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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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Danny Willett spotted with new Odyssey prototype putter, putter shaft

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You may have seen Danny Willett’s name near the top of the leaderboard at the DP World Tour Championship in Dubai. At 10 under, the Englishman sits one stroke behind fellow countryman Matt Wallace.

You may not have seen, however, that the 2016 Masters champ has a new Odyssey prototype putter in the bag.

(Photo by Andrew Redington/Getty Images)

(Photo by Francois Nel/Getty Images)

All the company would say

“Willett first put in his new gamer last week at the Nedbank Challenge. Willett’s prototype putter also features a new prototype Odyssey shaft to help improve the consistency of the putting stroke.”

Willet has historically favored his blade-style Odyssey O-Works #1 W. More recently, at the Turkish Airlines Open, we spotted him with an Odyssey Versa Jailbird Black. However, the prototype in question is clearly a heel-shafted mallet with a different insert than the 1 W or the Jailbird. The insert looks to be the White Hot Microhinge. Obviously, the two-tone, potentially multi-material, shaft, and the technology therein, is notable as well. Also apparently two-tone, the putter head, which looks similar in shape to a Tank Cruiser and similarly has a pair of sole weights.

Do we need the TG2 to break down the few photos we have like the Zapruder film? We’ll continue digging, in the meantime, let us know what you think, GolfWRX Members!

 

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McIlroy snaps back at McGinley criticism: “Next year, I’m looking out for me”

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Earlier this week, Rory McIlroy suggested that he would leave the European Tour in 2019 which produced criticism from Irish golfer and analyst Paul McGinley, who called the decision “extraordinary” and “hard to understand.”

McIlroy, who is currently in action at the DP World Tour Championship in Dubai, indicated before the event that he would only play in two “pure” European Tour events next year. When told about McGinley’s negative reaction to the news on Thursday, McIlroy hit back in unrepentant style. The 29-year-old defiantly expressed how 2019 will be the year he puts himself first in a bid to end a major drought dating back to 2014, while also suggesting that just like himself, McGinley has his own interests in mind.

“McGinley is on the European Tour board. He’s involved and he has to protect what he has, and I get it. Everyone has to do what’s best for them and for me next year I’m trying to do what’s best for me to help get back to the best player in the world and try to win majors again.”

Should McIlroy decide not to renew his European Tour membership for 2019, he would be unable to captain his continent in future Ryder Cup’s, due to a European Tour rule introduced last year. When asked about his thoughts on that particular issue, McIlroy appeared to show no concern, bluntly replying: “It’s 20 years away”.

McIlroy confirmed that he had met with European Tour chief executive Keith Pelley in South Africa last week to brief him on his plans for 2019. But while the move to quit the European Tour looks increasingly likely, McIlroy was not ready to drop any bombshells in Dubai, and even poked fun at the controversy, stating

“Geez, I’d cause all the stirs in the world if I go back to winning majors. Next year I am looking out for me. At the same time, I don’t have to make a decision on it. I didn’t say it was a definite. It is up in the air. We’ll see how it goes.”

McIlroy has until next May to decide whether or not to renew his European Tour membership for 2019.

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GolfWRX Morning 9: McIlroy: Looking out for No. 1 | Ogilvy: Aus. Open is “second class” | Hole-in-one: yardage unknown

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

November 16, 2018

Good Friday morning, golf fans.
1. Kuch Down Under + player doesn’t know hole distance, makes hole-in-one anyway, wins $17K watch
Matt Kuchar went, “from Hola to Aloha,” at the Mayakoba Classic, to continuing his strong form some 9,000 miles away at the Australian Open.
  • Aus. Associated Press…”South Korea’s Byeong Hun An has sensationally reclaimed the Australian Open lead with a hole-in-one late in his second round.”
  • “Starting Friday with the lead at The Lakes, An watched as American Matt Kuchar and Australian amateur David Micheluzzi entered the clubhouse at seven under par after playing in the morning wave.”
  • “But An shot back to the top of the leaderboard with an ace at the 197m par-3 15th that rocketed the former US Amateur champion to eight under.”
  • “Hit it good, nice fading back to the hole and went in. This is my third one but first with a prize,” the smiling Korean said after earning himself a $17,000 Swiss watch. “It was a soft seven iron. I didn’t even know the distance. My caddie just said to hit seven iron and take five (metres) off.”
2. …of course, also on the subject of the Australian Open…
Geoff Ogilvy, one of the most eloquent and outspoken major winners from Australia had some strong words about the state of his national open.
  • Golfweek’s Kevin Casey on Ogilvy’s remarks’…”Unfortunately, the Australian Open appears to be stuck in a bit of a rut. Tiger Woods has participated in the event and past winners include Jack Nicklaus, Gary Player, Tom Watson, Adam Scott, Rory McIlroy and Jordan Spieth.”
  • “But in this week’s edition, Scott, Jason Day and Marc Leishman are famous countrymen who have decided not to be a part of the field.”
  • “It signals the continuing issues the event has with getting the strong fields it used to. And Aussies can’t help but take notice.”
  • “I hate to say this, but the Australian Open feels like a second-rate tournament now,” Geoff Ogilvy said, per Golfmagic.com. “I’m sure it is run in the same way it was 30 years ago, but tournaments elsewhere have progressed so much, and the differences show.” [NOTE: Golfmagic.com pulled from Ogilvy’s exclusive column for Golf Australia]
3. Meanwhile, in Dubai…
The official game story from EuropeanTour.com…”Jordan Smith and Adrian Otaegui shared the lead after day one of the DP World Tour Championship, Dubai as Francesco Molinari tightened his grip on the European Tour’s season-long crown.”
  • “Smith and Otaegui carded rounds of 66 at Jumeirah Golf Estates to sit at six under, one shot clear of defending champion Jon Rahm and Major Championship winner Danny Willett….Italian Molinari knows a tie for fifth with one other or better will secure him the Race to Dubai title and he was just a shot further back after a 68 on the Earth Course.”
  • Defending champion Tommy Fleetwood needs a victory at the eighth and final Rolex Series event of the season to have any chance of denying Molinari, and the Englishman was three shots off the lead after a 69.

Full piece.

4. And at Sea Island…
Unofficially, a Titleist man now, Chucky Three Sticks got off to a stellar start at Sea Island.
PGATour.com’s Sean Martin…”Charles Howell III knew he needed to take advantage of Thursday’s tee time on Sea Island’s Plantation Course.”
  • “It was cold and windy during the first round of The RSM Classic. The inland Plantation Course, with its tree-lined fairways, protected players from the worst of the weather, though. Plantation played nearly a stroke under par Thursday, while players averaged more than one stroke over par on the Sea Island Resort’s Seaside Course.”
  • “Howell lowered Plantation’s scoring average even more with an 8-under 64 that gave him a two-shot lead after The RSM Classic’s first-round lead…He hit every fairway and every green for the first time in his career. It was the seventh time he hit all 18 greens in a single round.”
  • “I think sometimes playing these difficult conditions it forces you to stay a bit more present, it forces you to stay kind of in the moment a bit,” he said. “It’s hard to get too far ahead of yourself because of the difficulty of every shot coming.”
5. Closing stretch of the Race
Ron Sirak…”Nothing like the prospect of winning $1 million to mess up your mind a wee bit. In the final Race to the CME Globe before the CME Group Tour Championship changes its format, the five players who can win the bonus by winning here find themselves looking up at Amy Olson with Nasa Hataoka having the best view.”
  • “Olson blistered Tiburón Golf Club for a nine-under-par 63 in Thursday’s first round of the LPGA’s season-ending event while Hataoka, one of the five with one hand on the bonus, was a stroke back along with Brittany Lincicome after a birdie barrage on a Tiburón course softened by early morning rain.”
  • “The 63 by Olson, who teed off in a drizzle in the second group, was one off the tournament course record by Lydia Ko in 2016. Hataoka nearly matched her, making eight birdies, including the final two holes, while Lincicome would have shared the lead if not for a bogey on the final hole. Lexi Thompson is at 65 with Carlota Ciganda at 66 and Lindy Duncan and Pannarat Thanapolboonyaras at 67.”
6. McIlroy: “I’m doing Me-Ilroy”
Well, that’s not exactly what the Ulsterman said, but essentially…
  • And while he’ll attract criticism, rightly or wrongly, it’s worth noting the extreme degree of selfishness required to be the best (perhaps something McIlroy has been questioned for not having in the past). If one wants to be the best golfer in the world, prep for and peak at majors, playing the vast majority of one’s golf on the PGA Tour is the only route. With all due respect to Justin Thomas, it is the route nearly ever recent No. 1 has taken. And Rory should act differently because he is…from Northern Ireland? What sense does that make?
  • Via Alistair Tait at Golfweek...”Everyone has to look out for themselves and next year I’m looking out for me,” McIlroy said. “At the same time, I don’t have to make a decision on it.”
  • “I didn’t say that it was a definite. It’s up in the air. I don’t have to make a decision till May. We’ll see how it goes. McGinley is on the European Tour board, he’s involved and he has to protect what he has and I get it.
  • “Everyone has to do what’s best for them and, for me next year, I’m trying to do what’s best for me to help get back to the best player in the world and try to win majors again.”
7. Rounding out the lineup
The steady drip of details/stuff they’ve just figured out continues with the announcement of the, well, announcers.
  • Golfworld’s Stephen Hennessey...”Tiger’s buddy Charles Barkley, along with Samuel L. Jackson, will work as special guests of the pre-match coverage, and they’ll also contribute during select moments of the actual competition, according to event organizers. Long-time TNT Sports anchor Ernie Johnson will provide the play-by-play, and Peter Jacobson and Darren Clarke will offer their analysis as color commentators.”
  • “Current PGA Tour pro Pat Perez, who like Mickelson and Woods grew up in California and competed against Tiger as a junior golfer, will also join the pre-match coverage with Bleacher Report’s Adam Lefkoe. LPGA star Natalie Gulbis and FOX Sports reporter Shane Bacon will provide reports from inside the ropes.”

Full piece.

8. Inside Kuch’s switcharoo
I talked with a few of Bridgestone’s ball wonks about staffer Matt Kuchar’s ball switch ahead of his Mayakoba win.
  • One of those changes: his golf ball. Now, given Kuch’s club head speed last year – 107.97 mph (183rd on Tour) – your wouldn’t have thought the happy warrior would  switch to a lower-spinning golf ball. However, that’s just what he did, making the move from Bridgestone’s Tour B XS to its Tour B X. And according to the company, he did so after a recent fitting session in which he was driving the X seven yards farther than the XS.
  • I had a chance to ask , and Adam Rehberg, the company’s Golf Ball Fitting Manager, about the switch.
  • So, what was the thinking/data that had Matt Kuchar playing the XS originally?…Elliot Mellow, Bridgestone’s Golf Ball Marketing Manager: “Matt had historically been in our higher spin spec – he appreciated the spin control into and around the green. For years, the B330-S and then the Tour B XS, allowed Matt to hit his windows and optimize trajectory. As he started to reevaluate his fit, there were really two things in play here that allowed the door to be opened for Matt to explore a more distance spec ball: Over the years, we have continued to soften the covers of all Tour balls. So in our distance spec, the Tour B X, you really don’t sacrifice spin for distance, it still is a great spin control ball with irons and wedges. The other thing to consider is some of the club set-ups for Matt have changed, which allowed us to reevaluate his fit.”
9. Debating the left-foot flare
For something a little different, here’s a piece from our Rod Lidenberg that we published late yesterday. Lidenberg debates the merits of the flared left foot at address (ala Ben Hogan’s suggestions). Needless to say, it’s awakening a strong response from the GolfWRX readership.
  • A taste of Ron’s argument...”The subject of this piece is not to debate Hogan’s hip action but the piece that accompanied it, the 15-degree flare of the left foot. I’m of the opinion that it is not only wrong. Because of its toxic nature, it is DEAD WRONG.  The reason has to do with the tailbone, which determines the motion of the hips in the swing. The more the left foot opens up at address, the more the tailbone angles backward. That encourages the hips to “spin out” in the downswing, which means they have turned before the player’s weight has been allowed to move forward to their left foot and left knee.”
  • “As a consequence of the hips spinning out, players move their weight backward (toward the right foot), encouraging a swing that works out-to-in across the body. You can see this swing played out on the first tee of any public golf course on a Saturday morning.”
  • “The problem with the 15-degree foot flare is that it promotes, if not guarantees, the following swing issues:…In the backswing, the flared left foot: 1: Discourages a full left- hip turn. 2: Encourages the improper motion of the left-knee outward rather than back. 3: Reduces the degree that the torso can turn because of the restrictions placed on the left hip.”
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