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GolfWRX Morning 9: Xander! Nelly! Champ the champ! | A pair of passings | Caddyshack festival

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

October 29, 2018

Good Monday morning, golf fans. Happy birthday to my dad, the guy who introduced me to the game.
1. X!
Birdie-birdie to get into a playoff, takedown of Tony Finau. Well played.
  • AP Report…”Xander Schauffele gave the Americans a sweep of the World Golf Championships and quickly put a winless sophomore season behind him.”
  • “Schauffele made birdie on his final three holes Sunday, the last one a 2-putt birdie from about 30 feet on the par-5 18th hole to beat Tony Finau in a sudden-death playoff and win the HSBC Champions.”
  • “When I was signing my card, I was like, ‘Oh, wow. I actually went birdie-birdie to get in the playoff,'” Schauffele said. “I was just in my own world out there.”
  • “He began the tournament by celebrating his 25th birthday. He ended it with one clutch shot after another in the closing stretch at Sheshan International for a 4-under 68, the lowest score of the final round, and his first victory in 13 months.”
2. Champ the champ
From frontrunning, to faltering, to closing the door.
  • AP Report…”Cameron Champ birdied five of the last six holes to win the Sanderson Farms Championship, recovering for his first PGA Tour victory after giving up a four-shot lead Sunday.”
  • “The 23-year-old Champ won in his ninth career tour start, closing with a 4-under 68 for a four-stroke victory. He finished at 21-under 267 in the wire-to-wire victory at the Country Club of Jackson.”
  • “Champ began the day four shots ahead, but played the front nine in 1 over to fall into a tie. Corey Conners pulled even on No. 9 with a 13-foot birdie putt, but Champ pulled away on the back nine with four straight birdies on Nos. 13-16. Conners had a 68 to finish second.”
  • ‘”The front side, there were some nerves, but on the back side I brought it all together and finished strong. It was awesome,” Champ said.”
3. Couldn’t handle the heat!
Cameron Champ cracked the head of his Ping G400 Max on the range ahead of the final round of the Sanderson Farms Championship. Fortunately, he had a backup, which even more fortunately, he was comfortable with.
  • I guess that’s a risk you run when you lead the PGA Tour in swing speed (129.99 mph) and the ball exits your driver at an average of more than 193 mph.
4. Whoa, Nelly!
AP Report…”Nelly Korda shot a 4-under 68 to win the Taiwan Championship on Sunday for her first LPGA tour title.”
  • “Korda – the younger sister of Jessica Korda, who has won five titles on the LPGA tour – had an eagle on the par-5 sixth hole and added two more birdies at the Ta Shee Golf and Country Club to finish at 13-under 275. She was two strokes ahead of Minjee Lee, who shot a bogey-free 66.”
  • “Truthfully, I cannot put it into words,” Korda said. “It still hasn’t hit. It’s definitely one of the best days of my entire life. I can finally check that off of my list, winning an LPGA event, something that I dreamed of ever since I started playing.”
5. RIP
A pair of passings in the world of golf…
  • Legendary Pinehurst caddie Willie McRae is dead at 85. A morsel from Bill Speros’ Golfweek obit…”Legendary Pinehurst looper Willie McRae, who caddied for presidents, athletic superstars and anyone else who asked for nearly 75 years, had died.”
  • “He was 85. McRae had retired from caddying at Pinehurst last year. McRae caddied for five presidents, athletes from Mickey Mantle to Michael Jordan and golf greats such as Gene Sarazen, Bobby Jones and Sam Snead. McRae caddied in several of the game’s most notable championships, starting with the 1951 Ryder Cup at Pinehurst No. 2, and extending to multiple U.S. Opens and U.S Women’s Opens.”
The oldest member of the PGA of America, Gus Andreone, is dead at 107.
  • Golf Digest’s Ryan Herrington writes… “You can do a lot when you live to be 107, as Gus Andreone proved. The son of a coal miner who grew up outside of Pittsburgh, Andreone earned three Bronze Stars for his military service, which included fighting in the Battle of the Bulge during World War II. He won the Pennsylvania lottery in 1983. And for more than 90 years he worked in the golf industry, become a PGA of America professional in 1939…The oldest member of the association, Andreone died on Saturday in Sarasota, Fla., after recently suffering a stroke.”
6. Caddyshack festival!
So what? So let’s dance!
  • Golf Digest’s Joel Beall writes…”On Saturday organizers announced that “Caddyshack Fest” will launch next summer in Kentucky, a celebration of all-things Bushwood.”
  • “We drove out to this golf course in Louisville, and this place is perfect,” planner Will Russell told Entertainment Weekly. “We’re going to have golf cart races and costume contests and a dance party. It’s going to be just a blast. We published the Facebook page today about 3 p.m., and last I looked it had about 200 followers already, so I think it’s going to be a huge hit.”
  • “If this sounds like a half-baked idea-which would be in line with the movie’s ethos-Russell has been the mastermind for the successful “Lebowski Fest,” which has been running since 2002 and attracted almost all of the movie’s main cast.”
7. Thanks, Tommy!
Via Derek Lawrenson at the Daily Mail...”The British Masters has been saved following an 11th hour deal that will see Tommy Fleetwood take on the role of host at the historic event which will be played in May next year.”
  • “The news will be officially disclosed on Monday when the 2019 European Tour schedule is announced. Three weeks ago the British Masters was missing when the proposed schedule was revealed at a players’ meeting – but there has now been a last-minute change of heart.”
  • The venue will be Hillside, which neighbors Royal Birkdale, in Southport.
8. Hensby trying to make it back
A refresher, via Eamon Lynch…”What transpired is this: after the first round of the Sanderson Farms Championship in October 2017, Hensby was summoned for a random drug test. Having just urinated on his 17th hole – and facing a long wait during which he could ruminate on his round of 78 and flagging career – he left the golf course and ignored a request from officials to return.”
  • “He was DQ’d and in December the PGA Tour announced the ban under a new policy of making public the names of those suspended for violations of drug test protocols….The Australian still believes his penalty was excessive. He points to Brad Fritsch, who got a three-month ban in January for admitting to inadvertently taking a banned substance.”
  • “A guy gets three months for saying he was taking something and I get a year for not doing the test at the time they wanted me to do it,” he said. “Nine extra months for that is a little bit harsh.”
Full piece, for more on his road back.
9. Winning WITB
Big-hitting Cameron Champ’s winning gear from the Sanderson Farms Championship.
Driver: Ping G400 Max (9 degrees)
Shaft: Fujikura Pro White TS 63X
Length: 44.5 inches, tipped 1.5 inches
Swing weight: D3
Fairway Wood: Ping G400 (14.5 degrees, at 14.2 degrees +0.6 setting)
Shaft: Project X HZRDUS Black 85 grams 6.5-flex
Length: 42.75 inches, tipped 1 inch
Swing weight: D3
Irons: Ping i500 (4 iron), Ping iBlade (4-PW)
Shafts: KBS C-Taper 130X
Wedges: Ping Glide Forged (50, 54 and 60 degrees)
Shafts: True Temper Dynamic Gold Tour Issue S400
Putter: Ping PLD Mid Tyne Prototype
Length, loft, lie: 34.5 inches, 2 degrees, 0.5 degrees flat
Golf Ball: Srixon Z-Star XV

 

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Schedule postponements and cancellations on the PGA Tour, European Tour plus the four majors: What we know so far

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With the ongoing Coronavirus pandemic, the PGA Tour and European Tour have taken steps to cancel or postpone several events. Action has also been taken on some of golf’s major championships, and here we’ll summarize what decisions have been made so far altering the 2020 calendar.

The Majors

Both The Masters (April 9-12) and PGA Championship (May 14-17) have been officially postponed with hopes of rescheduling both events for later in the year. According to the NY Post, the US Open is also set to be postponed and rescheduled for “later in the summer”, though as of Tuesday, March 31 the USGA has made no formal announcement confirming this news.

The R&A has of yet made no announcement on this year’s Open Championship which is due to take place from 16-19 of July.

  • April 9-12: The Masters – Postponed
  • May 14-17: PGA Championship – Postponed
  • June 18-21: US Open – NY Post reporting postponed; not yet confirmed by USGA
  • July 16-19: Open Championship – On Schedule

PGA Tour

Since cancelling the Players Championship mid-event, the PGA Tour decided to cancel several subsequent tournaments. As of now, the earliest return date for the PGA Tour is May 21 at the Charles Schwab Challenge.

The Corales Puntacana Resort & Club Championship which is played the same week as the WGC-Match Play was postponed with plans to reschedule the event.

  • March 12-15: The Players Championship – Cancelled
  • March 19-22: Valspar Championship – Cancelled
  • April 16-19: RBC Heritage – Cancelled
  • April 23-26: Zurich Classic of New Orleans – Cancelled
  • April 30-May 3: Wells Fargo Championship – Cancelled
  • May 7-10: AT&T Byron Nelson – Cancelled

European Tour

Along with the cancelled WGC-Match Play and confirmed postponed major championships, the European Tour has postponed a further seven events. Unlike the PGA Tour, the European Tour has chosen to postpone almost every upcoming event for the time being instead of cancelling. The GolfSixes Cascais is the only confirmed cancellation as of now.

On Monday, the Dubai Duty-Free Irish Open became the latest tournament to be postponed meaning the earliest possible return date for action on the European Tour is now June 4 at the Trophee Hassan II.

  • March 12-15: Magical Kenya Open – Postponed
  • March 19-22: Hero Indian Open – Postponed
  • April 16-19: Maybank Championship – Postponed
  • April 23-26: Volvo China Open – Postponed
  • April 30-May 3: Andalucia Masters – Postponed
  • May 9-10: GolfSixes Cascais – Cancelled
  • May 21-24: Made in Denmark – Postponed
  • May 28-31: Irish Open – Postponed
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PGA Tour to provide financial assistance to players and caddies during Coronavirus pandemic

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The PGA Tour has announced plans to compensate both players and caddies after several Tour events were cancelled due to the ongoing Coronavirus pandemic.

In a memo sent to players on Friday, it was explained that due to IRS regulations, the Tour is not allowed distribute un-earned financial benefits to members, but that the organization has developed some programs to help its players during the ongoing pandemic. Players and caddies will receive financial assistance from the PGA Tour with one of the primary programs to help players based on their current FedEx Cup standing.

Players can receive up to $100,000 in bonus earnings during this period which will subsequently be removed from their season-ending bonus after play has been restarted.

Tour pros will also be entitled to request advance payments (up to $30k) for future Monday pro-am spots and advances on future earnings, while the Tour also plans on allowing players to withdraw funds from their retirement plans based on financial need.

“Playing opportunities equate to financial opportunities, and we are concerned about the toll that canceled tournaments are having on some of our members” – Tyler Dennis, a senior vice president and the Tour’s chief of operations.

Included in the memo were caddies, who are entitled to a partial mid-season distribution of an endorsement program and who can also request financial support from the Caddie Benevolent Fund.

Play is not set to resume on the PGA Tour until May 21 at the earliest.

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GolfWRX AUA (Ask Us Anything): TaylorMade fitters are answering YOUR questions!

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With the downtime, #teamtaylormade are ready to talk golf!

Go to the link below to ask any TM specific questions you may have. TaylorMade fitters from across the US will be diving in the forums to answer questions, talk golf and get you dialed. Take this opportunity to go TM crazy.

Team TaylorMade fitters that will be participating:

  • Chris Clegg, Georgia
  • John Junkin, Pennsylvania
  • Lewis Schnauble, Maryland
  • John Tabor, Michigan
  • Freddy Villarta, California
  • Matt Zerishnek, Pennsylvania
  • James Albright, Arizona

Join the discussion here.

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