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GolfWRX Morning 9: Why this is the Tiger we’ve missed | Why Poulter is peeved | Phil in his “moves”

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

August 3, 2018

Good Friday morning, golf fans. May your weekends be more fun than a Phil Mickelson dance party.
1 Angry Ian
PGATour.com’s Ben Everill penned this bit on the WGC-Bridgestone’s first-round leader.
  • “Everyone knows Ian Poulter plays better when he’s angry….And it came to pass again when he opened the World Golf Championships – Bridgestone Invitational with a bogey-free 8-under 62 to lead by one.”
  • “Usually the Englishman finds a villain, or deliberately becomes one, to help fire him up into his best golf.”
  • “Fast forward to the lead up this week at Firestone Country Club and Poulter was feeling decent heading into the tournament….Then he looked at his past results. In 13 prior starts his best finish is a tie for 13th in 2001 and 2006….His mood changed.”
  • “It fires me up. I mean, it’s frustrating to look at,” he said….”I actually thought I had a better finish than that, so it really annoyed me….”For some reason I thought I finished second, but I didn’t know how mistaken I was when I looked at all the numbers.
  • “I wrote them all down, they were that bad. I was like seriously, how can you play a good golf course this many times and not really have a result. Not to even finish in the top-10 is pretty poor.”
2. Mickelson on his dance moves
“Obviously, it’s not the thing I’m most comfortable doing…But then Amy [Mickelson’s wife] said, ‘You should just tell them that you know how to do The Worm.’ After she said that, it was over, we were doing it.”
  • “I think it’s fun to laugh at yourself, and certainly that’s what I’m doing in this commercial because it was a lot of work just to get those moves out of me”
If somehow you haven’t seen Phil’s inglorious boogie, check it out here.
3. Tiger grinds out 66
Rex Hoggard with the perspective piece on Tiger’s opening-round 66…
“In a strange way this was the Tiger Woods we all missed….This wasn’t the guy who made the game look so effortless for the better part of two decades, the guy whose play could demoralize a field with a rare combination of power on command and unrivaled creativity.”
  • “This was the player, who on his bad days – and Tiger had bad days even when he was at his best – found a way to turn a 71 into a 66. The kind of player who missed right and left with equal abandon and yet signed a scorecard that left him squarely in the hunt.”
  • “Tiger began his day at the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational well enough, going 6-for-6 in fairways hit on his opening loop (Firestone’s back nine) and facing birdie putts on each of his first eight holes. The first crack came on the 18th hole, his ninth of the day, when he missed his drive left. He’d hit just one more fairway on his way to the clubhouse and yet still signed for a 4-under 66 that left him just three strokes off the lead.”
  • “I just kept either hitting a pull or hitting a cut. I just couldn’t quite get a feel for it,” Woods said. “Even with my irons I wasn’t very sharp on the back nine. But I was just kind of hanging in there with it. Wasn’t exactly what I wanted to do today, but as I said, I ground out a score today, which was good.”
4. The lowdown on graphite vs. iron shafts
We all know the difference, right? But hearing from a pro only deepens our understanding.
  • Fujikura Tour fitter Marshall Thompson details the difference between graphite and steel iron shafts for GolfWRX, and why one may be better than the other for your game, in a video you’ll want to watch now or bookmark for later.
5. Hopes for Mickelson vs Woods?
Now that it’s presumably a done deal, Golf Digest put together a list of things they’d like to see at the match.
  • Tiger’s yacht, parked in the middle of the Strip
  • Bones grabs Tiger’s bag; Stevie on the sticks for Phil
  • We love us some Jim Nantz and Dan Hicks, but this is heavyweight bout in Sin City, so…Gus Johnson and Jim Lampley on the call
  • And yes, Michael Buffer will handle the introduction.
  • The $10 million is put into a briefcase, handcuffed to Steve Stricker
  • Still holding a grudge, Tiger decides to play with his “inferior Nike equipment” circa 2003 just to prove a point
  • The way he’s swinging right now, the man could break par with a set of mid-80s PowerBilt blades and persimmon woods.
  • Phil, ever the showman, faces a shot from off the green, pulls Carrot Top out of the gallery and flops it over his head
  • With Celine Dion singing in the background and a portable “Fountains of Bellagio” show following execution.
  • Stephen Ames attempts to follow group, but is promptly kicked off the property after the 10th hole
  • A drawn-out, highly esoteric rules dispute that alienates casual golf fans across the country
  • The Tiger-Phil match proves to be a front for the new “Ocean’s 14” heist
6. Wie injury
Michelle Wie has battled arthritis in both wrists this year, and the pain forced her to WD from the Women’s British Open.
  • She posted to Instagram..”I have been doing everything humanly possible (besides giving it proper rest) this past couple of weeks to get my hand healthy enough to play this event, but unfortunately, it wasn’t enough,” Wie wrote in an Instagram post. “I gave it my all today, but I just couldn’t handle the pain any longer.”
  • “I’m devastated that I had to withdraw mid-round, but I felt that if I kept pushing through the pain, I would have injured my hand further,” she wrote. “I have been trying to manage/push through the pain almost all year, but my team and I think it’s finally time to take some time off to get my hand back to being healthy. I am confident that with the right treatment, I will be back stronger than ever. Will keep you guys posted on my prognosis/recovery. Thank you for all your kind messages and support. It’s been really tough, but your unwavering support always puts a smile on my face.”
7. Gal at peace
Minjee Lee leads the Women’s British Open, but Sandra Gal is just three strokes back. Beth Ann Nichols files a quality piece on Gal’s peace of mind.
  • “Gal’s fine form can be traced back, at least in part, to recent work with instructor Cameron McCormick. The pair began working together toward the end of April after Gal had finished no better than a share of 42nd in her first six starts. Since then she has recorded four top-15 finishes, including a share of third at the Walmart NW Arkansas Championship.”
  • “When she made the trip up to Ponte Vedra, Fla., during The Players to see McCormick, she also committed to a left-hand-low putting grip. She had tinkered with it before, but knowing that McCormick felt it was a good move gave her the confidence needed to stick with it.”
  • “While they haven’t gotten into too many deep conversations just yet, McCormick did give Gal a book to read on stoicism, “The Daily Stoic.” McCormick stressed to Gal that she’s in control of what she thinks and how she feels.”
  • “Meditation to me was always kind of just observing your thoughts and not really changing them,” said Gal. “I think with that input, I learned to maybe create my thoughts in a better way that’s more healthy for me and more beneficial to my life and career.”
8. $2 million in hat sales at the PGA Championship?
Geoff Shackelford writes.…”To say the good folks of greater St. Louis are excited about the PGA Championship may be an understatement given that the PGA’s director of merchandise has hat makers on speed dial in anticipation of second and third orders.”
  • “Stu Durandoin the Post-Dispatch talks toMike Quirk about expectations for sales at Bellerive and shares some eye-opening numbers about hat sales.”
  • “There are 64,000 in stock, waiting to replace those that are sold. And the expectation is that more may need to be ordered before the event ends Aug. 12. Mike Quirk, the senior director of merchandising and licensing for the PGA, believes hat sales could hit 100,000 over 10 days.”
  • “Quirk has an idea of how much is expected to be spent, but he’s not saying. But to get an idea, the hats, which average $28, will generate more than $2 million in sales based on Quirk’s projections.”
9. Meming Mickelson
Golf.com’s Sean Zak tweeted the image below with the caption, “if we’ve learned anything today, it’s this.”
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Former TaylorMade CEO Mark King “is taking over” at Honma

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Mark King is coming back to the golf equipment business. The former TaylorMade CEO, who was with the company in various capacities for 30 years, told Golf Digest he’ll be working with Honma Golf as a consultant.

The title doesn’t capture the scope of King’s role, however, as he’ll reportedly be at the helm of company strategy and direct and expansion into North America.

“He’s in charge,” a former Honma employee told Golf Digest anonymously. “It’s been in the works for awhile. Mark’s taking over everything.”

King announced he was stepping down from his role as president of Adidas North America in April, telling Digest he didn’t intend to return to the equipment business, but he was so impressed with Honma’s operation, he was eager to be involved.

“Listen, I was ready to retire, I wasn’t really looking to do anything,” King said. “But as this was presented to me by Chairman Liu, I could see he has big plans and a big vision. I really found it exciting because it is not TaylorMade or Callaway or Cobra or Titleist or Ping. This is a much different brand with very different price points and a fascinating story when it comes to technology and craftsmanship. This is a totally different experience.”

High-end Honma has a minimal footprint in North America, but it seems King and company intend to change that. King, who oversaw impressive growth, experimentation, innovation, ever-shrinking product cycles, and glittering launches at TaylorMade says Honma is planning a major launch for January and plans to have a strong tour presence.

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GolfWRX Morning 9: 59! | Tiger’s caddie pays a bribe | High schooler the next Scotty Cameron?

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

August 17, 2018

Good Friday morning, golf fans.
1. 59
Brandt Snedeker, as you’ve surely heard by now, fired an opening-round 59 at the Wyndham Championship. It’s the 10th sub-60 round in Tour history.
  • AP Report…”He made a 20-foot putt on his final hole to become the 10th player in TOUR history to break 60. Jim Furyk set the record with a 58 in the final round of the Travelers Championship in 2016…”I better be smiling,” Snedeker said. “I don’t do this every day.”
  • “This is the third consecutive year the PGA TOUR has had a sub-60 round. Snedeker is the first to shoot 59 since Adam Hadwin in the third round of the 2017 Careerbuilder Challenge.”
  • “It gave him a four-stroke lead after one round. Ryan Moore and John Oda shot 63s, and Martin Flores, D.A. Points, Brett Stegmaier, David Hearn, Abraham Ancer, Ollie Schniederjans and Jonathan Byrd had 64s.”
  • “Snedeker – who said a day earlier that the tournament would turn into a “birdie-fest” – began the round at par-70 Sedgefield Country Club with a bogey at No. 10, and took off from there. He played the front nine in 27, including an eagle 2 on the par-4 sixth hole when he holed out from 176 yards.”
2. U.S. Am
A few notable match reports, advancements from AmateurGolf.com
  • “Cole Hammer (Houston, TX), who made history on Tuesday by becoming just the fifth player to medal in the Western Am and U.S. Am in the same year, survived a game challenge by Joshua McCarthy (Danville, CA) with a 1 up win. McCarthy won holes 12-14 to take a 1 up lead in the match, but bogeyed the next two holes to allow Hammer to retake the lead and close it out at the 18th.”
  • “The other stroke play medalist wasn’t as fortunate. Daniel Hillier (New Zealand) ran into a hot Davis Riley (Hattiesburg, MS) and fell 5&4.”
  • “Riley will next face Mason Overstreet (Kingfisher, OK), who ended an impressive run by high school sophomore Jackson Van Paris (Pinehurst, NC) with a 3&2 win. Van Paris made some history of his own yesterday, when he became the second-youngest player ever to win a match at the U.S. Amateur (the youngest being none other than Bobby Jones).”
3. LaCava pays a bribe

Joe LaCava called into ESPN’s “Golic and Wingo” and told a tale of paying of a heckler at the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational.

LaCava said the man heckled Woods throughout his final round at the Bridgestone, and on the 14th hole, LaCava interceded, telling the man to check out action elsewhere on the course. Interestingly/absurdly, the man said he would be happy to, provided LaCava reimburse him for his ticket.

Transcript c/o ESPN.

Mike Golic: “Did you have any issues with the people at Bellerive?”

Joe LaCava: “Not at all, and you hit it right on the head, 99 percent of the guys and women are behind Tiger, pushing for Tiger. They want to see good golf in general they’re not anti-the-other-guys, but they’re certainly rooting for Tiger more so than the other guys. But, funny you guys ask that question. The week before in Akron, I had a little incident with a guy who was harassing my guy on the 14th hole at Akron the last day outside the ropes, roughening him up pretty good. And I said, hey listen bud, why do you gotta go there? Everyone’s having a good time, everyone’s pulling for Tiger. You don’t like the guy that’s one thing, but you don’t to be yelling at my guy, screaming negative stuff like that. And I said at the end of the day, if you affect him, his performance, it effects my bottomline. So he calls me a couple names and I go back and forth with the guy, and I say why don’t you just leave. And he says well if you give me $25 for the ticket that I bought today I’ll leave. And I said here you go, here’s $25.” 

Mike: “Did he leave?” 

Joe: “So I whip out $25 and he starts to go down the 14th fairway toward the green. I say look pal $25 is $25 you gotta head the other way. So he starts to head the other way, he goes 20 yards down the line, then he calls me a certain other, a swear word. So I run 20 yards back the other way and I’m going face to face with this guy. And all the sudden Tiger’s looking for a yardage, and I’m in it with this guy 20 yards down the line. So some cop has to come in, push this guy outta the way, and take him outta the tournament.

4. Jarrod Lyle tribute
A nice touch by the PGA Tour and the Wyndham Championship.
PGATour.com’s Helen Ross writes...”Sitting there on the first tee at Sedgefield Country Club were Jarrod Lyle’s golf bag, clubs and signature yellow bucket cap, a tribute to the popular Australian golfer who died last week after battling acute myeloid leukemia for 20 years.”
  • “That was awesome,” Percy said. “I was about to hit off and I was like who’s bag is that? And then I saw it and I said to Shane (Joel), who’s an Australian caddy in my group, that was pretty cool, wasn’t it, and he said, yeah, that was pretty cool. It was a nice touch.”
  • “The last PGA TOUR event Lyle played was the 2016 Wyndham Championship, and tournament officials wanted to honor his memory this week. There are also two bags in the locker room for players to sign that will be auctioned off later with the total proceeds going to Lyle’s wife Briony and their two children.”
  • “Donations to the GoFundMe page, that has already exceeded its $200,000 goal may also be made on-site at The First Tee of the Triad’s tent on Expo Row at Sedgefield. The tournament is working with all of its constituents to raise $25,000 for the cause.”
  • “”These are sad days for the PGA TOUR family,” tournament director Mark Brazil said.  “I knew Jarrod to be one of the kindest human beings on TOUR, and I know all the guys, especially the Australians, will really miss him.”
5. Lexi’s return
Golf Channel’s Randall Mell...”Lexi Thompson looked at ease, smiling and laughing in a solid start in her return to the tour Thursday at the Indy Women in Tech Championship, where she felt the benefit of her month-long break.”
  • “It was very relaxing out there,” Thompson said. “I felt very comfortable where my game was at. I just tried to go out and let my game show and not put too much pressure on myself.”
  • “Thompson, 23, the defending champ, opened with a 4-under-par 68, four shots behind Angel Yin, the early leader. Thompson skipped the Ricoh Women’s British Open two weeks ago to take a “mental break” and address emotional struggles that built up through last year’s highs and lows.”
  • Lizette Salas fired a course-record 62 to lead.
6. Renee Powell Hall
Max Adler with a superb piece of perspective.
  • He begins…”Somebody named a building after somebody. Local news, right? Not if it’s in St. Andrews. The cobblestones of those ancient Scottish streets echo the footsteps of every golfer who ever mattered, and have been worn by multitudes who mattered less but loved the game as much. When stone goes up or down in the Auld Gray Toon, eternity shakes.”
  • “The opening ceremony for Renee Powell Hall, which will have beds for the dreamy, restless, weary, intoxicated, idealistic and ambitious heads of 205 University of St. Andrews students, is set for Sept. 19. It’s over by the athletic fields, or a brisk 15-minute walk from the 17th green of the Old Course.”
  • “What legacy will become of a building named for an African-American female golfer? The toniest dorm at the university is the gothic St. Salvators, named for the savior, Jesus Christ. The fact Prince William and Kate Middleton resided there as students is merely one footnote in “Sallies” history. And the turreted red sandstone dorm you’ve seen in a million photographs and paintings, next to the gray Royal & Ancient clubhouse behind the 18th green, is Hamilton. Named for a Duke, it recently was purchased away from the university and has returned to its roots as luxury accommodation.”
7. Mark King comes to Honma
Also from the Digest folk…”Mark King, the former president and CEO of TaylorMade who transformed the golf industry’s innovation cycle and restored the company to a dominant leadership position throughout his three decades with the brand, is getting back in the golf business.”
  • “King told Golf Digest that he is serving as a consultant to Honma Golf’s chairman Liu Jianguo and will be guiding the company’s strategy as it looks to expand its presence in North America….”Honestly, I had no intention of doing anything like this,” said King, who announced he was stepping down as president of Adidas North America in April. “But when I met Chairman Liu I was so impressed with his thinking and his dreams for the company.”
8. Talking T-Squared
Our Ron Montesano talked with a high schooler whose hobby isn’t Fortnite, but rather running a putter company.
  • “I’ve coached high school golf for over 15 years, and I thought that I had run out of “firsts.” Then, Anthony Tuber, one of our varsity six, told me that he builds putters. “Sure,” I thought. You purchase the components and assemble putters. Nice hobby to have. “No, coach, I build them from scrath. We have milling machines.” If that doesn’t catch your attention, not much will.”
  • “As a coach, you encourage your golfers from a base of experience, but I don’t have any club-making experience! The last time I played around with metal was in middle-school metal shop. In this particular case, the student is the coach, and the golfer is the teacher. I’m now the proud owner of a T Squared putter, and continue to be the proud coach of Anthony Tuber. He might be the next Bob Vokey, or Scotty Cameron, but for now, he is a varsity golfer and high school student. Oh, and he happens to make putters. Rather than write a review that might be perceived as biased, I decided to do a straightforward interview with T Squared Putters. If you want to learn more, visit the company website, or follow them on Twitter and on Instagram.”
  • “Question 1: What type of research and field testing did you do, prior to building your first putter?…Prior to making our first putter we bought a bunch of putters to see what we liked and disliked about them. Then we took those putters and tested them to figure out which roll we liked the best. The roll is determined by the weight of the putter the length and the groove pattern. After we completed the testing we drew up a design and shortly after that we had our first prototypes. We then tested those prototypes and they rolled exactly how we wanted. Time went by while we used these first putters but then we really wanted to see the competition. We went to the PGA Merchandise Show and that’s where we found out that we had a superior putter.”
9. What are you doing on your lunch break?
Redditor k_boloney writes: “Me and a coworker have spent 2 lunch breaks(2 hours) walking through the woods next to a nearby golf course. These are the results of our time well spent: 52 pro v1/pro v1x, 82 course worthy balls, and 20 yard balls.”
The evidence below.
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Brandt Snedeker shoots 59 after bogeying his first hole at the 2018 Wyndham Championship

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Brandt Snedker started his first round of the 2018 Wyndham Championship at Sedgefield Country Club on the 10th hole with a drive way left off the tee, leading to a bogey. He didn’t make his first birdie until his fourth hole, actually, but from there, the flood gates were open. Snedeker birdied four holes in a row — hole nos. 13, 14, 15 and 16 — to go out in 32 (3 under).

He then SCORCHED his back nine, shooting an 8-under 27 including 6 birdies and an eagle. Certainly knowing it was for 59, Snedeker rolled in a 20-footer on his 18th hole (the course’s 9th hole). Watch the putt below.

It was by far the longest birdie putt he made on the back nine, probably because he was sticking everything to within 5 feet.

Notice the “0 feet” putt above? Yea, because he didn’t have to putt after dunking his second shot.

Where does Snedeker’s 59 stand in terms of the history books? He’s the 9th player ever to shoot 59 on the PGA Tour, and the FIRST to do so starting the round with a bogey.

Remember, even if you start with a bogey you can shoot your best round ever. Maybe not a 59 like Snedeker on Thursday of the Wyndham Championship, but don’t let that first-hole bogey get you down; there’s 17 more opportunities to make birdie — and Snedeker nearly did just that.

If you’re curious to hear what Snedker has to say about his 59, check out the Tweet embed below, or click here.

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