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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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Equipment

Laura Davies’ Winning WITB: Senior LPGA Championship

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Driver: Lynx Parallax

Shaft: Fujikura Speeder Evolution 757

3-wood: Lynx Black Cat

Hybrid: Lynx Parallax Hybrid (17 degrees)

Irons: Lynx Tour Blade (2), Lynx Parallax Forged (4-9)

Wedges: Lynx Tour (50, 56, 60 degrees)

We’re investigating the Odyssey putter and SuperStroke grip.

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GolfWRX Morning 9: Caddie suit against Tour dropped | Hand surgery for Wie | Former DJ advisor guilty

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1. Caddie suit dropped
T.J. Auclair, writing for the Caddie Network (an outlet heretofore unknown to me)…”A lawsuit filed by PGA Tour caddies in 2015 against the PGA Tour has come to an end. Very soon, the Tour will be implementing a healthcare program for all caddies on the PGA Tour that will significantly help caddies and their families off-set healthcare costs.”
  • “The Association of Professional Tour Caddies (APTC) had been seeking a way to minimize the rising costs of healthcare insurance. Those measures included trying to find sponsors for a small part of their caddie bibs, shirt sleeves and hats to heavily subsidize the health costs, which for some caddies, was in excess of $25,000 to cover themselves and their families.”
  • “The caddies lost their class-action suit in District Court in February 2016 and then lost an appeal in August 2018.”
2. Michelle Wie has hand surgery
Our Gianni Magliocco…”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.”
  • Wie…”I made the decision after Hana Bank to withdraw from the rest of the season, come back to the states, and get surgery to fix these issues. It’s been disheartening dealing with pain in my hand all year but hopefully I am finally on the path to being and STAYING pain free!”
  • “Happy to announce that surgery was a success today and I cannot wait to start my rehab so that I can come back stronger and healthier than ever. Huge thank you to Dr. Weiland’s team at HSS for taking great care of me throughout this process and to all my fans for your unwavering support. It truly means the world to me. I’ll be back soon guys!!!! Promise.”
3. Former DJ advisor found guilty
Per Golf Channel…”A federal jury has found Nathan Hardwick, a former advisor to Dustin Johnson, guilty of embezzling $26 million in funds from his now-bankrupt real estate closing firm, Morris Hardwick Schneider.”
“Per Golf.com, citing Law.com, a 12-person jury convicted Hardwick of “one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud, 21 counts of wire fraud and one count of making false statements to federally insured banks.”
The Sun News of Myrtle Beach, citing Law.com, explains where the money went.
  • “The alleged spending included $18.47 million on gambling, private jet travel and women from 2011 through August 2014. The prosecution submitted two binders of documentation as evidence that Hardwick spent $4.39 million on “female social companions,” including one testifying witness who claimed to have met him through SugarDaddy.com.”
  • “Other alleged expenditures described in testimony include more than $7 million at casinos, more than $3 million with a bookie, $680,000 for a luxury condo at The St. Regis Atlanta, $273,000 on a diamond ring, $186,000 on a deposit for a party on a private island, and $635,000 on a trip to the 2014 British Open for golfing buddies that included a customized jet and round at St. Andrews.”
4. The PGA Tour (Latinoamerica) returns to Doral
Golf Channel’s Nick Menta…”PGA Tour Latinoamérica announced Wednesday that it will play its season finale, the Latinoamérica Tour Championship-Shell Championship, at Trump National Doral from Nov. 29-Dec. 2.”
  • “The limited-field event will feature the top 60 players on the circuit’s money list competing on Doral’s Golden Palm Course.”
  • “We are very happy that we will continue playing the Latinoamérica Tour Championship-Shell Championship in South Florida, and Doral is a tremendous community that we know will open its arms to our players and this tournament,” PGA Tour Latinoamérica president Jack Warfield said in a statement.”
  • “The PGA Tour ended its more than 50-year relationship with Doral and the resort’s Blue Monster course back in 2016, when Cadillac’s title sponsorship of the World Golf Championship lapsed.’
5. Brooks Koepka’s No. 1 scenario
Golf Channel…”Brooks Koepka got the inside track against Justin Thomas in their head-to-head battle this week for world No. 1.”
  • “Koepka shot 1-under 71 on Thursday at the CJ Cup, while Thomas shot 1-over 73…Chez Reavie leads after 18 holes at Nine Bridges in Juju Island, South Korea, following a 4-under 68.”
  • “Koepka, currently world No. 3, needs to win this week or finish solo second [without Thomas winning] in order to reach the top spot in the rankings for the first time in his career. Thomas, currently No. 4, must win to reclaim the position he surrendered in June.”
6. Does playing the Fall Series matter?
Shane Ryan wonders not just whether we care about fall PGA Tour action, but whether the narrative that getting of to a hot start in autumn can propel a player to a strong season.
  • “Putting aside the appeal of the fall swing, and the tour’s clever ways of ensuring participation, there’s a bigger narrative to contend with: The idea that success in the fall can jumpstart a player’s season, and potentially even establish a spot in the top 30 on the FedEx Cup points list that carries through to the Tour Championship a summer later.”
  • “If that’s true, then sure, it’s a great argument for why the fall matters. It would be like telling an NFL team that if they play really well for the month of September, they can secure a spot in the playoffs. It adds a ton of significance-if you care about the Tour Championship, the narrative goes, then it’s wise to also care about the fall.”
  • “Does the narrative hold up? On the surface, the simple answer is yes: Most fall events are worth 500 points to the winner, just like a normal summer event. (The exceptions are the WGC-HBSC Champions, worth 550 points, and the Sanderson Farms Championship, played that same week and worth 300.) So if a player won in Malaysia, Korea, Las Vegas and Georgia, that player would have 2,050 points. In 2018, only two players had 2,050 FedEx Cup points when the playoffs began, and in 2017 the number was four. Which means if you sweep the fall, you could take the entire year off and still be confident of a top-five position by the time The Northern Trust came around in mid-August….”
Further number crunching confirms the hypothesis. Read Ryan’s full piece here.
7. Bruntsfield joins modernity
BBC Report…”Bruntsfield Links Golfing Society – the fourth oldest golf club in the world – has become the latest to permit women members after a vote.”
  • ‘The Edinburgh club, founded in 1761, has revealed that 83.7% of members casting their vote on Thursday were in favour of the change.”
  • Captain Mike Smith said: “This is an historic occasion for the society…This change, together with a £1.2m investment in our course, will ensure we are well positioned for the future.”
8. Marshal breaks leg
Bernie McGuire writes…”A female volunteer is the latest casualty at a major golf event after breaking her leg in two places while looking for a lost ball on day one of the Andalucia Valderrama Masters in Spain.”
  • “The 64-year old marshal slipped badly on wet grass breaking her fibula and tibia in right leg in searching for an errant dive off the 11th tee by Spaniard Pablo Larrazabal.”
  • “Play on the hole was delayed for close to 30-minutes and with four groups banking-up on the tee  as medical crews treated the woman’s injuries before an ambulance arrived at the clubhouse to convey her to a local hospital.”
Get well!
9. For your listening pleasure…
Johnny Wunder talked to reigning Western Amateur champion, all-around amateur standout, and incoming Texas freshman, about equipment and a host of other subjects.

Listen here.

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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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