1 Does the WGHOF matter?
Geoff Shackelford with an interesting take via his blog. As with all things Shack, the points are sound, the only question: is he too far afield in his thinking, or are his opinions shared by the majority? In this case, it’s tough not to think more of the latter than the former.
Regarding whether we ought to ignore the World Golf Hall of Fame…”That’s the question I’ve grappled with on the news of the World Golf Hall of Fame’s latest induction class announced today…The short answer to the above question is a simple, lamentable and painful yes.”
“This is not a reflection on the current class, all fine contributors to the game who at various times were, are or will be worthy inductees at Pebble Beach next year. The problem lies in the increasingly clubby edge to who does get inducted. I’ve grown bored with the blatant, almost incomprehensible disregard for anyone who might have contributed to the game prior to 1990. Or, anyone who might have crossed former the long list of executives and former players whose feathers are easily ruffled.”
“Because, heaven forbid, someone designed a bunch of brilliant courses, wrote profound books that documented the game’s charms or broke ground in the instruction world. Those core professions vital to “growing the game” mean nothing to golf’s Hall of Fame. Remember, this group only took A.W. Tillinghast after much kicking and screaming, then inducted him with tributes from esteemed historian Harris English and other tour players. A man who gave his life to the game on multiple fronts, who had more golfing soul than most of the Hall members combined, and continues to influence the sport decades after his passing, could barely get in the Hall.”
His full take…well worth a read.
2. PGA Champ deal is done
The AP’s Doug Ferguson…”The PGA Championship will remain with CBS Sports and pick up ESPN for weekday rounds as part of an 11-year agreement in which the networks will combine to deliver 175 hours of coverage across broadcast, cable and digital platforms.”
“Financial terms of the deal announced Wednesday were not disclosed, though it was clear the PGA Championship is more attractive held in May than in August….The agreement gives CBS and ESPN, which broadcast the Masters, the first two majors of the year.”
”I can tell you from our standpoint, the property was more valuable in May than in August,” said Sean McManus, chairman of CBS Sports. ”We are paying a rights fee increase. It was definitely a more attractive package.”
McManus said the number of households watching on TV is higher in May, and he spoke of a ”halo effect” in broadcasting the next major after the Masters, which is the highest-rated golf telecast of the year.
3. British Masters
Meanwhile, at Walton Heath…the Matthews are impressing.
Via EuropeanTour.com…”Local favourites Matthew Fitzpatrick and Matt Wallace took a share of the lead on the opening morning of the Sky Sports British Masters.”
“Wallace is a three-time winner on the European Tour this season, while Fitzpatrick claimed the first of his five wins at this event in 2015.”
‘Fitzpatrick and Wallace moved to four under after 12 and 13 holes respectively at Walton Heath Golf Club to sit a shot ahead of fellow Englishmen Richard Bland and Matthew Southgate, Spaniard Pablo Larrazábal and Frenchman Clément Sordet.”
4. Burgoon-a win the CIMB Classic?
Defending champ Justin Thomas opened with 66, but it’s Bronson Burgoon at the top in Malaysia.
AP Report…”Burgoon’s 63 on the par-72 TPC Kuala Lumpur West Course gave him a one-stroke lead over Austin Cook. Scott Piercy and Billy Horschel, and Taiwan’s C.T. Pan were another stroke back after 65s.”
“Thomas was in an eight-way tie for sixth, including 2012 champion Nick Watney, Kevin Chappell and Paul Casey.”
“Burgoon, ranked 162nd, had eight birdies and an eagle. His only bogey came on the par-4 13th.”
5. Jason Day’s TaylorMade P-760 testing transcript
Interesting stuff here. Jason Day went live on Instagram to show off a bit of his testing session with TaylorMade’s upcoming P-760 irons.
While the irons are the story for most folks, Day’s back and forth with TaylorMade’s Tomo Bystedt is pretty cool. And fortunately, GolfWRX has done the yeoman’s work of transcribing the dialogue.
JD: We’re gonna test it. We’re doing it live.
Tomo: But what we don’t want to do is give up any feel or control that you currently have with your 750s. So a more playability and more distance. Especially as you get into the 3 and 4 irons, you’re going to get more COR in these heads where you’re probably going to see 5-7 yards more distance. So not massive difference, not a 790 type distance.
JD: You said 5-7? I’m gonna hold you to that. So I’ve currently got a 9-iron, my 9-iron from my current set is a 750. So tell me how far this is carrying.
Tomo: Yea we’ve got Trackman going here. So, is that a good benchmark there?
JD: Eh. It was ok.
Carry was 153.
JD: So if I’m hitting summertime like right now, I usually hit it about 160. I caught it a bit heavy.
About 158 carry.
JD: A good Tuesday swing. I’m not amped. Trying to get through the day. Bloody TaylorMade has been chasing me all over the shop. So I’ve got the new 760s.
Shot. 760 9-iron.
JD: It felt solid. Nice little baby draw, which is good.
Tomo: So give me your first comments… feel, look?
JD: It felt stable. The feel of it I know… How do I explain this? It felt soft but firm. How do you get that?
Tomo: You might notice if you take a look at the sole grind, it’s a little different leading edge than what you have currently in your 750s. See that leading edge? See how there’s a little bevel there? Trying to get that camber.
6. Day on Day
Also on the J-Day front: The Australian sat down for the Golf Digest Interview.
One of his replies…”How many players today are playing for history? Are you one of them?”
“I’m definitely one of those guys There are probably five to 10 right now. You can look at the top of the world ranking and pretty much figure out most of them. The rest? They’re trying to make a good living, enjoy life and go on about their way.”
“I don’t want to put a number on majors or victories or goals, because sometimes you get to a point where you’re just struggling to get to that number. But let’s say you have 20 to 30 wins and multiple major championships. Not a lot of guys have done that. I’d also like to win the [modern] career Grand Slam. Only five guys have [Sarazen, Hogan, Player, Nicklaus and Woods]. That, plus being No. 1 in the world and 20 to 30 wins, yeah, that’s a pretty phenomenal career.”
7. Cink reflects
While the 2018 Ryder Cup has come and gone, I can always read more about the unique state of anxiety the tournament produces in its participants–seasoned professional golfers.
Stewart Cink said this of his maiden experience in 2002.
“So here we are, it’s time to go warm up on the range. I went through my warm-up and it was hard to breathe. My heart was racing. I came out to the putting green about 10 minutes before the bell goes off and I heard the next group in front of us go over to the tee, that first Ryder Cup tee, with the chanting and both sides going at each other.”
“I walked straight over to Jim and said, ‘Hey, I’ve been thinking about it, I think you should take the odds.’ He knew exactly what I meant.”
“His tee shot set up perfectly for my approach. It landed in the first cut and the ball couldn’t have been teed up better. I was standing behind the ball with an 8-iron, looking toward the flagstick with the crowd all around the green, and I remember asking myself, what’s my pre-shot routine again?”
What’s my pre-shot routine again? Crazy. Full piece.
8. The story behind the Nike driver that never was
Digest’s Joel Beall verified what we reported: this baby was headed to market.
“…according to a former Nike insider, the picture of the VPR Strike is “very real.””
“It was very much a done product,” the source told Golf Digest. “It was fully cooked and athlete-tested. It was locked and loaded.”
The source said the rumors swirling since the photo appeared may have several “embellishments” and “partial truths.”…But, the source said, “What might have been…”
The Instagram user who originally shared the photos told us
“There was going to be 2 drivers, the Vapor Strike and the Vapor Strike Elite. The theme was angle of attack as most higher handicappers are steep so the VPR Strike was aimed to launch high off a steep angle of attack. The Vapor Strike Elite was a RZN head and the ball speeds were incredible. It was aimed more at the guys who sweep the ball and better players. Rory loved it and wanted to put it in play following final testing at The Oven, but Nike wouldn’t let him. I heard an extra 8 mph of ball speed vs. the blue Vapor FLY Pro. One interesting technology I heard this driver had, was that it was illegal in certain parts of the driver face, but legal in the parts where COR was measured. Was going to be marketed potentially as ‘The legal, illegal driver.'”
9. TW prop bets for 2019 majors
You know ’em, you love ’em. A couple of days after a look at the latest Masters futures, here are a few Tiger Woods prop bets, courtesy of Westgate Las Vegas Superbook.
Will Tiger Woods Win a 2019 Major?
How Many Majors will Tiger Woods Win in 2019?
0 Majors 4-11
Exactly 1 Major 5-2
Exactly 2 Majors 14-1
Exactly 3 Majors 60-1
4 Majors (Grand Slam) 250-1
250-1 for the Grand Slam. Yeesh. No meat on that bone.
GolfWRX Morning 9: Pro overcomes bad math to win | Koepka | Rory may not limit Euro Tour schedule after all
By Ben Alberstadt (email@example.com)
December 13, 2018
Good Thursday morning, golf fans. (featured image credit: PGA.com)
1. Overcoming bad math
Craig Dolch writing for PGA.com with the details of, a computational error that ultimately worked out in a club pro’s favor at the PGA Tournament Series.
Meanwhile, early at the Alfred Dunhill Championship…
3. Brooks on top, chip on shoulder
Eamon Lynch examines some of the criticism of Brooks Koepka and the reality as he sees it.
4. Rory to remain European Tour fixture?
Despite suggestions to the contrary…
While nobody knows what was said, it seems Pelley was pleased with the result.
5. Highlights from Valentino Dixon
A few of the best sections of Michael Williams’ excellent interview with Valentino Dixon, who served 27 years in prison for a crime he did not commit – and took up golf course-related artwork as a hobby during that time.
6. The Rexys!
Rex Hoggard handed out his (annual?) Rexy Awards for outstanding achievements in the world of golf.
Here are two
7. GolfTV signs European Tour deal
Sports Pro Media report...”The wide-ranging deal with European Tour includes international multi-platform live rights, in selected territories, to all European Tour events and the next two Ryder Cups, as well as Discovery collaborating to further grow the golf body’s digital platforms. The partnership will bring coverage of the European Tour and Ryder Cup together on GolfTV.”
“From January 2019, Discovery will hold exclusive European Tour linear and digital rights in major markets including Italy, Romania, Russia,and Turkey. Additionally, GolfTV has digital streaming rights in Germany, Austria and Switzerland. Portugal, Balkan countries, Eurasia, India, Latin America, Indonesia, Thailand, Singapore and a number of territories in Asia.”
8. The Ryder Cup is never over
Shane Ryan points out the competition has swelled in scale, as has the hype. Is this a good thing?
9. Maybe stagger the announcements, Rolex/PR folks?
(also, earthquake) The below via D.A. Points on Twitter.
Kevin Kisner reveals the level of hatred former college teammates have for Patrick Reed
Patrick Reed hasn’t made many new friends recently after he was the fulcrum of the messy fallout after the USA’s heavy defeat in the 2018 Ryder Cup. Reed’s outspokenness at the time didn’t provoke Tour players to voice their personal opinion on the current Masters Champion, but this week Kevin Kisner aired a stark revelation of how the Texan is view by his former college teammates.
Speaking to Golf Digest, Kisner talked about the level of animosity that Reed’s ex-college teammates still have for him, stating
“They all hate him — any guys that were on the team with him (at Georgia) hate him and that’s the same way at Augusta. I don’t know that they’d piss on him if he was on fire, to tell you the truth.”
In a book written in 2016 by author Shane Ryan, it was revealed that there had been cheating and stealing accusations leveled against Reed from his teammates at Georgia while he was playing for the university. Reed denied the claims, though was subsequently removed from the team in 2009.
It’s worth noting that, Kisner, though a graduate of the University of Georgia, did not attend the school at the same time as Reed, and none of Reed’s teammates from his time in college, including Tour pros Brian Harman, Harris English, and Russell Henley would confirm Kisner’s view to Golf Digest.
Kisner’s revelation comes after an anonymous member of the U.S. Ryder Cup side told the New York Times after this year’s team event that Reed “is so full of shit” and that the 28-year-old “has no clue how to play team golf”.
Reed held his tongue following those incendiary remarks, but whether or not he will do the same after Kisner’s statement remains to be seen.
Valentino Dixon on his time in prison, his golf art, gratitude, and hope
Valentino Dixon, who served 27 years in prison for a crime he did not commit — and took up golf course-related artwork as a hobby during that time — joined Michael Williams on the 19th Hole podcast.
While the full interview doubtless represents one of the most important and impactful GolfWRX podcasts to date, we wanted to present a few excerpts for the more textually inclined.
On the events that led to him spending 27 years in prison
Valentino Dixon: “This was Buffalo, New York…I grew up in a bad area, a drug infested area, a lot of violence and stuff like that and these guys pull up, they start shooting, they shoot a friend of mines and another friend of mines return fire, ended up killing the guy. Anyway, long story short, when the shots rang out I was inside the deli across the street and I actually ran out afterwards and ran to my car, I pulled off.
“Shortly thereafter I was pulled over and taken into custody and questioned and ultimately charged with shooting three people.”
“I knew that I was going to be cleared or at least I felt I was going to be cleared because there was 80 witnesses. So I said, there’s no way that they’re not going to straighten this out and I’ll be out the next day, but that didn’t happen. Two days after I was arrested, this friend of mines turned himself into police, told them what happened. Actually the physical evidence matched his story, they found the dead guy’s gun on the scene and they disregarded him, told him that they didn’t believe him. Seven witnesses came forward, they disregarded those witnesses.”
“I found myself going to trial ten months later, my lawyer promised the jury that he was going to call these witnesses and introduce this confession and did not do it, and this is all on public record. I had a public defender and the jury found me guilty. I didn’t know that later on the jury foreman went to the judge and asked the judge, “Hey, why his lawyer didn’t call the witnesses he promised us?” The judge told him not to worry about it, to go home and sleep well and the judge never revealed that this happened.”
“It was our local paper that went to the foreman and said, “Hey, what happened during the deliberations?” He said, “Hey, I went to the judge and told him I didn’t feel right about this, that something was wrong here.” Anyway, the judge denies that that even took place. I was given 39 years.”
On getting started doing golf course art
VD: “Right. Well, I was known as the artist in Attica. I spent, out of the 27 years, I spent 25 of those years in Attica. So over the years I had publicity on my case because the local newspaper had came to believe in my innocence, but there wasn’t a judge in Buffalo that would do anything about it. So the warden and the officers in Attica knew that I was innocent of the crime and would always check in on me and look in and see if I was all right and everything like that, but they knew that I drew also. So the warden came to me one day and asked me could I draw his favorite hole, which was Augusta, the 12th hole at Augusta.”
“I’d never golfed before. I mean, I’m from the inner city. So it was like all right, I guess I can do it. I knew nothing about golf. I drew the Augusta 12th hole. He loved it. Other inmates loved it and one of the inmates encouraged me to draw more golf holes. I said, “What are you talking about? What for? That doesn’t even makes sense.” He says, “I love the golf course, I think you should draw more.” He planted the seed.”
“A week later I went around and I got some old golf magazines, Golf Digest magazines, and I start pulling out the pictures that I loved. The guy gave me some really old ones that he had in his cell. So I start pulling out the ones that I liked, the ones that I thought was pretty and then from there I started drawing them. Whenever I put my mind into something, I just go in and really hard. So for months and months, all I did was draw golf courses. Okay. “
“Eventually I started reading the columns out of the Golf Digest magazine and I came across Max Adler’s, called Golf Saved My Life. I kind of put the two together because it was like golf was saving my life because being there was really, really stressful and hard and every day was a challenge. I have friends that committed suicide. I didn’t know if I was going to be the next person that my mind was going to snap.”
On the positive reception his art got in Attica
VD: “Well let me tell you this. Right. Like I said, there’s so many guys … I mean guys that done killed three, four people were stopping at the cell saying, “Wow, I love that golf course.” These are guys that had never golfed before. So I’m saying if these guys love the golf courses that I’m drawing, I can only imagine how golfers would feel, because I mean these guys never golf. Maybe one out of 10 have golfed. You know what I’m saying?”
“So it really gave me the boost, the determination it gave me and inspired me to keep pushing it. I felt like, wow, this is something that you really like doing now because I got satisfaction out of other people looking at my drawings and loving them. This is what motivates me.”
On how he spent his time in prison
VD: “Well the thing is, is this. God was always with me. I prayed a lot. I prayed every day. Okay. And I just stayed positive. I read hundreds and hundreds of self help books, motivational books, anything to fill my mind with positive things and energy so that I wouldn’t become negative or fall into that whole negative thing that you see. I’ve seen a lot of prisoners fall into where they lose hope, they become bitter, angry, upset with the world and all that other stuff. I was determined not to allow that to happen to me. So I had to push my willpower to the max.”
“At the same time, I was drawing up to 10 hours a day. So I was really like, listen, if I got to become the best artist in the world in order to get my freedom, then that’s what I’ll do. And this is why I mean I pushed myself to the limit. I’ve done some golf drawings that were … these are all drawings now, not paintings. I’ve done some drawings that people have never even seen. I got a 60 by 90 drawing.”
On his artistic style
VD: “…I had to develop my own style over a course of I would say 20 years. Just every day I had to learn from error. I didn’t have no teacher, so I had to learn through trial and error of what to do, what not to do, how to blend colors, what worked, what didn’t work, how to layer everything on top of each other. My goal has always been to make the drawings look like a painting.”
“Take the whole paper out of it. So when you look at it, you’d say, “That ain’t done on no paper.” That’s the whole goal there. So I had to put so many colors on top of each other to get that painting effect and then drawings are so much more strenuous than paintings because I know how to paint also. But drawing is so much more strenuous because there’s no shortcuts. You got to sit there for … I might sit there for two hours and just do one little corner because you got to get all the detail in there. You know what I’m saying? So it’s way more work that goes into what I do in regards if I was painting. I mean if I’d had done this stuff in painting, I would have thousands of golf painting.”
On gratitude and his perspective
VD: “I’m a very grateful person. I don’t want to sound too religious or anything like that, but we should always be grateful to the creator for what the things that he’s given us. So I mean, I was in a bad situation. I’m sitting in the cell and I’m looking at the people around me and the people around me is doing 10 times worse than me and I had to be grateful. So that’s how I look at it. We had these little eight inch TVs that we could buy on commissary for like $149. Okay. So, right. Yeah, they would beat us on every level that they could. So I’m watching this TV when I can and I’m looking at the world. I’m looking at what’s going on with people out in society.”
“I hate to say it. I was in the worst prison and I’m in a six by eight cell and I felt like I was more blessed than a lot of people on the outside, but people are really struggling out there and doing really bad. Here it is, God preserved me, he kept me in shape, he kept my mind sane, he gave me this talent, he gave me a loving family.”
“So I had to count all those blessings and say, “You know what? I could really be twisted up in here and messed up. So you know what, don’t be bitter, don’t be angry, don’t complain, don’t cry, count your blessings, push your willpower to the highest level. Just push, push, push, push and be the best artist that you can be in the world.” That was my goal.”
All images via Valentino Dixon’s website. His golf art is available for purchase here.
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