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GolfWRX Morning 9: Mickelson: I overdid it | Masters of Monday qualifying | JT on TW-Phil PPV

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

October 9, 2018

Good Tuesday morning, golf fans. Happiest of happy birthdays to my eminently better half.
1. Kings of qualifying
John Feinstein filed an excellent look at some eminent Monday qualifiers and the mindset necessary to succeed at the birdie bonanzas.
  • A few morsels…””You have to approach it almost like match play,” says Reed, who played in 12 events as a rookie in 2012-half of them out of Monday qualifiers. “Every hole is important. You have to try to birdie every hole, be very aggressive. Because there’s almost no score that’s guaranteed to be low enough. If you think being five under after six holes is good enough, you probably aren’t going to make it. You have to come out firing.”
  • “Jason Gore, who has gone from Mondays to being a PGA Tour winner, then back to Mondays, remembers a Monday in New Orleans a few years back in which he shot 64 and went to a nearby barbecue place to celebrate.”
  • “By the time we sat down, I was tied for the last playoff spot,” he says. “I decided to finish my barbecue and go back to the golf course for the playoff, and I made it.”
2. I may have overdone it
Phil Mickelson says his 24 starts this season were too many. And judging by how gassed Lefty was down the stretch, you’d have to agree with him.
  • Golf Channel’s Will Gray…”Mickelson had a resurgent 2018 season at age 48, breaking a five-year victory drought at the WGC-Mexico Championship in March. That win highlighted a hectic season that saw Lefty make 24 official starts, including a return to the Tour Championship, the most since he played 26 events in 2002.”
  • “Mickelson struggled to find his form at the Ryder Cup, but he quickly flew back west to play in the season-opening Safeway Open where he moved into early contention with an opening 65 before fading to a T-17 finish. Mickelson’s start in Napa was his eighth event in the last 10 weeks, dating back to the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational, and afterwards he told reporters that he might need to make some edits for 2019.”
  • “I’ve made a bit of a mistake this year that I’m going to learn from as far as playing too many events in a row, and not being able to recover and be as sharp as I want to be when I do play,” Mickelson said. “That’s something I’ll have to work on in the coming months and years.”
3. “0% chance”
Does this matter? Should it? Can we draw wider conclusions? Do you think JT’s remarks are representative of sentiment on Tour?
  • Our Gianni Magliocco writes…”Next month’s pay-per-view event between Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson has split opinions, and until now, fellow PGA Tour professionals have not had their say publicly on the match. While participating in a Q&A with fans on social media, Justin Thomas was asked whether or not he’ll be ordering the match between the two golfing legends.
  • JT’s tweet: “Love TW and Phil to death…. but there’s a 0% chance I order that. I’ll be watching football!”
4. ICYMI: The Barn Rat is a PGA Tour member
One of professional golf’s most dynamic and intriguing individuals, Kiradech Aphibarnrat, makes his first start as a PGA Tour member this week at the CIMB Classic.
  • PGATour.com staff report...”The big-hitting Kiradech, who became the first Thai to earn a PGA TOUR card following top-five finishes at two World Golf Championships events earlier this year, will be amongst the Asian contingent eager to register a victory at the US$7 million CIMB Classic, which begins at TPC Kuala Lumpur on Thursday.”
  • “It’s like a dream come true. When I was a kid, my goal has been to be a part of the PGA TOUR. Twenty years later, I hold a Tour card, I can’t explain how it feels but it is such a good moment for me.  To play my first PGA TOUR event, my first full card in Asia, especially in Malaysia, it feels like everything has happened in my golf career,” said Kiradech in a press conference today.
5. The Nike driver that never was
WRX Staff spotted an Instagram post by user @oli_willson, an “ex-Nike Golf employee” according to his Insta bio, shows a Nike “VPR Srike” driver that apparently would have come out in 2017 had Nike not decided to exit the hard goods section of the golf industry.
Picture above (obviously…more here.
6. Champ smashes it
Alex Myers with a quick-hitter on how Cameron Champ, the Web.com Tour’s biggest hitter last year, translated to the big show in his first start.
  • “But while Champ “only” averaged 328.6 yards on those selected shots, he led the way with his average distance of all drives at 317.1. But even those numbers don’t tell the full story of the 23-year-old’s staggering raw power.”
  • “When it comes to average clubhead speed and ball speed, Champ was easily No. 1 at 129.66 mph and 192.67 mph. Fellow bomber Brandon Hagy, who sat out most of last season with a wrist injury, was second at 125.14 and 186.32. And winner Kevin Tway showed he can really move it off the tee as well, finishing seventh and eighth in the two metrics.”
  • “To put these numbers in better perspective, Keith Mitchell led the PGA Tour in average clubhead speed last season at 124.67 and no one else was above 123. Trey Mullinax led the tour in ball speed last season at 182.22, followed by Tony Finau (181.81) and Rory McIlroy (181.57). Simple math tells us that Champ’s Safeway Open average numbers were five and TEN mph faster in those two categories. Remarkable.”
7. The JP Experience is over
A five-year partnership between Titleist and wedge maker JP Harrington – the man some believed would succeed Bob Vokey – has come to an end.
  • Last May, Titleist launched the JP Wedge Experience – a high-end wedge fitting and custom building conducted by Harrington himself. You can see many of the fruits of that labor on the James Patrick Golf Instagram.
  • Little beyond the “Experience,” however, emerged publicly from the five-year partnership. Whether Harrington will join forces with another OEM or return to solo work – likely no longer in his mother’s garage in Minnesota – remains to be seen.
8. Never too early…  
…to place a few Masters futures bets. Golfweek’s Brentley Romine with a look at the latest odds via Westgate Las Vegas Superbook.
  • “Tiger Woods was already the betting favorite to win the 2019 Masters. Now, his odds to win have gotten better.”
  • “Woods went from a 10-to-1 favorite to slip on the green jacket next April at Augusta National to most recently a 9-to-1 favorite, according to the Westgate Las Vegas Superbook.”
  • “The 14-time major winner has won four Masters, most recently in 2005. He won the Tour Championship last month for his first PGA Tour victory since 2013.”
  • “Jordan Spieth is next at 10-1 while Dustin Johnson is 12-1. Rory McIlroy is listed at 14-1 along with Justin Thomas. Defending champion Patrick Reed is 30-1…Bryson DeChambeau’s odds have improve the most since betting opened on Aug. 12, going from 60-1 to 30-1.”
9. And if you really want to look ahead…
2020 Olympics teams(s) projections, courtesy of the mysterious undead purveyor of all things OWGR on Twitter, Nosferatu.
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Michelle Wie undergoes successful hand surgery, to miss rest of 2018

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Michelle Wie was far from her best at last week’s LPGA KEB Hana Bank Championship, finishing on a total of eight-over par, which was only good enough for a T66 finish. It was Wie’s first appearance since her withdrawal from the British Open back in August, and today Wie detailed how she has been suffering from an avulsion fracture, bone spurring and nerve entrapment in her right hand since competing at Royal Lytham & St Annes.

The American stated in a social media post how after countless MRI’s, X-Rays and doctor consultations, she has undergone successful hand surgery, and is on a hopeful path back to being pain free.

Here’s to a quick recovery.

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Dame Davies! | Curious Kaymer quote | Does “fore!” work?

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1. Dame Davies triumphs
For the first time, two senior women’s major titles were available. All Laura Davies did was win them both. Bow down to the dame!
  • Golf Digest’s Keely Levins…”…Laura Davies claimed the first major victory in dominant fashion, winning by 10 strokes. In the following major, the Senior LPGA Championship, Davies again proved that her game in major condition: She won at French Lick Resort in Indiana by four shots over Helen Alfredsson of Sweden on Wednesday.”
  • “Davies, 55, won wire-to-wire in her fifth time playing in the event. After opening with a 4-under 68 in the first round of the 54-hole event, Davies rounded out the event with back-to-back 70s.”
  • “The wind made a difference, and it was still cold,” she said of the final round. “It was still tough, but I think two-under today was a pretty good round. There’s some shots out there, on 16, I nearly hit a horrible 7-iron into the water, but I got lucky today when I really needed to on 11 and 16 when I didn’t hit great shots. It’s the sort of course where you’ve got to be careful, but you’ve got to be brave as well. Because you’ll make bogeys if you’re trying to play it safe.”
If you’re scoring at home, Davies beat the field by 14 across the two major championships.
2. Meanwhile, on Jeju Island…
AP Report…”Chez Reavie overcame cool, windy conditions for a 4-under 68 and a one-stroke lead after the first round of the CJ Cup at Nine Bridges on Thursday.”
  • “In the breezy conditions, the back nine of the course posed the most difficulty, but the 36-year-old American made two birdies and negotiated it in 35 after starting on the 10th tee, and then picked up three shots on his final nine.”
  • “Danny Willett and Si Woo Kim shot 69 while the large group at 70 and tied for fourth included Ian Poulter, Nick Watney and Michael Kim.”
  • “Brooks Koepka, playing in his first tournament since being voted PGA Tour player of the year, shot 71 and was in a group three strokes behind and tied for 11th which included Paul Casey and Hideki Matsuyama.”
3. Double-edged sword
Randall Mell with a lengthy look at the pressures South Korean women golfers face
  • A morsel…”While American players admire the massive popularity Koreans enjoy in their homeland, they see what comes with it.”
  • “Koreans really do elevate their women players, but at the same time, they put a ton of pressure on them,” American Cristie Kerr said. “There’s pressure on them to not only be good, but to be attractive, and to do the right things culturally.”
  • “So Yeon Ryu felt the pressure to perform build as high as she has ever felt with Koreans trying to qualify for the Olympics two years ago. The competition to make the four-woman team was intense, with so many strong Koreans in the running.”
  • “This just makes me crazy,” Ryu said back then. “The biggest thing is the Korean media. If someone is going to make the Olympics, they’re a great player. But if somebody cannot make it, they’re a really bad player.”
4. Sounds strange, indeed
Imagine being deemed the best in the world at your job. Now imagine being deemed, like, the 100th best and thinking you’re better than you were when you were No. 1. Such is the case with one Martin Kaymer, interestingly.
  • Brentley Romine at Golfweek…”As a result, he has slipped to No. 157 in the world and missed out on his first Ryder Cup team since 2008.”
  • “Yet Kaymer remains positive. In a recent interview with Golf Australia, the 33-year-old German said he has no doubt that he can return to the player he once was.”
  • “As strange as it sounds, I am a better player right now than I was back in 2011 when I was No. 1 in the world,” Kaymer said. “My problem at the moment is that golf is a sport that is based on results and I have struggled a little bit to put every part of my game together for four consecutive rounds.”
5. Crazy for Js?
Enthusiasm for golf shoe releases is, well, generally substantially less than for sneaker launches in general. I mean, are there any golf shoe sneakerheads? And certainly plenty of skepticism has met efforts to make golf shoes look less like, um, golf shoes.
  • Thus, this news is interesting: Nike’s Air Jordan 3 golf shoe is flying off the shelves.
  • Via GolfMagic…”Nike’s sixth Jordan spike golf shoe is a throwback to the third line of Michael Jordan’s basketball sneaks that were first launched 30 years ago – shoes that featured MJ’s signature ‘elephant print’ as well as his soon-to-be iconic Jumpman logo on the heel.”
  • “Nike launched this new model back in February in its classic white and grey version, pictured, and then unveiled a brown leather version shortly afterwards. Both shoes retail at $220, but you’ll do very well to get your hands on either them right now as they have sold out on Nike’s website.”
  • “However, a Nike spokesperson has since commented saying “more is on the way.”
(…more is?)
6. Under-the-radar golf brands to know
Golf.com highlights Forya, Dormie, Leus, Birds of Condor, Devereaux, Greyson, and more in a quick sketch of makers of interest. (I would have liked to have seen Sugarloaf Social Club, Holderness & Bourne, Hedge, and Fore Ewe on the list).
7. RIP, Jim Wiechers
Never a Tour winner, Jim Wiechers came close, but that’s not why he’s worth remembering, suggests PGA Tour.com’s Jim McCabe.
“If the national amateur golf stage never fazed Jim Wiechers, the reason was simple. Just to fare well locally in the San Francisco area in the 1960s, Wiechers had to compete against the likes of a rising teenage star named Johnny Miller, future PGA TOUR winners such as Ron Cerrudo, Bob Lunn and Dick Lotz, and a legendary veteran named E. Harvie Ward. That accomplished, Wiechers knew he could more than hold his own in the deep end of the pool.”
“Which he did with distinction….Wiechers won the 1962 U.S. Junior Amateur, the 1964 Western Junior, the 1966 Western Amateur, and finished second, one shot behind Marty Fleckman, at the 1965 NCAA Div. 1 Championship.”
“That Wiechers, who died Monday night at the age of 74, failed to carry that winning touch over to a 12-year PGA TOUR career that featured 32 top 10s, none of them victories, surprised Cerrudo, but never seemed to unsettle his friend.”
8. Does yelling “fore!” work?
A timely question in the wake of the events at Le Golf National… Golf Digest’s Guy Yocom both reflects (on getting plunked in the posterior, among other things) and examines the question.
“Gary had screamed “Fore!” when his drive sailed off line into our fairway. I not only heard him, but had time to spin, crouch, duck and cover my head. But of the four times I’ve been hit-once in the head, twice in the back and once on the butt-this was the only time a shout of “Fore!” reached me in time to react. In two of the instances I didn’t hear anything, even though the hitters all swore they’d screamed it. The most doubtful “Fore!” claim happened on a rock-hard muny when I caught a one-bouncer on the back of the head. My buddy said it made a sound like a coconut falling on Gilligan’s head. He heard the coconut sound but did not hear anyone yell “Fore!””

“Shouts of “Fore!” just aren’t as unassailably effective as most golfers believe. The incident at the Ryder Cup in which Brooks Koepka struck a woman in the eye with a full-blooded driver on the fifth hole of the Friday morning four-ball matches, was, unfortunately, more typical. Although Koepka and others on the tee screamed “Fore!”, video of the incident shows that not one person in the gallery ducked. The injured woman, Corrine Remande, claims no one yelled a warning, and she reportedly filing a lawsuit against the organizers. Remande’s doctors have said she is never going to recover full vision in her right eye.”

9. Hmm…
With all due respect to the PGA Tour Superstore, while the other components of this Titleist AP1 build may be correct, there may have been a slight oversight with respect to one key variable…  (via jakedasnake11 on Reddit)
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Tiger Woods cites fatigue for disappointing Ryder Cup showing

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Many people were left scratching their heads after watching Tiger Woods at the Ryder Cup just a couple of weeks ago. The 14-time major champion had just come off an incredible victory at the Tour Championship where he produced scintillating golf to capture his first victory in five years, and there were high hopes that Woods would finally perform at his best at the Ryder Cup. What followed, however, was yet another disappointment in the biennial event for Woods, who went 0-4 and looked flat all week.

This week at a driving range Q&A at Pebble Beach at a benefit for his TGR Foundation, Woods discussed his performance at Le Golf National, and he went on to admit that fatigue had played a significant role in Paris.

“It was just a cumulative effect of the entire season. I was tired because I hadn’t trained for it. I hadn’t trained this entire comeback to play this much golf and on top of that deal with the heat and the fatigue and the loss of weight.”

Fatigue would undoubtedly be a valid reason, considering Woods played 18 times on the PGA Tour this year after coming off spinal fusion surgery. Only once in the past decade has Woods played more golf on the PGA Tour in one year than he did in 2018.

At the Q&A, Woods then spoke about the potential of him performing as a playing captain at the 2019 Presidents Cup, an event that Woods has always excelled in with a career record of 24-15-1. The American made it clear that despite being the captain that week, he hopes to improve on that impressive playing record next year at Royal Melbourne Golf Club.

“I really hope to be a playing captain, I really do.”

The next occasion where you can see Woods tee it up will be on Thanksgiving weekend, where he’ll take on his old rival Phil Mickelson in a pay-per-view battle.

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