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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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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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