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GolfWRX Morning 9: Non-conforming wedge at U.S. Senior Women’s Open | Compassgate | ANGC lengthening the 5th?

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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 12, 2018

Good Thursday morning, golf fans.
1. A non-conforming wedge…at the U.S. Senior Women’s Open

 

One the hand hand, this makes sense: The competitors at the U.S. Senior Women’s Open are largely amateurs or pros who are no longer playing. Thus, it was always going to be likely that some of the women were, say, playing with wedges that no longer conform, etc.
  • Still, it’s a shocking headline along the lines of “senior citizen gets arrested”
  • Per Golfweek’s Beth Ann Nichols…”JoAnne Carner got the shock of her life when she got to player registration at the inaugural U.S. Senior Women’s Open. At the end of the table was a gentleman from the USGA who manages equipment conformance who asked Carner a few questions. It wasn’t long before Carner realized that her trusty Wilson R-90 wedge wouldn’t make it to the first tee.”
  • Carner estimates she’s had the club in her bag for three decades, roughly the same amount of time she has waited for a Senior Women’s Open. “Oh, it was awful,” said Carner of parting with a club that’s been critical to her game around the greens and from 75 yards out for so many years. It felt like parting with an old friend.
  • Full story…and note the featured image is a Wilson R-90 not Carner’s actual R-90
2. Latest in Compassgate 

 

  • “Look, I’ll say one thing on that,” he told reporters. “I will say it’s unfortunate. That was never my intention, to skirt the rules or anything like that. It was just a device I thought had been used for a long time in different fields. It shouldn’t be an issue. It’s not a distance-measuring device. It’s just a referencing tool.”
  • “I’m not trying to push the game in any direction; I’m trying to utilize every tool in my brain to be able to reference information and get information in a way that I can utilize to the best of my ability,” he said Wednesday. “We want to see what’s allowable, and what information we can gather, and how much resolution can we have under that type of information.”

 

3. ANGC lengthening the fifth?

 

While the venerable club is surely pleading the fifth, sources say the home of the Masters is in the process of adding 30 yards to the fifth hole.
  • Per Golf Chanel…“The hole currently plays upwards of 455 yards and was the fifth-most difficult par 4 at this year’s Masters Tournament.”

 

  • “The new hole will play upwards of 485 yards in an attempt to restore the shot value that has been taken away by the distances achieved by the modern game,” Rosaforte said. “Instead of 3-woods and 7-irons, the new fifth should require a driver and a 5-iron, at the very least, depending upon the conditions.”
  • “It was first reported in February that the fifth hole would likely be lengthened. The change is expected to alleviate congestion between the tee and the nearby fourth green and includes plans to curve the road – which has been closed to public traffic since 2015 – around the new fifth tee…This is the first club-enacted course change since six holes were altered in 2006.”

 

4. 2 big problems with club fitting 

 

Writing for GolfWRX, the eminent Bobby Clampett says…

 

  • “The first culprit is clubs that are designed to correct a slice. I’ve had several first-time students take lessons with me this season who had been recently fit for clubs from a wide range of club fitters. Some of these students had significant out-to-in swing paths through impact and all were chronic faders/slicers of the golf ball. The clubs recommended to them were “anti-slice” clubs. All the grips were small (standard size), and the woods (especially the drivers) were upright with the sliding weights put in the heel. The irons were “jacked-upright” as much as 8 degrees.”
  • “The second problem that seems to be growing in the industry is the focus on increased distance with the irons. I don’t mean to be too blunt here, but who cares how far you hit an 8-iron! Today’s pitching wedge is yesterday’s 9-iron. My pitching wedge is set at 49 degrees, and my 9-iron is 44 degrees (about the standard loft for today’s pitching wedge). The only two clubs in the bag that should be designed for distance are your driver and your 3-wood. All the other clubs should be set for proper gapping and designed to improve consistency and proximity to the hole.”

 

5. Reed: Tiger & Phil should put up their own money in match
 
It’s a sentiment that has been voiced elsewhere, but to hear Patrick Reed say it is interesting: Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson should each wager $5 million of their own money in their potential $10 million duel.
  • “I would pay a little bit more to watch it if it was for their own money, for sure,” Reed said. “It’s going to be entertaining. I think it would be more entertaining if it was for their own money because I think the guys would grind even harder. 
  • “I’ll be curious to see it because I feel like one match, 18 holes, not your own money, it’s just kind of an exhibition.”
  • Captain America also offered this suggestion: “I think it would be pretty cool if it was at night, like a three-round knockout,” Reed said. “Have old school (equipment), persimmon woods and balata balls, and then put them in their normal stuff and play a round at night. Have fun with it.”
6. On that note: Tiger vs. Phil prop bets

 

While the match between the two golfing heavyweights is yet to be confirmed, and a date is yet to be set-heck, Tiger Woods hasn’t even said anything about the possibility since The Players-that hasn’t stopped the oddsmakers from SportsBettingDime.com from setting lines and configuring prop bets.

 

  • Odds to Win the $10 Million Tiger-Phil Match…Tiger Woods 2/3…Phil Mickelson 3/2
  • Odds of being selected to play in the “Undercard” of Tiger-PhilPGA Tour Pros-Rory McIlroy: 4/1-Patrick Reed: 4/1-Dustin Johnson: 7/1-Rickie Fowler: 9/1-Jordan Spieth: 12/1-Sergio Garcia: 15/1-Brooks Koepka: 15/1
7. “It’s awesome”


Phil Mickelson took a spin
around upcoming Ryder Cup venue, Le Golf National.

  • “”It’s awesome,” Mickelson told Golf Channel’s Tim Rosafortelate Tuesday. “Not many drivers if any at all…long irons and poa greens. I love it.”

     

  • Mickelson played the course Monday ahead of his traditional appearance at the Scottish Open.
8. Place your bets!

 

Odds to win the John Deere Classic (via Bovada)
  • Francesco Molinari 10-1
  • Bryson DeChambeau 11-1
  • Zach Johnson 12-1
  • Joaquin Niemann 18-1
  • Ryan Moore 18-1
  • Steve Stricker 22-1
  • Chesson Hadley 22-1
  • Kyle Stanley 25-1
  • Austin Cook 33-1
  • Wesley Bryan 33-1
9. Nearly $20K to charity, thanks to TW’s bag

 

The camouflage bag Tiger Woods used over the weekend in his previous start at the Quicken Loans National has raised a nice sum of money for his foundation.

 

  • Woods autographed and signed a personal message to the highest bidder on the bag. Auctioned off, it raised $19,000 for his TGR Foundation, according to Golf Channel
  • Why don’t we do more of this: one-off bags for tour pros…auctioned off for charity? Add some spice to the redundant staff bag/billboard space!

 

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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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