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GolfWRX Morning 9: R.I.P. Jarrod Lyle | Bellerive up to speed? | Tiger the underachiever?

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

August 9, 2018

Good Thursday morning, golf fans.
1. R.I.P. Jarrod Lyle
Jarrod Lyle is dead at 36. I think it’s disrespectful to say he “lost” the battle. It’s disrespectful to say anyone cancer kills loses, because it suggests they could have or should have done more/something different to win. Sometimes, saying someone “lost” a battle to cancer is like saying he lost a battle to an oncoming semi. There’s no “fight” there.
  • Jarrod Lyle didn’t lose anything. With his openness and courage he inspired, and he’s a reminder of multitudes suffering from cancer and other horrific diseases every day. We need to do everything we can to fund research, yes, but we also need to support those who are suffering and their families and relegate neither to the shadows.
  • Per an Australian Associated Press report…”Lyle, 36, spent his final days surrounded by loved ones when he decided to go into palliative care after ending treatment for myeloid leukaemia.”
  • “He is survived by his wife Briony and daughters Lusi, 6, and Jemma, 2.”
  • “It breaks my heart to tell everyone that Jarrod is no longer with us,” Ms Lyle said in a statement. “He passed away peacefully at 8.20pm last night having spent his final week in Torquay among his family and close friends.”
There’s aGoFundMe for Lyle’s family, here. Please donate.
Also, kudos to Bryson DeChambeau for choosing the Lyle family as the beneficiaries of his $25,000 PGA Championship Long Drive winnings.
2. Bellerive getting up to speed
Golfweek’s Forecaddie reports Bellerive’s greens are weathering the weather well.
  • “The Forecaddie admires a lot about the work of PGA setup man Kerry Haigh, but never more than when he digs in on his career-long refusal to discuss green speed…With Bellerive’s heat and stressed greens, The Man Out Front asked Haigh if the .125 mowing height was going to be lowered for the first round, as a locker room notice to players suggested.”
  • “We’ve made adjustments during the week, including today, so we have made specific adjustments, and we’ll continue to monitor it,” the stone-faced assassin of public Stimpmeter readings said. “But we’re very comfortable and love where we’re at today.”
  • “Specifically, The Forecaddie spotted rollers for the first time all week Wednesday, thanks in part to yesterday’s 1.5 inches of rain and cooler temperatures. As dreadful as the rains were for keeping the course firm, the moisture and cooler weather allowed superintendent Carlos Arraya to push the sensitive surfaces.
  • “The greens are quicker than they were the last two days, and they’re very close to what we are hoping they will be for the four days,” Haigh said. “We love where they’re at. They’re rolling beautifully. And Carlos Arraya and his team, just unbelievable, great job.”
3. The wrong Tommy
Here’s an outrageous real thing that actually happened.
“Tommy Fleetwood received a surprise this week when noticed that a $154,480 check from the European Tour had been deposited into his bank account..Because he wasn’t that Tommy Fleetwood.”
  • “Turns out the European Tour made a clerical error and sent out the winnings from last month’s Open Championship to the wrong Tommy Fleetwood. Instead of going to the 11th-ranked player in the world, an American club pro at Streamsong Resort in central Florida instead was shocked to find the six-figure check in his account – sandwiched between a supermarket payment of  $14.37 and a service fee of $16.” (Golf Channel report)
4. Golf’s odd couple
Karen Crouse filed an excellent look at a subject you’re likely tired of hearing about: the Tiger Woods, Phil Mickelson bomance.
  • “But those earlier versions, of Woods and Mickelson in their 20s and 30s, have given way in middle age to models that are more similar than not. Mickelson, 48, has turned himself into a sleeker machine who nosed out a player nearly half his age, Justin Thomas, the defending champion of the P.G.A. Championship, to win a World Golf Championships event in Mexico City in March for his 43rd PGA Tour victory – and his first in four years.”
  • “And Woods, 42, has become less isolated and more welcoming. The steely focus that made him so intimidating in his heyday is still there, but after the last putt drops, he is quick to smile and socialize with other players. After five years spent battling debilitating back pain that required four surgeries, Woods described himself on Tuesday as “very blessed” and said, “It’s a dream come true” to simply be back playing tournament golf.”

More.

5. Speaketh JT
A couple of lines from Justin Thomas as he prepares for his PGA Championship title defense.
  • “The part of defending isn’t as difficult as just winning any golf tournament in general. I mean, any player here this week, it’s very hard to win,” Thomas said. “It doesn’t make it any harder that I’m trying to defend.”
  • “You can learn as much as you want from anything. It’s just the hard part is sometimes recognizing what you learned…I learned from the British Open and I missed the cut. I learned from the Travelers when I finished 50th or whatever I finished. You learn every week. It’s sometimes the lessons are bigger than others.”
6. Latest on PGA HQ move
Geoff Shackelford writes…”In his final PGA Championship news conference as CEO, Pete Bevacqua addressed possible a headquarters move to Frisco, Texas…”That’s still certainly a possibility, but it’s also a possibility that we’ll stay in southern Florida or even look at other opportunities around the rest of the country,” Bevacqua said.”
  • “Opening up the potential for a move to other parts of the country added a new twist to the organization’s push to modernize its buildings in Palm Beach Gardens, Fla…This is something that started two years ago, where we all came to the conclusion that our current headquarters, those current buildings, although they’re in a wonderful part of the country, just weren’t getting – not getting it done for us,” said Bevacqua, who is moving to a new role at NBC Sports overseeing multiple properties, including Golf Channel.”
7. 14 points for golf
Writing for the Armchair Golf Blog, John Coye says…”Joe Kirkwood’s autobiography, Links of Life. Kirkwood was an Australian golf professional who won 13 times on the PGA Tour and was also known as a trick shot artist. His book was published privately in 1973. Kirkwood told his story to Barbara Few and the story has an introduction by Lowell Thomas, the famous news commentator, one-time chairman of the American Golf Hall of Fame and a friend of Kirkwood.”
“Kirkwood took the challenge and dictated 14 points that Thomas had framed on the wall of the locker room at the Western White House golf course…Thomas added the 14 points to his introduction of Links of Life. Here they are:”
1. Relax, relax, relax!

 

2. When addressing the ball, stand almost straight, sitting back slightly on your heels.

 

3. Extend hands, arms and club out straight. That is, don’t drop your hands as though putting them in your lap.

 

4. Grip should always be the same. If you want a hook or a fade, a low shot or a high one simply alter your stance.

 

5. For instance if you want a high shot, open your club face and stand behind the ball.

 

6. Get biggest arc possible. Slow backswing. Slight hesitation at top.

 

7. Stay almost flat footed through swing until after ball is in flight and club head is out where it should be on the follow through. It’s okay to sway a light as you pivot, but your head must not move too much. On your pivot be sure to bring left shoulder way under.

 

8. Imagine you are looking underneath the ball. Avoid closing club face.

 

9. Whatever you do don’t let your body get ahead of your hands and the club.

 

10. Don’t fight the wind. For example, on the Quaker Hill course, in playing the 7th where the wind often is from the West, hit a fade to the left and allow wind to bring the ball around. This way you will get more distance.

 

11. On pitch and chip shots keep arms still. Arms, hands, club all on piece.

 

12. On pitch and chip shots use slow easy rhythmical stroke, with a follow through. Don’t snap at the ball!

 

13. In rough, or any bad lie, open club face in order to cut through trouble.

 

14. In getting out of traps spank the sand with club head. Use light touch; easy stroke. Don’t bang at it. After rain, or in any hard sand, use a very light touch, caress it.

 

8. Tiger the underachiever?
Brandel Chamblee would certainly say he’s done nothing more than offer his honest, reasoned opinions on Tiger Woods throughout his career.
The Golf Channel analysts’s detractors, however, feel Chamblee has an anti-Woods bias at best and makes incendiary remarks that he knows aren’t true for attention, at worst.
  • The most recent example of Chamblee telling his truth regarding Woods came on the Golf Digest podcast.
  • “I would argue he got the least out of his talent of any player, maybe in history,” Chamblee said. “What other player would you have imagined was going to win 30 major championships? Twenty-five, 30 major championships and 100-plus events? There’s no other player that any of us would ever have imagined – I think he was better than any of us ever imagined. But once he got going, we thought, well . . . he’s going to be Genghis Khan to the record books.”
9. Bittersweet for Bevacqua
Golf Channel’s Nick Menta…”For the first time since the news was announced, outgoing PGA of America CEO Pete Bevacqua addressed his upcoming move to NBC Sports.”
  • “The past, roughly six years at PGA of America have been wonderful,” he said. “As many of you know, I’ll be moving on to NBC Sports. But what made that decision, at least a little bit easier for me, is the fact that I know I’ll still be so involved with golf and still so involved with the PGA of America, such a wonderful organization, and with the friends I’ve made, like Kerry [Haigh], who I absolutely think the world of, my fellow staff, the board, the officers.”
  • “Bevacqua is taking over in the newly created role of NBC Sports Group president. He will oversee NBC Sports programming, marketing and digital, in addition to the company’s regional cable networks and all NBC’s golf businesses.”
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USGA, R&A finalize limits on green-reading materials

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The review period is over the USGA and R&A’s new interpretation of Rule 4.3 as it pertains to green-reading materials is finalized.

Starting Jan. 1, 2019, the governing bodies have agreed to limit the size and scale of putting green maps. However, one of the most contentious elements of the original proposal, which would have allowed only depictions of slope greater than four percent, isn’t included in the final decision.

“These latest modifications provide very practical changes that make the interpretation easier to understand and apply in the field,” said Thomas Pagel, the USGA’s senior managing director of governance. “We’re thankful for everyone’s willingness to provide feedback as we worked through the process of identifying a clear interpretation that protects the essential skill of reading a green, while still allowing for information that helps golfers enjoy the game.”

Per the official USGA release, yardage books may not include

  • Any image of a putting green must be limited to a scale of 3/8 inch to 5 yards (1:480) or smaller (the “scale limit”).
  • Any book or other paper containing a map or image of a putting green must not be larger than 4 ¼ inches x 7 inches (the “size limit”), although a “hole location sheet” that displays nine or more holes on a single sheet of paper may be larger, provided that any image of a single putting green meets the scale limit.
  • No magnification of putting-green information is allowed other than a player’s normal wearing of prescription glasses or lenses.
  • Hand-drawn or written information about a putting green is only allowed if contained in a book or paper meeting the size limit and written by the player and/or his or her caddie.
  • The final interpretation also clearly defines that any use of electronic or digital putting-green maps must comply with the same limits.

The release also indicates the USGA and R&A will continue evaluating the use of green-reading materials.

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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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