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GolfWRX Morning 9: Trouble ahead for PGA Championship? | Rory: Tiger needs to re-learn how to win

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

August 8, 2018

Good Wednesday morning, golf fans. Yesterday, in an inexplicably but not totally unexpected mental malfunction, I said the 2001 PGA Championship was cancelled due to the events of 9/11. It was, in fact, a WGC event, not a major, at Bellerive that was wiped from the schedule, as several readers have alerted me. My apologies.    
1. PGA Championship challenges
Steve DiMeglio outlines the weather-related difficulties the PGA Championship could face this week.
  • “Only four players got on the golf course Tuesday at Bellerive Country Club as the first weather delay disrupted the 100th playing of the PGA Championship.”
  • “Play was suspended and players and spectators were told to seek shelter as a string of thunderstorms starting hitting the area just past 7 a.m. CT. Lightning lit up the skies, thunder cracked the silence and a deluge of rain left rivers, ponds and small lakes on the already soft golf course.”
  • “The putting surfaces are already the talk of the tournament as they are on the rough side and extremely soft, so they didn’t need the water.”
  • “A sign in the players’ locker room has already warned the players what to expect: “Due to the expected high temperatures and high humidity over the next couple of days, greens speeds will remain slower than they are planned for Championship Rounds.”
  • “If more foul weather moves through the area – and chances are it will the rest of Tuesday and into Wednesday – another challenge could pop up when play begins Thursday. The fairways are pure but soft, which likely will deliver mud balls.”

More.

2. “We want him on that team”
Ryder Cup bubble boy, Bryson DeChambeau, has a significant lobbyist in his corner.
  • “Bryson is very analytical, as we all know, but what most of the guys don’t know is how competitive he is,” Woods said. “He is very fiery, very competitive, and that’s the type of person we want on the teams. We want someone who is fiery, who will bleed red, white and blue. We want those type of players on the team.”
3. Perspectives on major failures
Jordan Spieth has fallen short of major glory on multiple occasions (of course, he has also won majors, which helps).
  • Nick Menta writes…”In six years on Tour, Jordan Spieth has enjoyed a career’s worth of major triumphs and heartbreaks. There was the runaway at the 2015 Masters; the birdie-double bogey-birdie finish at the 2015 U.S. Open; the 12th-hole meltdown at the 2016 Masters; the driving-range theatrics at the 2017 Open; and the failure to convert a 54-hole lead last month at Carnoustie.”
  • Spieth: “Yeah, just goes back to if you put yourself in the position enough times, you’re going to have some go your way and some that don’t go your way,” Spieth said Tuesday at Bellerive, where he’ll take his second crack at completing the career Grand Slam.
  • “I’ve had instances where, like Chambers Bay, where I didn’t think I won when I finished, and then I ended up winning the golf tournament. So it goes both ways. Look at Jack Nicklaus’ career. There’s a perfect example of it, with 19 seconds and 18 majors and, I don’t know, probably 40 top-5s. I don’t know the exact numbers, but the point is you put yourself in position enough, it will go your way sometimes, and sometimes it won’t. And it’s easier to accept if that’s the way you look at it.”
4. Quothe the TIger
One of the best bon mots from Tiger’s pre-PGA Championship press conference.
  • “Well, just the fact that I’m playing the Tour again, it’s been – just for me to be able to have this opportunity again is – it’s a dream come true,” he answered. “I said this many times this year, I didn’t know if I could do this again, and lo and behold, here I am. So just coming back and being able to play at this level and compete – I’ve had my share of chances to win this year as well, and hopefully I’ll get it done this week.
5. Molinari revisited
With the arrival of the fourth major of the year, scribes are champing at the bit to spill more ink about the winner of the third major of the year.
An AP Report
  • “Francesco Molinari made his major championship debut 12 years ago at the Masters alongside Tiger Woods and didn’t make it to the weekend…That wasn’t devastating. All he was doing was carrying his brother’s bag….”I remember the bag being very heavy because my brother likes to carry around a lot of stuff that is not needed on the golf course, really,” Molinari said Tuesday. “And just the feeling of not liking being on the other side of the bag, having someone hitting the shots. Obviously, I would have much rather been playing that week, but it was an amazing experience walking two rounds alongside Tiger and just being at the Masters.”‘
Tim Rosaforte goes back even further….”Older by 21 months, Edoardo was a total opposite to Francesco in personality, body types and playing traits.”
  • “It was funny how growing up we had different games,” the 35-year-old Francesco explained when we caught up before the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational. “I was much more accurate and straight in tee shots and shots to the greens. He was a bit wild, but his short game was incredible. I don’t know how that happened growing up in the same environment with the same teacher. Maybe it was the way we saw the game.”
  • “Paolo, a dentist, and Micaela, an architect, set up golf lessons with Sergio Bertaina, the revered pro at Circolo Golf Torino. But they never saw their sons as golf pros; not when they were just as passionate competing against one another in football, swimming, track and field, skiing and table tennis. “Loads and loads of sports,” Francesco says today.”
6. CBS loads up the technology for PGA Champ coverage
Toptracer! Putt predictor! Oh my! CBS is rolling out all the technology for the final major of the year.
  • Martin Kaufman writes …”CBS Sports plans to use the PGA Championship to make its biggest technology push to date in golf. That will include adapting one technology better known to basketball fans and reintroducing green-reading tools that were tested earlier this year in Los Angeles.”
  • “At the PGA Championship, CBS will introduce 4D Replay on the 15th tee. The video can pan 270 degrees, zoom in and slow down, creating what should be an interesting tool to study players’ swings.”
  • “CBS also will bring back the Putt Predictor, which illustrates the firm and lag putting lines, to give viewers an idea of the range in which putts must roll to have a chance of going in. This tool is used occasionally in coverage of the European Tour. CBS also will use an Undulation Grid, a graphical overlay to show the contours of the greens.”
  • “Toptracer will be available on all 18 holes, and as we saw on Fox Sports’ coverage of the U.S. Open, CBS also will use wireless, mounted cameras to trace approach shots from the fairways. That’s not as simple as tracing tee shots.”
7. Reading between the Bjorns
John Huggan breaks down remarks from European Ryder Cup captain Thomas Bjorn after the Dane spoke with reporters ahead of the PGA Championship.
  • “Sergio has been brought up to me a couple of times over the last couple of weeks,” he said with a smile. “Sergio is a world-class player, and he’s got some weeks ahead of him where he can go out and achieve things. But we also know that Sergio is the type of player who can turn it around in a week or two and then all of a sudden go on a great run of form. World-class players all have ups and downs. And the last few weeks he hasn’t played his best. But he’s still bobbling around. There are still some good signs here and there. He can turn it around very quickly.”
  • Translation: Expect Sergio to get a pick if he needs one, which he almost certainly will.
  • Inevitably, the subject of Tiger Woods came up in conversation. Did Bjorn, who played all four rounds of the 2001 Dubai Desert Classic alongside Woods and beat him by two shots, think any of his players might be intimidated competing against the great man head-to-head?
  • Not surprisingly, Bjorn played a straight bat to that particular query.
  • “I’m glad that this generation of players get to experience Tiger Woods, because that’s what they need,” he said. “They need to experience what he brings to the game. And they need to experience all that comes with the world of Tiger Woods.”
8. Rory: Tiger needs to re-learn how to win
McIlroy said this at his pre-PGA Champ presser…
  • “There’s a lot of different layers to what Tiger has to go through to win again. He’s learned how to make a swing work for him again. He’s learning how to compete again. He’s learning what you have to do on the back nine of a major on Sunday. He’s building up all that, because even though he’s won 14 of these things, if you haven’t done it for a while, you still have to re-learn a few things, and I think he’s going through that stage.”
9. Keg bag
Al Czervik, rejoice! Michelob Ultra is debuting a prototype Ultra Caddie Bag at the PGA Championship this week. Unfortunately, it won’t be on any caddie’s shoulder, but it will be on display.
The bag features
  • 128 oz. refillable beer keg with a tap handle and pint glasses
  • BOSE Bluetooth speaker
  • LED lighting
  • Built-in tablet for streaming all your favorite media
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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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