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GolfWRX Morning 9: 2019 Rules | Getting to know Mark Broadie | Fujikawa’s full statement

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

September 13, 2018

Good Thursday morning, golf fans.
1. 2019 Rules of Golf ready for the reading
Our Gianni Magliocco with the report…”The modernized Rules of Golf features over 30 changes in all, and it is said to be the most significant change to the rules in more than 60 years.”
“The changes to the rules will see the reduction of several penalties, looser putting green and bunker rules, and regulations that encourage improved pace of play.”
“Among the significant changes that will come into effect in the new year
  • Penalty drops will now be made from knee height, rather than shoulder height
  • No penalty for an accidental double hit
  • No penalty for accidentally moving your ball or ball-marker on the putting green
  • No penalty for accidentally moving your ball during search.
  • Your ball is lost if not found in three minutes (rather than the current 5 minutes)
2. Getting to know the strokes gained guru
Brilliant stuff from Josh Sens at Golf.com profiling Mark Broadie.
“That reputation stems from Broadie’s pioneering data-driven research, which began nearly two decades back, inspired by what you might call his golf obsession, and which continues to this day. Drawn from his analysis of millions of golf shots, struck by pros and amateurs alike, that research has yielded insights with farther-reaching implications than Broadie himself ever foresaw.”
  • “First adopted by the PGA Tour in 2011, “strokes gained,” Broadie’s breakthrough analytics tool, has become a fixture in golf’s Moneyball age. Though he was not alone in seeing the shortcomings of old-saw categories such as greens-in-regulation and putts-per-round (which, beyond being unhelpful, can be outright misleading), he was the first to do something about it. With strokes gained, Broadie was able to set the data straight by placing it in proper context. It allowed him to measure a player’s performance against the rest of the field while providing an isolated view of specific aspects of their game.”
  • “What started out in 2011 as merely a strokes-gained putting stat has, in the past seven years, spawned many other categories in the Tour’s ShotLink database, including revelatory strokes gained measures on tee shots, approach shots and shots around the green. Their combined influence on golf have been likened to the sway of sabermetrics over baseball, changing how Tour pros play and practice, how coaches coach, how caddies caddie.”
3. Tadd Fujikawa comes out
The former teen phenom posted the following to Instagram yesterday. He is believed to be the first openly gay male professional golfer
“I don’t expect everyone to understand or accept me. But please be gracious enough to not push your beliefs on me or anyone in the LGBTQ community. My hope is this post will inspire each and every one of you to be more empathetic and loving towards one another.”
  • “I’ve been back and forth for a while about opening up about my sexuality. I thought that I didn’t need to come out because it doesn’t matter if anyone knows. But I remember how much other’s stories have helped me in my darkest times to have hope. I spent way too long pretending, hiding, and hating who I was. I was always afraid of what others would think/say. I’ve struggled with my mental health for many years because of that and it put me in a really bad place. Now I’m standing up for myself and the rest of the LGBTQ community in hopes of being an inspiration and making a difference in someone’s life.”
  • “Although it’s a lot more accepted in our society today, we still see children, teens, and adults being ridiculed and discriminated against for being the way we are. Some have even taken their lives because of it. As long as those things are still happening, I will continue to do my best to bring more awareness to this issue and to fight for equality. Whether the LGBTQ is what you support or not, we must liberate and encourage each other to be our best selves, whatever that may be. It’s the only way we can make this world a better place for future generations.”
4. Longer, more sophisticated fairway woods
Golfweek’s David Dusek explores the phenomenon of longer-flying, technology laden fairway woods.
  • “For the longest time, I think fairway woods were sort of a dead category, just chugging along, but there was nothing that inspired consumers to go out and replace what they had,” said Brian Bazzel, TaylorMade’s vice president of product creation. “It was clear to us that from a ball-speed standpoint, there was a lot of runway.”
  • “I give TaylorMade credit because (RocketBallz) really started the arms race in fairway woods,” said Dave Neville, Callaway’s senior director of brand management.
  • “According to Neville, Chip Brewer had just started as Callaway’s president in early 2012 when he was shown the fairway woods company officials planned to release. Unimpressed, Brewer canceled their production and pressed Callaway’s R&D team to further develop a prototype technology that could deliver significantly more distance, even though it meant releasing the clubs later. The result was the first Callaway fairway wood with a cup face, the X Hot, and it quickly became a hit.”

Full article.

5. The Ryder Cup effect? Non!
They’re skeptical in France!
  • AP Report…”The head of France’s only golf major says hosting the Ryder Cup won’t help his country produce a star player.”
  • “Asked at an eve-of-tournament news conference Wednesday about a stellar month for French golf, the women’s Evian Championship chairman Franck Riboud dismissed what the Ryder Cup could achieve when it’s played Sept. 28-30 near Paris.”
  • “We need a (French) champion, that’s all,” Riboud said. “I think we need a project for the young French player to show we are a champion in the next five years. … We don’t have a golf culture, we have to build it.”
  • “Perhaps you are surprised,” Riboud said. “Because personally I think the Ryder Cup is not building or helping to reach the objective” of developing talent.”
The top Frenchman in the OWGR? Mike Lorenzo-Vera at No. 97.
6. A scarcity of women’s college golf scholarships?
Interesting take from Beth Ann Nichols at Golfweek on the poverty of women’s golf scholarships.
  • “I am so glad you are doing a story on this because I am so tired of hearing this,” wrote Boise State head coach Nicole Bird. “Parents in women’s golf expect a full ride, no matter how good (or bad) their daughter is because they think there is an overwhelming number of scholarships available.
  • “Parents and juniors often start the recruiting process not realizing that many golf programs aren’t fully funded, particularly at the Division II level, even among top-tier programs.”
  • “Division I women’s golf teams are allotted six full scholarships, while Division II is allowed 5.4.”
  • “Division III does not have athletic scholarships.”
  • “There’s a big chunk of your better academic schools who may only have one scholarship among the whole team,” Jackson said. “Eight girls on the team … the majority of those girls are paying to be there.”
7. AN Women’s Am coming to NBC
Golf Channel’s Ryan Lavner…”The inaugural Augusta National Women’s Amateur will be broadcast next April on NBC Sports, it was announced Wednesday.”
  • “NBC will provide live broadcast and digital tournament coverage of the final round on Saturday, April 6 (noon-3 p.m. ET), while Golf Channel will cover the championship on its news and digital platforms.”
  • “Held the week before the 2019 Masters, the Augusta National Women’s Amateur will include an international field of 72 players competing in a 54-hole event. The first two rounds will be contested on Champions Retreat Golf Club’s Island and Bluff courses (April 3 and 4), after which the field will be trimmed to the low 30 players.”
  • “The field will then play an official practice round at Augusta National on April 5, before the final round on Saturday, April 6.”
8. The rise of Rose
An unbylined AP column looks at Justin Rose’s long road to the top.
  • “He was a 17-year-old amateur at Royal Birkdale in 1998 who holed out for par on the final hole to tie for fourth, soaking up a celebration that suggested golf could only get sweeter.”
  • “And then it went sour over the next year when he turned pro and missed 21 consecutive cuts on the European Tour.”
  • “It took him nearly four years before he won for the first time in Europe. He went 12 years before winning on the PGA Tour, rallying from four shots behind to win the Memorial and get that handshake with Jack Nicklaus. He won the U.S. Open in 2013 by denying Phil Mickelson. He added precious gold to the collection of silver trophies when he won in golf’s return to the Olympics in 2016.”
9. Mickelson the sniper
Phil Mickelson tweeted a video of himself firing a sniper rifle, saying, “How is today’s long range sniper shooting preparing me for the Ryder Cup? Meditation, controlling my thoughts, breathing, heart rate and connecting with the target are critical for both!”
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2 Comments

2 Comments

  1. Dave r

    Sep 13, 2018 at 10:38 am

    Neat some idiot shooting a rifle . Nice golf related article don’t you think?

    • Dugger65

      Sep 17, 2018 at 2:03 pm

      Better than some rifle shooting an idiot.

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Paul Casey IS testing Honma irons (but he IS NOT a Honma staffer)

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paul-casey-honma-iron-pc

It turns out, Paul Casey is not the second PGA Tour staffer (after Justin Rose) to sign with Honma.

Two weeks ago, the Englishman sent the golf equipment world was sent into a frenzy when a photo of him with an apparent Honma iron in play at the Sentry Tournament of Champions.

Casey took to Instagram to confirm that he did in fact have a Honma 3-iron in play. However, well, here it is from the horse’s mouth…

“Still testing these beauties. Contrary to reports I started the season with almost the exact same setup that I used during the latter half of last year. Including the Ryder Cup. The only change being a new @honmagolf 3 iron that was photographed in play at Kapalua”

“These beauties” would seem to include a full set of Rose Proto-esque irons (with “PC” stamping instead of “Rose Proto”). It seems the 3-iron was Honma’s TW-U Forged utility iron.

With respect to his setup from last season, Casey played a combo set of Mizuno MP-25 irons (3) and MP-5 irons (4-PW). TaylorMade woods, Vokey Wedges, and a Scotty Cameron putter rounded out his set, which you can see here.

Casey has been without a full bag deal since his 2016 Nike deal (although he was under contract to play TaylorMade woods in 2017).

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Morning 9: Kuchar’s “Not a story” still a story | LPGA commish pushing for pay parity | Grassy shoe

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

January 15, 2019

Good Tuesday morning, golf fans.
1. Further thoughts on Kuchar, caddie payola
Whether Kuchar stiffed El Toucan or not, the story is far from dead…especially in light of at least one additional pro suggesting Kuch has a reputation for…thriftiness.
  • Here’s a bit from Geoff Shackelford, who quotes a Joel Beall piece and offers his own perspective.
  • “Does this constitute a story? That’s the question GolfDigest.com’s Joel Beall asks and does a nice job answering after a fellow golf pro called out what he saw as Matt Kuchar’s substandard pay to a caddie last fall.
  • “(Beall writes…) Kuchar’s case, however, felt different, for it wasn’t a tip as it was wages owed. The optics alone-a veteran with $46 million in career earnings low-balling a man who makes less than $46,000 a year-were damning. That Gillis’ previous blast of Ben Crane over an unpaid bet to Daniel Berger proved accurate wasn’t helping, nor was Australian pro Cameron Percy’s reply of, “It’s not out of character if true.”
  • “The irony in this escapade like other recent episodes cited by Beall: this was started and fueled by one of Kuchar’s peers, not a media outlet. …As players have increasingly shunned media for social media to break news or tell their story, it’s fascinating how many examples we’ve already seen of players calling out fellow players on social media in ways more harsh and reputation-damaging than a traditional media outlet would dare.”

Full piece (including a link to Beall’s article)

2. Oda overcomes
Golf Channel’s Brentley Romine writes…”John Oda overcame a double bogey Monday to maintain his lead at the Web.com Tour’s season opener.”
  • “The UNLV product offset his double on the par-4 fifth hole with six birdies as part of a second-round, 4-under 68. At 13 under, Oda leads the Bahamas Great Exuma Classic at Sandals Emerald Bay by two shots over Marty Dou, who carded a second-round 66.”
  • “For the second straight day, play was suspended because of darkness. Three groups will have to finish their second rounds Tuesday morning…”
3. Glass half full/half empty
A Reuters report identifies two things: the LPGA Tour will feature its largest collective purse ever this year, and that pursue is nowhere near what PGA Tour players will play for.
“The LPGA season kicks off on Thursday for a season that will comprise 34 events and distribute some $70 million in prize money, a record amount for the circuit although it is still barely one-fifth on offer on the PGA Tour.”
  • “The discrepancy roughly parallels the difference in television ratings in the United States between the tours, according to LPGA commissioner Mike Whan, with the women mainly shown on the smaller audience Golf Channel while the men’s circuit is broadcast on free-to-air network television.”
  • “The difference in purses is the difference in total viewership,” Whan told Reuters in a television interview ahead of the Tournament of Champions season opener that will be held in Florida.
  • “There is a real business reason. It’s based on real data. I understand it. I was a sponsor before a commissioner.
  • “It doesn’t mean I like it, doesn’t mean it’s the end of the road. Seven or eight years ago it wouldn’t have been one fifth. We’re up 80 percent in purses since 2010.”
4. Hosung Choi to make PGA Tour debut?
Our Gianni Magliocco writes…”Hosung Choi, a two-time winner on the Japan Golf Tour and internet sensation, is set to make his first PGA Tour appearance of his career after being handed an invitation to compete at next month’s AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am, according to multiple Korean media outlets.”
5. Spieth the victim?
Golf Channel’s Randall Mell argues that the real-time stats, day trader mentality, and abundance of scrutiny have combined for a hyperfocus on the putting stroke of one Jordan Spieth. And it’s hard to believe this is doing him any favors.
  • “Is former Tiger coach Hank Haney’s opinion that there’s a yip in Spieth’s putting stroke a short-term liability, or a long-term one? Are Spieth’s back-to-back MCs a trend or an anomaly?”
  • “Coach Sean Foley said Woods was subject to daily referendums when he worked with him.”
  • “Tiger isn’t alone anymore as the subject of intense inspection on web sites, in reader commentaries, Twitter and podcasts. The growing volume of opinion may well be good for the game, nurturing — or inflaming — interest like never before, but it comes at a price for players struggling to reverse a trend. There’s more pressure to produce results than ever before, and to produce them more quickly, before negative opinion becomes tsunamic.”
  • “Fans are more invested in players, with so many more opportunities to follow them online. The PGA Tour’s live streaming allows fans to isolate their viewing of their favorites through an entire round. That’s only going to grow.”
6. What we learned at the Sony
Looking back at the tournament that was, our Ronald Montesano has some observations.
  • “Shorter and Strategic will always have a place on tour…Courses like Waialae (restored by Doak and team) and Harbor Town offer less-than-long hitters an opportunity to showcase their talents. Remember last fall’s Ryder Cup? Team Europe neutralized the length advantage of the USA at Le Golf National, and rolled to victory. Great courses from a bygone era will charm  competitors and fans alike, and the essence of proper golf course architecture will never fade from fashion.”
  • “Ryder Cup snubs lead to resurgence…Last week, we discussed the Xander Schauffele snub by USA Ryder Cup team captains. This week, the veteran most expected to make the team (Kuchar) won a second time since that international competition. Nothing sparks the competitive fires like being told that you aren’t good enough. Kuchar’s multiple international caps weren’t enough to secure a spot in France, but he is playing like he wants Tiger Woods (2019 President’s Cup captain) to know that he plans to return to Team USA pronto. We think that the fans support his cause.”
7. Valentino Dixon to exhibit in NYC
Rightly, Golf Digest’s Max Adler with the story...”…you might say Dixon’s true arrival into the professional art scene occurs this week. January 17-20, doors open to the 27th Outsider Art Fair at the Metropolitan Pavilion in New York. Alongside 67 exhibitors representing 37 cities from 7 countries, will hang the golf landscapes whose creation subsisted the soul of an innocent artist locked inside a cell.
  • “To have my drawings showcased in New York City, the art capital of the world, it’s a dream come true,” Dixon says. “I feel like this is redemption for my teachers at the Buffalo Performing Arts High School. For so long I had let them down.”
8. Two holes-in-one in four holes?
Tony Korologos at Hooked on Golf...”So what are the odds of getting two aces in one round? How about two aces on the front nine? This past weekend at the Coral Canyon Amateur tournament in St. George, Utah, Kirk Siddens did just that…”
  • “The odds of two golfers in a group making an ace on the same hole is 26 million to 1. The odds of making back to back aces are around 50 million to 1. So somewhere in there lies the odds of one golfer getting a hole in one in four holes, or two consecutive par 3’s. I say let’s call it 37.75 million to 1.”
9. Air Max 1 golf shoe: grass edition
Golf Digest’s Brittany Romano…”Sneaker News leaked Nike’s newest golf shoe drop that has everyone talking. The star design features a green grass shoe with what appears to be a turf-like covering. The “grass” is complemented by a thick white midsole and throwback rubber outsole. The shoe is a remix of the iconic Air Max 1 sneaker that became popular in 1987 as the first shoe to feature visible air pockets in the midsole.”
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19th Hole

I wasn’t ready for the 2019 Rules of Golf

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We weren’t ready. We thought we were, but we weren’t.

For the last year, the USGA reminded us that in 2019 Rules of Golf were coming, but we didn’t listen. We heard the flag stick could remain in and we heard that you could take a penalty drop from knee-height.

But we didn’t listen.

I bet none of you have even practiced using your putter to flatten the entire green between your ball and the cup. You can do that now.

I’m also sure that you and I will continue to hover our club in all hazards, er, penalty areas. Yeah, we’re calling it a penalty area now.

The USGA went to the extreme depths of changing words all to simplify the game for you.

I don’t think the USGA listened either.

The rule changes were intended to speed up play and simplify golf for amateurs. Seems like a good idea. In turn, they may have bamboozled the PGA Tour while confusing the only amateurs who kind-of, sort-of knew the rules.

The pros didn’t need a new rule book, the amateurs just needed a simple one.

Us “locals” as the USGA refers to amateurs, do have one extremely fluid perk. When hitting a ball OB, or following a lost ball, you can drop with a two-stroke penalty instead of walking back to the tee. This of course, is dependent on your course, head professional, tournament conditions, and other factors including and not limited to what phase the moon is in.

If that’s somewhat confusing, read up, ask about your local rules, and buy a few extra sleeves. Reason being, in 2019, the limit on searching for a golf ball has been cut from five to three minutes.

2019-rules-of-golf

But wait, there’s good news.

Thanks to the USGA, if you accidentally move your ball as you frantically high-step through fescue, it’s no longer a penalty! What an exciting 180 seconds that will be!

If you somehow don’t find your golf ball in the hazard penalty area, the USGA tried to help us out, which they did, yet regrettably took away a more iconic portrait on the golf course.

The rigid, stoic stance and forceful drop of a ball at shoulder-height.

And we let it happen.

Now, we’ll watch a defeated man deliberately bend to his knees and gingerly drop his ball…Which, by the way, appears to be a convenient way for cheaters to “take a drop” that ideally doubles as “identifying my first ball”.

Don’t even get me started on the back issues this could flare up.

We heard in late 2018 that Bryson DeChambeau would use the flagstick when the odds were in his favor. He even laid it out simply for us.

“It depends on the COR, the coefficient of restitution of the flagstick.”

Simple.

We didn’t listen Bryson, we didn’t believe. We also have absolutely no clue what you’re talking about.

But hey, as Bryson would say, don’t hate the player, hate the game. Yeah, he’d clearly never say that, but here’s to hoping!

We heard he would do it, but we didn’t believe it. We had to see to believe. What we saw was DeChambeau first in strokes gained putting in the very first round he was allowed to do it.

Obviously, this trend will continue for DeChambeau, and others may join in, because what is golf if not a constant chase for a marginally better opportunity at success.

Watch your back, because those others that may join in could be closer than you think. You may turn around to find a fellow member asking for the flag on their next 12-footer.

It should be a fun year of commentary and confusion at your local club and on the PGA tour. Professionals will have constant questions for rules officials, and commentators will consistently question Bryson’s methods.

There is one real question I hope is answered this April.

What will we do when Bryson banks in a downhill putt at No. 2 of Augusta?

Will we be ready? Will Augusta?

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19th Hole

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