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Tour Rundown: Pepperell wins the British masters, Leishman wins in Malaysia, Langer wins again

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October, and the trees are stripped bare, of all they wear. U2

Perhaps it’s due to its status as my birth month, or something larger and deeper. October is a raw month, as April was cruel for Eliot. It is raw in its golf, too. Of the four events played this week, only one took place in the USA. Touring professionals left the summer of majors behind, to journey globally, in search of answers and questions. They went to Malaysia, England and Korea (and let’s not forget, North Carolina.) Names both familiar and emerging claimed trophies, and the game marched on. Here’s a Sunday rundown of all things tour, mid-October.

CIMB in Malaysia in Leishman’s hands

Marc Leishman’s brilliance with golf cudgels is know well to his touring brethren. To the golfing public, which measures fame in little more than major victories, he is an enigma. And here was Leishman, on Sunday at Kuala Lumpur, schooling playing partner Gary Woodland and the rest of the field with a brilliant 65. There were lower scores, but just barely (a pair of 64s.) Leishman had 62 earlier in the week, but was a wee bit overlooked, as Woodland had 61 the same day. On Sunday, there was no mistaking the two. Leishman rushed from the gate with birdies on hole 2 through 5, scarcely glancing rearward at the trailers. He summited 26 strokes beneath par, equalling the tournament record and placing him five clear of the runners-up. Woodland tried to keep pace, but fell off the rails midway through the inward half. 3 bogeys in 5 holes did him in, dropping him back to a tie for 5th at -20. 2nd spot on the podium belonged to the american trio of Emiliano Grillo (Argentina), Chesson Hadley and Bronson Burgoon (both USA). The victory compelled Leishman to 2nd spot on the young FedEx Cup list for 2018-19.

Hana Bank belongs to Dumbo

If In Gee Chun had her way, the golfer nicknamed Dumbo would scamper off by gobs of strokes with each tournament. Owner of an unfortunate 0-3 record in LPGA Tour playoffs, the Korean golfer wants no part of extra holes. While 3rd-round leader Charley Hull of England struggled with birdie-bogey runs, Chun birdied 4 of her first 6 holes and separated herself by 3 strokes from the field. Out in 31, she resisted the lure of a 10th-hole bogey and added 2 more birdies to reach 16-under par. Hull and company could not close the gap, and the Englishwoman settled for 2nd at -13. Chun began the week with matching 70s, to place herself inside the top 20, but not yet a threat. Her weekend was nearly flawless, as she matched 66s on Saturday and Sunday, to emerge from the multitude. The win was her first, non-major victory on the LPGA Tour, coming after triumphs at the 2015 US Open and the 2016 Evian Championship.

Ace, Ace, Baby propels Pepperell to British Masters title

It was a rugged, mucky affair on Sunday at Walton Heath, born of the talented hand of architect Herbert Fowler. Eddie Pepperell, who spends a fair amount of time mucking around on Twitter, was the man for the job. He began the day at -9, and ended the day at that figure. Most times, even par gets you nowhere on tour; on this particular Sunday, it got you to the top of the podium. Pepperell had four eagles on the week, including an ace on Thursday and the hole-out below for a deuce on Sunday. The winner made a massive putt for par on 14, which probably saved his round. He bogeyed 15 and 16 to let Alexander Bjork into the tournament. The Swede was unable to capitalize, bogeying 18 to offer Pepperell a 2-stroke advantage at the home hole. The Englishman finished in proper form, getting up and down for par from a greenside bunker to win by a pair.

By the way, if you want a crack at Fowler in North America, visit Eastward Ho! on Cape Cod (which he built) or Pebble Beach, whose 18th hole he extended to its current glory.

SAS Championship almost never in doubt for Bernhard Langer

Bernhard Langer made a single bogey in 54 holes this week. The inconceivable occurrence happened precisely at the midway point of the tournament, on the 27th hole of SAS Championship. Astronomers at the Arecibo observatory in Puerto Rico acknowledged a slight orbital shift at that very moment, while CERN scientists reported … oh, never mind. Langer had made 8 birdies in 9, back-nine holes on Friday for 29 on the par-37 side. It was ultimately his week, although Gene Sauers kept pace for a while. The duo matched 62-67 through 36 holes, but Sunday was all Germany. Langer had 7 birdies on the day for 65, leaving him 6 strokes clear of 2nd-place Scott Parel. Sauers struggled in round three, tumbling all the way to a tie for 5th spot, after a +3 75.

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Ronald Montesano writes for GolfWRX.com from western New York. He dabbles in coaching golf and teaching Spanish, in addition to scribbling columns on all aspects of golf, from apparel to architecture, from equipment to travel. Follow Ronald on Twitter at @buffalogolfer.

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Blunder leads to cruel DQ for European Tour hopeful at Q-School

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Another day, another rules controversy. Earlier this month, we reported on a crushing penalty that resulted in European Tour hopeful Gian-Marco Petrozzi missing out on the final stage of Q-School, and now an even more devastating rules infraction has cost yet another golfer his chance of competing on the European Tour.

The incident occurred in the final stage of Q-School at Lumine Golf Club in Spain, where Englishman Tom Murray looked to be well on his way to securing his European Tour privileges for 2019. The world number 369 had opened the six-round event with rounds of 66 and 70, but after signing for an incorrect scorecard, Murray saw his hopes shattered with a brutal disqualification.

It was Murray’s second round scorecard of 70 which proved costly, despite recording the total on his card accurately. The Englishman had scored two of his scores incorrectly, marking one too high and one too low, resulting in a disqualification for an incorrect scorecard. Murray took to social media after the event to state what had occurred, while also taking personal accountability for the error.

The R&A and the USGA moved to modernize the rules of golf earlier this year, making a number of changes that will come into effect in 2019. However, there is still a large percentage of golf fans that would like to see an even more significant overhaul to the rules of golf, especially with the latest run of seemingly innocuous infringements.

GolfWRXers, do you feel golf officials need to take an even closer look at some of its current rules, or did Tom Murray’s carelessness warrant his punishment?

Let us know what you think!

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GolfWRX Morning 9: The Tiger Woods of rock climbing | Jason Dufner’s math lesson | Brutal incorrect scorecard DQ

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

November 14, 2018

Good Wednesday morning, golf fans.
1. The Tiger Woods of rock climbing
Alex Honnold may be the greatest climber in the world, his free solo ascent of El Capitan (that is, without equipment) is the basis for the documentary “Free Solo,” and his list of big peaks is legendary. However, it’s not Honnold’s accomplishments, but rather his demeanor, that prompted Michael Bamberger to compare the 33-year-old to one Tiger Woods.
  • In his “Best things in golf right now” column for Golf.com, Bamberger writes, Christine and I saw another art-house movie recently, “Free Solo,” a documentary about the extreme rock climber Alex Honnold. It’s outstanding and I mention it here because Honnold, articulate and reflective, must share fundamental qualities with Tiger Woods.
  • “In times of intense fear, Honnold’s sense of himself and what he can do doesn’t contract, it expands. I believe that’s what happens for Woods, too. The climber has no interest in the pursuit of a “happy and cozy” life. That’s pure Woods. Honnold doesn’t actively seek to put his athletic needs ahead of his personal relationships. His body and mental chemistry leaves him no choice. It’s what he is built to do. You could see that DNA in Tiger, too, in his lengthy prime.”

Full piece.

2. Duf does the math
Interesting catch-up with Jason Dufner on the range ahead of the RSM Classic for this unbylined AP piece.
  • “Dufner, who has such a degree, came up with his own version of success on the PGA Tour that at first glance seems outrageous….”You win 2 percent of your tournaments, you probably have a Hall of Fame career,” Dufner said. “You throw in a major and win 2 percent of your tournaments, and you’re certainly in the Hall of Fame.”…Maybe he had Fred Couples or Mark O’Meara in mind.”
  • “Winning every year is extremely tough to do,” Dufner said. “It’s just a fine line out here. You have to have a 95 percent-plus success rate to win,” he said.
  • “He defines success on a hole-by-hole basis in a negative sense. It’s more about what a player doesn’t do wrong as opposed to what he did right. Last week in Mayakoba, he said he had five penalty drops and three-putted three times. That’s not success. Dufner shot 13-under 271 and finished nine shots behind Kuchar.”
  • “I probably had 15 or 20 shots that were not successful,” he said, estimating his success rate at 90 percent.”

Full piece.

3. The always brutal scorecard DQ
Really rough stuff for Tom Murray at Euro Tour Q-School
  • “Through two rounds at Lumine, the Englishman was handily placed on seven-under-par after rounds of 66 and 70. But, unfortunately, his quest to earn his card ended there after signing an incorrect scorecard.”
  • “His score of 70 was correct, but scores on two holes were incorrect, with one higher one lower, and he took to Twitter to explain further.”
  • “So we’re leaving Q School having been DQd. Signed for 70 which was correct but two holes were incorrect, one higher one lower. My fault completely but still just as horrible. Rough end to the season but we will be back stronger.”
  • That’s right, folks. He had the total score right, i.e., the number that matters, but two hole scores were wrong. The Rules are The Rules, I guess, but good grief.

Full piece.

4. 5 clubs that made headlines last year
Interesting stuff from Golfweek’s David Dusek here, looking at some of the events of 2018 on the PGA Tour through the prism of the tools of the game.
  • “An example (technically a set of clubs): Brooks Koepka won his first major championship, the 2017 U.S. Open at Erin Hills, using a set of Mizuno’s JPX 900 Tour irons even though he did not have an endorsement deal with the Japanese company.”
  • “This season the former Florida State standout won the U.S. Open again, as well as the PGA Championship, using the same irons, and still was not getting paid to use them. Forged from a single piece of 1025E mild carbon steel for soft feel, the JPX 900 Tour irons have a compact head and a beveled sole that helps them get in and out of the turf more easily. The extra weight pushed to the perimeter of the heads makes them more forgiving, but these clubs still demand precision.”
5. Manassero misses out
Golfweek’s Alistair Tait…
“Matteo Manassero faces an uncertain future after missing the 72-hole cut at the final stage of European Tour Qualifying School.”
  • “Manassero returned scores of 70-68-76-73 at Lumine Golf Club in Tarragona, Spain to sit at 1 over, seven shots away from the top 70 and ties who advanced to the final two rounds. The four-time winner finished 122nd on this year’s money list after the Andalucia Valderrama Masters, six spots short of keeping his card.”
  • “His Category 18 status means he goes to the bottom of the pecking order next year. He’ll struggle to get into big-money events, instead playing in low budget tournaments like the Mauritius Open, Joburg Open and Belgian Knockout. He’ll have to play exceptionally in those tournaments to have any chance of regaining his card for the 2020 season. Alternatively, he could try to find his way back to the main tour by finishing inside the Challenge Tour top 15 next season.”
6. USGA announces global ranking for disabled golfers
Ryan Herrington for Golf Digest...”In the latest in a series of steps to provide opportunities for disabled golfers, officials with the USGA and R&A announced on Tuesday they will begin to administer a global ranking of players starting in 2019.”
  • “The World Ranking for Golfers with Disability will be run in tandem with the World Amateur Golf Ranking. It will include separate rankings for men and women, building off of the Ranking for Golfers with Disability established by the European Disable Golf Association in 2014.”
  • “John Bodenhamer, USGA Senior Managing Director of Championships, hopes that the involvement of the two governing bodies in the ranking will help spur participation and encourage more competition worldwide for disabled players. Combined with their joint commitment to the disabled golf community through a separate Rules of Golf initiative and a pledge by the USGA to host a national championship for disability golfers, Bodenhamer said “we are working to create meaningful and lasting change to make golf more welcoming.””
7. CME Overhaul
Golf Channel’s Randall Mell…”CME Group CEO Terry Duffy is seriously upping the ante in the women’s game…He’s teaming with LPGA commissioner Mike Whan to overhaul the Race to the CME Globe with the aim of making the season-ending Tour Championship richer, more dramatic and easier to follow.”
  • “Duffy said it’s really about a larger aim to elevate women to a more equitable standing in sport.
  • “Terry just moved the stick,” Whan said in a news conference Tuesday at the Ritz Carlton’s beach resort in Naples. “It’s a game-changing moment for the LPGA.”
  • “The overhaul begins next year with the CME Group Tour Championship’s purse doubled to $5 million. That’s more than the prize money offered in five PGA Tour events and nearly as much as the purse at the PGA Tour’s venerable Desert Classic ($5.9 million).”
  • Additionally… “The points will be scrapped at The Tour Championship. The season finale will be played like a regular stroke-play event, with every player in the field eligible to win the $1.5 million first-place check.”
8. Cold weather questions
E. Michael Johnson examines some persistent myths related to golf in frigid environments.
For example: Do colder golf balls fly shorter?
  • He writes, “To begin with, cold air can affect the performance of a golf ball. Cold air is denser than warm air and creates additional drag on a ball. According to Trackman, the difference is approximately one yard of carry for every 10-degree change in temperature. So theoretically, you’re looking at a loss of four yards if you’re playing in 40 degrees as opposed to 80 degrees. Other factors-such as how the body reacts to the cold, and how wearing extra layers likely limits your backswing-can further impact distance. The takeaway: When playing fall golf plan for at least an extra half club, and if your swing is restricted by being fully bundled up, it might even be a full club.”
9. Why hello, FootJoy Heritage Collection
Golfweek’s Brentley Romine takes a look at FootJoy’s new Heritage Collection, which features some seriously cool items, such as the Heritage Half-Zip Pullover you see below.
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Rory McIlroy won’t watch Tiger-Phil match, claims the event has “missed the mark”

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Last month, Justin Thomas stated that there was zero chance of him watching Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson battle it out in Las Vegas for $9 million. Now, Rory McIlroy is the latest Tour player to say he won’t be tuning in.

McIlroy, while speaking on Tuesday at the DP World Tour Championship in Dubai, told reporters that Phil Mickelson had even offered to cover the pay-per-view fee for the Irishman when they discussed the match during a FedEx Cup playoff event earlier in the year. But McIlroy made it clear today that he wasn’t in the least bit interested in the event, stating

“Look, if they had a done it 15 years ago, it would have been great. But nowadays, it’s missed the mark a little bit.”

McIlroy’s comments should not be surprising. The 29-year-old is no stranger to speaking his mind, and we can only speculate on what exactly he meant with his statement that the showdown has “missed the mark a little bit.” If McIlroy is suggesting that this event has missed the mark due to the match airing on PPV, then he is likely to find many supporters of the game in agreement with him — the $19.99 price tag for the exhibition has not gone over well. Or, if the fact that neither player is putting up a dime of their own money for the contest is what has failed to pique McIlroy’s interest, then he is again likely to find many who agree with his view.

However, whether the showdown between Woods and Mickelson would have been a greater spectacle fifteen years ago compared to present day is debatable. Woods is currently a prohibitive favorite to win the contest on Thanksgiving Friday with odds of -225. But in 2003, an untouchable Woods against a major-less Mickelson could very well have been a mismatch.

The Match between Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson takes place on November 23 at Shadow Creek in Las Vegas.

What do you make of Mcilroy’s comments, GolfWRXers?

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