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GolfWRX Morning 9: PGA Tour set to stream | Zinger’s takes | Johnny Miller as Mr. Nice Guy?

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1. PGA Tour + Discovery = GOLFTV
The official word from PGATour.com on the Tour’s foray into the video streaming space (with requisite abundance of capitalization)…”Discovery and the PGA TOUR have today revealed GOLFTV, powered by the PGA TOUR, the distinctive brand for the destination that will unite the community of golf fans around the world.  The brand will underpin the new live and on-demand international video streaming service, which will launch globally outside the United States* on Jan. 1, 2019.”
  • “GOLFTV will offer fans a one-stop destination to access the widest range of golf content.  With a growing portfolio of content, it will feature many of the sport’s most exciting moments, superstar players and tournaments on every screen and device.”
  • “Serving golf fans with an enhanced experience to both entertain and inform, GOLFTV will present more than 2,000 hours of live action each year as well as extensive premium content on-demand.   Live coverage* will include the six Tours operating under the PGA TOUR umbrella and nearly 150 tournaments annually – including THE PLAYERS Championship, the FedExCup Playoffs and the Presidents Cup.”
  • “The launch of the GOLFTV brand follows the pioneering strategic alliance between Discovery and the PGA TOUR, announced in June.  In addition to the GOLFTV service, the 12-year alliance will manage the PGA TOUR’s international multi-platform rights including linear TV rights.”
2. Johnny Miller = Mr. Nice Guy?
Golfweek’s Martin Kaufman with an interesting take on Johnny Miller and his body of work.
  • “I always make the same point: If we have to keep citing a remark Miller made nearly two decades ago, perhaps he wasn’t as edgy as his reputation would suggest.”
  • “Miller, in fact, said that he pulled some punches as recently as the Ryder Cup in September because “I knew I was retiring soon.” Most of the American players were unfamiliar with the host course, Le Golf National, and Miller said he didn’t think they prepared adequately during practice rounds.”
  • “I think the fact that the U.S. was playing nine holes a day, and those (European) guys played the (French) Open every year, and I’m thinking, ‘Are you kidding me? Nine holes a day? What else do you got to do but play?'” Miller said during his conference call. “I was fairly upset at that, because Europe set up that golf course totally unlike the Americans had ever played. It was like (an) old U.S. Open. … The bomb-and-gouge just doesn’t work on those kind of courses.”
3. Speaketh the Doak
Doak vs Kidd! Take you Mammoth Dunes and shove it! The eminent architect chatted with Golfweek and fired a few shots at his rival in the process.
  • “Ever the iconoclast, Doak is pushing back against the trendy movement in course design that favors vast width and playability in the name of fun. Mammoth Dunes is the high altar of that church, and Kidd its most vocal missionary.”
  • “I don’t think I’ve changed my idea on what fun is for the last 25 years: wide enough to play so you’re not looking for balls or chipping out sideways, interesting shots from tees straight through the green, interesting putting,” Doak said. “There has to be some degree of challenge for good players, and that’s the part I’m not sure David believes in.”
  • “He’s changed his view and says he is trying to build things just to be fun. I can’t tell if he thinks challenging a player is still important or not. I still do.”
4. How much does No. 1 matter?
Geoff Shackelford wonders…
  • “Brooks Koepka won the limited-field CJ Cup Sunday in Korea and while no one noticed in the United States due to interest in many other sports not named golf, I do wonder if Brooks Koepka’s move atop the Official World Golf Ranking is impacted by the recent changes at the top.”
  • “Koepka is still very much grinding to bring his major championship consistency to regular PGA Tour events and is proud of the honor. But given that Dustin Johnson and Justin Rose (ever briefly but long enough to cash some bonuses), held the title of No. 1 in recent weeks, does that lessen the impact of the achievement or speak to unprecedented parity and therefore the difficulty of reaching the top ranking?”
5. Will Zinger be another Johnny?
Golf Channel’s Rex Hoggard….”The subject is irrelevant. ‘Zinger can cover a lot of ground without a lot of prompting, from fishing to leadership management, but it’s not so much his insight and analysis as much as it is his passion.”
  • “”My wife told me, ‘You’re good at two things, golf and talking,'” Azinger laughed…The former lifted Azinger to a dozen PGA Tour victories, including the 1993 PGA Championship, during a playing career that spanned three decades, while the latter has now led him to the pinnacle in golf broadcasting.”
  • “Azinger, 58, reluctantly concedes that although he’s technically succeeding Johnny Miller as NBC Sports/Golf Channel’s lead analyst beginning next year, he will never “replace” the legend.”
  • “The reality is I’m not going to fill Johnny Miller’s shoes. I’m just going to be myself. Johnny just said tell it like it is. Those shoes are not to be filled. That’s not my goal,” Azinger said.”
6. Golf technology boometh
Golfweek’s Jason Lusk looks at the advances in golf teaching technologies.
A morsel…”For most of last century, a golf lesson involved a bucket of balls, a sunny patch of practice tee and a coach. A fancy lesson meant the coach likely was certified by the PGA of America, the turf was in good shape and the balls had fewer scuffs.”
  • “Sure, players could and did improve – it wasn’t exactly the Dark Ages. But players could not see their swings. And coaches could not measure specific motions, instead relying on ball flight and experience to nurture swing changes. Plenty of coaches are still helping students improve without the benefit of extensive gadgetry.”
  • “But that scenario is a different world from a modern, technology-based lesson…GolfTEC, for example, was founded in 1995, just as technological teaching innovations began to pick up steam. GolfTEC reports that it has given more than 7 million lessons, operates nearly 200 off-course centers worldwide and says it is the largest of the many instructional companies offering students a chance to learn in a high-tech environment. Similar lessons are available with providers ranging from mom-and-pop studios all the way to PGA Tour Superstores.”
7. Zinger wanted another
Golf Channel’ Rex Hoggard…”In 2008, Paul Azinger became the first U.S. Ryder Cup captain in nearly a decade to lead a team to victory, doing so at Valhalla with his innovative “pod” system and a player-driven approach to leadership.”
  • “In the wake of that victory there were many, including the vast majority of his players, who said Azinger deserved a second chance to captain, but at the time the 12-time PGA Tour winner appeared to be undecided and the PGA of America named Corey Pavin the 2010 captain.”
  • “I wanted to do it again, I lobbied to do it again after we won in ’08, but I think I waited a little too long and they had already made a decision,” Azinger said. “The excuse I got was that there are more captains than there are Ryder Cups and I thought that was fair, but then they asked [Tom] Watson to do it again shortly afterward and I was like, ‘What, huh?'”
8. A true underdog PGA Tour card story
Great stuff from Jim McCabe. Jump right in.…”So, Martin, just making sure we’ve got your story straight: You were a month shy of your 27th birthday last March, a definite “fledgling pro” who just a few weeks earlier had traveled to Mazatlan, Mexico, for a qualifying tournament to earn back playing privileges on PGA TOUR Latinoamerica, when on your way to that circuit’s opening event, the Guatemala Stella Artois Open, you decide, just for chuckles and a challenge, to try a Sunday qualifier in Leon, Guanajuato, Mexico, for that week’s Web.com Tour El Bosque Mexico Championship by INNOVA. All good, so far?”
  • “Big smile. Martin Trainer indicates we can move on. It’s all good.”
  • “And then, you not only survive a 3-for-1 playoff for the last spot into the El Bosque, you post rounds of 67-70-68-69 to finish 14-under and win the bloody tournament, just the second time you’ve even made a cut in eight Web.com Tour tournaments. Wild and improbable, all of that, but there’s more, right? Because, don’t you miss the cut in nine of the next 13 tournaments, then strike again? You shoot 62-68-65-68 to win the Price Cutter Charity Championship presented by Dr Pepper, a second Web.com Tour victory that virtually assures you a PGA TOUR card for 2018-19 and . . . well, I mean, you start the year without even Latinoamerica status and you end it with PGA TOUR membership? Crazy, no?”
9. Right to criticize Brooks?
A coda to questions in yesterday’s M9…Our Gianni Magliocco writes…
  • “It is clear what now motivates Koepka (at least in part): His indignation at the lack of respect he feels he receives from the media has given him the impetus to work even harder, resulting in a career-defining year which saw him bag two majors, the PGA Player of the Year award and the world number one ranking.”
  • “Are golf fans unfair to judge Koepka on his emotionally void performances? I don’t think they are. While it’s only right to appreciate the level of dedication, skill, and nerve that Koepka has displayed on his way to the top of the sport, fans of any sport want to root for a player who showcases their thirst for victory as imperative to their being. Think Rafael Nadal, Tom Brady, Cristiano Ronaldo etc.”
  • “Athletes are admired as much for their skill as they are their desire to win that they express outwardly, energizing fans of their sport. Nowadays, sports are as much a competitive activity as they are entertainment. As long as Koepka fails to show how much he wants to win to the public, fans of the sport and the media are not going to show him the adoration and attention that he deserves.”
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3 Comments

  1. Jose Pinatas

    Apr 2, 2019 at 1:09 pm

    Azinger blows goats. Please remove him.

  2. Travis

    Oct 24, 2018 at 5:59 pm

    The fact that we have to listen to Azinger for the foreseeable future might actually turn me away from ever watching golf on TV again… and that’s coming from an avid fan.

  3. Tom

    Oct 24, 2018 at 5:40 pm

    I am so happy my TV remote has a mute button…..

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Morning 9: Danny Comeback | Nelly | Munoz (and the rise of Latin American golf)

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By Ben Alberstadt (ben.alberstadt@golfwrx.com; @benalberstadt on Instagram)

September 23, 2019

Good Monday morning, golf fans.
1. Danny Comeback 
James Corrigan at The Telegraph…”The great Danny Willett comeback is finally complete. The Englishman, who fell so far and so dramatically in the wake of his Masters glory, proved that all the talent and competitive resilience of 2016 remains with a 20-under destruction of Jon Rahm and a world-class field.”
  • “…To think, after this event last year, Willett was still struggling with injury, still suffering with a breakdown in confidence and down at 462nd in the world. Now at 31st, he has re-entered the all-important world’s top 50 for the first time in more than two years and on the evidence of this barnstormer, the Yorkshireman’s progress will carry on going in one direction only.”
  • “…The 31-year-old went toe-to-toe with world No6 Rahm on the West Course and put a Spaniard in the works of all those who expected the ruthless 24-year-old to ease to his fourth Rolex Series victory.  Willett’s 67, composed in difficult conditions as the wind and rain eventually remembered where Surrey is, awarded him a three-shot triumph and a £900,000 cheque.”

Full piece.

2. Munoz gets it done
Golf Channel’s Will Gray…”Munoz started the day with a one-shot lead, and for much of the afternoon it appeared to be his tournament to lose. But Im rallied with three straight birdies on the back nine to overtake him, leaving Munoz in the unenviable position of needing a birdie on the hardest hole to force the Tour’s first playoff since the RSM Classic in November. But his 15-footer on the 72nd hole found the bottom of the cup, and when Im missed a short par putt on the first playoff hole Munoz was left with a 4-footer for the win. The Colombian was battling to save his card at last month’s Wyndham Championship, but with the win he’s now exempt through the 2022 season and will make his Masters debut in April.”
3. Meet Munoz 
So, who is this guy? 
PGATour.com’s Sean Martin“Like his former teammate, he didn’t take long to enter the winner’s circle. Munoz won his second start on the Korn Ferry Tour, after receiving a sponsor exemption into the event in his native Colombia. It translated into his first PGA TOUR card.”
  • “He made his first start as a PGA TOUR member at the Sanderson Farms Championship. Three years later, it was the site of his first PGA TOUR win after he beat the reigning Rookie of the Year, Sungjae Im, on the first hole of a playoff.”
  • …”I never thought I was going to be a PGA TOUR player,” Munoz said. “It wasn’t even an option.”

Full piece.

4. Nelly!
Golf Channel’s Randall Mell…”Nelly Korda didn’t leave Europe without a trophy after all.”
  • “A week after Korda and the Americans were defeated by the Europeans at the Solheim Cup in Scotland, Korda romped to her first Ladies European Tour title.”
  • “With a 4-under-par 67 in blustery conditions Sunday, Korda won the Lacoste Ladies French Open by eight shots.”
5. Unleash the calves!
Steve DiMeglio for Golfweek on what’s ahead in Napa…
  • “Come for the calves, stay for the golf.”
  • “OK, that pithy pitch more than likely wouldn’t pass muster on Madison Avenue, but it’s not completely out of touch for this week’s Safeway Open in California wine country.”
  • “It directly plays to tournament headliner Phil Mickelson and his ongoing braggadocio on social media about his bodacious calves, the envy, it seems, not only of any 49-year-old, which Mickelson’s birth certificate reveals to be his age, but anyone period.”
  • “And that includes Tom Brady and Steph Curry, who recently exchanged light-hearted tweets with Mickelson about beefing up each other’s legs below the knee.”

Full piece. 

6. Rising, falling in strokes gained putting
Some research from David Dusek and the Golfweek team shows who’s improving (and who isn’t) in SG:P…”Unlike Spieth, who went from being a below-average putter to elite, Denny McCarthy went from being solid to the best on tour by lifting his average from 0.449 to 0.926, the 14th biggest rise last season.”
  • “Other notable golfers who made big strides last year with their putter include Sam Ryder (0.776), Aaron Baddeley (0.711), Adam Scott (0.633) and Ryan Palmer (0.569).”
  • “On the other side of the spectrum, Emiliano Grillo fell a massive -1.179, dropping from 10th in strokes gained putting to 185th.”
  • “It was also a rough year for Phil Mickelson, who dropped from an average of 0.51 to -0.16, the fifth-largest decline on tour. Justin Thomas also dipped significantly, -0.458, from 0.272 to -0.186. His wrist injury in late spring may have been responsible for some of the decline, but it was still the 10th largest on tour.” 

Full piece.

7. On spending $400 on a putter…
A question for Bomb & Gouge…Do I need to spend $400 on a putter or nah? –@Sam_Beishuizen
“Do you “need’ to spend $400 on a putter? No one truly needs to spend $400 on a putter. Of course, if you’re willing to spend $500-plus on a new driver, you could investigate the value of a higher end putter because you might be better fit at that price point than one from the bargain barrel. But fact is, most putters on the Golf Digest Hot List are well below that, and we’ve even had putters that go for as little as a hundred bucks make the list. And tour players have won with putters they picked up on sale or even used at the local golf shop or Golf Galaxy. If you’re the type of golfer that appreciates the quality of materials and the craftsmanship that comes with a $400 putter then you might not need to, but you might want to. It’s no different than the person who drives a Tesla or a Mercedes. They don’t need it to get where they’re going. A Honda CR-V will do just fine. But there’s a certain chest-puffing attitude that comes with knowing you have something special. Same applies to putters.”
8. Slow start to slow play monitoring
Geoff Shackelford writes…”The four-point plan debuted this week at the BMW PGA and despite some nice additions to the list of slow play remedies, we know the players aren’t always to blame. Even with the overrated field size reduction to 132, there is the pesky matter of modern distances on any course under 8,000 yards. That means waits, more waits and almost no chance of getting around in the time par of 4:30 or so.”

Full piece, including tweets from an unimpressed Matthew Fitzpatrick.

9. The rise of Latin American golfers?
Golf Digest’s Brian Wacker writes…”A week ago, 20-year-old Joaquin Niemann of Chile became the youngest non-American winner on the PGA Tour since 1923. Sunday, 26-year-old Sebastian Munoz became the first Colombian-born player to win on tour since Camilo Villegas.”
  • “Quite the fortnight for Latin American golf.”
  • “[Joaquin] winning last week was kind of like the last piece of the puzzle that I needed to know that we’re good enough, we’re able to compete,” Munoz said after his playoff victory over Sungjae Im at the Sanderson Farms Championship in Jackson, Miss. “That we’re here, we’re PGA Tour members, and we play to win.”
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Tour Photo Galleries

Interesting photos from the 2019 Sanderson Farms Championship

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GolfWRX was on site at the 2019 Sanderson Farms Championship at the Country Club of Jackson in Jackson, Mississippi.

In addition to the usual spread of range photos from Monday and Tuesday, we also got a look at a new flatstick from Bettinardi, a few of Matt Jones’ Scotty Cameron putters, new wands from PXG, and some new shafts from Mitsubishi.

Check out a few highlights below and find the links to all our galleries after that.

2018 Scotty Cameron Hula Girl cover sighting!

A look at the unique tee markers

New Callaway staffer Akshay Bhatia’s awesome Callaway Apex MB irons

“Furby Boy” Joaquin Niemann’s 56-degree wedge

New Mitsubishi Tensei AV shafts spotted

One of the several new PXG Gen2 putters we got an in-hand look at

Sam Ryder with a little weight taken out of his Cleveland RTX-3 wedges

One of Matt Jones’ prototype Scotty Cameron putters

An in-hand look at the limited Bettinardi QB8 that launched in The Hive this week

All our photos from the Sanderson Farms Championship

WITB

General galleries

 

 

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News

Morning 9: Hoage! | Another Romo sponsor’s exemption | First foreign-born U.S. Mid-Am winner | Skins game details

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By Ben Alberstadt (ben.alberstadt@golfwrx.com; @benalberstadt on Instagram)

September 20, 2019

Good Friday morning, golf fans.
1. Another bite at the Hoge 
Sean Martin at PGATour.com…“Tom Hoge couldn’t keep pace with Joaquin Niemann over the final holes of last week’s A Military Tribute at The Greenbrier, but now Hoge finds himself atop the leaderboard in the second event of the PGA TOUR season.”
  • “Hoge, who finished second to Niemann on Sunday, shot a bogey-free 64 on Thursday to lead the Sanderson Farms Championship before first-round play was suspended due to weather.”
  • “Hoge temporarily tied Niemann at The Greenbrier’s Old White TPC after making birdie on the 12th hole. Hoge bogeyed on two of his next three holes, though, and Niemann made six back-nine birdies to win by six strokes.”

Full piece.

2. Meanwhile, in Europe…
Round one at the BMW PGA…“Rory McIlroy made six bogeys and a double bogey in his last 11 holes to shoot 4-over 76 at the BMW PGA Championship, leaving the world No. 2 already 11 strokes off the first-round lead held by Matt Wallace on Thursday.”
  • “McIlroy’s round fell apart after his birdie at No. 5 that followed an eagle at No. 4, as he shot 42 in his back nine in glorious conditions at Wentworth.”
  • “One over for his round arriving at the 17th tee, he pulled his drive and wound up making a double-bogey 7. Another wayward drive led to a bogey at the 18th and he didn’t talk to reporters after his round.”

Full piece.

At the time of this writing, Danny Willett has an -8 second round going and is ahead by three at -12.

3. Romo planning to make the cut?
“The Forecaddie perused the Safeway Classic field next week and saw former quarterback Tony Romo will be playing on a sponsor invite. This was hardly earth-shattering given the former Cowboy’s appearance in three PGA Tour events and his passion for competitive golf.”
  • “But The Man Out Front also remembered Romo’s job with CBS where his uncanny ability to predict play calls has rapidly made him America’s most beloved football analyst. So what happens if Romo makes the cut in Napa when he and Jim Nantz are penciled in to work that Sunday’s Vikings-Bears game?”
  • “The Forecaddie hears CBS is just fine with Romo’s appearance and a backup plan is in place should he have the rounds of his life.”

Full piece.

4. First foreign-born U.S. Mid-Am winner
Golf Channel’s Will Gray…“Australian Lukas Michel rallied to win the U.S. Mid-Amateur final, 2 and 1, to punch his ticket to next year’s Masters and U.S. Open.”
  • “The 25-year-old from Melbourne trailed Joe Deraney for much of the 36-hole final at Colorado Golf Club in Parker, Colo., and Deraney held a 1-up advantage with just nine holes to play. But from there Michel turned the table, closing with birdies on four of his final eight holes. That included a birdie on No. 15, which gave him his first lead in 29 holes, and another on No. 16 to push his opponent to the brink.”
5. Stadium’s a goin’ up!
Golfweek’s Todd Kelly…”The Waste Management Phoenix Open is more than four months away but construction at TPC Scottsdale has already started.”
  • “The Thunderbirds House and Grounds Crew got things going on Monday, Sept. 16, the earliest the construction has ever started, but workers need to get going now because of the time and material it takes to build the luxury suites, grandstands, bleachers and all the other infrastructure for the tournament that draws the largest crowds in golf.”
  • “In 2018, tournament organizers announced a weekly attendance mark of more than 719,000. Close to 217,000 fans were tallied on Saturday that year, always the most highly attended day of the year for the Phoenix Open.”

Full piece.

6. ZJ takes advantage
PGATour.com’s Sean Martin…”‘Opportunity’ is a word used often at the Sanderson Farms Championship. The second event of the PGA TOUR season provides new players fresh off the Korn Ferry Tour the chance to gain experience, get a head-start in the FedExCup race and even earn that maiden victory and all the trappings that accompany it.”
  • “The PGA TOUR’s newest members aren’t the only ones who can change the trajectory of their career during this time of year, though. Veteran players, the ones with majors and FedExCups on their resume, also appear on the tee sheets of these early events. Many are trying to recapture that winning feeling or at least gain some confidence before the calendar changes to a new year.”

Full piece.

7. Hovland’s “home” debut
Golf Digest’s John Huggan…”Viktor Hovland has never failed to shoot in the 60s on the European Tour. Not even once.”
  • “Of course, the three-under-par 69 with which the 22-year-old Norwegian began the BMW PGA Championship at Wentworth on Thursday is also his first round as a professional in a European Tour event. Which did not go unnoticed.”
  • “Interviewed by Sky Sports and the BBC after his seven-birdie, four-bogey trip around the famous old Burma Road, which left him four off the lead of England’s Matt Wallace, Hovland was then surrounded by a posse of the U.K.’s print media. And still then he wasn’t done. Three journalists from his home country-one from VG, the biggest-selling newspaper and another from NRK, the most-watched television station-are here to cover his debut on the Old World circuit.”

Full piece.

8. Molinari speaketh
An interesting question for Francesco Molinari in a New York Times interview…”On a personal note, does it bother you that soccer players get more adoration than golfers in Italy?”
  • After last year, I get stopped a lot more often and get asked for autographs and pictures. It’s the recognition of the results I’ve had and things I’ve accomplished in the last two years. And it feels nice. I love it when it’s young kids. Part of what I do is because I was that young kid looking up to Costantino Rocca and all the Italian players that were on tour. It’s great to know that I’m doing the same now with the younger generations.”
  • “But I’m not the kind of guy who looks for too much public attention. Footballers get a lot of love, but they also get a lot of hate as well when they don’t play well. Italians are very passionate about sports. Football is a tough sport to be in. I’d rather golf.”

Full piece.

9. ICYMI: Skins game details
News from yesterday, in case you missed it. Our Gianni Magliocco…”The upcoming skins match in Japan involving Tiger Woods, Rory McIlroy, Jason Day and Hideki Matsuyama is set, with a prize purse of $350,00 up for grabs.”
  • “The opening six holes of the event billed as ‘The Challenge: Japan Skins’, will be worth $10,000 each, with the value of holes increasing as the match continues – with the potential of there being a total of $100,000 on the line on the 18th hole.”
  • “The event is scheduled to finish under the lights, and according to the release, will feature “special in-match challenges and surprises.”
  • “Viewers in the U.S. can watch the skins match live on Golf Channel, while those outside the U.S. will be able to tune into the event on Discovery’s GOLFTV. Viewers in the UK and Ireland will need to pay a subscription fee for the service.”
  • “Coverage of ‘The Challenge: Japan Skins’, which takes place on the week of the Zozo Championship, begins on Oct. 20 at 11 PM ET.”
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