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GolfWRX Morning 9: USGA yardage book crackdown | Korda’s bold call out | Heartbreaking news for Jarrod Lyle

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

August 1, 2018

Good Wednesday morning, golf fans. Welcome to August.
1. USGA cracking down on yardage books
More than a year after announcing their concerns, the USGA and R&A are proposing regulations on green-reading materials/yardage books.
The governing bodies emphasized “the need for a player to read greens based on their own judgement” in a press release.

 

The regulations will be finalized in a published “interpretation” of Rule 4.3 (Use of Equipment) and adopted Jan. 1, 2019, following a six-week feedback period.
  • Here are the key elements, per the USGA release.
  • Minimum Slope Indication Limit: A minimum slope indication limit of 4 percent (2.29 degrees) is proposed.
  • Maximum Scale Limit: A maximum scale of 3/8 inch to 5 yards (1:480) is proposed; this will limit the size in print form to a pocket-sized publication.
  • Indicative Information: General information that is included in traditional yardage books or course guides, such as basic illustrations that show the outline of the putting green and include indicative information like the tops of ridges or general slopes, will continue to be permitted.
  • Handwritten Notes: Handwritten notes will continue to be allowed, but such notes cannot be used to create either a direct copy or a facsimile (replica) of a detailed green map.

 

2….and the expected responses trickle in

 

Like this one from Jim Stracka, president of (strongly vested interest!) StrackaLine…
  • “I don’t understand why they are doing it,” said Stracka, who is president of StrackaLine, the company that for 10 years has been producing green-reading guides for PGA Tour golfers, more than 300 Division I college golf teams and more.”
  • “Stracka said he first heard discussion of this decision weeks before the British Open. He also had conversations with USGA executive director Mike Davis in the past in which he asked Davis to consider the statistics and seek out Mark Broadie for help.”
  • “Putting stats haven’t changed in 25 years,” Stracka told Golfweek via phone on Tuesday. “PGA Tour pros are still making about 50 percent of their putts from inside of 8 feet. … There is no exactness in putting” (via Golfweek).
  • “Stracka argues that his service is more of a time-saver for golfers who have the ability to chart and map out greens on their own. Plus, he believes that banning the guides could give golfers who use local caddies, particularly those not on major tours, an advantage in tournaments.”

3. Extremely sad stuff: Jarrod Lyle to palliative care

ABC Australia report…”Australian golfer Jarrod Lyle will spend his final days surrounded by loved ones after making the decision to go into palliative care.”
  • “The 36-year-old has been undergoing his third stint of cancer treatment after a recurrence of acute myeloid leukaemia last year.”
  • “Briony has been posting about her husband’s deteriorating health during recent months, but her most recent update to his followers on Facebook and Instagram confirmed the bad news.”
  • “We’ll be taking him closer to home in the next couple of days so he can finally leave the hospital…We have done our best to ‘control’ the narrative surrounding Jarrod’s illness and treatment, and as more and more people become involved in this final process I’m not sure how much longer this development will remain private.
  • “Jarrod knows he is loved, and the thousands of prayers and well wishes that have been sent his way have kept him going through some incredibly tough times…But he has reached his limit, and the docs have finally agreed that they can no longer strive for a positive outcome.”
Reactions from the golf world
Sympathy and sadness abound. Here are a few of the many tweets.
  • Luke Donald...Life is precious and we all take it for granted too often – seeing the picture of @jarrodlylepga hugging his family with not long to live brought tears to my eyes. Peace be with you, you will be missed Jarrod x
  • Billy Horschel.…Sad news today about @jarrodlylepga. He fought an unbelievable fight for so long. Awful that it ends this way. He was a blast to hang around, could make you laugh & put a smile on your face. Horschel family sends all their love & support to his wife Bri, daughters Lusi and Jemma
  • Colt Knost...”What I would give to have one more round of golf with this amazing man jarrod.lyle! So proud of you for the amazing fight you have put up! I’ll never forget all the laughs and good times”
4.  Korda calls for better developmental program for American women’s golf

 

Good on Jessica Korda for pointing out the obvious and calling for a solution (quotes per Golfweek).
  • “Asians currently occupy seven of the top 10 spots in the Rolex Rankings. Korda, ranked ninth in the world, is one of just two Americans in the top 10. No. 5 Lexi Thompson is the other.”
  • “They have a better development program for juniors,” Korda said. “They have a national team. They travel to different countries. One of the things that the U.S. doesn’t have is a national team, somebody to help the girls and boys kind of grow.
  • “There’s no like camps. Basically, kids play AJGAs in America to try and get into college. In Korea, I know that they have to play two years on the Korean LPGA before they even come to the States. So they’ve already been a pro before they come to our tour. So as you call them rookies, they’ve won, you know, like 10 times professionally.”
5. In case you were wondering….

 

How much of the U.S. is used for golf? “The amount of land being used for golf courses is about 2 million acres. That is larger in size than the state of Delaware, but smaller than Connecticut. The USDA says the “miscellaneous” land used for items such as golf courses, cemeteries, marshes and deserts contains “low economic value.””

 

“More than 50 times that amount – about 108.3 million acres – is set aside for parks and wilderness areas – such as National Parks, National Seashores and wilderness preserves. On those sites, most commercial activities are prohibited.

 

“Forests and timberland, meanwhile, cover about 25 percent of the contiguous U.S.”

 

See the rest of the breakdown at Golfweek.

 

6. Playoff Tiger

Woods has signed up to play in the first two events of the FedEx Cup playoffs – the Northern Trust and the Dell Technologies Championship – the PGA Tour announced Tuesday. This will be Woods’ first appearance in a FedEx Cup playoff event since 2013.

  • The Northern Trust will be held from Aug. 23-26 at the The Ridgewood Country Club in New Jersey. The Dell is scheduled for Aug. 31-Sept. 3 at TPC Boston in Norton, Mass.
7. PGA Tour Live

 

Geoff Shackelford on the PGA Tour Live absorption into NBC.
  • “After testing out PGA Tour Live with ESPN’s new streaming service, the pre-Golf Channel telecasts will move to NBC Sports Gold in 2019 and feature more viewer-friendly synergy between Golf Channel and PGA Tour Live telecasts.  Obviously, as a Golf Channel contributor, I’m thrilled to see the move as it strengthens the Tour-GC relationship, but as a fan, the sense of a competitive vibe where the PGA Tour was not in lockstep with its cable partner did little to serve fans.”
  • “Judging by the “passes” offered at NBC Sports Gold, expect a golf pass that becomes a future option for cord cutters.”
8. No Tigerian wisdom for you!

 

Here’s a funny bit. Jason Day, as we know, has been the beneficiary of Tiger Woods’ wisdom in the past. However, just like Justin Thomas experienced earlier this year, coach Tiger is leaving his pupil high and dry.
  • “Now since we’re playing against each other, we don’t really talk to each other about (golf),” Day said. “It’s more support than anything now, like ‘Good playing,’ or if I’m pissed off he’ll text me. And he knows when I’m pissed off. If I play bad he’ll text me and give me a little pick me up, which is nice. But it’s nothing like the old, ‘this is what you need to do,’ the advice when it comes to playing golf.”
9. Latest PGA Champ odds


As you’re mulling over your wagers one week out…

Odds @ The Westgate
10/1: Dustin Johnson
12/1: Jordan Spieth, Rory McIlroy
16/1: Tiger Woods, Justin Thomas, Rickie Fowler
18/1: Justin Rose
20/1: Brooks Koepka, Jon Rahm
25/1: Tommy Fleetwood, Francesco Molinari, Jason Day
30/1: Patrick Reed, Hideki Matsuyama
40/1: Henrik Stenson, Alex Noren, Paul Casey
50/1: Phil Mickelson, Bubba Watson, Sergio Garcia, Tony Finau, Xander Schauffele, Matt Kuchar

 

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  1. Leezer

    Aug 1, 2018 at 8:09 am

    Why would Jim Stracka admit his green reading guide hasn’t changed putting stats in 25 years and that it’s just a time saver? Doesn’t that mean players don’t actually benefit from using them?

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Tour Rundown: Pepperell wins the British masters, Leishman wins in Malaysia, Langer wins again

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October, and the trees are stripped bare, of all they wear. U2

Perhaps it’s due to its status as my birth month, or something larger and deeper. October is a raw month, as April was cruel for Eliot. It is raw in its golf, too. Of the four events played this week, only one took place in the USA. Touring professionals left the summer of majors behind, to journey globally, in search of answers and questions. They went to Malaysia, England and Korea (and let’s not forget, North Carolina.) Names both familiar and emerging claimed trophies, and the game marched on. Here’s a Sunday rundown of all things tour, mid-October.

CIMB in Malaysia in Leishman’s hands

Marc Leishman’s brilliance with golf cudgels is know well to his touring brethren. To the golfing public, which measures fame in little more than major victories, he is an enigma. And here was Leishman, on Sunday at Kuala Lumpur, schooling playing partner Gary Woodland and the rest of the field with a brilliant 65. There were lower scores, but just barely (a pair of 64s.) Leishman had 62 earlier in the week, but was a wee bit overlooked, as Woodland had 61 the same day. On Sunday, there was no mistaking the two. Leishman rushed from the gate with birdies on hole 2 through 5, scarcely glancing rearward at the trailers. He summited 26 strokes beneath par, equalling the tournament record and placing him five clear of the runners-up. Woodland tried to keep pace, but fell off the rails midway through the inward half. 3 bogeys in 5 holes did him in, dropping him back to a tie for 5th at -20. 2nd spot on the podium belonged to the american trio of Emiliano Grillo (Argentina), Chesson Hadley and Bronson Burgoon (both USA). The victory compelled Leishman to 2nd spot on the young FedEx Cup list for 2018-19.

Hana Bank belongs to Dumbo

If In Gee Chun had her way, the golfer nicknamed Dumbo would scamper off by gobs of strokes with each tournament. Owner of an unfortunate 0-3 record in LPGA Tour playoffs, the Korean golfer wants no part of extra holes. While 3rd-round leader Charley Hull of England struggled with birdie-bogey runs, Chun birdied 4 of her first 6 holes and separated herself by 3 strokes from the field. Out in 31, she resisted the lure of a 10th-hole bogey and added 2 more birdies to reach 16-under par. Hull and company could not close the gap, and the Englishwoman settled for 2nd at -13. Chun began the week with matching 70s, to place herself inside the top 20, but not yet a threat. Her weekend was nearly flawless, as she matched 66s on Saturday and Sunday, to emerge from the multitude. The win was her first, non-major victory on the LPGA Tour, coming after triumphs at the 2015 US Open and the 2016 Evian Championship.

Ace, Ace, Baby propels Pepperell to British Masters title

It was a rugged, mucky affair on Sunday at Walton Heath, born of the talented hand of architect Herbert Fowler. Eddie Pepperell, who spends a fair amount of time mucking around on Twitter, was the man for the job. He began the day at -9, and ended the day at that figure. Most times, even par gets you nowhere on tour; on this particular Sunday, it got you to the top of the podium. Pepperell had four eagles on the week, including an ace on Thursday and the hole-out below for a deuce on Sunday. The winner made a massive putt for par on 14, which probably saved his round. He bogeyed 15 and 16 to let Alexander Bjork into the tournament. The Swede was unable to capitalize, bogeying 18 to offer Pepperell a 2-stroke advantage at the home hole. The Englishman finished in proper form, getting up and down for par from a greenside bunker to win by a pair.

By the way, if you want a crack at Fowler in North America, visit Eastward Ho! on Cape Cod (which he built) or Pebble Beach, whose 18th hole he extended to its current glory.

SAS Championship almost never in doubt for Bernhard Langer

Bernhard Langer made a single bogey in 54 holes this week. The inconceivable occurrence happened precisely at the midway point of the tournament, on the 27th hole of SAS Championship. Astronomers at the Arecibo observatory in Puerto Rico acknowledged a slight orbital shift at that very moment, while CERN scientists reported … oh, never mind. Langer had made 8 birdies in 9, back-nine holes on Friday for 29 on the par-37 side. It was ultimately his week, although Gene Sauers kept pace for a while. The duo matched 62-67 through 36 holes, but Sunday was all Germany. Langer had 7 birdies on the day for 65, leaving him 6 strokes clear of 2nd-place Scott Parel. Sauers struggled in round three, tumbling all the way to a tie for 5th spot, after a +3 75.

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How a broken 6-iron changed Eddie Pepperell’s 2018

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When Eddie Pepperell was scrambling around local golf shop Auchterlonies in Scotland on the week of The Open Championship looking for an emergency replacement shaft for his 6-iron, he probably didn’t believe that moment would change the trajectory of his 2018. That incident, however, played a considerable role in Pepperell’s wire-to-wire victory at last week’s British Masters.

In Scotland, Pepperell had his 6-iron fitted with the KBS C-Taper shaft, and according to Mizuno’s Matt McIsaac, at The Open that week, he hit his 6-iron better than any other club over the four days on his way to a T6 finish.

Fast-forward to last week’s British Masters, and on the Monday of the event, the Englishman was to have a filming session with Mizuno where the company would demonstrate to him its shaft optimizer.  Pepperell was then taken through Mizuno’s 3-swing diagnostic process, where lo and behold they recommended the KBS C-Taper shaft to him.

Described as “very much a feel player” by McIsaac, Pepperell equipped himself that day with a new set of JPX 919 Tour irons, with KBS C Taper shafts, and then went on to win the British Masters just a few days later.

What should we glean from this story? Well according to Matt McIsaac, it’s that there is a best fit shaft out there for everyone.

“There’s a ‘best fit’ shaft for everyone – for Eddie; it was the KBS C Taper – for someone else it will be the S Taper.  Wait for the moment when you’re open to improvement, throw away your preconceptions and try the Optimizer.  It doesn’t know if you’re male, female a tour winner or a 24 hcp – just measures your move and finds the best shaft for it.”

With last week’s victory, Pepperell, who sat 133rd in the Official World Golf Rankings at the beginning of the year, is now ranked 33rd in the world and looks assured of a place at Augusta National next year for the Masters.

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GolfWRX Morning 9: UnLeished: Malaysia edition | New theories on BK vs. DJ | King-Collins’ time?

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1. UnLeished in Malaysia
Somehow, Marc Leishman remains unheralded. Thrice a winner in the past two seasons, the big Australian, No. 16 in the world, is eminently deserving of his due
  • AP Report…”Leishman shot a 7-under 65 in the final round to win the CIMB Classic Sunday by five strokes and equal the tournament course record.”
  • “The Australian was in fine form as he strolled to his fourth PGA Tour title and matched Justin Thomas’ tournament record of 26-under 262 in 2015 on the PGA Kuala Lumpur West course.
  • “Leishman started strongly with four birdies in the first five holes, before turning in another long birdie putt on the ninth for 31.”
  • ‘Two more birdies on the 10th and 16th followed and sandwiched his lone bogey at the 13th, before he birdied the final hole and celebrated with a fist pump.”
2. Pepperell resurgent
Golfweek’s Alistair Tait with the context…”Hard to believe Eddie Pepperell had to return to the European Tour Qualifying School at the end of 2016, and was outside the top 500 in the world in May last year. Now he’s a two-time European Tour winner and a world top 40 player.”
  • “The 27-year-old is looking forward to his Masters debut after victory in the $4 million Sky Sport British Masters at Walton Heath, his second European Tour victory, and second of the season following the Commercial Bank Qatar Masters in February. Pepperell led wire to wire, returning a level-par 72 in the final round for a 9-under 279 to grind out a one-shot victory over Sweden’s Alexander Bjork.”
  • “The first-place check of $658,000 takes Pepperell to seventh on the European Tour’s Race to Dubai, and into the top 40 of the Official World Golf Ranking.”
3. Chun’s 14th
In the midst of its Asian Swing like the PGA Tour, the LPGA Tour saw In Gee Chun hoist the trophy at the LPGA KEB Hana Bank Championship at SKY72 Golf & Resort, Ocean Course for her first victory of the year and her first W since the 2016 Evian Championship.
  • LPGA.com report...”The 24-year-old South Korean native carded seven birdies, along with a lone bogey, to finish three strokes clear of 54-hole leaders Charley Hull, who placed second, and Danielle Kang, who was four shots adrift.”
  • “Before this week, I won 13 times as a professional,” said Chun, who clinched the third LPGA win of her career. “I am glad that I am done with the No. 13. I really hate that number.
4. Reminder: Bernhard Langer is still the king of senior golf
In case you’d forgotten…
John Strege writes…”It was only an illusion, the appearance that Bernhard Langer, at 61, had begun his initial descent to age-induced mediocrity. His six-shot victory in the SAS Championship on Sunday put that notion to rest.”
  •  “It was his second victory of the season (he has finished second five times), second in the SAS Championship (he won in 2012) and his 38th on the PGA Tour Champions, second only to Hale Irwin’s 45.”
  • “Langer shot a seven-under par 65 at Prestonwood Country Club in Cary, N.C., equaling the lowest round of the day. He played 54 holes in a tournament record 22-under par 194. Scott Parel finished second by also shooting a 65, while Langer’s 36-hole co-leader Gene Sauers shot a three-over 75 and tied for fifth.”
5. Golf’s most improved
David Dusek calculated the calculations, analyzed the algorithms, and dissected the digits to determine the Tour’s most improved players.
  • Harris English, Rafa Cabrera Bello, Nicholas Lindhelm, and Patton Kizzire top the list in imroved SG:T2G play.
6. More about DJ vs. BK
The Forecaddie digs into one of the lingering mysteries from Le Golf National…
  • “The Forecaddie has asked around and thanks to two eyewitnesses, can confirm Koepka’s assertion that there are no issues between his gym buddy and good friend Johnson. Turns out, Koepka may be up for Nobel Peace Prize consideration down the road since TMOF hears he was preventing his pal getting into a more serious brouhaha with someone at the party.”
  • “While Koepka might have been the subject of DJ ire for a few seconds after intervening, the light tussling between them understandably led to multiple eyewitnesses confirming the Telegraph report of a fight between them to Golf Digest. But The Forecaddie’s ears, and even Furyk in a Golf Channel interview last week, confirmed Koepka was acting as a friend in getting Johnson to cool off. Koepka, the U.S. Open and PGA Champion and probably the only person capable of corralling Johnson, ushered him off to a cab for a late-night fresh air spin around Versailles and away from the Ryder Cup team hotel bedlam.”
A new mystery is born! Who was DJ so mad at? TMOF has heard whispers but isn’t saying…
7. A breakthrough for King-Collins?
I interviewed Rob Collins in 2015 and have been a fan of the man and his work ever since
At the time of the interview, Sweetens Cove’s architect thought business was about to pick up for the firm.
Golfweek’s Martin Kaufmann suggests there could soon be fire where there has been much smoke…”Even in the current environment, in which few new courses are being built and architects are more focused on renovations and restorations, one would have thought King and Collins already would have parlayed Sweetens Cove into additional assignments. Collins insists he and King are close to a breakthrough.”
“We have got a bunch of irons in the fire,” Collins said recently while driving to Mississippi to watch his nephew’s high school football game. “We’ve got more inquiries right now than we’ve ever had.”
“The design team – Collins is the architect, while King oversees construction – is working with PGA Tour player Zac Blair on plans for The Buck Club, Blair’s dream club in Utah, though a timeframe for that project has not been announced. Collins is hopeful that he and King will start a nine-hole renovation project in New York soon, and he said the pair has had nibbles on proposed jobs in South Carolina and Michigan. Collins also mentioned tentative talks regarding a 100-acre site near Knoxville, where he dreams of building something like El Boquerón, the mythical Alister MacKenzie design with two greens per hole.”
8. Tree tattle tale
Scanning the latest arboreal happenings in Maryland, and, oh boy…
Golf Digest’s Joel Beall writes…”According to the Washington Post, Congressional, past home to U.S. Opens and future site of the PGA Championship and Ryder Cup, has been cited by inspectors in Maryland’s Montgomery County for failing to obtain a permit for tree removal. The Post reports that officials discovered “over 20,000 sq. ft. of tree canopy” had been trimmed from the property.”
  • “Inspectors technically received notice from Helen Wood, a board member of the environmental nonprofit organization Conservation Montgomery. “We all have a stake, really, in their trees,” Wood told the Post.
  • “However, Wood was tipped off on the club’s dealings by someone on the inside. Specifically, a Congressional member who was fed up with the new look…”I am [upset] because they’re ruining my club,” the member told the Post, speaking on anonymity because, let’s be honest, this person is losing his/her membership once their identity’s revealed. “I think they don’t want members to fuss. I think it [was] also quietly done so it didn’t draw attention from the county.”
9. All credit to mum
Sounds like Eddie Pepperell’s mother played a vital role in his British Masters win. Cheers, Mrs. Pepperell. .
  • Phil Casey of the Belfast Telegraph writes…”Pepperell’s three-shot overnight lead was down to a single stroke when he three-putted the ninth – where he enjoyed a hole-in-one on Thursday – and Bjork covered the front nine in 34.”
  • “However, Pepperell then promptly holed his second shot to the 10th from 122 yards for an eagle to move three clear and, although bogeys on the 15th and 16th set up a nervous finish, the 27-year-old from Oxfordshire saved par from a bunker on the last to seal a deserved win.”
  • “The credit for the eagle goes to my mum Marian because she gave me some mittens as I was walking off the 10th tee,” Pepperell joked. “I didn’t swing it well and it was a grind.”

 

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