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GolfWRX Morning 9: Anonymous pro survey! | How much golf execs make | Fighting for underdog status



1 Anonymous survey time!
Not for you (sorry), but rather, Golf’s famed anonymous survey of PGA pros has made its seasonal return.
While the questions are many and the percentages plenty interesting, here are three of note.
YES: 32%
NO: 76%
YES: 100%
NO: 0%
YES: 98%
NO: 2%
“F- yeah!”
YES: 90%
NO: 10%
2.  Evian: Torres in front
AP Report on the (mercifully non-deluged) first-round action from France…”Maria Torres, a rookie from Puerto Rico, and Carlota Ciganda of Spain each shot six-under-par 65 on Thursday for a share of the first-round lead at the Evian Championship, the fifth and final major championship on the L.P.G.A. Tour.”
“Ciganda had six birdies and no birdies, while Torres carded an eagle to help offset two bogeys in her round here at the Evian Resort Golf Club.”
“Austin Ernst, an American, had sole possession of third place at five under. So Yeon Ryu of South Korea, Brooke Henderson of Canada and Nasa Hataoka of Japan were a stroke behind Ernst.”
“Inbee Park of South Korea and Georgia Hall of England headlined a group of 10 tied for seventh at three under.”
3. Who’s the real underdog?
Certainly, it’s beneficial for both the U.S. and European sides to arrive in Paris with chips on their collective shoulders. And assuredly, no one–save for Thomas Pieters, perhaps–wants to give the opposite side bulletin board material. Thus, it’s not surprising to hear Patrick Reed say that he and his defending champion U.S. squad are underdogs in this Ryder Cup.
Golfweek’s Brentley Romine writes…”Furyk’s squad also boasts 31 total major championships and have accounted for six of the last eight major titles. There was the Americans’ dominating performance two years ago at Hazeltine, where the U.S. routed the Europeans, 17-11. And Vegas currently has the U.S. as a 1-to-2 favorite to retain the Cup this year.”
“Yet despite all of those things, Patrick Reed says his team is embracing an underdog role as they prepare to compete at Le Golf National.”
“We feel great and we can’t wait to get over there and try to end the drought of not winning overseas,” Reed said Wednesday during a press conference for the Hong Kong Open. “I feel that kind of takes a little bit of pressure off us and puts more pressure on the European team because they’re the ones that have had so much success overseas, that everyone thinks we’re going to come in and they’re going to win the Cup again….So we’re going to go in and feel like we’re the underdogs and try to play the best that we can.”
4. KLM Open: Wu ahead of Wood
First round at the KLM Open…per…”Wu Ashun will take a one-shot lead into the second round of the KLM Open after firing a bogey-free 64 on day one at The Dutch.”
“The Chinese arrived in Spijk off the back of a top ten in Switzerland last week and continued that form with seven birdies to get to seven under.”
“Chris Wood was also blemish-free in carding a 65 in the morning and there was then a group of 13 players two shots off the lead on a very congested leaderboard.”
At the time of this writing, Wu is 5 under through 17 holes in his second round and is in front by three.
5.  What people in golf earn
An anonymous pro survey and pay data in one newsletter, oh my!
John Paul Newport, forever of the Wall Street Journal, now contributing to Golf Digest rounds up pay data for our favorite executives.
After a lengthy introduction in which he explains the nature of executive compensation (thanks), Newport reveals Jay Monahan earns just north of $3.6 million and more of the monetary morsels you see in the table above.
6. Spieth on a knife edge
Joel Beall on the vagaries of the game, Jordan Spieth’s proximity to more major championships, and our perception of the boy wonder.
“There is an alternate 2018 timeline for Jordan Spieth. A cosmos featuring the 25-year-old slipping into the green jacket for a second time following the greatest comeback in Masters history. Where he becomes just the third player in the last 35 years to successfully defend the claret jug. Likely the No. 1 in the sport, he heads to East Lake seeking his second FedEx Cup title in four years. A world in which Spieth’s peers aren’t Justin Thomas, Dustin Johnson or Brooks Koepka but Jack Nicklaus, Tiger Woods, Ben Hogan.”
“Depending on your beliefs in the multiverse, perhaps that realm exists. In the one we actually live in, Spieth’s 2018 is decidedly not that.”
“This Spieth season has been marked by struggle. His earnings were the lowest of his six-year career, and he failed to claim a PGA Tour title for the first time since 2014. (He also had no runner-up finishes, another unwanted first on his résumé.) Spieth did not advance to the Tour Championship, creating the ignominious situation of likely facing fine or suspension for not making the minimum required starts on tour. When he makes his next appearance, he will be outside the OWGR top 10. Spieth did earn an automatic selection to the Ryder Cup, although if the point system was based on his play this year alone, there’s a chance Spieth would not have a ticket to Paris.”
7. For your weekend listening pleasure
Our Michael Williams speaks with Master Putting Instructor Bruce Rearick, who gives his insights on how to make the successful switch from anchored putting–a topic of interest following Keegan Bradley’s non-anchored victory. He also chats with Golf Channel Course Architecture Editor Brad Klein, who, fun fact, when I asked him for advice, once told me a website I created looked like a middle school web design project. I cannot say he was completely off base.
8.  Martin Kaymer and the caddie he won two majors with part ways
Martin Kaymer has split with his longtime caddie, Craig Connelly. Connelly confirmed the news on Twitter:.”All good things come to an end.” The Scottish looper was on Kaymer’s bag for his 2010 PGA Championship and 2014 U.S. Open wins. Kaymer has neither commented nor announced a replacement.
9. Ryder Cup garb revealed
Golf Digest’s Brittany Romano with the details on how the U.S. side will be dressing themselves…or being dressed, as the case may be…”Outfitting an entire team of golfers for an international event can be tricky. Not knowing who will make the 2018 Ryder Cup Team and what silhouettes to cater to makes things even more difficult. Willing to accept the challenge for the USA Ryder Cup uniforms, Ralph Lauren curated a patriotic and classic collection that will look good on every player.”
“The U.S. team will show up to Le Golf National wearing white pants for the first days of the competition, Friday and Sunday. The Saturday look includes a high-fashion pinstripe pant that will be a must-see. As always, unpredictable forecasts make layering a necessity. The designers at Ralph Lauren made sure to create thoughtful pieces that not just match but enhance each look. Each item in the Ralph Lauren Ryder Cup Team Collection is versatile, stylish and performance-ready. Check out what the team will be wearing in Paris and where to buy each piece.”
See the looks here, including the bold pinstripery you see below.
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  1. A. Commoner

    Sep 17, 2018 at 2:39 pm

    Only 59 respondents out of a ‘cast of thousands’ and this survey is to be taken seriously?

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




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



By Ben Alberstadt (

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’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 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



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.


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.”


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