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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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Morning 9: Spiething again? | Daly requests cart for The Open | Ben Hogan doc coming

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

May 24, 2019

Good Friday morning, golf fans.
1. Finau leads, Spieth 1 back at Colonial
AP report…”If Jordan Spieth is going to end a victory drought that’s approaching two years, he picked a good place to give himself a chance.”
  • “Spieth opened with a 5-under 65 at the Charles Schwab Challenge on Thursday in his second Texas homecoming in three weeks — coming off his best finish of the season at the PGA Championship — and trailed Tony Finau by one shot. Roger Sloan joined Spieth in the tie for second.”
  • “Back when he was collecting trophies regularly three years ago, Spieth won on the cozy course made famous by Ben Hogan, and that was between a pair of second-place finishes in Fort Worth. So when it comes to feeling good about his game, Spieth’s in the right place, just a few miles from his hometown of Dallas.”
2. Meanwhile, at Oak Hill
AP report…”Scott Parel took advantage of ideal scoring conditions Thursday morning to shoot a 4-under 66 and take the first-round lead in the weather-delayed Senior PGA Championship.”
  • “The gusting afternoon wind, which buffeted flags and shook hospitality tents across Oak Hill Country Club’s East Course, hadn’t yet fully arrived when Parel closed with birdies on the par-4 17th and 18th. Retief Goosen, Marco Dawson and Ken Tanigawa were a stroke back.”
  • “The round was completed just before 9 p.m., about a half-hour after the sun set, and 14 hours after the first group teed off. The long day was the result of late-morning thunderstorms that caused a delay of 2 hours, 15 minutes.”
3. Bronte!
And another AP report…“Bronte Law chipped in for eagle on the par-5 third hole and shot a 6-under 65 on Thursday for a share of the lead in the Pure Silk Championship with Anna Nordqvist and Jennifer Song.”
  • “Law added a birdie on the par-4 seventh – her 16th hole in a bogey-free round at windy Kingsmill Resort.”
  • ”Started finding myself with a good score. Nothing more to it,” Law said. ”On days like this when it’s windy just got to keep grinding all day, take the chances when they come.”
4. Finau’s grip switch paying dividends…
Tony Finau is in the grips of the claw…
PGATour.com’s Mike McAllister with Finau’s remarks…
  • “It’s something that I’ve kind of been thinking,” said Finau, who entered this week ranked T-100 in Strokes Gained: Putting this season. “It’s an itch I wanted to scratch … To me, it was just perfect time. … If I feel like something is better, I’m not afraid to change, no matter the results.”
  • “In truth, the move to the claw may not be as dramatic as it seemed. Finau said he often has practiced with the claw in order to make sure his left hand is in the proper position.”
  • “I’m left-hand dominant when I roll the stick,” he explained. “I used to putt cross-handed for about five years. Been putting conventionally now for a couple years.
  • “But I just wanted to switch it up. I haven’t been putting great … Standing over the ball, the most important thing is, do you feel like you’re going to make the putt or not? Outside of everything else, do you believe you can make the putt?
5. Strong start for (Edoardo) Molinari…
After 1 in Denmark…
  • “Edoardo Molinari will take a share of the lead into day two of the Made in Denmark presented by FREJA after high winds made scoring tricky in round one at Himmerland Golf & Spa Resort.”
  • “The three time European Tour winner had got to seven under but, as the winds increased, he gave up two late bogeys to sign for a 66 and a share of the lead at five under alongside Spaniard Alejandro Cañizares and English trio Tom Murray, Matthew Southgate and Paul Waring.”
  • “Defending champion Matt Wallace – fresh off finishing third at the US PGA Championship – was in the group at four under, with 46 players within three shots of the lead.”

Full European Tour report.

 

6. Ben Hogan doc
Geoff Shackelford discusses the upcoming Golf Channel documentary about the Hawk…
  • “Producer Israel DeHerrera kindly let me screen parts of Hogan knowing my affinity for all things Ben Hogan and research into the Hawk’s Los Angeles years. All I can say: it’s the film you hoped would be delivered on Hogan’s incredible life and times.”
  • And a bit of the press release…
  • “Hogan (trailer), a two-part biopic on 64-time PGA TOUR winner Ben Hogan chronicles one of the greatest comeback stories in sports history, reflecting on the Texan’s indelible impact on professional golf in spite of a near-fatal automobile accident that put the prime years of his career in serious jeopardy. Coming from humble beginnings, the film examines Hogan’s incredible journey to becoming one of the greatest golfers of all-time, serving as the inspiration for the 1951 motion picture “Follow the Sun”. Being presented with limited commercial interruption by Charles Schwab, Hogan’s two parts – Monday night’s “Perseverance” and Tuesday night’s “Perfection” – will be narrated by Emmy Award-winning actor Kyle Chandler, and be produced for GOLF Films by 13-time Emmy Award winner Israel DeHerrera.”
7. Monahan talks gambling again
Golfweek’s Dan Kilbridge…
  • “Speaking at the Sports Business Awards Wednesday night, Monahan implied the Tour is working on new gambling developments that will be announced by the end of the year.
  • We’ve spent a lot of time over the last two and a half years clearly understanding all of our options and getting ourselves in a position where we can participate,” Monahan said. “Participate with the right partners, and participate in a way that we think resonates with fans. Without getting in front of it, I think you can expect to hear developments from us in the second half of this year.”
  • “The Tour has been testing an upgraded version of its data system called ShotLink Plus, according to Sport Techie, and Monahan has already announced a deal with IMG Arena to distribute data directly to betting operators.”
8. Daly requests cart for Open
Golf Channel’s Will Gray…”After driving his way around Bethpage Black last week, John Daly has submitted another request to use a cart when The Open heads to Royal Portrush this summer.”
  • “Daly petitioned the PGA of America under the Americans with Disabilities Act for the use of a cart at last week’s PGA Championship, citing his ailing right knee. While a similar request for the U.S. Senior Open was denied last summer by the USGA, he was approved by the PGA and used a cart en route to rounds of 75-76 and a missed cut on Long Island.”
  • “We have received a request from John Daly to use a buggy at The Open, and it is currently under consideration,” said an R&A spokesperson.
9. Heckuva putting performance
Golf Digest’s Alex Myers points out that…“Starting on Colonial’s back nine, Spieth was four under through eight holes before a double bogey on No. 18. But while big numbers have been derailing the 25-year-old Texan all season, he rallied to make four more birdies (against one bogey) on the back nine, including one on his final hole after knocking an approach shot to six feet on the par-4 ninth.
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Tony Finau goes to the claw grip; fires a 64 to take the early lead at Colonial CC

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Tony Finau tied his lowest round of the year on Thursday at the Charles Schwab Challenge, and the impressive opening was fueled by a move to the claw grip on the greens.

Finau’s 64 has put him on top of the leaderboard after day one at Colonial Country Club, and after his opening round, Finau explained to reporters the reason behind the change-up on the greens this week, stating

“I just wanted to switch it up. I haven’t been putting great I feel like, and standing over the ball the most important thing is do you feel like you’re going to make the putt or not. Outside of everything else, do you believe you can make the putt? So for me, I needed to switch something.”

The switch proved very effective on Thursday, as Finau gained over three strokes on the greens on a day where the American managed to hit just three fairways in total.

Finau previously used the cross-hand technique on the greens earlier in his career for a period of five years, but this is the first time the 29-year-old has made the change to the claw grip in tournament action despite using the technique at times on the practice green.

Sitting T100 for strokes gained: putting this season, Finau told the media on Thursday that the time was right for a change this week at Colonial CC, saying

“But I just wanted to switch it up. I haven’t been putting great. I needed to switch something. Decided to try the claw today and it worked out. If I feel like something is better, I’m not afraid to change no matter the results. I’ve been playing OK. I feel like it was just time. Like I said, I think it was just time to scratch that itch and see how it goes.”

Finau begins his second round of the Charles Schwab Challenge today at 12.44 PM ET alongside Brian Harmon and Patton Kizzire.

 

 

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Morning 9: What clubs would a mid-handicap hit at a major? | NCAA Women’s champs | Marty Jertson speaks

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

May 23, 2019

Good Thursday morning, golf fans.
1. What clubs would a mid-handicap hit at a major?
Cool stuff from Golf Digest’s E. Michael Johnson…
  • “A USGA study once suggested that average golfers only hit the green from the rough 13 percent of the time. But that was data collected at a resort course, not major championship rough. It’s probably safe to say that the average chopper would never hit the green from the rough at any distance that required a full swing. Indeed, Cobra Connect’s data from Arccos shows that an Average Joe hits the green only a third of the time with only his 8- and 9-iron and his wedges, clubs he’d only be using on Bethpage Black’s two par 5s. Maybe.”
  • “In fact, according to the numbers, he would only hit the green on about one in four chances with his 6- and 7-irons, one in six chances with his 5-iron, one in eight chances with his 4-iron and just one in 10 chances with a 3-hybrid. And about that 3-wood? According to the numbers, the average golfer’s GIR percentage with that club, as they say, has no grade point average.”
  • “All of those missed greens (and the attendant tragic golf despair and perhaps some measure of physical injury) then would be compounded further by plenty of around-the-green misadventures and misplays. Arccos data suggests the average 15-handicap gets up and down less than one in five times. Furthering this ugliness would be all those 3-putts, which Arccos data suggests might happen on at least four holes a round, particularly at major championship speeds.”
An example of the calculations…
1st hole, par 4, 430 yards
Koepka: Driver, half-lob wedge
Average Joe: Driver, 3-wood
2nd hole, par 4, 389 yards
Koepka: 4-iron, gap wedge
Average Joe: Driver, 6-iron
2. NCAA Women’s champs
Golfweek’s Adam Woodard with the report…“For the seventh time in program history, Duke is the 2019 NCAA Div. I Women’s Golf National Champion after defeating Wake Forest 3-2 in an all-ACC final match at Blessings Golf Club.”
  • “I couldn’t feel more proud than I do right now,” said Duke head coach Dan Brooks. “We’ve had a tough team all year long and they were tough this week.”
  • “It was Duke’s anchor, Ana Belac, who put the first point on the board in the national championship match. The Blue Devil junior defeated Wake Forest freshman Vanessa Knecht 5&3 to give Duke the early lead.”
3. A confident Spieth following PGA
Golfweek’s Steve Dimeglio…”His history bodes well as Spieth seeks his 12th PGA Tour title. And his solid performance in last week’s PGA Championship at Bethpage Black restored some much sought after confidence and has him energized at Colonial.”
  • “This is the best I’ve felt in quite a while. I’m very happy,” Spieth said after he tied for third in the PGA Championship, six shots behind victor Brooks Koepka.
  • “…But on a course that favored bangers like Koepka and fellow Bash Brother Dustin Johnson, who finished second, Spieth rode four days of strong putting and worthy iron play to get into contention on the weekend.”
  • “I knew that it was unlikely on this golf course that I was going to have a chance to win, and that’s a humbling feeling for me,” Spieth said. “But I knew that if I played the course the right way, had the right mentality, kept putting the way I’ve been putting, that I would be in it and having a chance to make some noise.
4. Oak Hill weather
AP Report…“It didn’t take long for Jay Haas to be reminded of how gusting winds can wreak havoc on players attempting to navigate the narrow fairways of Oak Hill Country Club’s East Course.”
  • ‘”Got here on Sunday night and played nine holes Monday, and it was blowing, what, 25, 30 (miles per hour),” Haas said with a laugh Wednesday, a day before the Senior PGA Championship opens.’
  • “In some ways, the 65-year-old’s experience was no different than his previous visit to the Rochester suburbs 11 years ago. That’s when Haas overcame frigid conditions, heavy wind gusts and a one-stroke final-round deficit to finish with a 7-over 287 and win his second Senior PGA title.”
5. Johnny’s back
Our Gianni Magliocco...”Johnny Miller is back sharing his opinions on the game on Callaway’s new podcast: Real Golf Talk, which aired its first episode today (listen here on Soundcloud).”
  • “The longtime NBC golf announcer retired from broadcasting earlier this year, but Miller now features alongside avid golfer and television host Chris Harrison on the podcast, which will air six episodes in 2019 and eight in future seasons.”
6. Marty speaks!
Good stuff from PGATour.com’s Andrew Tursky talking with Ping’s (now legendary?) Marty Jertson…
  • Tursky: “Can you describe how tough the conditions were on the weekend, and put those weekend rounds into perspective? Like, what would say a 5-handicap shoot out there?”
  • Jertson: “Oh man. My caddie and I were talking about that a lot… ‘What would a scratch golfer shoot? What would a 5-handicap shoot out there?’ Let me put it this way: We had a hard time finding the golf balls in the rough with an army of spotters. So if you played by the real rules of golf where you had 3 minutes to look for your golf ball and you put a 5-handicapper out there, no joke I think they would shoot – if they followed the textbook rules – they would shoot 120 or more, because they would be losing so many golf balls in the rough and you only have 3 minutes to find it. Yeah, it was brutal. The ultimate test of precision and accuracy in terms of… you had to hit it both long and straight. You couldn’t do one or the other. You had to have both. That’s why I think some of the commentators and whatnot really like that style of golf.”
7. GolfWRX chats with Ryan Palmer
JN: Do you have a home field advantage here at Colonial?
RP: To a point, I guess. Obviously, I have played this golf course in every type of wind. I mean, I know certain holes play shorter than they are. So, a little bit of an advantage because I don’t put much stress into the golf course itself. I just know it. And of course, James, my caddie, knows it. And that is nice. But I do put more pressure on myself because I want to play well here
  • JN: What are your thoughts on not having a full bag club sponsorship?
  • RP: It is just a matter of playing with what I like. When I first got on tour, you would sign a full deal and it was pretty good. Now you are signing for balls and all 14 clubs. I love the Taylor Made driver but they cut out the driver only deals. They went just full line. Fortunately, with the help of Mike Chisholm and Chisholm Sports, I have some great corporate partners. United Rentals, a great deal with Unisys, RBC. I am able to have these corporate sponsors allow me to play what I want. I made some comments like ‘two hundred grand is not worth an equipment contract on tour because of what you can make that week.’
  • So, I got ribbed a little bit for making that comment but honestly it is not worth it in today’s game. We play for so much money now each and every week that by the time you get a $200,000 deal, you’re paying taxes and management, at the end of the day its worth a top 20-finish. And then you have to play those clubs all year long, whether you like them or not. So now I can play whatever putter or iron or driver I want. I am only under contract with ball, shoes and gloves. Footjoy and Titleist. I test and I tinker now and then but I always go back to what I have performed with in the past. I stand over a tee shot and I think, I know I hit this driver this way at this tournament at this particular moment. Why would I change?
8. Why it was great: Bridgestone’s J33R driver
For your viewing pleasure, a new video series from GolfWRX in general and equipment expert Ryan Barath in particular.
  • This video series breaks down why certain clubs maintain such a cult following, and what made them so popular to begin with.
  • The first club in this series is the Bridgestone J33R – a driver from 2005 that was both hard to find and extremely sought after. Ryan Barath breaks down some of the design attributes that still makes this a great club today.
9. Golf jokes!
Mark Townsend at National Club Golfer rounds up some of the worst…
Best golf jokes: Caddiesmack
  • A golfer walks off the 18th green, hands his putter to his caddie and says, “Kid, you’ve got to be the worst caddie in the world.”
  • The caddie replies: “Sir, that would be too much of a coincidence.”
  • Verdict: Not bad and a punchline that most of us weren’t expecting. Quick and to the point though how you’re going to bring this one to the table is anyone’s guess.
Best golf jokes: Clucking mad
  • A golfer sliced a ball into a field of chickens, striking one of the hens and killing it instantly. He was understandably upset, and sought out the farmer. “I’m sorry,” he said, “my terrible tee shot hit one of your hens and killed it. Can I replace the hen?”
  • “I don’t know about that,” replied the farmer, mulling it over. “How many eggs a day do you lay?”
  • Verdict: Better and unlike many of its golfing jokey contemporaries the punchline can’t be said to yourself about a third of the way in. Quite quirky for a golf joke and, told in the right manner, might be worth using.
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