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GolfWRX Morning 9: POY Koepka | …talks DJ fight | Best golfing athletes

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

October 10, 2018

Good Wednesday morning, golf fans.
1. POY Koepka
The official word from the Tour (and you can tell it’s the official word because they capitalize “PGA Tour”)
“The PGA TOUR announced today that Brooks Koepka has been named the 2018 PGA TOUR Player of the Year as voted by the TOUR’s membership for the 2017-18 season.”
  • “Koepka, a 28-year-old native of West Palm Beach, Florida, finished a career-best ninth in the FedExCup following a season that included victories at both the U.S. Open and PGA Championship. He earned four additional top-10 finishes, including runners-up at the World Golf Championships-HSBC Champions and Charles Schwab Challenge.”
  • “On behalf of the PGA TOUR, our congratulations to Brooks Koepka on being voted PGA TOUR Player of the Year by his peers,” said PGA TOUR Commissioner Jay Monahan. “Brooks has brought a new brand of athleticism to the PGA TOUR, and we saw the results this year with his historic season at the major championships and a top-10 finish in the FedExCup. These feats were accomplished despite missing significant time due to injury, a testament to his work ethic and perseverance throughout the season.”
2. Koepka talks DJ
On Tuesday, Brooks Koepka – after being named the 2018 PGA Tour Player of the Year – came on the Dan Patrick Show to speak his side of the story.
Here’s that conversation…
Dan Patrick: I wanna set the record straight, we can put it to bed. Why do you think it was reported that you and Dustin Johnson had that altercation at a party?
Brooks Koepka: (laughs) I have no idea. We went in there to go congratulate the Europeans and tell them congrats on the job well done, and say hey; I don’t know how this started, I have no idea. I mean, I’ve been texting with him. I was texting with him before I even knew the story existed and we chatted a few times during the week as we normally would. And I saw him this morning and the 20 people that were here can vouch for me that there’s nothing there. We don’t get it, we’ve laughed about it, we’ve talked about it and nobody knows.
DP: Do you think someone misconstrued something like they may have seen you guys… like I just don’t know why someone would report it, create it.
BK: Yea I, I have no idea. We talked about everything. We could have been talking about college football and how bad Florida State was, you know what I mean? It’s one of those things like ‘we’re not that bad,’ and you never know what somebody heard. Sometimes you jump in the middle of a conversation and you have no idea what’s going on, you just hear a certain part of it. But that’s not always the case. I don’t know what they think they saw, or what they think they heard, but it was far from the truth.
3. Top 100 golfing athletes
The folks at GD have compiled their annual (semi-annual?) ranking of the best golfing athletes.
  • The top 2…
  • TYLER CLIPPARD...+1.9 | Toronto reliever travels to the golf course in his pickup truck with 15 to 20 pairs of golf shoes. One of our editors can attest to this: Clippard can hit a 3-iron 260 yards.
  • JOHN SMOLTZ…+1.5 | Hall of Fame pitcher qualified for the U.S. Senior Open this summer at The Broadmoor and missed the cut after rounds of 85-77. Has eight holes-in-one, including one on a 334-yard par 4. Plays out of Hawks Ridge in Atlanta.
4. Captain Harrington?
Who will captain the 2020 European Ryder Cup team? Paddy, it seems.
  • Golf Channel’s Ryan Lavner…”After receiving the support of such players as Rory McIlroy and Justin Rose over the past week, Padraig Harrington has emerged as the clear favorite to be the captain for the away game at Whistling Straits in Wisconsin.”
  • “Harrington’s appointment seems all but assured now that Lee Westwood has told The Telegragh that he’ll “wait until Rome” – and the 2022 Ryder Cup – before he makes his pitch.”
  • “The selection panel of European Tour chief executive Keith Pelley, the past three Ryder Cup captains (Thomas Bjorn, Paul McGinley and Darren Clarke) and a yet-to-be-named member of the players committee will meet in December to finalize the selection.”
5. JT on Reed’s remarks
Thomas told reporters at the CIMB Classic in Malaysia: “That (the pairing) was something obviously that had been talked about in advance, but all I was worried about was that I knew I was going to play with Jordan and we wanted to take care of our match.
  • “So, you do your job, and Jordan’s and mine was to go out and get a point and that’s what we were fortunate enough to get at least three out of four.
  • “But no, everybody has their own thoughts and feelings, but at the end of the day we just didn’t play well enough.”
6. More travel trouble for Vegas
Rough stuff. Via Golfweek’s Kevin Casey…”The Venezuelan took to Twitter on Tuesday to reveal that he won’t be playing in the CIMB Classic this week in Malaysia due to a passport issue.”
  • “In July, it was realizing his visa to the United Kingdom had expired that put Vegas in jeopardy of missing the Open. It was hectic, but he did indeed make it.”
  • “He explained Tuesday, though, that no such scenario will play out with the CIMB Classic….” Súper disappointed not going to@CIMBClassic this week in Malaysia due to my passport expiring in a 2 months. Unfortunately my country is having some horrible issues and renewing your passport is one of them. Thanks everyone@CIMBClassic for trying to make this happen.”
7. It’s not just JT…
…Brooks has goals too!
AP Report...”One was his annual list of goals that he writes every Jan. 1 during quiet time on the beach, some of them golf specific, some of them about life. He tacks the list in the middle of his closet so he can’t miss it when he’s getting dressed, packing for a trip or getting his watch and wallet.”
  • “I’m definitely ahead of schedule on certain things,” Koepka said Tuesday….No doubt he was referring to winning two majors, which made him the obvious choice as PGA Tour player of the year. His second straight U.S. Open title made him the first back-to-back winner since Curtis Strange in 1988-89. His two-shot victory in the PGA Championship made him only the fifth player in 100 years to win in the same season the two U.S. majors held on different courses.”
  • “And he missed on a few goals…One was to not miss a cut, which ended in Canada with a 77 in the opening round that led to a weekend off. Another was to finish in the top 10 in half of his events.”
  • “And then there was one that made him laugh just to say it….”Stay healthy,” Koepka said.”
8. Players on the rise in 2019
Our resident stats guru, Rich Hunt, worked his magic to forecast the players who ought to be seeing better results in 2019 (and those who won’t).
Here’s how he does it…”At the end of each season, I compile data on every PGA Tour player and then analyze which players are on the rise and the decline for the upcoming season. There are a number of variables that are historically quality indicators of a golfer’s future performance such as age, club speed, adjusted scoring average, etc.
“I tend to focus on what I call The Cornerstones of the Game, however, and these Cornerstones include
* Driving Effectiveness
* Red Zone Play (approach shots from 175-225 yards)
* Short Game shots (from 10-20 yards)
* Putting (5-15 feet)
* Ball Speed
“All that is needed to execute the Cornerstones of the Game is for the player to be in the top-half on the PGA Tour in each metric. That’s the beauty of the concept; a player does not need to be dominant in each metric. He can simply be average at each metric and it increases his likelihood of not only having a great season, but recording a PGA Tour victory. I can then use the Cornerstones concept to more accurately project players on the rise for the following season.”
To see who he forecasts rising and falling, check out the piece.
9. For your listening pleasure…
ICYMI: Our Andrew Tursky has expanded the GolfWRX podcast repertoire with “Monday’s Off.” Now a few episodes in, the pod features Tursky and club pro Steve Westphal.
  • This week, the pair discuss whether PGA Tour swing coaches are underrated or overrated. Also, they discuss Koepka vs. DJ, Tiger’s best swing ever, and Westphal explains why coaching high-handicaps is more difficult than coaching good players.

 

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GolfWRX Morning 9: Stats of the year | Tiger Woods is rich…but David Copperfield is richer

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

December 19, 2018

Good Wednesday morning, golf fans.
1. The stats the shaped golf in 2018
Golf Channel’s Justin Ray looks at 2018 through the lens of key stats.
A few…
  • FINAU SO CLOSE, SO OFTEN…“By virtually every measure, it was a landmark year for Tony Finau. He had top-10 finishes in each of the first three majors. His eleven top-10s in the 2017-18 PGA Tour season trailed only Dustin Johnson.  And in December, he moved into the top-10 in the Official World Golf Ranking for the first time in his career.”
  • “Yet, Finau finds himself with just one PGA Tour win so far. Over the last three seasons, Finau has 20 top-10 finishes – twice as many as any player without a victory in that span. Tony can find solace in his bank account – his $5.62 million in official earning last season are the second-most in PGA Tour history by a player without a victory.”
  • WEBB SIMPSON WINS THE PLAYERS…”The Players is one of the least predictable tournaments in golf. There has never been a back-to-back winner, no player has ever won the event at TPC Sawgrass more than twice, and the world ranking of the last five winners has run the numerical gamut (61, 13, 1, 75. 41).”
  • “So it’s not that Webb Simpson won that’s shocking, but how he did it. In the 2015-16 season, only eight players had a worse strokes-gained putting average per round than Simpson. That translated to 84th in the FedExCup standings that year, despite being fifth on Tour in strokes-gained approach.”
2. A Tiger on the rich list
ESPN report on TW’s position on the just-relased Forbes list of richest celebrities…”Tiger Woods ranked in a tie with author James Patterson for ninth at $800 million, which positions himself in the years ahead to have a go at adding “billionaire” to descriptions of him.”
  • “Lest he get too cocky, Michael Jordan is worth more than twice as much, at $1.7 billion, fourth on the list…Just ahead of Tiger is Diddy at $825 million, while Kylie Jenner, the wunderkind who is the sole owner of Kylie Cosmetics, is No. 5 at $900 million. George Lucas is a runaway No. 1 at $5.4 billion.”
  • “Last year, Woods was ranked eighth at $750 million. Woods’ improbable comeback from injuries, capped by a victory in the Tour Championship, already has paid dividends to his bottom line in 2018 and is likely to continue doing so into the future. Last month, it was announced that Woods has signed a multi-year deal with Discovery Inc. to provide content on its streaming video platform, GOLFTV.”
3. Cheers, Kyle Thompson, others
AP Report on a trip Kyle Thompson and other pros took to visit the tropps.
  • “Thompson joined David Hearn of Canada, Kris Blanks Shaun Micheel and Billy Hurley III, a surface warfare officer in the Navy and the only player from a service academy to win on the PGA Tour.”
  • “They met with the troops at Camp Lemonnier, a forward deployed military base in a country on the Gulf of Aden that shares a border with Somalia, Ethiopia and Eritrea. They saw the operations, gave a golf clinic and individual lessons to anyone who wanted them and even had a trivia night. It was part of the tour’s “Birdies for the Brave” program. This trip was mainly about boosting morale and showing support.”
  • “Not one person was unimpressive,” Thompson said. “The coolest thing was a lot of these guys were in the reserves. The commanding officer works for Dell. The No. 2 guy works at Booz Allen. And they’ve been stationed over there for a year.”
4. Jason Day ready to make another No. 1 push
AP column…”There has to be some kind of sacrifice,” Day said in the Bahamas before shutting it down for the year. “I was reading the Kobe Bryant book, and he knew there was something he had to sacrifice, so he sacrificed sleep. Because he couldn’t sacrifice family, he couldn’t sacrifice competing, and not working.”
  • “”What can I sacrifice?” he added with a smile. “Sleep.”…Day knows the cost of being the best golfer on the planet because he already reached that summit.”
  • “He first reached No. 1 in the fall of 2015 after winning five times that year, including his first major at the PGA Championship. The following spring, he won three more tournaments in a span of six starts, capped by a wire-to-wire victory in The Players Championship that gave him the highest points average in the world ranking since Tiger Woods. He stayed No. 1 for 47 weeks and looked to be the dominant player he always wanted to be.”
5. Emerald Isle, Pt 3
A bit of our Gianni Magliocco’s latest exploration of Ireland.
  • “In Part Two of our Exploring Ireland Series, we focused on the north-west of the island, taking the trip to County Donegal and showcasing the Old Tom Morris Links. Now it’s time for Part Three, and we’re staying along the “Wild Atlantic Way,” and heading down along the coast and into County Clare.”
  • “Clare is easily one of the top destinations in Ireland. The county is home to some of the best scenery in the country, with one particular natural wonder drawing well over a million visitors each year. Along with its incredible sights, the county is of course home to some of the top golf courses on the island and is a contender for the best destination in Ireland for traditional music, with a multitude of bars hosting live music sessions each night of the week.”
  • “While Trump Doonbeg and the host of next year’s Irish Open, Lahinch Golf Club, often grab all of the headlines for courses in Clare, they aren’t the only options. Diverting away from those well-known spots, my recommendation for a day out on the links in this area is at Spanish Point Golf Club.”
  • “Spanish Point is a real hidden gem out west. The track is a nine-hole course that took the title this year for “Best 9 Hole Course in Munster.” The course opened in 1896, and sits right on top of the Spanish Point beach, offering spectacular views of the Atlantic Ocean.”
6. Nicklaus, Norman & more on driving
At last week’s PNC Father/Son, Andrew Tursky talked to Jack Nicklaus, Greg Norman, and others about driving the golf ball’
“Q: In your opinion, you can include yourself, who are the top 3 greatest drivers of the golf ball of all time?”
  • “NICKLAUS: Norman’s gotta be (up there). Norman was a really good driver. He drove the ball very long and very straight. Norman was a really good driver of the golf ball. Norman was good. I mean Hogan was really good. Snead was really good. And I didn’t see Byron play that much but I’m sure Byron was really good. I mean Irwin was a really good driver of the golf ball. I think I was a good driver. I think if you take length and accuracy I was probably close to the top of the list every year. Not that they kept stats back then. Wieskopf was a really good driver of the golf ball. Actually Johhny Miller was a really good driver of the golf ball. I’ve given you more than three.”
  • “Arnold became a good driver of the golf ball after he stopped winning majors. Arnold drove it all over the place when he was young, and he won from there. A bit like Tiger. Tiger drove it all over the place and still won. And once Arnold actually stopped winning he became a really good driver. I mean really good.”
  • “Today’s game, you know, I don’t really know who’s a good driver today. I can’t tell because they hit it so far, and I don’t think they pay much attention to accuracy.
  • “Because I think the best drivers are the guys that hit it the longest and the straightest; the combination of the two. And when they need to. And a lot of times it’s either a 2-iron or a 1-iron or a 4-wood is a drive too. It’s being smart with what club you play off the tee. Because that’s part of it, that’s still driving. Not just hitting with a driver.”
7. Ain’t what they used to be!
Geoff Shackelford referencing the Powers article that leads this newsletter.
  • “Tiger’s 4.57 scoring average on par-5s stands out. “
  • “Powers writes…The number matches the worst mark in Woods’ career; in 2013 he also had a 4.57 average. However that year it was good enough to tie him for fourth on tour. This year, that mark tied him for 24th, by far the worst standing of his career in the category. Prior to this season, Woods had never finished worse than T-6 for a season in par-5 scoring average.”
  • “While it may stand out to Tiger as something to consider, the notion that the same number this year was only good for 24th compared to 4th just five years ago is yet another remind kids to do your Wall Planks!”

Full piece.

8. Wearing golf clothes off the golf course. Yay or nay?
A few of the gents from National Club Golfer discuss the wearing of golf clothes off the course.
  • “Alex: Most golf clothes aren’t acceptable on the course, let alone off it. I’m talking to you, man in your 50s wearing the orange Puma outfit that even Rickie Fowler has grown out of.”
  • “Steve: Under orders to root through the wardrobe, I discovered something my wife later said was quite disturbing about my character: I wear golf clothes EVERY day. Now I’m not turning up at the gym in a pair of freshly pressed trousers or going out to the shops in a set of spikes, but at a conservative estimate I probably own about 50 golf polo shirts and not a morning goes by where I’m not sliding one over my head.”
  • “Alex: Everyone in this conversation is a dad, so I know that, like me, all of you opt for comfort over style each morning. And more often than not, your golf clothes are the most comfortable you own.”
  • “Mark: It is unacceptable and I’m as guilty as most of looking like a failed assistant pro quite often. A decent/fashionable/inoffensive pair of spikeless shoes and possibly an unobtrusive zip top are just about OK, a pair of bad trousers – with even worse piping – is horrific.”
9. FCC complaints alive and well!
Geoff Shackelford hat tipping Josh Berhow…”Nice work by Golf.com’s Josh Berhow to obtain the uptick in FCC complaints over 2018 on-course obscenities. Instagram subscribers to Bob Menery, these are not.”
  • “Interestingly it was not Tiger or Justin Thomas but the gentle Xander Schauffele who earned the most complaints for his Open Championship swearing.”
  • “On SUNDAY, my family was treated to a golfer saying the word ‘s-‘  during The Open on NBC Golf,” wrote the viewer from Paradise Valley,  Ariz. “Don’t they have a delay to cut that sound out? Seriously, a Sunday morning shouldn’t have programming with indecent language.”
Fiddlesticks! Full piece.

 

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Tiger Woods among the top-10 richest American celebrities for 2018

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After a successful comeback year on the PGA Tour, Tiger Woods is back amongst the wealthiest celebrities in the U.S, coming in T9 in a list published by Forbes on Tuesday.

According to the list, Woods’ current net worth is estimated at around $800 million. That figure has risen $50 million since the beginning of 2018, with the majority of his earnings coming from his sponsorship deals.

Woods earned $5,443,841 on the PGA Tour in 2018, in a year where he recorded seven top-10 finishes, one of which resulted in his 80th PGA Tour title at the Tour Championship in September. The majority of his earnings came from his main sponsorship deals, which includes the likes of Nike Golf, TaylorMade, and Monster Energy. While Woods also took in additional income from his course design fees.

Michael Jordan is the only other sports celebrity to make the rich list. Jordan has an estimated net worth of $1.7 billion, which places him fourth on the list. Jordan’s jump up the list is reportedly due to the rising value of the Charlotte Hornets, which Jordan has a large stake in, as well as the former NBA stars popular Air Jordan shoes.

According to Forbes, the value of each celebrity is estimated by using the net worth earnings previously published for the Forbes 400, Billionaires list and ranking of America’s Richest Self-Made Women.

Here is a look at the Top 10 in full:

  • 1. George Lucas, $5.4 billion
  • 2. Steven Spielberg, $3.7 billion
  • 3. Oprah Winfrey, $2.8 billion
  • 4. Michael Jordan, $1.7 billion
  • 5. (tie) Kylie Jenner, $900 million
  • 5. (tie) Jay-Z $900 million
  • 7. David Copperfield, $875 million
  • 8. Diddy, $825 million
  • 9. (tie) Tiger Woods, $800 million
  • 9. (tie) James Patterson, $800 million

 

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Rory McIlroy ready to commit to European Tour after crisis talks with Keith Pelley

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Last month, news emerged that Rory McIlroy was set to give up his European Tour card, but it now looks as if the Irishman has had a change of heart.

European Tour boss, Keith Pelley, is said to have flown to Belfast for crisis talks with the four-time major winner, and McIlroy is now ready to commit to an additional two European Tour events in 2019 to secure his card.

The 29-year-old had not been set to feature on the European Tour in 2019 until July, but there is now an excellent chance that McIlroy will compete in an event in the middle east in January, and it also opens up the possibility for him to feature at the Irish Open in July.

McIlroy had previously come under fire from some quarters, including Paul McGinley who is on the European Tour board, for what they felt was disloyalty to the European Tour. The four-time major champ’s remark that “Next year, I am looking out for me” did little to improve relations, but it appears as if McIlroy, as he has done in the past, has backed down from his original headstrong position.

In 2016, the 29-year-old was backed into a corner over who he would choose to represent at the Olympic Games. McIlroy eventually declared for Ireland, but later withdrew from the games, and then took a swipe at those who were disappointed with the move, claiming, “it’s not my responsibility to grow the game.”

It appears that this latest U-turn from McIlroy continues the trend of the 29-year-old opting to temper his original views or intentions in the face of pressure.

GolfWRXers, do you feel McIlroy should be more mindful in his pressers or do you find his honesty refreshing?

Let us know what you think!

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