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HV3 mows | Tiger vs. Phil & Game of Thrones | Writing off Romo? | Scottish golf’s problem

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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 10, 2018

Good Tuesday morning, golf fans.
1. Romo can still play

 

While he struggled mightily against pro-caliber competition in his sponsor’s exemption to the Corales Puntacana and in U.S. Open qualifying, Tony Romo still has a serious golf game.
  • According to The Journal Times, No. 9 won the Racine Tri-Course Amateur Championship in Wisconsin by nine shots Sunday-the win was his second at the tournament, which he also won in 2004.
  • Romo lead by five strokes heading into the final round, which was contested at Meadowbrook Country Club, Romo’s home course (haters will be keen to point to this fact). Rounds one and two were held at Racine Country Club and H.F. Johnson Park Golf Course, respectively.
  • The Journal Times report also indicated Romo is working with Chris O’Connell and Andy Traynor from Plane Truth Golf and he feels the pieces are falling into place.
2. Shaping the Woods vs. Mickelson duel
How best to make the made-for-TV showdown? Golf Channel’s Randall Mell has a few thoughts.

 

  • “It could be one hell of a TV show if it’s packaged the right way….There is so much we still want to know about these two mega stars, about their history together, about what divided them for most of their career, and what brought them together.”

 

  • “There is a lot we want to know about what makes them different, and what may make them more similar than we ever realized…There is still a lot we want to know about them as individuals, too, especially Tiger’s softening, his hard life lessons and his willingness to open up more to today’s players.”

 

Mell offers some shows to build off of (!)

 

  • “Game of Thrones ..Yeah, before we can fully appreciate the bond these two warriors appear to be forging in their realm today, let’s revisit the conflicts overcome, whatever it was that made them look so frosty as partners in Friday fourballs and foursomes at the 2004 Ryder Cup. Let’s understand what made Woods and Mickelson look like snowmen standing next to each other on the tees that year.”
  • “Band of Brothers …We’ve heard how being a part of the ranks of so many American teams eventually helped bring them together, but let’s hear how the ice started to melt, the stories of how they began to connect in ways that led to a more empathetic understanding of each other.”

 

 

3. Surprising? The Phil Mickelson dress shirt is really comfortable to golf in

 

I bit the bullet and tried the Phil Mickelson dress shirt. While it remains, well, not exactly my style, the thing was darn comfortable and you can certainly play golf in it.

 

  • Mizzen+Main wanted to make a dress shirt that you can comfortably play golf in…if you want to.
  • And while some might think Mickelson, a partner in the company, was part of a mere marketing stunt, I can confirm that you can actually comfortably wear these shirts on the golf course.
  • Mizzen+Main sent me a light blue solid “Nelson Mickelson Edition” shirt, and I put it through the paces on course. It stretches more than you’d expect, is plenty breathable, and still looks like a dress shirt, rather than athletic wear masquerading as a dress shirt (important for the whole “off-course wear” thing).

 

4. Scottish golf in trouble?

 

How could this be? The game isn’t doing well in the home of said game? John Huggan (who blocks me on Twitter for some unknown reason) explains.

 

  • Only three Scots-Colin Montgomerie, Paul Lawrie and Stephen Gallacher-have been part of a European Ryder Cup team in this century. Only one Scot, Russell Knox, is currently ranked in the world’s top 100. Just three more-Martin Laird, Scott Jamieson and Richie Ramsay-are part of the top 200. David Drysdale, the eighth-best Scottish golfer on the planet, is ranked 290th.
  • Knox, Florida-based since his late teens, has won twice on the PGA Tour in recent years, including the 2015 WGC HSBC Championship in China. But the Inverness-native remains the tartan-clad exception. Elsewhere, Scots are lagging behind. Way behind. More than three years have passed since Ramsay tasted victory at the Trophee Hassan in Morocco. Before Knox won last week’s Irish Open, Ramsay, the former US Amateur champion, was the last Scot to win a regular European Tour event.

 

 

  • By way of contrast, 16 Englishmen have won 31 times during those intervening 40 months (there are currently eight Englishmen in the world’s top 100). And, perhaps more pertinently given Denmark and Scotland’s comparable population and weather, three Danes have won five times on their home circuit, as well as claiming the World Cup in Australia.

 

  • In the women’s game, the picture is even more stark.

 

5. Stenson’s Open start in peril?
 
Something to keep an eye on…the 2016 Open winner may not be competing in the 2018 edition of the tournament.
  • Stenson wrote on Twitter: “Sad to have to withdraw from #ASIScottishOpen due to elbow problems. Good luck to everyone at Gullane & have great week. Hoping to be fit for Carnoustie.”
6. Jimmy Buffett: caddie?  
File under: “Story I should have lead with.” The love-him-or-hate-him prophet of Parrot Heads picked up a bag at the U.S. Senior Women’s Open, it seems.

 

  • Kevin Casey writes: “The 71-year-old musician was on hand Monday for a U.S. Senior Women’s Open practice round and appeared to actually serve as a caddie for competitor Patricia Ehrhart”
  • Ehrhart is Buffett’s niece

 

7. He’s Nie-mann!

 

A pun so bad, I’ve used it more than once in discussing 19-year-old sensation (and now PGA Tour member) Joaquin Niemann!
Golf Digest’s Joel Beall with the details
  • “Niemann already attained special temporary membership with a T-6 at the Memorial-his third T-8 or better in five outings-to earn unlimited sponsor invites until the FedEx Cup Playoffs begin. (Niemann’s expected to play at this week’s John Deere Classic.) By earning his card, Niemann joins a group featuring Jon Rahm and Jordan Spieth that was able to bypass the Web.com Finals Thanks to a final-round 64 at the Greenbrier, Niemann grabbed a T-5 finish at the West Virginia event.

     

 

  • “It wasn’t enough to earn an invitation to next week’s Open Championship, but he didn’t leave empty-handed. Thanks to his Sunday push, Niemann, with his fourth top 10 in just eight professional events, now has 414 FedEx Cup points. A total well above the projected amount needed for the 125th player in the FEC standings by the end of the Wyndham Championship, meaning, at 19 years old, Niemann has secured his tour card for next season.”

 

8. A GolfWRX member dreams (nightmare) of Augusta National

 

GolfWRX member Me05501 had a dream that gave me a chuckle, he writes…
  • “I had a series of odd dreams the other night, culminating in this one.
  • “I was in the clubhouse at Augusta National. For some reason I was wearing jeans, and I knew I had to change pants to be allowed on the course.
  • “However, every time I changed pants, the pants I put on would magically transform into some kind of denim, forcing me back to the locker room to find another pair. Over and over again.
  • “I suppose the meaning of the dream is clear. I shouldn’t pretend to belong in places I obviously do not.”

 

9. HV3: A man of his word

 

“I hate to harp on it, but it’s all about perspective,” said Harold Varner, who was in position to win at the Greenbrier after three rounds. “If I shoot 90 tomorrow, I’m gonna able to go home, and my mom is going to give me a kiss and be like, ‘you’re still a winner.’
  • “And I’m gonna be mad, but that’s just how it is. And if I win, she’s gonna humble me and be like, ‘you’re not better than me.’ And I thoroughly enjoy that…I’m gonna mow my parents’ grass on Monday . . . so that’s just what I’m gonna do.”
  • Well, that’s just what he did (see below)
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  1. Al Czervik

    Jul 10, 2018 at 12:52 pm

    You really want to watch some sort of touchy feely, cue the NBC Olympics, segments between Tiger and Phil? I am not even sure I want to watch some made for TV match between two well past their primes. These things never live up to the hype.

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GolfWRX Morning 9: U.S. RC team flying high | Tour Champ ratings skyrocket | DIY Ryder Cup pools

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

September 25, 2018

Good Tuesday morning, golf fans.
1. A strong sendoff
PGATour.com’s Mike McAllister with a look at how the U.S. Ryder Cup team was flying high (before flying high).
  • “The U.S. team room at the Renaissance hotel near the Atlanta airport was buzzing Sunday night while anticipating the arrival of its latest winner. Finally, the moment came.”
  • “A giant roar when Steve Stricker walked in the room after his victory last night,” captain Jim Furyk said Monday, doing his best to suppress a smile.
  • “No offense to Stricker, whose wire-to-wire win at the inaugural Sanford International was his third in just seven starts on the current PGA TOUR Champions season. A most impressive performance, to be sure, but even vice-captain Stricker would admit the biggest buzz for the Americans on Sunday was generated by Tiger Woods, who ended his five-year drought on the PGA TOUR by claiming the TOUR Championship.”
  • “Several of the U.S. players had stayed at East Lake late Sunday to congratulate Woods. Then they gathered at the hotel for a team dinner before jumping on a plane that landed in France at approximately 12:45 p.m. locally Monday afternoon.”
2. Setting up Le Golf National
TMOF with a look at how Captain Bjorn will attempt to advantage his team with the setup in France.
  • “After a quick walk around Le Golf National, The Man Out Front can say the 2018 Ryder Cup venue is in sensational condition but is noticeably cruel to tee shots missing the landing areas by more than 10 yards. The course features a lush cool season mix of grasses throughout, with a 3-yard wide transitional cut between fairway and 3-inch maintained rough in length, give or take a few strains of grass.”
  • “After the 10-yard wide transitional area of maintained rough – no picnic for even the strongest players- the rough turns downright nasty. Clearly cultivated to severely punish tee shots, expect to see some lost ball searches and hack-out shots at the many holes where water fronts the green complexes.”
  • “Accuracy and conservative play will be at a premium at the 2018 Ryder Cup. Couple the extra pressure on driving with European team’s experience, and Team USA has a lot of preparation ahead over three days of practice.”
3. Wager this way
Shane Ryan with some solid thoughts on hopefully getting in your friends’ pockets a little during the Ryder Cup.
  • “In golf, the majors don’t really lend themselves to fun, interactive, dynamic pools. Sure, you can do the thing where you pick a player or two from various world ranking categories, but for a sports pool nut like myself, it feels a little empty, a little dull. The Ryder Cup, on the other hand, is that rare event whose format is so unique that it practically begs you to devise sophisticated games of chance. Along with being one of the best sports exhibitions on the world, it’s also a bed of fertile soil for pool-minded zealots like myself.”
  • “1. The Pod Pool…This pool, invented by yours truly for the 2016 incarnation, is tried and true and very fun. I’m leading with it because if you partake in just one pool, it should be this one. It would take more space than we have to explain the rules, so I’m going to refer you tothis post from the Hazeltine Ryder Cup that details everything. The pod pool is a true joy, and it works best with at least 10 people (we had around 35 last time). The new pods for 2018 are below…feel free to tweak if you disagree:”
  • “Pod 1: Dustin Johnson, Patrick Reed, Justin Rose, Rory McIlroy Pod 2: Brooks Koepka, Justin Thomas, Ian Poulter, Jon Rahm Pod 3: Jordan Spieth, Tiger Woods, Tommy Fleetwood, Henrik Stenson Pod 4: Bryson DeChambeau, Rickie Fowler, Francesco Molinari, Alex Noren Pod 5: Phil Mickelson, Bubba Watson, Paul Casey, Tyrrell Hatton Pod 6: Webb Simpson, Tony Finau, Sergio Garcia, Thorbjorn Olesen”

4 more suggestions in the full article

.
4. Tiger Woods Effect: Tour Championship edition
Perhaps not surprisingly, with a 5.21 overnight rating, the final round of the Tour Championship was the highest-rated (non-major) PGA Tour telecast of 2018.
  • Tiger Woods’ 80th PGA Tour win was the highest-rated broadcast in FedEx Cup history, with viewership was up 206 percent compared to 2017.
  • Golf’s big Sunday followed an impressive Saturday. As Golfweek’s Martin Kaufmann noted
  • “In the TV-ratings world, a mediocre football game typically drubs even some of the PGA Tour’s biggest events. Yet during Saturday’s third round, with Woods in the final group, NBC’s coverage of The Tour Championship drew more viewers than every college football game except the Alabama-Texas A&M game. Because, as we all know, nobody beats Alabama – not even Tiger Woods.”
  • Across NBC Sports Digital’s platforms, Sunday’s final found saw 18.4 million minutes streamed (up 561 percent year-over-year).
5. Meanwhile at the Mid-Am…
Golfweek’s Brentley Romine writes…”Stewart Hagestad made three birdies and an eagle to easily advance Monday at the U.S. Mid-Amateur…Hagestad, the 2016 U.S. Mid-Amateur champion from Newport Beach, Calif., defeated Minnesota’s Bradley Wohlers, 8 and 6, in the Round of 64 at Charlotte (N.C.) Country Club.”
  • “Top seed Stephen Behr, a former Clemson golfer who is playing in his first U.S. Mid-Amateur, beat Jeffrey Osberg of Bryn Mawr, Pa., 3 and 2. He will play Belgium’s Samuel Echikson in the Round of 32. Echikson is one of just four non-Americans left in the field.”
  • “On other notable matches: Sam O’Dell def. Todd Mitchell, 4 and 2; Jordan Sease def. Kyle Downey, 8 and 6; Grant Schroeder def. Marc Dull, 3 and 1; Matthew Mattare def. Bradford Tilley, 2 and 1; and Andres Schonbaum def. defending champion Matt Parziale, 3 and 2.”
6. And the nominees are…
PGA Tour Player of the year nominees...(AKA Brooks Koepka and the other guys who won’t win)
Bryson DeChambeau
Dustin Johnson
Brooks Koepka
Francesco Molinari
Justin Rose
Justin Thomas
Rookie of the Year nominees
Austin Cook
Satoshi Kodaira
Keith Mitchell
Joaquin Niemann
Aaron Wise
7. Cross-handed DJ cometh
After switching to a cross-handed putting grip during the Tour Championship, Dustin Johnson plans to do the same at Le Golf National.
  • Our Gianni Magliocco writes, “Dustin Johnson made a weekend charge at the Tour Championship, and it was almost good enough for him to capture the FedEx Cup title (and with it the $10 million jackpot). Although he fell short, the revival gave him a third-place finish at the season finale, after he fired back to back rounds of 67 at East Lake. The most interesting part about his weekend performance? Well, during the sixth hole on Saturday, Johnson decided to putt for the rest of the event cross-handed.”
  • “So how did Johnson perform with the cross-handed technique? Well, the American gained strokes over the field on the greens on both days over the weekend. For the two days of action, Johnson gained 0.63 strokes over the field with the flatstick, which incidentally was more than he managed over the opening two days in Atlanta. However, a missed birdie chance from inside six feet on the 18th hole on Sunday evening doomed his chances of taking home the FedEx Cup.”
8. Chamblee: Europe should be favored
Brandel Chamblee, appearing on the Golf Channel podcast, said (beyond home continent advantage), the reason the European Ryder Cup squad ought to be favored is Le Golf National will place a premium on driving accuracy, something the American squad struggles with.
9. No social media shutdown
Geoff Shackelford reports on Captains Furyk and Bjorn’s cool daddery…”During these events, I don’t see a lot of our players on their phones and on social media – they are such busy weeks,” Furyk said. “I don’t really have any policies, per se, other than you obviously want to keep everything straight and narrow, and I think social media is great when it’s fun. But past that, you know, I don’t really see any issues or concerns.”
  • “European captain Thomas Bjorn has no plans for a blackout, either. He sees social media now as part of an athlete’s life and image, especially the younger players….”I think if you put restrictions on what they can do and how they live their lives, it changes them a bit,” Bjorn said. “I have no problems with social media. But as Jim says, it’s so busy; a high-pressure week and a sensitive week, and I’m sure they on both sides will respect that.”

 

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Tiger Woods’ Tour Championship win delivered a big ratings boost

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Perhaps not surprisingly, with a 5.21 overnight rating, the final round of the Tour Championship was the highest-rated (non-major) PGA Tour telecast of 2018.

Tiger Woods’ 80th PGA Tour win was the highest-rated broadcast in FedEx Cup history, with viewership was up 206 percent compared to 2017.

Golf’s big Sunday followed an impressive Saturday. As Golfweek’s Martin Kaufmann noted

“In the TV-ratings world, a mediocre football game typically drubs even some of the PGA Tour’s biggest events. Yet during Saturday’s third round, with Woods in the final group, NBC’s coverage of The Tour Championship drew more viewers than every college football game except the Alabama-Texas A&M game. Because, as we all know, nobody beats Alabama – not even Tiger Woods.”

Across NBC Sports Digital’s platforms, Sunday’s final found saw 18.4 million minutes streamed (up 561 percent year-over-year).

“Tiger Woods’ win at the TOUR Championship was an unforgettable event in golf,” said Mike McCarley, President, Golf, NBC Sports Group. “The massive gallery following Tiger up the 18th fairway was matched by record viewership across NBC Sports’ platforms. Golf is experiencing a surge in momentum with Tiger and the young stars of the Tiger-inspired generation atop leaderboards. We look forward to this momentum continuing this week at the Ryder Cup.”

Woods has boosted ratings every time he’s teed it up this season. At the British Open, where Woods tied for sixth, ratings were the highest in 18 years. Similarly, PGA Championship ratings were the highest since 2009.

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Tour Rundown: Tiger wins the Tour Championship, a 59, and Stricker is back

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Imagine the headline Rose wins FedEx Cup and no one is aware. Essentially, the golf world found out about the Englishman’s championship in the aftermath of the comeback of Tiger Woods. Is it a complete comeback? Who knows what a complete comeback is? We know that Tiger won for the first time since 2013, and we see how people care. It’s akin to Jack is back from 1980, with all the drama of the internet age thrown in. For now, as golf gives way to football (with the exception of the Ryder Cup,) the Woods victory will sate us all through the winter months, and give time and space to discussions about Tiger’s at Augusta and Pebble Beach, sites of the first two major championships of 2019.

The PGA Tour’s Tour Championship lies safely in Tiger’s paws

Tiger Woods won this tournament by leading after 18 and 36, then establishing a margin of five strokes, heading into Sunday. He wasn’t completely dominant, say, as he was in 2000 at Pebble’s millenial U.S. Open. He was very, very good, and the golf world did more than pause and notice. Justin Rose didn’t have enough to chase him down. Rory McIlroy buckled in his presence on Sunday. Guys like Horschel, Johnson and Matsuyama move up 4, 6 and 12 spots, respectively, to claim 2nd through 4th positions. One-over par was good enough for a 2-shot victory, number 80 on the career list, for the only candidate to challenge Jack Nicklaus for greatest male golfer of all time. Do you think we missed him? Have a look.

Tiger’s Winning WITB

Web.Com Tour Championship is McCarthy’s first

Denny McCarthy has a flair for the dramatic. Why else make your first Web.Com tour win (and potentially, your last) anything but the Tour Championship? With his 4-shot margin of victory over Lucas Glover, McCarthy further sealed his trip to the big leagues in October, serving notice of the arrival of yet another young talent. The University of Virginia alum surged past 3rd-round leader Sepp Straka with 4 birdies in 5 holes, to close his outward nine. He had 4 more birdies on the inward half, to go with a bogey per side, for a round of 65 at the Atlantic Beach country club in Florida. Glover birdied the 2nd hole, but fell into a malaise. He moved through the turn with bogey at 8 and double at 10, which served to awaken his birdie engine. Four birdies over the final 7 holes closed his round and guaranteed 2nd place money. As for Straka, he wasn’t bad until the 16th hole. He was 3-under on the day with three to play, within reach of McCarthy, until he tripled the antipenultimate hole. He tied for 3rd spot with three others. For the rest of the field, it was a dramatic day of heartbreak and joy. Have a look.

European Tour sees first 59 in Portugal

Oliver Fisher secured his place in European Tour history, signing for the first round of 59 in the long history of the circuit. Nicolas Colsaerts holed out for an Albatross on a par five. And yet the week belonged to the guy who shot 61. Tom Lewis claimed thefirst-place baubles in Portugal, despite opening with a mundane 72 in round 1. He followed it with 63-61 to find himself in the thick of matters. On Sunday, with golfers around him faltering, especially 3rd-round leader Lucas Herbert, Lewis seized the advantage and rode a 3-shot win over loquacious Eddie Pepperell. It had been 7 years since young Tom Lewis won his first European Tour event, also along the Iberian coast in Portugal. Nearly a decade later, a wizened, older Tom Lewis brought home a well-deserved bookend.

Stricker takes inaugural Sanford International on Champions Tour

Steve Stricker and Brandt Jobe began the final round of the Sanford International in a tie at 130. Given Stricker’s margin of experience in the wins and the international-competition column, it might have been expected that the Wisconsonite would make short work of Jobe. He did. And the rest of the field took notice, too. Stricker closed with 67 to secure a 4-shot win over surging Tim Petrovic. Jobe’s 2-over par 72 dropped him into a tie for 4th with Kevin Sutherland. The victory catapulted Stricker into the top 10 in the season-long Schwab Cup race.

PGA Tour Latinoamerica has “two strokes lower” winner in Rozo

Marcelo Rozo did something rarely seen, on any tour: he fired 69-67-65-63 to win the 65 IHSF Brazil Open by one stroke over Australia’s Harrison Endycott. Despite the glamour of the “two strokes lower” sequence, the Colombian needed every shot to hold off his challenger. Endycott eagled the par-five 18th hole, but Rozo was up to the task. He birdied 16 and 17, and made a clutch par at the last for his 1st win of the season. The victory launched Rozo all the way to the top of the season-long Order of Merit, guaranteeing him membership on the Web.Com tour next season.

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