand. Instead, Coyne somehow survives the entire endeavor with only one mainland rental car, akin to golfing a round without losing the ball with which you began. Cheers to that large feat!

Along the roadways, Coyne visits most of the 9-, 12-, and 18-hole courses of Scotland. He establishes two goals at the outset: to compete in Open Qualifying for the 2015 British Open at St. Andrews, and to play all 14 courses that have served as Open Championship venues. How these two missions resolve themselves is for the reader to discover, but remember that Coyne spent an entire year apprenticing to play the PGA Tour, detailed in his novel Paper Tiger. In other words, the writer has game and savvy. Does he have enough?

Over the course of Coyne’s time in the kingdom, he plays 111 rounds of golf. He plays 2, sometimes 3, rounds a day. While he doesn’t hoof the entire highway, his 37-pound weight loss (despite all the bacon rolls) is testimony to the demands of the quest. At novel’s end, Coyne contributes an appendix of lists, in which he sorts courses into the following categories and more: Only Doing Scotland Once; True Wanderer; I’d Change My Flight; Wee Ones; and Loves That Didn’t Make A List. He discovers courses built by common people and captains of industry alike. He rekindles his affection for links golf, if not for the weather that accompanies it in the British isles. Coyne goes where all men and women should go, playing courses on a whim, to add to the experience. Despite his confessed mania for control, he often defers management to another, to the delight of the reader.

There is the question of the secret of the game, the Arthurian saga that lingers in the back of every golfer’s mind. Coyne is transparent about his need to learn the answer to this question, and that he expects to find it in the land of the Celts and Picts. So far, we’ve the mysteries of Open qualifying, playing the 14 Open Championship courses, those named to Coyne’s lists, and the secret of the game. And we’ve just begun! So many reasons to read this work. Will it be sufficient for you?

RM: What about the golf surprised you the most?
TC: A lot about the golf in Scotland surprised me, especially since I’d already done all of Ireland and thought I had the links thing down pat.  I was surprised by the sheer quantity and proximity of so many great, legendary links.  Around St. Andrews or in East Lothian or up in Inverness or over in Prestwick, you can’t swing a seven-iron without knocking into another great course you need to play.  That convenience was most appreciated given my itinerary.  I was also surprised by the affordability of club memberships over there; it’s a pittance of what we pay, likely because they allow visitor fees to help offset costs to the members.  And I was struck by the competitive nature of golf at Scottish clubs–every week there was a trophy on or an open or an event for some hardware.  They play make-everything golf all the time.  Surely makes them better players.

Reason Two: The Travel

Travel provides different things to different readers. It begins with the roads taken. Highways offer speed and efficiency, while side roads gift long views of our world, along with layovers in restaurants, stores, hotels and parks. Gastronomy, photography, biography…they are all provided for along the roadways of a land. We travel with Tom Coyne as he visits a castle, a restaurant recommended at a Georgia diner, islands, mountains, and a great deal more. We miss appointments with him, thanks to weather, exhaustion, and other factors of fate. We round curves, struggle with left-side driving, and nearly miss entryways, to reach our appointed rounds, accommodations, and reservations.

Through the author’s eyes, we are reminded that much that is new awaits, always. Even though we have been many places, and seen many things, the expanse of the golfing world, the traveling world, is vast. It harbors many unexpected vistas and footholds, and is always worth exploring. Tom Coyne shares these discoveries with us, in a voice that echoes our own sense of wonder amid discovery. Although he knows what he knows before we do, he allows us to hear precisely what he felt as he rounded each turn.

RM: What aspect of travel have you yet to master?

TC: I have yet to master total flight comfort.  I still get anxious around the airport, even though I spend so much time around them.  The control issues that inspire and allow one to plan 57 tightly packed and planned days of golf are not as useful when you get on a prop plane headed for a Scottish island where you are going to land on a beach.  I see people sleeping on prop planes and wonder if they’re alive, or what did they take to knock them out.

Reason Three: The Humans

Gramma Billy, Duff, Penn, et al. Leading into the trip, Coyne confessed to having done a dumb-ass thing. While on a well-followed interview show, he invited strangers to email him and join him for parts of the trip through Scotland. While combing Ireland at the turn of the last decade, he had survived in no small part, thanks to the presence of family and friends. It’s the curious moments of indecision that often shape lives, and Coyne’s curious decision to open his world to the unknown offered a shape to the journey that would be inimitable otherwise. Noted in the footnotes are the near-death experiences of two of the compatriots, if that sort of thing interests you. Also noted are the rise and fall and rise of others, as they come to understand not only what Coyne is attempting to do, but what they themselves have enlisted to accomplish.

There are other humans that figure in the resolution of the task: Coyne and his family. Coyne writes about golf and history, but behind the words is his desire to also be a part of golf’s history. He impacts the game by sharing its courses and its experiences with others, and he has rightly earned his small corner of the game. Without the understanding of his life partner, nor the hope that his efforts will one day matter to his offspring, he might not find the wherewithal and the impetus to carry out his impossible dream, part two.

RM: How did the inclusion of complete strangers alter the way your conception of the story to your telling of the story?

TC: I invited people I did not know to join me for a few reasons — one, I’d be pretty damn lonely if all the golf was solo.  And the book would be pretty damn boring as well.  I think this story, and any good story, is about the characters, so I was eager to welcome all-comers.  The stranger, the better.  I looked at it as, hey, if someone is a nightmare, or does something ridiculous, that will be great for the story.  The people who did come absolutely carry the story and steal the show, in my opinion.  So many became dear friends.   Their contributions as people and golfers and as my caretakers exceeded anything I could have anticipated.

Reason Four: The Humanity

It’s never easy to say farewell to someone you’ve known your entire adult life. Coyne does precisely that, in the most unanticipated of ways. He hints at the sendoff throughout the book, forcing the reader to consider the outcome, even as she/he digests the courses, events and persons that populate the pages. When you connect with someone during your undergraduate years, the bonds are born of contrasting moments of affection and distress, making them that much stronger. Forced to let go offers a unique finality to what was expected to be only as much as a a golf book. Truth be told, I was more interested in the impending departure of Robert than I was in the discovery of new courses, and that’s quite a compliment to the writer.

There are times that Coyne frustrates, as his story unfolds. He confesses to knowing how to eliminate the errors that hold him back from realizing his golfing potential, but somehow fails to do so. I came to understand that knowing and doing, despite myriad opportunities, might simply be separated by a gulf to difficult to bridge. By the end, oddly enough, I empathized with the emotions, flaws and failures inherent to the task undertaken. No sympathy, mind you; he set the table and was compelled to eat every last morsel. Empathy, however; yes.

Coyne has worked as a professor of English at St. Joseph’s University in his native Philadelphia for a number of years. His work as an instructor of language and literature, along with a linguist’s life fully lived, has brought a maturity to his perspective and writing. In previous novels, the suggestion of such arose, but fruition is apparent in this one. It is worth your money and your time, as Scottish and British Open season approaches.

RM: Can you share a bit about exorcising some of your personal demons?

TC: I don’t shy away from telling the reader pretty early on that I don’t drink anymore.  Given that my last book had a pint of beer on the cover, I think it’s fair that I’m upfront with readers about the change in my lifestyle.  I also don’t let my sobriety overtake or bog down the narrative.  It’s there, and I’m honest about it, but the book is written for laughs and smiles more than it is any sort of sobriety tale.  Me not drinking is just there in the backdrop, but I hope it does add some meaning and poignancy to the story.  There was a time I could not get out of bed, and a time I didn’t think I would golf anymore, let alone travel to golf like this, so if I didn’t touch on where I had been just a little, I think part of the joy I feel in the end wouldn’t quite come through in the way that I genuinely experienced it.  And I did experience it.  I didn’t write the book for this purpose, but if there are people who are thinking about giving up the sauce but keep bumping up against this idea that they wouldn’t have any sort of life if they did so, be sure I was once that guy.  For a long time.  And this book sits on my desk and reminds me that I was a fool for ever believing that.


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Ronald Montesano writes for from western New York. He dabbles in coaching golf and teaching Spanish, in addition to scribbling columns on all aspects of golf, from apparel to architecture, from equipment to travel. Follow Ronald on Twitter at @buffalogolfer.



  1. Hawkeye77

    Jul 9, 2018 at 1:00 pm

    Author never answered, so I will for anyone thinking of purchasing – it is not a novel in any sense, and it is a great first hand account of his time in Scotland. Buy it!

    • Ronald Montesano

      Jul 13, 2018 at 9:45 am

      “a fictitious prose narrative of book length, typically representing character and action with some degree of realism.”

      Depends on how much you believe Tom Coyne:)

      Not fiction. A travelogue, On The Road without the drugs but with the golf, a first-person narrative of time spent abroad.

  2. Hawkeye77

    Jul 5, 2018 at 7:12 am

    I may not purchase – the article keeps calling it a novel, which is a work of fiction – is it a work of fiction?

  3. Greg V

    Jul 5, 2018 at 6:56 am

    Ron, thanks for the review. I will be purchasing the book.

    Greg Vogelsang

    • Ronald Montesano

      Jul 21, 2018 at 10:00 am

      My pleasure, GV. Just don’t call it a novel. Call it a volume, a tome, a text, or anything but novel 🙂


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



By Ben Alberstadt (

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 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 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 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 schedule
Golfweek’s Brentley Romine with the details...”The 2019 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 Tour Championship (Aug. 30-Sept. 2).”
  • “The 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 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



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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GolfWRX Morning 9: Remembering Celia | Valentino Dixon freed | Bryson the muse



By Ben Alberstadt (

September 20, 2018

Good Thursday morning, golf fans. Did you catch the stealth announcement in yesterday’s M9? The FedEx Cup, in addition to other stated changes, will be changing its name to the “FexEx Cup.” At least, that’s the conclusion you could have drawn from the typo in my subject line. More coffee hopefully equals fewer mistakes this morning.
1. Remembering Celia
We know what happened. We will probably only ever have a superficial understanding of why it happened. The golf world now turns to remembering Celia Barquin Arozamena.
  • Golfweek’s Beth Ann Nichols writes…”Celia Barquin Arozamena was a feisty competitor. She was thoughtful too. The kind of player who bought flowers for teammates on Valentine’s Day and left inspirational quotes on the bulletin board. Iowa State coach Christie Martens choked back tears on the phone as she talked about the special relationship Barquin Arozamena had with her own daughter, Norah.”
  • “There are no answers for times like this. Only questions, tears and cherished memories of time spent with a 22-year-old woman whose future was bright”
  • “The spotlight is on her because of her golf,” said Martens. “But it’s everything else about her that has made her so special to me personally and to our team.”
2. Valentino Dixon freed
AP Report…”A New York prison artist who never played golf but became known for drawings of lush courses he could only imagine was set free Wednesday after authorities agreed that another man committed the murder that put him behind bars for nearly three decades.”
  • “Valentino Dixon walked out of Erie County Court into bright sunshine and hugs from his mother, daughter and a crowd of other relatives and friends, ready for a meal at Red Lobster and vowing to fight on behalf of others who are wrongly convicted.”
  • “Earlier Wednesday, a judge agreed to set aside Dixon’s conviction in the 1991 shooting death of 17-year-old Torriano Jackson on a Buffalo street corner and accepted a guilty plea from another man who had confessed to the killing two days after it happened.”
  • …”While behind bars, Dixon rekindled his childhood passion for drawing, often spending 10 hours a day creating vivid colored pencil landscapes, including of golf courses, while imagining freedom. Articles in Golf Digest and elsewhere have drawn public attention to Dixon’s case. NBC Sports’ Jimmy Roberts spotlighted Dixon in a 2013 segment for his “In Play” series on Golf Channel”
3. Bryson remains a muse
The scribes can’t get enough, and who can blame them? Nearly every week, DeChambeau offers bon mots or behavioral fodder for articles-and the overarching storylines are too good not to pick up a pen/peck at a keyboard.
This week, it’s David Dusek writing about BAD’s comfort with his place in the golf world.
  • “Part of DeChambeau’s comfort level comes from knowing his game is firing on all cylinders right now. He enters this week ranked fourth in strokes gained total (1.664), 13th in scoring average (69.62) and after having played a few practice rounds under bright Georgia sunshine, he said East Lake suits his style.”
  • “…DeChambeau is also getting used to the demands that are being placed on him and the commitments that come with success.”
  • “I’ve had to prioritize now more than I’ve ever had to in my life, so Brett (Falkoff, DeChambeau’s agent) has been very instrumental in that, my caddie (Tim Tucker) has been helpful with that,” he said. “I’ve just had to plan things out more and really be on point. When I wake up in the morning, I can’t be messing around. I’ve got to get up and get ready to go to work. It’s more of like a 9-to-5 job in a sense.”
…and ESPN’s Bob Harig with “Bryson DeChambeau is different from every golfer you’ve ever seen,” the angle of which you can probably surmise.
  • “What makes DeChambeau different from others at the highest level of the game is his “single-length” irons and wedges. Each club measures 37.5 inches and is built with a 7-iron shaft — unlike traditional sets of irons that get progressively shorter as you go from a 2-iron down to a wedge…All of the head weights in his irons are 280 grams, and he uses oversized grips on each of his clubs.”
  • “Jordan Spieth, who has known DeChambeau since their college days at Texas and SMU, respectively, is somewhat amused but also impressed with the approach….”I think he phrases stuff differently than he needs to at times, but the belief in what he’s doing is very important in this game, and when you’re that exact on what you’re trying to do … . When you feel the slightest bit off, you’re trying to fine-tune to the nth degree,” Spieth said.”
4. Brooks wasn’t invited
Credit to Golf Digest’s Brian Wacker for getting Brooks Koepka’s response to being left off the pre-tournament interview schedule at the Tour Championship.
  • “[The media] has their guys they wanna talk to,” Koepka said when tracked down on the course. “I’m not one of them and that’s fine.”…”We don’t get asked to do many interviews, so I’m not gonna go out of my way to do one,” he said. “I don’t really care.”
  • “You’ve got guys who will kiss up, and I’m not gonna kiss up,” Koepka said. “I don’t need to kiss anyone’s butt. I’m here to play golf. I’m not here to do anything else. A lot of guys are known for the stuff they do off the golf course and who they like to hang around. It’s pretty obvious who’s doing that and who isn’t. I don’t need to bend over backwards to be friends with anyone [in the media], but certain guys do that because they want their names written. I’d rather be written about because of my play.”
  • “Sometimes it does suck, but I’ve started to care less. Come Sunday, I won’t forget it when everyone wants to talk to me because I just won. I don’t forget things.”
5. Tiger reflects on 2018
USA Today’s Steve Dimeglio with a few notes and some context from Tiger’s pre-Tour Championship presser.
  • “Starting his comeback ranked 1,199th in the world, he is now No. 21. Exceeding his own tempered expectations, he has six top-6 finishes, including a tie for second in the Valspar…Championship, a second in the PGA Championship, a tie for sixth in the British Open and a tie for sixth in the BMW Championship, the third of four events in the FedExCup Playoffs.”
  • “He also earned a captain’s pick for the Ryder Cup, and will play in the biennial tussle with Europe for the first time since 2012. And he’s one of just 30 players to make it to The Tour Championship.”
  • “I haven’t been here in quite some time, and it’s great to have accomplished one of the goals I set out at the beginning of the year, to make it back to East Lake to be part of The Tour Championship and part of these top 30 guys,” said Woods, who is looking for win No. 80 and his first since 2013. “To have come back from where I’ve come back from and to get here has been a pretty tall order and something I’m proud of.”
  • Woods offered this perspective on his attitude entering the season…”I just needed rounds. In order to get rounds, I needed to be physically fit and healthy enough to do it, and I felt pretty comfortable to be able to add a tournament in there. I just needed to keep my body strong, keep it moving, and eventually I would find a game that could contend and that eventually would lead to wins.”
6. “Weird”
A solid take from Geoff Shackelford on the new FEC format-and Justin Thomas as well.
  • “The PGA Tour faced one major dilemma in trying to improve the FedExCup: how to make sure FedEx gets full value for their sponsorship.
  • “….So to have recent FedExCup champion Justin Thomas calling the new 2019 system “weird” right out of the chute, with the social media reaction suggesting he gave the perfect summary of how most feel, comes off as pretty weird given all of the brainpower put into the latest FedExCup overhaul.”
  • “From Bob Harig’s story…”It’s something that is very, very weird and going to be hard to get used to,” Thomas said. “We talked about it, and it’s … never going to be perfect.”
7. Ryder Cup memorabilia of years past
Our Gianni Magliocco rounded up 10 interesting finds from eBay and elsewhere.
A 1987 Ryder Cup money clip, a 2010 Scotty Cameron Team Europe putter cover, and much more!
8. Here comes the night
Dark wedges are in. Titleist’s limited edition Slate Blue Vokey SM7 is the latest example of the phenomenon.
  • WRX staff report…”The Vokey SM7 L Grind proved to be a welcome addition for those golfers who were looking to excel around the greens on firm conditions. The enhanced heel, toe and trailing edge grind provided the lowest bounce option available from Titleist upon its release.”
  • “Now, Titleist has announced the release of their new Vokey WedgeWorks Limited 60-degree T Grind. Just like the L Grind, the latest release from Titleist is a low-bounce option designed for players with a shallow attack angle playing in firm conditions, however, the new T Grind’s dual-bounce sole allows the wedge to sit closer to the ground, making it easier to get the leading edge under the ball and promoting lift. According to Titleist, the dual bounce sole creates a narrow, forward bounce which helps to provide a gliding sensation.”
9. Bury me in the Ryder Cup
Credit to Golf Digest’s Alex Myers for this funerary find.
He writes…”Urns for Ashes is now offering a Ryder Cup replica urn. And all kidding aside, this thing looks pretty sweet:..Here’s what it says under product description”
  • “A perfect send off for a golf loving friend or family member. We have been commissioned to create a variety of golf urns for ashes, from a customised bag to a ball and tee to immortalise a special memory. Our 3d printed, 100% unique urns are hand finished in as much detail as you wish. We work with award winning designers and artists to ensure only the highest quality. I look forward to helping you create a memory to keep forever.”
  • “According to someone who works for the UK-located company, the Ryder Cup replica urn was actually a special request recently made by a Golf Digest reader,” which the company decided offer for sale after the positive response.”
Is Ian Poulter a Golf Digest reader?
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19th Hole