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2018 Ryder Cup: A full recap of Saturday’s matches, Sunday singles predictions

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It’s probably too late for the Ryder Cup to go back to basics, but such an approach would certainly assist Team USA. Forget the guaranteed guys like Phil and Tiger, forget making a killing off the event (half a killing will do), and just get back to guys who bleed and sweat and cry and growl for their side. As for Europe, well done in making your captain’s selections.

Anyway, onto what happened at the 2018 Ryder Cup at Le Golf National in France, where the rough is thick and the fairways tight.

Morning Fourballs

Remember the success that Team USA had on Friday morning? It went away. To the tune of 1-3 on Saturday morning. Only Spieth and Thomas saved a second consecutive washout with a 2 & 1 win over Ian Poulter and Jon Rahm. This one is interesting, psychologically, so we’ll look at it first. Is Jon Rahm the first Spaniard to struggle in Ryder Cup environs? Think about Seve, Sergio, and Jose Marie; tremendous trio. Ian Poulter inspires everyone who partners him, but he couldn’t carry Rahm to victory. Rahm just might be better suited for the USA team: hits it long, gouges wedges, but dare I say, not so clutch.

I suspect that the last USA captain to truly say “these are the pairings and this is how it is going to be” was Tom Watson, and you know how that worked out. But for the “task force” to pair Tiger and Reed against the European juggernaut of Molinari and Fleetwood was foolish, and the Euros kept cruising, to the tune of 4 and 3. Tiger has been inspirational in team settings, so he is valued at little more than Bubba Watson and Webb Simpson. That’s a lot of baggage to carry into a team match that you are supposed to contest and dominate. Knowing that Tiger and Bryson had a connection all season, why the USA side went so long with Tiger-Reed is inconceivable. Reed is more similar to Mickelson in passion, so THAT should have been the Friday morning pairing. Back to Saturday.

Finau and Koepka were 5 holes down through 8 holes. Johnson and Fowler were 3 down through 11. Woods and Reed were even through 10? So what happened? Simply, Team USA cannot mount a comeback and Team Europe seems capable of mounting a charge at will. How else to explain the inability of the first two sides to battle back, compared with the indomitable will of the later to win 4 of 5 holes on the inward half, to stun Woods and Reed? Europe averaged 6 victorious holes in its three morning triumphs, and had just 3 in its loss. As for the USA, just 13 holes went red in the AM, and five of those came in the lone victory. That, dear readers, is putting.

The French Open was played at Le Golf Nationale in late June this year. With apologies to the Quicken Loans National (played the same week) Justin Thomas jumped a plane and went to play. He was the only USA team member or contender to do so. He had 4 days of competition, plus practice rounds, over the golf course. Might that play just a bit into his comfort and success this week? The brain trust of Ryder Cup USA might have done a bit more to encourage American golfers to head to Gaul a few months back.

Afternoon Foursomes

This result qualifies as a session win for Team USA. Not losing any ground to the opponents was the cup-holders’ only hope for boarding a flight Sunday night with a few more pounds in their luggage. The unlikely pair of Bubba Watson and Webb Simpson mounted what will hopefully be the sternest and most successful comeback since Pelayo began one in the Picos de Europa. The ugliest hole of them all, the one halved in triple-bogey six, ignited the southeastern duo’s games, and they held off Sergio Garcia and Alex Noren by 3 & 2. Sergio played a bit more like mid-season Sergio, instead of Iberian-version-of-Poulter Sergio, and Noren played like the RC rookie that he is. This allowed the American pair to even its record at 1-1. This was a good thing, because the lead pair of Dustin Johnson and Brooks Koepka played like lame ponies yet again.

I have this gnawing notion: why would Captain Furyk and his lieutenants put Dustin barely breathing Johnson and Brooks half asleep Koepka out in the first pairing, any of these days? Wouldn’t you put Spieth-Thomas out first? You know, the guys who look like they care, who get pumped up, who play like they were kids and nothing else mattered? Johnson may be the only guy who has missed more putts than Tiger this week. I would count Phil, but his putts are usually for bogey or worse, not counting the putter he hit off the tee into the water … it was a putter, wasn’t it? If Stenson and Rose had played just half as well as they normally do in partnership, this match might have ended 10 & 8. Team USA hopes that World Number One and I’ve won two majors this year fare better on their own tomorrow.

Johnny Miller mused that Earl Pops Woods might have conditioned Tiger to play for individual glory alone. Doesn’t matter if his amateur analysis is correct; fact is, Tiger doesn’t win in partner golf. It would be interesting to see the Ryder Cup begin on Thursday with six singles matches, the only caveat being that those six golfers could not play on Friday morning. Talk about a win for the USA; get a point from Tiger on Thursday and sit him on Friday. Tiger and Bryson failed to live up to the anticipated success predicted by nearly everyone. They made a minor run with 2 consecutive hole-wins, to go from 5 to 3 down, but allowed Europe to win the very next one to rebuild a 4-hole advantage. In this lifetime, Tiger might be the individual GOAT, but he also carries the burden of being a mediocre-at-best playing partner, with a 9-19-1 record as a partner. Yikes.

Years ago, Shigeki Maruyama smiled his way to about 4 or 5 wins in a single Presidents Cup match. Molinari grins, while Fleetwood lets his luscious locks do the talking, but they are the unforgettable beasts of this tournament. Four wins to their name and have yet to see the 18th hole; they took care of Woods and partners three times (more brilliant USA thinking?) and Spieth/Thomas on morning number one. No idea what chromosomal material they share, these brothers from another mother have earned 4 of Europe’s 10 points. That’s a massive arrow to have in your quiver, if you are Thomas Bjorn. USA can only hope that they miss each other so much on Sunday (Fleetwood goes off 5th, while Molinari is 9th) that they falter in singles play.

Sunday predictions

Photo via Twitter

Here we go with predictions. Don’t risk any money on these hilarious insinuations.

Match 1
Rory MCILROY vs. Justin THOMAS
Prediction: Thomas continues to play like a stud and defeats out-of-form McIlroy. USA down by 3

Match 2
Paul CASEY vs. Brooks KOEPKA
Prediction: Casey and Koepka cannot find a way to defeat each other, so the match is halved.

Match 3
Justin ROSE vs. Webb SIMPSON
Prediction: Rose plays like the former number one he is (number one for about five hours, right?) and USA goes 4 down again.

Match 4
Jon RAHM vs. Tiger WOODS
Prediction: This one is also quite ugly, but Rahm’s RC debut is forgettable, and Woods finally gets a point. USA down by 3

Match 5
Tommy FLEETWOOD vs. Tony FINAU
Prediction: F vs. F is a dramatic duel, but Fleetwood goes 5-0 and restores 4 match margin. USA down 4.

Match 6
Ian POULTER vs. Dustin JOHNSON
Prediction: Sleepy Johnson awakens, defeats Poulter, Europe only up by 3.

Match 7
Thorbjørn OLESEN vs. Jordan SPIETH
Prediction: Forgot that Olesen was on this team. Doesn’t matter. Spieth wins, Europe by 2.

Match 8
Sergio GARCIA vs. Rickie FOWLER
Prediction: Now it gets interesting. Fowler returns to form and defeats Garcia. Only 1 point separates teams.

Match 9
Francesco MOLINARI vs. Phil MICKELSON
Prediction: Oh, right, the other guy to go 5-0 is Molinari. Mickelson confirmed as 2018’s Lee Westwood. Europe by 2.

Match 10
Tyrrell HATTON vs. Patrick REED
Prediction: Cap’n America returns for a time. Reed leads Hatton late but squanders edge and settles for halve. USA hopes wane.

Match 11
Henrik STENSON vs. Bubba WATSON
Prediction: Stenson defeats Watson and ends all USA hopes of a win. Cup returns to Europe.

Match 12
Alex NOREN vs. Bryson DECHAMBEAU
Prediction: Dechambeaur wins, doesn’t matter. Ouch.

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Ronald Montesano writes for GolfWRX.com from western New York. He dabbles in coaching golf and teaching Spanish, in addition to scribbling columns on all aspects of golf, from apparel to architecture, from equipment to travel. Follow Ronald on Twitter at @buffalogolfer.

14 Comments

14 Comments

  1. brett

    Sep 30, 2018 at 2:57 pm

    Vicious violent hysterical women seeking vengeance … against all men. Play golf.

    • walt

      Sep 30, 2018 at 3:29 pm

      Meanwhile… back in Wash. D.C. Judge Kavanaugh and his family are being pilloried and punished by man-hating man-bashing leftist feminist activist liars.

  2. VIPN

    Sep 30, 2018 at 2:29 pm

    “Forgot that Olesen was on this team” – ouch, this one looks bad now 🙂

  3. Dan

    Sep 30, 2018 at 3:59 am

    Every time Phil swings a club, another 10,000 people decide not to order the silly PPV with Tiger

  4. Scheiss

    Sep 30, 2018 at 3:51 am

    Lets make America lose again

  5. Eric

    Sep 29, 2018 at 11:08 pm

    This abomination of a Ryder Cup needs to be dropped squarely at the feet of Phil Mickelson and the PGA of America. First off, Mickelson for totally hijacking the selection of the captains post 2014. His crybaby presser after the shalacking they took in Scotland laid the groundwork for the whooping they are taking today. The “committee” that He, Tiger, Furyk, Rickie, etc were apart of basically made it that you have to be in Phil’s inner circle to even be considered for a captaincy. Make no mistake Furyk might have captain next to his name, but FIGJAM is the one secretly calling the shots. The captains picks except for Tony Finau have been atrocious. And what everyone forgets is every single one of these guys who have been fixtures on these teams for the last 20 years have losing records!!! In the last 25 years, we have won just 3 times. The event is danger of becoming irrelavant. Maybe Jack needs to step in and the US have players from other countries???!

    Next, is the PGA of America. After 2014, they were so worried that guys like Tiger and Phil would boycott the cup, they gave control of the prison to the inmates. Time for the PGA to grow a pair and tell Phil and his committee to shove off.

    • Scheiss

      Sep 30, 2018 at 3:50 am

      Well yeah, Phil is the next captain, so of course

      • Eric

        Sep 30, 2018 at 8:04 am

        Steve Stricker will be the next captain. It’s in Wisconsin in 2020. Followed by Zach Johnson in 2022 Italy. Phil’s will be 2024 in New York.

  6. Tim Armington

    Sep 29, 2018 at 9:36 pm

    I can see the us winning the first 8 singles mattches and losing the last 4!!

  7. tiger

    Sep 29, 2018 at 8:03 pm

    U.S. just doesnt care. Europe does, its that simple. I hate playing in cold windy weather. But I live in California lol, cant imagine going over there to play in that weather

  8. jon

    Sep 29, 2018 at 6:08 pm

    I feel cheated that Tiger is not playing Molinari on Sunday. He, Tiger, must be superbly pissed that, I’m sorry for lack of better words, a pissant like Molinari in the Tiger universe is stealing his thunder, twilight, as it is of course, but Tiger didn’t let those US Am’s go back in the day nor did he fold under the Bob May PGA onslot nor the young Sergio hop, skip and jump @ Firestone by not having a supreme ego. It would have been fun to see whether he could hold or fold…

    Maybe I’m just too old, but I grew up watching the Big Three, then Nicklaus vs. Trevino & Watson. Then the malaise period hit in the ’80’s until Tiger took center stage. For all his off the course foibles, TW could get it done as cold as a assassin. And that was interesting to watch.

    One more thing, don’t fault those losses in this year’s Ryder simply on Tiger, his partners, to put it bluntly sucked.

    • Tim Armington

      Sep 29, 2018 at 9:34 pm

      Tigers partners were terrible! Reed was in his pocket half the time. Bryson was better, but couldnt make a putt!

    • john andrews

      Sep 29, 2018 at 10:59 pm

      so did tiger

  9. kevin shiel

    Sep 29, 2018 at 5:29 pm

    lol yea interesting pairing from the US for sure. after the first day it is clear tiger is not in his form and should be paired with phil if they have to be outed again. Reed needs to go with bryson who is alot calmer and relieve reed from pressure. DJ brought down richie as well so he should be paired with webb and to dominate the pair. brookes can go with richie and win a game.
    the root problem for the US is the cold weather, windy condition, water hazards and lack of rounds at this venue. they are so tuned to fine calm weather, huge driving then a wedge or 8 iron at most. fun to see a few of them had to hit a 5 iron to cover 163m/180y, where usually their 5 irons covers 200-210y.

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Redkacheek’s DFS Rundown: 2018 CJ Cup

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Wow, what a crazy start to this season! Not only has the cheat sheet and slack chat plays over at the Fantasy Golf Bag been on complete fire, but the new golf betting model has now hit on two outrights and one FRL in back-to-back weeks! We get a much better field this week so definitely plan to keep this heater going here at the CJ Cup this week. Brooks Koepka will be teeing it up for the first time since being named the 2018 POY, along with guys such as Justin Thomas, Jason Day, Paul Casey, Billy Horschel, and our new favorite Sungjae Im. As you can see, this will be a fairly exciting event for a setup as similar as last week’s tournament.

Let’s go ahead and take a look at this course and see if we can pinpoint some key stats to take us to another Big GPP win or at least a couple good choices for an outright win.

The CJ Cup will be played at the Club at Nine Bridges, a 7,196 yard par-72 golf course in South Korea. Although this may appear like a similar course to TPC Kuala Lumpur last week, this one will play quite significantly tougher. As you can see below, in 2017 there were more bogeys than birdies for the week which doesn’t happen much outside of majors. Justin Thomas won last year’s event after shooting 63 in the first round but failed to break 70 the following three days. JT finished at nine under, which tied Marc Leishman, who coincidentally won this last weekend (2019 Fall Swing narrative). So why so tough if it appears so short? Let’s take a look.

So first off, let’s get this out of the way first. These greens are brutal. No joke; these greens were the single most difficult greens to putt on all of last year. Everything from one-putt percentage to 3-putt avoidance, these ranked the No. 1 most difficult on Tour all year. But here’s the problem: We all know putting is the single most variable stat, so using SG:P will tend to lead to a very disappointing pool of players. For example, coming into last year the players ranked Top 10 in SG:P finished 11-33-47-40-28-64-36-26-71-36, respectively. There is a still a stat that helped fine-tune player pools last year that I will recommend this year: my first key stat to consider this week is 3-putt avoidance.

The next section here I will just briefly touch on the driving accuracy and GIR percentage for this course. It is very average for the PGA Tour…that is really all you need to know. Driving accuracy ranked 48th and GIR percentage ranked 38th in 2017. This course is not difficult tee-to-green, plain and simple. I will certainly add the usual SG:T2G this week along with GIR percentage, but this course will favor most guys this week.

So besides putting, why are these scores so poor considering the appearance of an easy course? Well besides putting on these greens, scrambling here is brutal. Scrambling also ranked No. 1 most difficult here last year but again, this is a stat that is extremely tough to see useful trends. I will, however, encourage you to use SG:ARG to help narrow down your player pool more efficiently.

Remember that this segment of the Fall Swing will not yield strokes-gained data, so we must only utilize the traditional stats the PGA Tour keeps. On top of all the micro-scoring stats mentioned above, let’s take a closer look at this course from a macro level. This will be fairly straightforward when building your model. The par 4s here are extremely difficult, so add SG:P4 Scoring to your research (par 3 scoring is also very difficult but sample sizes are usually too small to include each week). Par 5 scoring was difficult as well but there is a better stat we can use than the P4 scoring mentioned above. The final stat we will be using is simply bogey avoidance. This will do a fantastic job of incorporating T2G, scrambling and putting into our model/research.

Overall this course is really an amazing layout but will pose a difficult task for the players. Just like last week, I encourage you to ease into the season by playing light and also primarily playing GPPs.

With all that out of the way, let’s get into my core plays for this week…

Justin Thomas (DK $11,600)

Justin Thomas finally makes the core writeup. After a mediocre finish last week (5th place), he comes to Nine Bridges as the defending champion. Ironically, he beat out Marc Leishman, last week’s winner, in a playoff last year and I think he is going to be the guy to pay up for over $10k. JT won both CIMB Classic and The CJ Cup last year, and I would be very surprised if he doesn’t leave this leg of the Fall Swing (Asia) without a win. There’s a lot going for him outside of his recent form and course history (if that wasn’t enough), he ranks first in both SG:T2G and SG:APP, second in par 4 scoring, eighth in bogey avoidance and finally, surprisingly, 11th in 3-putt avoidance. If you are building only a few lineups this week, I think JT should be in around two-thirds of them.

Byeong-Hun An (DK $8,700)

Mr. Ben An makes the list again! Byeong-Hun An received a lot of praise from both Jacob and myself on the FGB Podcast last week and he did not disappoint with a 13th place finish, and really a strong chance to win going into the weekend. As part of a common theme you will see here, Ben An is the kind of consistent ball-striker to rely on each and every week. On the PGA Tour in the last 50 rounds, he ranks third along with a strong ranking in bogey avoidance (third) and GIR percentage (also third). He did play this event last year, finishing 11th at 4-under par, and if it weren’t for a final round 73 he had a realistic chance for the win! The price on Ben An is getting a little steep but I think we can still get some value out of it this week.

Kyle Stanley (DK $8,200)

Kyle Stanley should be considered a core play almost every week he is under $9K on DraftKings. One of the most elite ball strikers on Tour, ranking ninth in SG:T2G, 11th in SG:APP, sixth in GIR percentage and 14th in par 4 scoring, he sets up for another solid top 20. Last week Kyle finished 13th in Kuala Lumpur and now comes to Nine Bridges where he ended the tournament in 19th place last year. Kyle tends to be very “mediocre” so upside for a top 3 always seems to come sparingly during the season, but you still cannot ignore his skills at this price.

Charles Howell III (DK $7,700)

Charles Howell III is a lock for me this week. Coming off a strong showing last week (T5) but also an 11th-place finish at this event last year, he grades out as one of the strongest values this week at only $7,700. CH3 hadn’t played on the PGA Tour for over a month before appearing at Kuala Lumpur, causing him to fly well under the radar on his way to a solid top five finish. Always known as a superb ball-striker, Howell actually rates out 16th in bogey avoidance and 10th in 3-putt avoidance, both key stats for this golf course. Additionally, CH3 ranks inside the top 20 of both par 4 scoring and GIR percentage. In a no-cut event on a difficult ARG golf course, count on CH3 to gain enough placement points to pay off this solid price tag.

Ian Poulter (DK $7,600)

Ian Poulter may be extremely sneaky this week. We haven’t seen him since the Ryder Cup and most people that play DFS have severe recency bias. Poulter is a grinder, and considering the winning score should only be around 12-under par with lots of opportunities for bogeys, he should keep the wheels on all four days and have a chance on Sunday. One of the most surprising stats for me in my research on Poulter is that he ranks first in 3-putt avoidance, along with some impressive tee-to-green stats where he ranks inside the top 25 of all of my key stats mentioned above. Why is the 3-putt avoidance stat so important? As I noted in the course preview, these were the single most difficult greens to putt on last year with the worst 3-putt percentage. Outside of the key stats, it does seem like this course fits his eye as he finished 15th here last year. Ian Poulter will be another core play but I think he may come in quite under owned from where he probably should.

Joel Dahmen (DK $6,900)

Chalk Dahmen week is upon us and I am going to bite. Dahmen has been a DFS darling this year and last week was no different. Dahmen ended up finishing 26th which was largely due to a poor final round 71, which dropped him 11 spots. Even with that poor finish he was able to pay off his sub-$7K price tag, which is where we find him again this week. Dahmen ranks top 10 in this field in several key stats, including: SG:T2G, SG:APP, and bogey avoidance. If you need some salary savings but unsure about anyone under $7K, Dahmen should be your first look this week.

Also consider

Brooks Koepka
Jason Day
Marc Leishman
Paul Casey
Ryan Moore
Sungjae Im
Kevin Tway

Good luck this week everyone!

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GolfWRX Morning 9: Top pros’ cash flows | Farewell, Johnny | USGA green-reading book Decision details

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1 Johnny Miller to retire
The speculated stepping away of Johnny Miller will come to pass, and a man with a similar brand will sit in his chair.
  • ESPN’s Bob Harig…”Longtime golf analyst Johnny Miller is set to retire from his lead analyst role at NBC Sports and be replaced by Paul Azinger, a source told ESPN.com.”
  • “Golfweek first reported the news and Golf Digest confirmed that Miller is stepping down following the Waste Management Phoenix Open in February.”
  • “It just seemed like a nice round number,’‘ Miller told Golf Digest on Monday. “I’ve been on to 50 years with no break. I had my 24th grandchild yesterday. All my friends were retiring and it got to the point where I was like, ‘Hey, how come I’m not retiring?’ It’s been a great run. I’ve done everything I can do announcing wise.”
2. Limits for green-reading materials set
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.
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.
3. Money in, money out
Jessica Marksbury at Golf.com rounded up answers to one of the most intriguing questions regarding pro golf: Beyond prize money, how much are these guys taking in…and paying out? Marksbury spoke with a top agent on the condition of anonymity.
A taste…
His Hat – $250,000-$500,000
  • “The front of the hat is your No. 1 real estate. On the high end, this deal generally includes other inventory-bag, equipment-as well. If you’re a Top 30 player, you’re definitely making seven figures on this. For a Top 10 guy, you’re looking north of $3 million and getting close to eight figures for the most marketable players in the world. For this deal, a player will be obligated to, on average, commit to giving a company three to four appearance/promotional days per year.”
4. Feinstein wonders whether Tour scores are too low
He writes…“Mark Leishman won the CIMB Classic in Malaysia on Sunday by shooting a seven-under-par 65 for a four-day total of 26-under-par 262. Leishman played superbly, running away to a five-stroke victory. But it is worth noting that he was one of nine players who shot 20 under par or better. In fact, a score of 10 under par was “good” for only a tie for 39th place.”
  • “This sort of scoring is not atypical on the PGA Tour. The average winning score in 46 individual stroke-play events during the 2017-’18 season was 16.56 under par. Twelve of those events were won with at least 20 under par and 41 were won with a double-digit total. The three-way playoff at the Safeway Open Napa to start the 2018-’19 season was at a mere 14 under. Additionally, the cut line on Fridays is often somewhere under par. Last January at the CareerBuilder Challenge, the 54-hole cut came at eight under par. In other words, if you averaged 69.7 for three rounds on the desert courses, you were home on Sunday.”
  • “Yes, these guys are good. But are they really that good? Or, has the tour, in its zeal to prove week in and week out how good they are, gone too far with sometimes laughably easy course setups?”
#LiveUnderPar, John.

 

5. A new Ping putter…that’s also a ball retriever…
Ping’s new Sigma2 putter line includes the usual assortments of blades and mallets…one of which is also a ball retriever. Really.
Behold the Sigma2 Fetch (above).
6. Hall of Fame or mausoleum?
Eamon Lynch poses the question in an excellent piece looking at the “misguided” World Golf Hall of Fame.
  • “When the World Golf Hall of Fame announced its “Class of ’19,” the inclusion of Peggy Kirk Bell illustrated much of what’s wrong with that noble but misbegotten institution.”
  • “It’s not that she isn’t worthy of induction. Quite the opposite: She deserved it years ago. Bell lived 95 years, but the Hall waited until two years after her passing to bestow its grace.
  • “Thus can an intended honor seem like a clumsy insult. She deserved better.”
  • “One can debate the merits of those awarded lockers in the Hall before Bell, including administrators, two U.S. presidents, an agent, a few writers and a TV producer. It’s tougher to reconcile her not making it ahead of the 10 men inducted over the last dozen years despite being long dead.”
  • “Is it a Hall of Fame or a mausoleum?...Tom Weiskopf is 75 years old. Is he too going to be given a crypt in St. Augustine rather than his due as an inductee?”
7. Golf ball bandit busted
Golf Digest’s Alex Myers…”Joseph Kolenda, 58, turned himself into police after a search warrant executed at his home in August turned up more than 2,500 golf balls, according to Fairfield Citizen Online. Kolenda is currently out on $10,000 bail, which, ironically, is about the value of the golf balls he’s stolen since 2017.”
  • ‘A police report says Kolenda stole 20,800 golf balls from the Patterson Club in Fairfield. And no, he didn’t just horde them in his home. Kolenda sold the golf balls to a nearby driving range for 73 cents a pop.”
  • “Kolenda, who is expected to appear in court on Oct. 23, was caught when a Patterson Club member saw golf balls with the club’s logo on them at the driving range. And after a detective investigated by buying a bucket of balls at the range – sounds like a fun assignment – it was easy to obtain where the range had purchased the balls.’
  • “Kolenda was also charged with stealing golf balls in two other Connecticut areas (Stamford and Brookfield) as far back as 2001. So yeah, we weren’t kidding about the whole serial golf thief thing.”
8. Trial date set for suspected Barquin-Arozamena killer
Golf Digest’s Joel Beall…”The trial for the man charged with killing amateur golfer Celia Barquin Arozamena last month in Iowa has been scheduled for Jan. 15, District Judge Bethany Currie ruled on Monday.”
“Collin Richards, a 22-year-old drifter who investigators say attacked the reigning European Ladies Amateur champ while she played a round at Coldwater Links Golf Course in Ames, Iowa, on Sept. 17, entered a written plea of not guilty on Monday morning and waived his right to a speedy trial. He is charged with first-degree murder.”
9. Woods-Mickelson a ripoff?
Golf Channel’s Randall Mell isn’t exactly looking ahead to the Thanksgiving showdown with any great expectations…
  • “Usually, you have to buy something before you feel like you were ripped off…The wonder in the marketing of Tiger vs. Phil and “The Match” is how it is making so many people feel as if they are getting ripped off before they’ve shelled out a single penny for the product.”
  • “Phil Mickelson gets credit for this miscue…Apparently, the smartest guy in the room isn’t the smartest marketing guy.”
  • “He was a little bit like that telemarketer who teases you into thinking you’ve won a free weekend getaway, only to lead you into the discovery that there’s a shady catch, with fine print and a price tag…There was something as slippery as snake oil in the original pitch.”
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Johnny Miller to bring broadcasting career to an end

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After almost 30 years in the commentary booth, Johnny Miller has decided that it’s time to bring the curtain down on a colorful broadcasting career. The 71-year-old, who is NBC’s leading golf analyst, will step down at the end of February at the Waste Management Phoenix Open, a venue where he won twice as a player.

Miller never shied away from controversy as NBC’s leading golf analyst, and while some enjoyed his straight-shooting style, others believed he was too blunt with his criticism at times. In 2010, Miller began a feud with Ian Poulter after questioning the quality of the Englishman’s ball striking, while after Rickie Fowler’s victory at the 2017 Honda Classic, Miller suggested that the American needed to “learn how to finish out Sunday like a true champion.”

Miller was also one of the only announcers unafraid of bringing up the subject of pressure, and specifically “choking”. In a sport where announcers often tend to air on the side of caution, Miller was unapologetic about his honesty as a broadcaster. Unlike many controversial sports analysts, however, Miller enjoyed a stellar playing career that saw him capture 25 PGA Tour titles, two major championships and a place in the World Golf Hall of Fame, and many people believe that he had earned the right to share his honest opinion, even if it meant rubbing the odd player the wrong way.

Speaking to Golf Digest on Monday, Miller talked about his impending retirement:

 “I’ve been on for 50 years with no break. I had my 24th grandchild yesterday. All my friends were retiring, and it got to the point where I was like, ‘Hey, how come I’m not retiring?’ It’s been a great run. I’ve done everything I can do announcing wise.”

Although not yet confirmed, Paul Azinger is reported to be the man to replace Miller as NBC’s leading golf analyst. Azinger worked with ESPN as a golf analyst for ten years before moving to FOX Sports to cover the U.S. Open.

Is Superbowl Sunday at the Waste Management Phoenix Open the last we’ll ever see of Johnny Miller in the commentary booth? Well, maybe not, as the multiple major champion stated that despite his retirement he “might poke his head in” from time to time. We’ll have to wait and see, but it’s certainly going to take some time to adjust to not hearing Miller’s voice regularly in the commentary booth anymore.

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