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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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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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