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GolfWRX Morning 9: Na, Na, Na, Na | Phil afoul of the Rules again | Toughest majors

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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 9, 2018

Good Monday morning, golf fans.  
1. Na, Na, Na, Na, hey, hey, Greenbrier

 

Kevin Na has been known as a slow and steady player (emphasis slow) who painfully cobbles together quality showings but rarely wins (and the guy who made a 16 at the Valero Texas Open).
  • He modified one of the elements of his legacy yesterday, winning his first PGA Tour event in seven years thanks to a six-under 64 to wrap up A Military Tribute at the Greenbrier.
  • “I failed so many times,” Na said after the win. “I see the records on TV, most starts since winning. I’m always up there.
  • Behind K-Na: -14 K Kraft; -13 B Snedeker, J Kokrak; -12 J Neimann, A Cook, J Dahmen, S Saunders, H Varner III
2. Phil Mickelson and the Rules of Golf, Reprised

 

Lefty used his right foot to flatten fescue in front of the teebox at the seventh hole during the final round of A Military Tribute at the Greenbrier, yesterday.
  • After conferring with rules official, Mickelson was told he had run afoul of the Rules of Golf for the second time in as many tournaments, having run afoul of Rule 13-2. He was hit with a two-stroke penalty.
  • I wrote yesterday (do I have to quote myself?): Mickelson didn’t have to take the penalty. I mean, right? He hadn’t hit the tee shot when he began wondering if he’d broken the rules (per the video). All he would have had to do is re-tee his ball in another position, thus taking a different line, right?
  • Of course, after he hits the ball, the damage is done (Mickelson consulted a rules official after the tee shot, so the official wasn’t able to intercede). But if he was concerned he may have broken a rule, why wouldn’t he have pressed pause on hitting the tee shot and called for an official then?
3. Knox over Fox

 

Per EuropeanTour.com: “Russell Knox holed two incredible putts on the 18th green as he beat Ryan Fox in a play-off to win his second European Tour title at the Dubai Duty Free Irish Open hosted by the Rory Foundation.”
  • “The duo were locked together on 14 under after 72 holes, with the fourth Rolex Series event of the season producing unforgettable drama at Ballyliffin Golf Club…Scotsman Knox holed from 40 feet for a birdie on the final green in regulation to sign for a 66 and set the target but coming up behind him Fox put his approach into the 18th to ten feet.”
  • “The New Zealander had that putt for the title but missed on the high side and the pair were left to go back up the last…Knox put his second shot to a position almost identical to the one he found on the 72nd hole and rolled it home again, with Fox missing his own birdie attempt from 12 feet.”
  • Knox was six back to start the day. The W is the biggest comeback in Irish Open history. Host Rory McIlroy tied for 28th.
4. A scoring record on the LPGA Tour

 

Kim Sei-young broke the LPGA Tour’s 72-hole record, winning the Thornberry Creek Classic with a score of -31.
  • The previous record of 27 under, set by Sweden’s Annika Sorenstam in 2011.
  • Spain’s Carlota Ciganda (22 under) finished second. Sweden’s Anna Nordqvist, American Emma Talley and Korean Amy Yang tied for third at 20 under.
5. Scheduling difficulties

 

We will finally be presented with the the 2018-19 PGA Tour schedule this week, Golfweek’s Forecaddie writes.
  • “Normally, schedule releases are met with little fanfare given how little juggling traditionally occurs. But this is no ordinary schedule release, with the PGA Championship move to May creating new possibilities and issues. Throw in having had to deal with events struggling to land sponsors (Houston, Washington D.C.) with ambitious new events (Detroit, Minneapolis) and the Tour has had to work through numerous variables.”
Rather than paraphrase paragraphs aplenty, I’ll encourage you to check out TMOF’s take.

 

6. Farewell, JPete (?)

 

It seems like John Peterson is making good on his pledge to retire
  • Golf Digest’s Joel Beall writes: “Peterson, a former NCAA champion and three-time All-American, has been playing this year on a medical exemption, and announced at the Wells Fargo Championship that if he failed to earn conditional status in his remaining starts, he was going to retire from professional golf.”
  • “I’m kind of freewheeling it at this point,” Peterson said in Charlotte. “I know a little bit has been said about me retiring if I don’t make the necessary money for my medical starts, and all that’s true. If I don’t make it, I’m not playing golf anymore.”
  • “The Greenbrier marked Peterson’s last outing on the exemption, and after making the cut on the number, the 29-year-old turned in a fourth-round 66 to jump up the leaderboard. It was good enough for a T-13 finish, bestowing a $121,362 check and 52.12 FedEx Cup points. However, because his exemption goes back to 2015, he’s playing off that point allotment (long story), and in that standing, Peterson earned 54.75 points…Which is 0.58 points short of earning conditional status.”
7. The 25 toughest major courses of the last 25 years

 

Golfweek put together a list of the 25 most difficult major championships of…well, you read the header. Anyway, here are the five toughest by average shots over par.

 

Carnoustie 1999 British Open 5.82
Oakmont 2007 U.S. Open 5.70
Winged Foot 2006 U.S. Open 4.99
Bethpage Black 2002 U.S. Open 4.91
Royal Birkdale 2008 British Open  4.87

 

 

8. Carnasty, by reputation

 

On that note... Alistair Tait files a remembrance and rounds up some quotes.
  • “Of course, Carnoustie’s fearsome reputation was enhanced in 1999 when the R&A let the course get out of hand. Knee-high rough just off narrow fairways and rough in spots where players could normally putt from led to the layout being dubbed “Carnasty.”‘
  • ‘”I feel like I just fought a war,” Hal Sutton said after an opening 73″‘
  • ‘”Hitting the fairways is like driving the ball through the door of my hotel bedroom,” two-time Open winner Greg Norman said.”
  • ‘”It’s just a bloody difficult golf course, especially if there’s any rough,” said Howell, a five-time European Tour winner and chairman of the European Tour’s tournament committee. “It got the term ‘Carnasty’ for a reason. My first one was when Lawrie won. I remember seeing Sergio crying, that’s how hard it was. That finish is the toughest in the world. If 15, 16 and 18 are into the wind, then it’s brutal, and by the time you get to that last four holes you’re already drained.”‘

 

9. How big would Tiger vs. Phil be?

 

…the Tour Confidential panel debates
  • Alan Shipnuck, senior writer: The intensity of the news coverage and on social media that followed our story tells me how much interest there is for this. It doesn’t make sense to rank it in the context of meaningful tournaments – this a lark, just a bit of fun. But it would certainly be anticipated.
  • Dylan Dethier, associate editor: Shipnuck’s right; you can’t really compare this to a Tour event and it ultimately means nothing in terms of legacy for either of the two. But it’s such a simple, digestible concept with exciting characters that I think it would grab the attention of plenty of casual golf fans in a way that only the majors and Ryder Cup currently do.
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News

Phil phires a 60 | Lowry leads in Abu Dhabi | Bernhard the bricklayer’s son

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

January 18, 2019

Good Friday morning, golf fans.
1.  Desert Classic
A “rusty” Mickelson leads with nothing less than a 12-under 60…
Golf Channel’s Ryan Lavner…”If this is his idea of rusty, it could be another special year for Phil Mickelson…Before heading out to begin his 28th year on the PGA Tour, Lefty alerted his 250,000-plus Twitter followers that he was “excited” and “fresh” and “ready to get started,” but also, um, “rusty,” which is a golfer’s subtle way of suggesting that expectations should be lowered. Mickelson even told his playing partner, Aaron Wise, the reigning Rookie of the Year, as much before the round: “I’m rusty, so don’t expect much.”
  • “But Mickelson has been doing the improbable for nearly three decades now, and so maybe it shouldn’t have been such a complete surprise that in his first round of 2019, at 48 years of age, with no expectations, he carded his lowest score in relation to par in his long and decorated Tour career – a 12-under 60, to take the lead Thursday at the Desert Classic.”
  • “It was kind of a lucky day in the sense that I did not feel sharp heading in,” Mickelson said afterward. “Sometimes it’s just one of those days when it clicks.”
2. Meanwhile, on the LPGA Tour…
AP Report…”Nearly three months after Lewis became a mother, and six months after she last played on tour, she opened with seven birdies on Thursday for a 5-under 66 that left her one shot behind Brooke Henderson and Eun-Hee Ji at the Diamond Resorts Tournament of Champions.”
  • ”Pleasantly surprised,” Lewis said. ”Had pretty low expectations going into the day. Just really made a lot of putts. I had some weird shots, which I knew was going to happen having not played in a while. I don’t know where it came from, but I’m going to take it.”
  • “Henderson overcame a slow start with a bogey on the second hole and a par save on No. 3 at the Tranquilo Golf Club at Four Seasons. She birdied five of her last eight holes for a 65 to tie Ji, who had a bogey-free round.”
  • “The tournament – the first season-opener in Florida for the LPGA since 2015 – is only for LPGA winners each of the last two years.”
3. European Tour
A report from The National...”Shane Lowry has a three-shot advantage to take into Saturday’s final round of the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship presented by EGA.”
  • “A birdie at the 18th gave him a round of 67 to leave him on -17, three ahead of South African Richard Sterne.”
  • “An eagle on the final hole from Ian Poulter lifted the Englishman to -12 and gives him hope he can prevail on Saturday.”
  • “Pablo Larrazabal will start the final round on -11 ahead of a quartet of Maximilian Kiefer, Thomas Pieters, Soren Kjeldsen and Scott Jamieson.”
4. The bricklayer’s son
Bernhard Langer’s “My Shot” runs in Golf Digest this month.
A few morsels…
  • “My father built our house. When I was a boy, he would call on me to help him lay bricks. I would shovel the material for the mortar into a small mixing machine, then join him in laying the bricks, setting them carefully, one by one, using string to make sure everything was straight. I consider it a miracle to have come this far.”
  • “WE CADDIES were given four hand-me-down clubs to share. There was a 2-wood, 3-iron and 7-iron, all with bamboo shafts, and a putter with a shaft bent like an archer’s bow. By the time I was 12, I saved enough money to buy a new set of Kroydon irons. They weren’t top of the line, but they were shiny, new and all mine. I added a Blue Goose model putter that had a small indentation in the head. It was a magical putter, and I quickly became the best putter at the course, Golfclub Augsburg, and possibly all of Germany. One day the putter went missing. I frantically went through the members’ bags, and sure enough, found my Blue Goose with the indentation. But I was in a terrible situation. I couldn’t confront the member-he surely would deny everything, and I would be fired. So I kept it to myself. I never did get the Blue Goose back. I’ve spent the past 50 years looking for a putter that suits me as well.”
5. Latin American Am
AP Report…“Alvaro Ortiz of Mexico had an ideal start Thursday in hopes of turning his fortunes in the Latin American Amateur Championship, opening with a 6-under 66 to build a three-shot lead after the opening round.”
  • “Ortiz has been runner-up in the Latin American Amateur the last two years. He finished five shots behind Joaquin Niemann of Chile last year, and he lost in a three-man playoff to Toto Gana the previous year.”
  • “The winner earns a spot in the Masters in April, and is exempt into the final stage of qualifying for the U.S. Open and British Open.”
6. Pins in at Augusta National? Maybe…
Golf Channel’s Nick Menta…”Will players really be allowed to putt with the pins in during at the Masters?”
  • “Asked that question Thursday at the Latin America Amateur Championship, Augusta National chairman Fred Ridley didn’t say no.”
  • “Under the new Rules of Golf, which went into effect on Jan. 1, players are now allowed to leave the flagstick in while on the greens, as Bryson DeChambeau so eagerly demonstrated.”
  • “Addressing the possibility of Augusta National going against the Rules of Golf during Masters week, Ridley first thanked the USGA’s Mike Davis and R&A’s Martin Slumbers for their work, then preached a message of “consistency” at the game’s highest levels.”
  • “We will, as we always do, collaborate with the governing bodies. We will talk about those local rules and conditions that will be implemented,” Ridley said.”
  • “We think it’s important that there be some consistency in top championship golf, and so you should expect that the Masters Tournament, from a rules perspective, will look very much, if not the same, as what you’re seeing in the major championships and the professional tours.”
7. The weirdest lies in golf history
Great stuff here from Coleman Bentley rounding up some of the most absurd lies (and resultant shots) in golf history (although it’s hard to believe there’s any way his list could be comprehensive, but hey, headlines, and you have to admire the effort)
  • “Golf is a game of minutely controlled chaos. Atoms crashing into atoms. Weight swooping into inertia. A ballet of bounces, spins, kicks, and ricochets that goes wrong just as often as it goes right. The beauty of a such an unpredictable game-one of inches, not yards-however, is that when it goes right it’s spectacular and when it goes wrong, well, it’s equally spectacular. Beg to differ? Well, keep on begging, because as the weirdest, wildest lies in golf’s weird, wild history prove, chaos is a beautiful thing indeed.”
  • “Shane Lowry – 2018 Abu Dhabi Championship…Before Shane Lowry could tie the course record at the 2018 Abu Dhabi Championship, he first had to conquer Trash Heap Corner. P.S. If no one’s taking that couch, we might know a guy who’s interested.”
  • “Phil Mickelson – 2014 Barclays Championship…The Leave: Just to the left of Big Jeff’s Hotdog Haus. One day Phil Mickelson will save par from the surface of the moon. We’re sure of it. Until then, his walkabout at the 2014 Barclays Championship will have to suffice.”
8. Kang & McNealy
A couple of Las Vegas-based golf pros are a couple!
Golf Channel’s Randall Mell...”Danielle Kang watched Maverick McNealy with special interest when he was mic’d up on Golf Channel’s telecast of the Web.com Tour event in the Bahamas earlier this week.”
  • “They are dating.”
  • “Kang wasn’t sure whether to reveal McNealy is her boyfriend, but she couldn’t help herself.”
  • “He’s a dork,” she cracked when asked to review his running dialogue on Golf Channel. “But he’s my dork.”
  • “She was applying the Kang needle. Both she and McNealy live in Las Vegas. She said they met at a golf course there, The Summit Club.”
  • “He’s a sweetheart,” Kang said. “I have so much respect for him and vice versa.”
  • Aww!
9. Back in black!
Titleist 718 AP2 Black and AP3 Black released in limited quantities. Previously only available in a traditional chrome finish, the new Titleist 718 AP2 Black and Titleist 718 AP3 Black irons are finished with a sleek, high polish black PVD coating. The irons feature True Temper AMT Onyx shafts stock.
  • Titleist has unveiled new 718 AP2 Black and 718 AP3 Black irons in limited black finish that will be available to purchase from March 1.
  • Previously only available in a traditional chrome finish, the new Titleist 718 AP2 Black and Titleist 718 AP3 Black irons are finished with a sleek, high polish black PVD coating. The irons feature True Temper AMT Onyx shafts stock. The shafts’ powder coat matte black finish aims to minimize glare (in addition to looking cool). An all-black Golf Pride Tour Velvet 360 grip is standard as well.
  • Speaking on the move to release the irons in black, Josh Talge, Vice President, Golf Club Marketing said
  • “One request we heard from both tour players and amateurs, particularly those who have gravitated toward our Jet Black Vokey SM7 wedges, was if they could have these same irons in a darker finish. Our team spent a lot of time making sure the aesthetics were done just right. It’s a look that you just have to see.”
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Equipment

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

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Brooks-Koepka-Mizuno-JPX919

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

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

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

Brooks-Koepka-Mizuno-JPX-919

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

 

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News

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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