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GolfWRX Morning 9: Does the WGHOF matter? | PGA Champ TV deal | J-Day’s P-760 testing sesh

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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.
A sample…
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?     
Yes     +225
No     -275
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.

 

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Tour Rundown: Pan finds Neverland, Henderson hammers the field, and more

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There was strange golf to be played, the week after Augusta 2019. Vijay dunked three consecutive wedge shots on Saturday. DJ gave seven shots away in a five-hole span on Sunday’s second nine. All of Brooke Henderson’s third-round chasers played like five-handicaps on day four. Scott McCarron tried to give the MEC away on PGA Tour Champions, but no one would take it. Perhaps April Fools came late, or maybe the golf world needed a bit of macabre humor before returning to the major-championship season. No matter the rationale, we found some unique ways to win on this day, and are happy to offer another week of Tour Runover Rundown.

Pan finds Neverland on Hilton Head Island, wins RBC Heritage

CT Pan had no business winning the 2019 RBC Heritage Classis at Harbour Town. Matt Kuchar had won the tournament before, posted four rounds in the 60s, and improved each day. Dustin Johnson looked for all the world as the guy most likely to finally find his birdie wand and run away with his home-state event. Patrick Cantlay and Shane Lowry had each won on the PGA Tour, poised to add a second title to their shelves. And then came Pan, not yet putting on the par-5 16th after four shots, with the temerity to stand alone after 72 holes at 12 under, one shot clear of Kuchar.

Day four was a space oddity of Bowie-esque proportions. Johnson, the top-ranked golfer in the world, turned for home at 10-under par, where he began his day. Beginning at the 11th, Johnson made three consecutive bogeys, followed by twin double bogeys, to tumble out of the top 10, outside the top 20 to a tie for 28th. That is what tree-lined golf courses, unlike any other on tour, can do to today’s longest hitters. Kuchar won’t ever be mistaken for a long hitter, but he did do one thing Sunday that Pan did not: make two bogeys. One behind the former UWashington golfer at day’s open, Kuchar bogeyed the short 17th to fall two behind. Even a final-hole birdie was not enough to catch the young titleist. Few golfers were able to survive the back nine without a blemish. If they did, as in the case of J.T. Poston, Seamus Power and Kevin Streelman, they shot into the top 10.

Remember Pan’s struggles on the 15th? He survived with bogey, then bounced back with birdie at the next. He closed with two strong pars to finish an even dozen below par, where a tartan jacket and trophy awaited, emblematic of the tournament victor.

Henderson hammers field for second-consecutive Lotte Championship

Brooke Henderson, like so many snowbirds before her, is developing quite an affinity for warm-weather locales. Learning to flight her ball through trade winds, and roll her ball across tropical grasses, is now second nature to the Ontario native. Henderson and fellow wunderkind Nelly Korda were matched at 14 under through three rounds. While Korda encountered all sorts of messes, en route to a closing 77 and an 8th-place finish, Henderson rebounded from an opening bogey six with three birdies. Her blase 70 was more than enough to distance her from the field. When the final flag stick was replaced, Henderson stood four shots clear of Eun-Hee Ji, with her 8th career trophy in her embrace.

The toughest task of the week was Korda’s. She bolted to a two-shot lead with 63 on Wednesday, thanks to a 50-50 split of nine birdies and nine pars. Korda maintained a two-shot lead over Henderson through 36 holes, despite a pair of Thursday bogeys. On Friday, Korda posted three bogeys on her card, yet still preserved a tie at the top spot, thanks to four birdies on the card. On Sunday, the young Floridian continued trending downward, lowlighted by a double-bogey six at the ninth hole, and wet, quadruple-bogey eight at the finisher. The nearest threat came from Ariya Jutanugarn, who stood at 14-under par with four holes remaining. At precisely the time when she needed a big finish, the former No. 1 closed with a bogey and a double over the final four holes. She tied for third, one stroke behind Ji.

Lanto Calrissian claims 2nd career Web.Com in Alabama

He’s no spice runner, but Lanto Griffin might be mistaken for the suave, Baron Administrator of Cloud City. Why, you ask? Well, the Californian-turned-Virginian held off Alabama son Robby Shelton in a dramatic, four-hole playoff, to claim his second career, Web.Com Tour event. In the first year of the RTJ Golf Trail Championship, Griffin birdied 4 holes in his outward nine to seize the lead, then bogeyed the 12th to lose it. Playing Cat and Mouse with him was Shelton, who interrupted a run of birdies with a pair of bogeys, then birdied the 16th to take over the top spot. With everything on the line, Griffin made 3 at the par-four finishing hole to join Shelton atop the leader board. The pair played the 18th hole twice in extra time, matching the other’s pars. They moved to the ninth, also a par 4, before returning to the 18th once more. There, Griffin ended matters with an exquisite birdie from 14 inches, his 2nd of the day at the closing hole. The victory moved the winner from 93rd to 9th in the chase for a PGA Tour card. Shelton moved from 46th to 12th with his runner-up finish.

McCarron wins first title of 2019 at Mitsubushi Electric Classic

Scott McCarron won three times on the regular PGA Tour, with two of those wins coming at TPC Sugarloaf, near Atlanta. It shouldn’t come as a surprise that he won this week’s PGA Tour Champions event at the same course, but that it took him four attempts to do so. With wet weather wreaking havoc on golfers’ psyches, McCarron needed all of his concentrative abilities to stay the course. On Saturday, within one stroke of the lead, Vijay Singh dumped three wedges into the pond fronting the final green. His 10 dropped him from contention, leading to a T14 finish overall. McCarron made a clutch birdie at the same hole to expand his overnight lead to three shots. He would need all of them.

Jerry Kelly mounted an early Sunday charge, with birdies at his first three holes and fourth on the sixth. He added a lone bogey on the 13th, then closed with shot-savers at the final two holes. McCarron, meanwhile, played topsy-turvy over his opening four holes. Birdies at two and four did not compensate for bogey at No. 1 and double bogey at three. In little more than an hour, his lead was nearly gone. Kirk Triplett, Kent Jones, and Joe Durant also joined the fray. Each would match Kelly, coming up short of the winner’s effort.

As noted, Kelly cooled off after his hot start, while McCarron found stability. His final 14 holes consisted of 12 pars and two birdies, enough to force a desperate field to give chase, something it failed to do. McCarron won four times on tour in 2017, but tapered off to 2 victories and a handful of missed chances in 2018. Will 2019 be the year that he becomes THE elite winner? Atlanta was a good start.

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Morning 9: Pantastic! | Henderson greatest in history of Canadian women’s golf? | Rough Sunday for DJ

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

April 21, 2019

Good Monday morning, golf fans.
1. Pantastic!
Not the Dustin Johnson triumph we expected, true. Nevertheless, C.T. Pan’s W was compelling and steely down the stretch.
AP Report…
  • “Pan shot a 4-under 67 to finish at 12-under 272, a stroke ahead of Matt Kuchar and two in front of Patrick Cantlay, Scott Piercy and Shane Lowry. Kuchar had a 67, Cantlay and Piercy had 69s and Lowry a 70.”
  • “…Pan won twice on the PGA Tour Canada in 2015 when he turned professional. He’s finished second twice in PGA Tour events, once at the Farmers Insurance Open in 2017 and last year at the Wyndham Championship.”
  • “This interesting tidbit…“Pan’s wife was key to his playing here this week. He had planned to attend a junior event in Houston he helped organize. But Yingchun Lin told him to get back to work and let her handle things down there….”Just listen to your wife,” Pan said. “And you will have a good life. She’s right, always.”
2. The (co-) winningest Canadian woman ever
Golf.com’s Pat Ralph…”Brooke Henderson captured her second straight Lotte Championship in Hawaii on Saturday to tie the Canadian record for LPGA Tour wins with eight thus far in her career. The 21-year-old Henderson now shares the record with former pro golfer Sandra Post.”
  • “Currently ranked No. 12 in the world, Henderson’s two-under 70 final round performance at Ko Olina Golf Club in Kapolei, Hawaii was good enough to break away from the pack and earn herself the victory by four strokes. Despite a bogey on the opening hole, Henderson’s final round consisted of three birdies.”
  • “The 2016 Women’s PGA Championship winner finished the tournament at 16-under 272, with her best round coming this past Wednesday when she shot a seven-under 65 to open up the event. Her first round consisted of an eagle and six birdies, four of which came on the front nine.”
3. Rough Sunday for DJ…and viewers?
John Strege writes…”Johnson, 6-foot-4 and as athletic and talented as anyone in golf, shot a 77 (41 on the back nine) and tied for 28th. The tournament was won by C.T. Pan, a 5-foot-6 package of professional mediocrity prior to posting his first PGA Tour victory. In nine previous starts in the calendar year, he had not finished better than a tie for 42nd.”
  • “Good for him, of course. But players ranked 113th in the world don’t generally outplay the No. 1 by 10 shots in the final round of a tournament the latter is leading.”
  • “Johnson hit half the 14 fairways and half the 18 greens in regulation. His score equaled the second worst of the day, only better than the 82 from Satoshi Kodaira.”
  • In support of this thesis…”For golf not to devolve again into a tour of the haves and the have-nots, the latter tournaments with fields sans Tiger, it needs the best players in the world to do their part to ward off apathy when Woods is not there to do it for them.”
4. Lanto!
Forgive the length of the excerpt, but Josh Vitale’s (of the Montgomery Advertiser, excerpted in Golfweek) use of Maya Brown, Lanto Griffin’s girlfriend, in his game story is superb.
  • “Maya Brown was there when he birdied the 18th hole on the Senator Course at Capitol Hill to finish a 4-under final round and force a playoff with Robby Shelton, the University of Alabama alum and home-state favorite who entered the day with a one-stroke lead. She was there when he parred the first three playoff holes, stuck a 123-yard approach shot to within two feet of the flag on the fourth, and made the short putt to secure his first victory since the 2017 Nashville Golf Open.”
  • “She was just in hiding – in the clubhouse, in between the golf carts parked beside the 9th green or behind the Michelob Ultra bar set up beside the 18th, wherever he couldn’t see her, relying on updates from tournament staff all the while.”
  • “See, Griffin didn’t know that his girlfriend of nearly two years was coming Sunday. She actually wasn’t going to – on Saturday night, she was in Winston, North Carolina, eating dinner with her parents. But Brown had a weird feeling all week that Griffin was going to win, so with him only one stroke back of Shelton after Saturday’s third round, she booked a flight from Charlotte to Montgomery and arrived at the Prattville golf course just before 1 p.m.”
5. …and Bhatia made the cut
Joel Beall writes…”Bhatia, the 17-year-old who made his PGA Tour debut last month at the Valspar Championship, was able to Monday qualify into the Web.com Tour’s Robert Trent Jones Golf Trail Championship, and has made the most of his opportunity by making the cut at the rain-delayed event.”
A first-round 73 left Bhatia outside the top 100, but the homeschooler from North Carolina bounced back in Round 2 with a two-under 70, moving into a tie for 40th and good enough to advance to Saturday play.
Bhatia finished tied for 42nd.
6. McCarron gets it done
AP Report…”Scott McCarron completed a wire-to-wire victory in the Mitsubishi Electric Classic on Sunday for his third victory at TPC Sugarloaf on the PGA Tour Champions circuit.”
  • “The winner of the PGA Tour defunct BellSouth Classic at the course in 1997 and 2001, McCarron closed with a 1-under 72 for a two-stroke victory over Jerry Kelly, Joe Durant, Kirk Triplett and Kent Jones in the PGA Tour Champions event.”
  • “The 53-year-old McCarron finished at 7-under 209 for his ninth victory on the 50-and-over tour. He won three times on the PGA Tour.”
7. President Trump tees off with Lexi Thompson, Rush Limbaugh
Rachel Frazin of the Hill…
  • “The White House on Saturday released pictures from President Trump’s golf outing with conservative radio host Rush Limbaugh and golfer Lexi Thompson the previous day.”
  • “In all three photos, Trump is shown wearing a polo, dark pants and a white campaign hat while smiling alongside Limbaugh. The men appear with Thompson in a third photo.”
8. Every shot technology…almost
Golfweek’s Forecaddie on the Masters attempt to have every shot available to view online…
  • “This year’s Masters marked the first attempt to record every shot of every player in the field. Adding around two dozen more cameras and a huge group of editors – the algorithms haven’t taken over yet – a Masters.com team attempted to provide fans the chance to watch video of every shot played via the leaderboard.”
  • “The new technology came out roaring for about a few hours Thursday, then suffered a mid-day first-round halt, but eventually caught up with most shots. Some intriguing omissions likely were tied to what appeared to be struggles on certain holes – 5, 11 and 13 – so things were missed, such as Henrik Stenson making an 8 followed by trimming the azaleas with his wedge.”
  • “Once the weekend rolled around, this breakthrough technology was doing almost what the chairman ordered, though it was taking longer to get video posted than predicted.”
9. Recapping the Ventus Experience
A handful of GolfWRXers visited Fujikura HQ for a look at the company’s newest wares, fittings, and more. Check out their experiences (along with plenty of photos) in this forum thread.

 

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Q2Q: Johnny gets a hand from Claude Harmon III

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In this episode of the Q2Q brought to you bu GolfWRX and Cobra Golf, Johnny and performance coach Nick Starchuk travel to West Palm Beach to see Claude Harmon III at his performance center. It’s a Golf IQ reality smackdown with CHIII breaking down the truth that the Arccos system has shown Johnny.
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