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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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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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