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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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News

The FedEx Cup overhaul is official. Here are the details

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The PGA Tour substantiated the rumored changes to the FedEx Cup Playoffs, Tuesday, unveiling a new playoff format in general, an overhaul of the Tour Championship in particular, and a new regular season points race.

As had been previously established, the Tour will move from four playoff events to three. Most dramatically, the rumored staggered Tour Championship scoring, with the No. 1 player on the points list starting at 10 under, is now a reality. The next four players in the standings will being a 8 under through 5 under. No 6-10 will start at 4 under. Every five players after that will start a stroke further back, with No. 26 through 30 beginning at even par.

There will also now be a $10 million regular season bonus pool sponsored by Wyndham Rewards, aptly named the “Wyndham Rewards Top 10.”

The FedEx Cup Playoffs will wrap prior to Labor Day, thus finishing before the NFL season kicks off. The field for The Northern Trust will be 125 players, 70 for the BMW Championship, and 30 for the Tour Championship, with the points remaining the same for the first two events.

“This is a significant and exciting change for the PGA Tour, our players, our partners and – most importantly – our fans,” said PGA Tour commissioner, Jay Monahan. “As soon as the Tour Championship begins, any fan – no matter if they’ve followed the PGA Tour all season or are just tuning in for the final event – can immediately understand what’s going on and what’s at stake for every single player in the field. And, of course, players will know exactly where they stand at all times while in play, which will ratchet up the drama, consequence and volatility of the competition down the stretch.”

Regarding the $10 million Wyndham Rewards Top 10, the Tour says it, “will also put an even greater premium on excelling over the course of the FedExCup Regular Season.”

The leader of the top 10 will earn $2 million, with the runner-up pocketing $1.5 million. The existing FedEx Cup bonus pool will now total $60 million—$25 million more than the existing pool. Accordingly, the FedEx Cup champion will earn $15 million, rather than the $10 million in the current system.

Alternatively, there’s Geoff Shackelford’s summary of the changes: “This will be easier to follow than the current system where algorithms proved consistently boring to follow. This has to be better…the FedExCup as we knew it, did not work.”

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GolfWRX Morning 9: The real problem with the FedEx Cup | Golfer at gunpoint | What elite junior golfers all do

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

September 18, 2018

Good Tuesday morning, golf fans.
1. Feinstein: the FedEx Cup Playoffs still aren’t right
Most agree the PGA Tour is yet to deliver the FedEx Cup (pardon the pun) of our collective dreams. John Feinstein offered some constructive criticism.
“Chances are good though, based on reports of the planned changes, that the tour still won’t get it right. It has been trying-sort of-for 12 years now to get it right. The problem is it doesn’t REALLY want to get it exactly right. Which is sad, because it shouldn’t be that difficult.”
  • “Because it wants so badly to convince the public that the events it controls are REALLY important, the tour barely gives more credit to those who win a major than to those who win the John Deere Classic or The CareerBuilder Challenge.”
  • “The winner of a regular tour event receives 500 FedExCup points. Those who win a WGC event-also part of the tour-receive 550 points.”
  • “Which is why a major should count for at least three times as much as a regular tour win in the points system. Winning a major is SO much harder than a regular tour event: the quality of the field; the pressure on Sunday; the understanding that you are playing for history, not just money.”
  • “It is ludicrous that Brooks Koepka won two majors this year and goes into the Tour Championship in seventh place on the points list. Tony Finau, who has not won anywhere, is third. Koepka could add the Tour Championship to his resume this week and NOT win the FedEx Cup. Seriously?”
Additionally, Feinstein levels the suggestion most of us agree on: the Playoffs should be actual playoffs.
2. …and speaking of still not right
Joel Beall follows up on the story of Montana parents being barred from watching their children play high school golf.
  • “It appears Kelly’s group has garnered a partial victory, as the MHSA has introduced a rule on a trial basis this fall that will allow non-participants on the course during events. Twelve guideline have been implemented, which state that spectators have to stay 40 yards from golfers and that cell phones must be turned off upon entering the property.”
  • “We will try it at all levels and see how it goes,” Luke Kloker of the MHSA executive board said to Montana’s Sidney Herald. “Every other state seems to be able to figure out how to make it work.”
  • “However, this pilot program will come with a price. The MHSA also announced that it will charge $10 for admission to the course for golf events. While it’s common for high-school sports like football, basketball, and baseball to charge entrance fees, it’s highly unusual for golf.”
What’s the rationale? Funding a beer cart?
3. Rosaforte on how Keegan made it all the way back
Tim Rosaforte does his usual picking of the low-hanging fruit and juicing it for all its worth with his latest: a look at Keegan Bradley’s resurgence. (Not a criticism of Tim. He does what he does and he does it well)
  • A morsel…”The decline in Bradley’s young career started with an exchange of high-profile swing coaches starting 2013, when he left Jim McLean for Chuck Cook and went back to McLean before settling on Darren May, an English teaching pro at The Bear’s Club.”
  • “We worked hard on making him accept the fact that he needs to be somewhat of an average putter, because his ball-striking and driving stats are so good,” May explained. “They’re all shooting scores in different ways.”
  • “Ranked second in strokes gained: approach and sixth in strokes gained: tee-to-green, Bradley ultimately fed off the success his close friend Webb Simpson achieved in 2018, when he overcame the anchor ban with a win at The Players and a spot on Furyk’s team.”
  • “Our career arc has been the same,” Bradley said, referring to Simpson. “Watching what he did really changed my mentality.”
  • “The final piece of Bradley’s resurrection were the words of encouragement passed along by Michael Jordan through a relationship cultivated at The Bear’s Club. Not long after he signed for the 78 at Ridgewood, Bradley started reading MJ’s inspirational words on his phone. His basic message: Take from the experience and build on it.”
4.  Evian finally has that major feel
Randall Mell writes (rightly) that major championships cannot be manufactured. Thus, the Evian was always going to have to grow into to fine garments the LPGA bought for it in awarding that status.
  • “There’s more to creating major-championship tradition than jacking up the purse, renovating a course and draping the winner in her country’s flag after it came flapping from the heavens under a skydiver’s parachute.”
  • “It takes Sundays like the one Angela Stanford delivered at Evian this past week….It was a big day for more than Stanford, who was such a feel-good story, breaking through at 40 to win her first major with her mother at home fighting a second bout with breast cancer.”
  • “It was a big day for LPGA commissioner Mike Whan and Evian Championship founder Franck Riboud…The Evian Championship finally measured up.”
5. Patty’s new Scotty?
While Reed is a free agent, he’s had nothing but success with an Odyssey White Hot Pro 3. Scotty Cameron is turning on the charm however, making the putter above to woo Captain America, according to David Dusek.
“A yellow box arrived at Titleist’s PGA Tour van Monday at East Lake Golf Club, containing a new, customized Scotty Cameron Tour Rat I putter that has a slightly darker, non-glare finish. While Reed is not a Titleist staff player, the putter, trimmed in red, white and blue, has Captain America stamped into the bumpers of the head, a nod to Reed’s nickname after the 2016 Ryder Cup.”
6. Want to be an elite junior golfer?
Our Brendan Ryan found some interesting results in exploring where PGA Tour pros played their junior golf.
  • “Based on the data of these 24 PGA Tour players, their average home course has a yardage of 6,772 and slope of 132. Wowzers! Can’t believe it? It makes perfect sense: To be competitive in golf, you must shoot under par. Shooting under par, like riding a bike, or walking, or writing, is a skill. It is developed through a combination of repetition and feedback.”
  • “Easier golf courses allow players the opportunity to shoot lower scores and build confidence. Over time, these skills become habit. When players enter tournaments, it is more likely they shoot under par. Breaking par at your home golf course is only the first step towards becoming an elite junior golfer. The data suggests that players (both boys and girls) need to average approximately 69 per round to win on the AJGA – on 6,800-yard courses for boys and just under 6,000 yards for girls.”
  • “No major championship venue has ever had a junior member go on to win, or even play, the PGA Tour. That’s right: the PGA Tour is not filled with junior members from Augusta National. Why? Because while playing Shinnecock Hills is an absolute treat, the course is extremely difficult, and 74 is a great score. Junior members at such courses create habits of shooting 74, and when they enter tournaments, like the AJGA, in general, they get beat.”
7. Coastal resorts weather the hurricane
Golfweek’s Martin Kaufmann reports…”Hurricane Florence inflicted untold millions of dollars of damage on the Carolinas, but most of the popular resort destinations along the coastline were not hit as hard as initially feared.”
“The hurricane looked like it was going to deliver a direct Category 4 blast to the coastline where North Carolina and South Carolina meet. The storm weakened as it made landfall but still wreaked havoc as it moved slowly across the Carolinas. But the damage was not as bad as initially feared.”
“North Myrtle Beach, S.C., Mayor Marilyn Hatley told the Myrtle Beach Sun News that she felt “blessed and thankful” that the area, while hit hard, didn’t suffer the devastation that had been anticipated.”
8. Odds to win the FedEx Cup
Per the Westgate Las Vegas SuperBook…
2/1: Bryson DeChambeau
11/5: Justin Rose
6/1: Tony Finau, Dustin Johnson
8/1: Justin Thomas
16/1: Brooks Koepka
40/1: Jason Day, Rory McIlroy
50/1: Keegan Bradley, Billy Horschel, Webb Simpson, Francesco Molinari
60/1: Bubba Watson, Cameron Smith
100/1: Tiger Woods, Phil Mickelson, Xander Schauffele, Patrick Reed, Patrick Cantlay
150/1: Tommy Fleetwood
250/1: Jon Rahm, Rickie Fowler
500/1: Aaron Wise, Paul Casey, Hideki Matsuyama, Kevin Na, Kyle Stanley
1000/1: Marc Leishman, Gary Woodland
5000/1: Patton Kizzire
9. Golfer threatened at gunpoint…for trying to retrieve his golf ball from somebody’s yard
Just the facts, ma’am…
KDKA CBS Pittsburgh report…”Police say a Butler County man pulled out a pistol and threatened a golfer who was trying to get a ball out of the man’s yard.”
  • “According to state police, a 42-year-old Butler man was playing golf at the Bonnie Brook Golf Course on Serene Lane around 2 p.m. Sunday when he hit a golf ball in the direction of a nearby home.”
  • “When the man went to retrieve the golf ball from the yard, a 55-year-old man came out and the two got into an argument…During the argument, the man pulled out a pistol and threatened the golfer.”
  • “The 55-year-old man will be cited with terroristic threats, simple assault and harassment. He has also been told not to contact the victim.”

 

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Tour News

Tour Rundown: Sangmoon Bae is headed back to the PGA Tour

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The schedulers may have whiffed with Tour Championship and Ryder Cup in back-to-back weeks, but that’s what we have on the horizon. As the 2017-18 PGA Tour season comes to a close, and with it, the Web.Com Tour playoffs, number one on everyone’s mind is next season: where will I play? Do I have status? Some of those questions were answered last week, so let’s run down the answers to the questions, in this week’s Tour Rundown.

Bae back on PGA Tour after Web.Com playoff win

The oldest event on the Web.Com Tour was the site of Sang-moon Bae’s comeback completion. Two years of mandatory military service in South Korea did little to derail the 32-year old’s professional career. Bae birdied the 72nd hole to hold off his challengers, including the eponymous Anders Albertson, to win the Albertson’s Boise Open at 19-under. Bae was a stroke off the first-round lead, then moved into a first-place tie after 36-holes. He continued to advance, seizing the 54-hole lead. Albertson caught fire on Sunday, making 5 birdies in his opening 9 holes. After a bogey stall at the 11th, Albertson birdied 5 of the closing 8 holes. Roberto Diaz of Mexico was tied with Bae after round 3, but a Sunday 68 dropped him back to 5th place. Bae guaranteed a return to the 2018-19 PGA Tour with his Idaho triumph.

Wu works wonders in Holland for KLM victory

Like Bae, Ashun Wu of China birdied the 72nd hole at The Dutch club, host site of The KLM championship on the European Tour. Like Bae, his closest pursuer (Chris Wood) failed to match it, and Wu walked away with his third career European tour title. Wood held a 1-stroke lead over Wu after 54 holes, and the battle to see which “W” would emerge with the “W,” came down to the final 9 holes. Wood played well, making 3 birdies in the inward half. They were sandwiched around a double-bogey at the 12th, and the Englishman closed with 5 pars to finish at 15-under. Wu’s card included only one hiccough, a front-nine bogey, and he was a bit more clutch when it counted. The victory moved Wu inside the top 50, in the season-long Race To Dubai.

Stanford claims first LPGA major title at Evian

For her entire career, Angela Stanford has been a fixture in the top 5 of major championships. It has been a wonder that she did not claim one of them until the fall of 2018. In France, Stanford mounted a final-round comeback, overcame 3rd round-leader Amy Olson, and captured the Evian Championship by one shot over Olson and 3 others. Stanford opened with 72 on Thursday, then dived into the 60s with abandon. Rounds of 64-68-68 brought her to 12-under par. The Texan was able to keep her head, despite an eagle-double-birdie stretch on holes 15-17. Austin Ernst had a clean card on Sunday, but 3 birdies were 1 shy of victory. Mo Martin also had 3 birdies on day 4, but 2 bogeys brought her back to 11-under with Ernst. Sei Young Kim and Olson both went above par in the 4th round, after playing marvelous golf through the first 3 days. Despite their struggles, they also finished in that second-place tie.

Broadhurst claims third title of PGA Tour Champions

Paul Broadhurst won his first 2 Champions title in 2016. After taking a break in 2017, the Englishman returned with abandon in 2018. Wins at the 2-man Bass Pro and the May Senior PGA were followed this week with a triumph in Michigan. Broadhurst overcame a surging Brandt Jobe, who birdied 5 of his firs 6, back-9 holes, before he stalled. Jobe reached 13-under to claim second place alone. Broadhurst finished in style, with birdie at the last, for a 2-shot win.

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