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GolfWRX Morning 9: Spieth & Kuchar: foosball showdown | PGA Tour schedule revealed | Bowdo finds a caddie on Twitter

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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 11, 2018

Good Wednesday morning, golf fans.
1. Behind schedule reveal of PGA Tour schedule now scheduled

 

Has there ever been this much interest in/focus on the PGA Tour calendar? (Probably, yes, during early FedEx Cup days). With plenty changing, a philosophical shift, and 11th hour developments, the Tour had its work cut out for it.  
  • The PGA Tour filled its DayTimer for 2018-2019 and revealed its plans to the world yesterday.
  • The FedEx Cup is now three events instead of four.
  • Two new tournaments: the Rocket Mortgage Classic June 24-30 in Detroit and the 3M Open at TPC Twin Cities in Minneapolis.
  • The RBC Canadian Open moves from late July to June 3-9.
  • The Players Championship moves from May to March (11-17) and the PGA Championship moves from August to May (13-19).
  • The final World Golf Championships event of the season will now be held at TPC Southwind in Memphis as the World Golf Championships-FedEx St. Jude Invitational.
  • The Houston Open and A Military Tribute at The Greenbrier move to the fall.
2. …Accordingly: Takes aplenty 
Scribes scrambled to put together perspective pieces on the new schedule late yesterday morning–a task made easier by the fact that 80% of it and most major developments were already know.

 

  • Writing for GolfChannel.com, Rex Hoggard offered praise and approval but cautioned that there will be an adjustment period to the condensed schedule.
  • “Essentially, the Tour had to shed four weeks off the season to move out of football’s shadow. Losing the Boston playoff event and the post-season “bye” week was half the bill. The Houston Open was relocated to the fall portion of the schedule, and the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational was replaced by an existing event in Memphis.
  • “If that all sounds clean and easy, consider that the run up to the post-season will now feature a major (The Open), a World Golf Championship (Memphis) and the Wyndham Championship. Including the three playoff stops, that’s five must-play events in a six-week window.
  • “How this congestion impacts events like Bay Hill or the AT&T Byron Nelson, which will now be played the week before the PGA Championship, remains to be seen, but there will be tough choices made.
  • “Consider the RBC Canadian Open, which has been mired in a post-Open Championship vortex, will now be played the week before the U.S. Open. Depending on where the American championship is played, the move could give the field in Canada a boost, but it’s hard to imagine how it’s going to lead to long-term improvements.”
  • ESPN’s Bob Harig praised moving the PGA Championship to May, however, he worries that given the host venues and time of year for that tournament, weather and conditioning could be problems. He praised wrapping the Playoffs before the NFL season begins, and also said, “golf-mad markets in Minneapolis and Detroit are rewarded with PGA Tour events, the Canadian Open moves off a tough date after The Open, the WGC event in Akron loses a sponsor in Bridgestone but picks up a big one in FedEx.”

 

3. Bowdo finds a new caddie via Twitter

 

The struggling, always entertaining, can’t-help-but-root-for Steven Bowditch put out a call for a caddie…on social media.
  • Desperate times call for…calling for caddie applications on Twitter. That’s right, Bowditch fired off this tweet.
  • “Any local kids/college players in the Quad cities area that are interested in caddying in the tournament this week, this thread is for you. The best response/reason gets the job. 2pm Tues start, finish Friday. 1% chance Sunday. Payment: all leftover gloves and balls are yours.”
  • Bowditch ended up hiring 16-year-old Elias Francque.
4. What the heck is John Peterson going to do now? 

 

A few morsels from Golf Channel’s Ryan Lavner…

 

  • “Traveling and being away from his young family is the biggest reason why Peterson – 29 years old and in the prime of his career – is choosing to walk away from the PGA Tour, after he failed, in excruciating fashion, to earn the necessary FedExCup points to keep conditional status.”
  • Peterson’s early career laid the foundation for his retirement…”All year the 2011 NCAA champion had been torn between two career paths. Because of his status, he usually played only one tournament a month, leaving plenty of time for him to make inroads in his next career, in real estate and business development. Then, a week or two before his next scheduled start, he’d return to the range and try to sharpen his game, usually with uninspiring results.”

 

5. A secret rematch!
 
Apparently, Matt Kuchar and Jordan Spieth already had an Open Championship rematch…on the foosball table.
  • Dave Shedloski writes: They’ve already had their rematch. It occurred in upstate New York in front of only a handful of witnesses instead of a global audience. But no matter. Matt Kuchar wasn’t going to lose to Jordan Spieth again. He was determined. He knew he what he was doing and that he had a secret weapon. He would get his revenge.
  • “Less than six weeks after Spieth summoned a transcendent rally to stun Kuchar in last year’s Open Championship at Royal Birkdale, the two men had it out in a different venue. No major title was on the line, but each brought the same intensity reminiscent of their duel for the claret jug. Two of the nicest men in golf got nose to nose. Things got heated. Before anyone knew it, there ensued a lot of kicking and screaming.
  • “And then a lot of trash talking. And laughter. Lots of laughter. And, yes, the tables had turned. This time there would be no rally for the young Texan. Kuchar owned him. He was king of the foosball table.”
6. Bryson won’t back down
I mean, with respect to the compass, he will, because that’s now an illegal instrument that he needs to put back in his pencil box…but in general, BAD will continue to push the limit, Tim Rosaforte says.    
  • “In the wake of the ruling, DeChambeau has gone silent. He plans on making a statement at a Wednesday news conference in Silvis, Ill., deflecting follow-up questions and moving on. With the Open Championship coming up and a genuine chance to make his first Ryder Cup team, DeChambeau is hoping to make his golf speak for him while he sorts out a new invention for his science of green reading.
  • ‘”Maybe he outsmarts some of the other guys because he takes a different approach to the game,” said DeChambeau’s manager, Brett Falkoff. “He’s doing it different, his way.””
  • “He’s working on a couple different things that he can come up with,” said a source close to DeChambeau. “He’s always been an innovator in trying new things … so it’s not going to stop him.”
7. Dylan Meyer & chronic disease

 

The bespectacled Tour rookie has Crohn’s Disease. Mike McAllister does of good job of explaining exactly what that means for the 23-year-old.  
  • “Every eight weeks — whether in his hometown of Evansville, Indiana, or on the road at a golf tournament — Dylan Meyer has an appointment at a nearby expanded care hospital. After signing in, he’s hooked to an IV containing Remicade, an anti-inflammatory drug that treats autoimmune diseases. For Meyer, the target is his large intestine.

     

  • “The infusion takes two hours and essentially shuts down his immune system, leaving him in a vulnerable state. If he breathes in the wrong germ or suffers an infection, the symptoms will be heightened, perhaps 10-fold worse than usual.

     

  • “I have to be very cautious of what I’m around and who I’m around,” Meyer said. Once the last drip of Remicade enters his vein, he then receives a hydration IV for an additional 20 minutes. Only then is he cleared to leave, allowed to resume his life and his new career as a pro golfer until his next appointment in eight weeks.

     

  • “Meyer has adhered to this schedule ever since he was diagnosed with ulcerative colitis just over a year ago, and for the rest of his life, he must make every one of those appointments, even adjust his playing or practice routine or travel plans if necessary. Given that he’s just 23 years old – his birthday is today — he can look forward to a lot of Remicade IVs. He has no choice, though. If he doesn’t get the treatment, his health is jeopardized.”

     

8. “With a name like Duff, he should work in golf”

 

Such is the headline for John Clarke’s New York Times chat with Stewart Duff, 50, Gullane’s course manager, ahead of the Scottish Open.
  • Q: What added pressure comes with hosting the Scottish Open?
  • “I think it’s just the expectancy of everybody. I come from the small town, Gullane, of about 3,500 people. Most people play golf and are members of the golf club and play the courses around Gullane. The golf course is very much a part of the town. You want it in the best possible condition for them, yourself, the staff and members and the town as well. And of course the tour players. It’s a lot of pressure to please everybody, but it’s good to have pressure.”

     

  • Q: In June, a summer storm with winds reaching nearly 70 miles per hour blew apart a hospitality tent at the course. Are winds an issue at Gullane?

     

  • “We are a very exposed links course, but we generally don’t get winds like that. That was just one of those freak incidents. It was installed right, it just came down in the winds.”
9. TaylorMade “GAPR”?

 

Cool story because it’s an illustration of golf equipment released in the web 2.0 world and its associated ecosystem.
  • GolfWRX staff recently spotted a photo of a TaylorMade “GAPR” driving iron in our GolfWRX Forums, and some more photos from around the Internet. One of the photos in our Forum Thread has emojis and text added to the photo, implying that @haotong66 – which is HaoTong Li’s Instagram handle – originally posted the photo.
  • There’s more to the story, including photos posted by TaylorMade rep, Chris Trott. So while TMag is mum, we’re starting to piece together the details.
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5 things we learned Thursday at the 2018 Open Championship

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The dirt during the run-up to Carnoustie and the 2018 Open Championship wasn’t exactly dirt, but it wasn’t far off. The brown fairways, the nearly-as-fast-as-the-greens stimpmeter readings, and the lunar bounces and run-outs signaled something not far from the US Open at Shinnecock Hills last month.

Names like Molinari, Fleetwood, Koepka and Reed were mentioned as challengers for the Claret jug. When Thursday arrived, the winds did not blow and the rains failed to fall. Carnoustie offered hope across the front nine, then exacted her revenge over her closing stretch.

We learned a few things about how this year’s curse, and tournament, will play out over the weekend. It’s your turn to find out what we discovered.

1. No layup is safe, no bunker or burn is out of reach

We watched in disbelief as Tiger Woods hit 6-iron 277 yards into a drive-zone bunker. We sat aghast as Sergio Garcia drove 400 yards into the Barry Burn, then played out of the brine. Those fairways at the mouth of the river Tay were a hacker’s dream and a tournament professional’s nightmare. Yardage books and round strategies might go out the window after round one. Carnoustie’s lumps and lows carom balls across the pasture with reckless, unpredictable abandon. Conclusion: three more days of viewing enjoyment.

2. The greens beguile, no matter the speed, no matter the golfer

The commentators were inconsistent with their explanations on how the putting surfaces changed as the day wore on. As soon as one said that the greens firmed up as the day went on, another suggested that they slowed down. The winds did pick up a bit, explaining the drying of the putting surfaces throughout the day. The biggest victim was Tiger Woods, who could not dial in his lag speed, and left putt after putt some five feet shy of the hole. Some he made, some he missed. Know this: the big cat awakened with a stiff neck, requiring the application of medical tape. The oddest bit of apparel since Martin Kaymer’s 2011 scarf had wags and fans wondering how badly hurt he was.  All things considered, even-par 71 was a triumph for Tiger Woods.

3. It isn’t smart to bet against Brooks Koepka

The tougher the challenge, the higher he rises. The course brought the two-time US Open champion to his literal knees, with two doubles and two singles over a five-hole stretch on the front nine. By day’s end, he stood a bit taller at one over, 72. For those who think he’s out of it, he was six back of the first round leader at Shinnecock in June, and today, he sits 6 shots behind Kevin Kisner after day one of The Open.

4. Tony Finau wants us to believe in him

A month after he played in Sunday’s final pairing at the US Open, Finau is again in the mix in a major championship. Finau etched 8 birdies on his card, signed for four under, 67, and sat in a three-person tie for 2nd after day one. Easily ranking as one of the most relaxed, restrained players of championship golf, today Finau was electric, but four bogeys per round won’t do over the next three days.

5. And your leader is…

Kevin Kisner. The South Carolina native began with four fours then made his only bogey of the round at the fifth . Unfazed, he eagled the sixth and uncovered four birdies over the closing 12 holes, for 66. The two-time PGA Tour winner wasn’t flawless from tee to green. He depended greatly on the flat stick to salvage his round. Par putts over the closing holes all dropped in, from six to 26 feet, and Kisner was atop the board after 18 holes. Odds are he won’t stay there, as no one makes all his putts. Kisner will need to find his approach play tomorrow to remain in the mix.

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Tiger arrives at Carnoustie with KT Tape on neck

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Two black strips of tape are peeking out above Tiger Woods collar and the golf world is losing its mind. Woods arrived for his first round at Carnoustie with what appears to be KT Tape on his neck.

The tape, popularly worn by Michelle Wie in any number of configurations, is designed to “reduce tissue pressure.”

Further, KT Tape’s website explains more of the thinking behind the tape

“When an area of the body is injured through impact or over-use, the lymphatic fluid builds up causing inflammation and swelling. This accumulation of lymphatic fluids may cause increased pressure on muscles and tissue which can cause significant discomfort or pain…It is believed that when applied correctly, KT Tape lifts the skin, decompressing the layers of fascia, allowing for greater movement of lymphatic fluid which transports white blood cells throughout the body and removes waste products, cellular debris, and bacteria.”

So, there you have it.

But what’s going on with Woods specifically. Well, we don’t know. Is Woods having issues with his quadriply surgically repaired back? Did he wake up with a stiff neck after a rough night of sleep in a hotel bad (as has happened before)?

We don’t know yet. Of course, that hasn’t stemmed the tide of panic. News of he tape was not well received in the Twitterverse.

We’ll update this story when we know more, however, Woods’ camp says it’s “no big deal” and that Woods merely woke up with a stiff neck, according to Steve DiMeglio of USA Today.

 

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GolfWRX Morning 9: Rory wants to be this guy again | 2 incredible stories | Tiger the reimagined

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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 19, 2018

Good Thursday morning, golf fans. As Rob Miller aptly tweeted, I have no idea who is leading The Open. [looks at leaderboard] I have no idea who is leading The Open. Erik Van Rooyen, a South African currently playing on the European Tour, leads ’em all at the time of this writing.
1. Carefree Rory?
That is, Rory wants to be carefree, on the golf course, at least.More like the guy pictured above, if you will.
  • Ryan Lavner of Golf Channel writes...”I just think, as you get older, you get a little more cautious in life,” said McIlroy, 29. “I think it’s only natural. There’s something nice about being young and being oblivious to some stuff. The more I can get into that mindset, the better I’ll play golf.”
  • “And so on the eve of this Open, as he approaches the four-year anniversary of his last major title, McIlroy finds himself searching for a way to channel that happy-go-lucky 18-year-old who was about to take the world by storm, to tap into the easygoing excellence that once defined his dominance.”
  • “…McIlroy has at times looked unsettled between the ropes. It’s difficult to compute, how someone with seemingly so much – a résumé with four majors, a robust bank account, a beautiful wife – can also appear disinterested and unmotivated.”
  • “I think sometimes I need to get back to that attitude where I play carefree and just happy to be here,” he said. “A golf tournament is where I feel the most comfortable. It’s where I feel like I can 100 percent be myself and express myself. Sometimes the pressure that’s put on the top guys to perform at such a level every week, it starts to weigh on you a little bit. The more I can be like that kid, the better.”
2. Ash Turner’s incredible story
Ged Scott chronicles Turner’s “journey from cerebral palsy to his first golf major.”
  • A taste…”A freakish accident at the age of one, when he fell into a fish tank and fractured his skull, left him with a rare form of cerebral palsy. There were fears he may never be able to walk properly again….Incredibly, the 22-year-old from Lincolnshire is now preparing to play in the 147th Open Championship – his first major tournament.”
  • “The condition he suffered from until the age of six, called ataxia, affected muscle control in his arms and legs. His parents, Simon and Angie, turned to golf as a way of improving his co-ordination and balance.”
  • “I don’t remember much,” he said. “Only what my parents have told me, but the main problem was that I couldn’t put my heel on the floor properly and would only walk on my toes. When I fell over, I wouldn’t put my hands out, so for the first three years at school I had to wear a crash helmet.”
  • “My dad had played a lot of golf when he was younger. And so my parents bought me some plastic clubs to see if it would help. And it did…I was soon smashing the ball out of our back garden, which was when they bought my first proper set of clubs.”
3. Tiger Woods, recalibrated
Excellent stuff from Christine Brennan discussing the shift in Tiger Woods’ rhetoric about his golf game in the course of this comeback effort.
  • “He still says he wants to win (who doesn’t?), but because he hasn’t won a major in more than 10 years, his expectations understandably have been lowered. The drive and impatience that made Tiger who he was for at least a dozen years have been replaced by age and perspective. Personal scandal, injuries, surgeries and the march of time have changed the golfer who for so many years looked untouchable.”
  • “He fought this development for several years, exuding a confidence that his play simply could not match. Now, he appears to have accepted it. And with acceptance comes the freedom to dream again, but in a different way.”
  • “Each tournament I keep coming back to, I keep feeling a little bit better because I’m starting to play some golf again,” Woods said Tuesday when asked about his confidence level going into this major compared with the first two of the year. “I feel like I have a better understanding of my game and my body and my swing, much more so than I did at Augusta (for the Masters in April).
  • “That’s just going to come with a little bit more experience, and I think that I’ve made a few adjustments. I’ve changed putters. I’ve tweaked my swing a little bit since the West Coast swing. And everything’s gotten just a little bit better. I’ve put myself up there in contention a couple times. Just need to play some cleaner golf, and who knows?”
4. What’s the big deal?
Karen Crouse frames Brittany Lincicome’s start at the Barbasol as a “what’s the big deal?” moment since Brittany has played with the boys her whole life. While that may take something away from the magnitude of said moment, it’s an interesting take.
  • “Lincicome, a Florida native, played from the back tees through high school, where she held the No. 1 spot on the boys’ team, and she does the same these days in practice rounds with her husband, Dewald Gouws, a former long-drive champion.
  • Now 32, Lincicome will not be trying to make a statement by competing against men this week at a PGA Tour event. She regards her appearance here at the Barbasol Championship, an event taking place opposite the third men’s major, the British Open, not as a glimpse of the future but as a return to her roots.
  • “I have played with a lot of guys growing up,” Lincicome said, “and I just feel like they push me to want to be better and play better.”
  • Regardless, it’s an interesting contrast to the furor that surrounded Annika Sorenstam’s inclusion in the Colonial field.
5. Whither the weather?
Because it’s The Open, weather will be a major storyline this week…even if it ultimately turns out to be an absence of weather and scoring is low, weather will remain an focal point.
Thus, we ought to take a look at the forecast, no?
  • Thursday: High of 68 degrees and sunny with just a few clouds early with skies becoming partly cloudy later in the day. Wind 5 mph or less until late morning when breeze moves up near 10 mph with gusts near 15. Wind moves up close to 15 mph later in afternoon with gusts around 20 mph.
  • Friday: High in upper 60s once again, with 80-90 percent chance of rain in the morning with winds around 10 mph and gusts just short of 15 mph. Cloudy in afternoon with some rain showers and winds fading slightly.
  • Saturday: High of 64 degrees. Skies mostly cloudy early and then partly cloudy later in day. Just 20 percent chance of rain. Winds 5-10 mph all day with gusts up to 15 mph.
  • Sunday: Temperature to reach into lower 70s. Similar to Saturday with cloudy skies early before partly cloud in afternoon. Once again, just 20 percent chance of rain. Wind at its strongest, around 10 mph with 15-20 mph gusts in the morning. Will get up to 15 mph with gusts almost to 25 mph later in afternoon.
Of course, all of that could change in an instant…
6. Think winning at Carnoustie is hard?

…Try winning at the host of The Open with one arm. Dan Shepherd caught up with Mike Benning, winner of the 1994 Society of One-Armed Golfers world championship at Carnoustie.

  • He writes…”When things get challenging during the 147th Open this week on the Championship Course at Carnoustie Golf Links in Scotland, the players would do well to think of Mike Benning-specifically the fortitude he channeled into success at the venerable venue.”
  • “Benning grew up with golf at Congressional while his father, Bob, was head professional at the iconic country club in Bethesda, Md. Due to a rare form of cancer, Benning, who was already a top junior in the Washington, D.C. area, lost his left arm below the elbow to amputation at age 14.”
  • “Rather than let that stop him from playing, he learned to adapt. So much so that he won back-to-back Society of One-Armed Golfers world championships in 1993-94. The first win came at Seaford Golf Course in Sussex, England, in 1993. Benning defended his title at Carnoustie in 1994, the 56th and 57th renditions of the annual event, which began in the 1930s.
  • “Benning was low medalist in stroke play at Seaford, shooting 80-81-161. With the top 16 finishers advancing to match play, Benning won four matches in two days to become champion. He went to Carnoustie the next year full of confidence but couldn’t find the form initially that carried him at Seaford, qualifying 10th in medal play.”
7. Up and down
Based on your handicap, how often should you actually get up and down? It’s a good question. Most of us hope to save par every time we miss the green, but do you know how often the pros do that…a 25 handicapper?
  • According to Peter Sanders, the pros get up and down roughly 64 percent of the time. A 10 handicapper does so 32 percent of the time, and a 25 handicapper does 15 percent of the time.
8. The purest form of golf

Zach Johnson, maker of 11 Open cuts in a row, winner in 2015…

  • “I just think it’s the purest form of golf that we have,” Johnson said. “Whatever Mother Nature has is what you get. More than that I’ve gotten accustomed to bumps and rolls, hitting it low, hitting it high, getting accustomed to the speed of the greens. I think the main key there is I’ve just embraced it, you know what I mean?”
  • “I love it,” Johnson said. “My game feels good. It’s one of those things, I don’t know what to hit on each tee box and even if you think you know, you might get a bad bounce right where you want it and it may not work. It’s a matter of patience.”
9. For your listening pleasure
As we inch toward the weekend, a couple of audible items for your listening pleasure.
First, Johnny chatted with Bob Lamkin of Lamkin grips (Bob’s always a great interview). They discussed–among a number of other subjects–Jack Nicklaus’ grip preferences.
Second, Michael WIlliams talked with famed architect David McLay-Kidd and commentator Mark Rolfing about the challenges of Carnoustie, among other subjects.
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