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GolfWRX Morning 9: Ryder Cup assistants still atoning | Euro Tour sticking with Saudi event | Meditate for better golf?

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1. Dropped the ball?
Golf Channel’s Will Gray…”I dropped the ball on two or three things that could have helped, and I apologized to Jim,” Love said. “I should have seen some of those things coming.”
  • “Some of the “things” Love referenced appear to focus on the emotions that spilled out of the team room surrounding Patrick Reed’s split with Jordan Spieth. Love, who successfully paired Reed and Spieth as captain in 2016, was reportedly tasked with telling Reed that he would have a new partner in France.”
  • “We didn’t see (Reed and Spieth not playing together) as an issue while we were there,” said vice captain Steve Stricker, who is expected to lead the U.S. team at Whistling Straits in 2020. “It’s unfortunate it came out the way it did.”
I mean, way to take the bullet, but does DL3 really have anything to apologize for?
2. Wise beyond his years
(Sorry for the obligatory pun)
Golfweek’s Brentley Romine...”Aaron Wise, the 22-year-old University of Oregon product who won the 2016 NCAA individual title and then picked up his first career PGA Tour victory last season, was announced Tuesday as the 2017-18 PGA Tour Rookie of the Year.”
  • Wise won the AT&T Byron Nelson last May, beating Marc Leishman by three shots at Trinity Forest Golf Club in Dallas….”It was awesome, everything I dreamed of,” Wise said of his win. “… To walk up 18 knowing I kind of had it locked up was pretty cool. I don’t think many people get to do that their first win. Truly special for me.”
  • “Wise was one of just three rookies to win last season on Tour, joining Austin Cook and Satoshi Kodaira, and became just the second player, following Mackenzie Hughes, to win on the Mackenzie Tour, Web.com Tour and PGA Tour.”
3. Ariya POY lock
Ryan Herrington writes…”There is still plenty to play for during the final three events of the 2018 LPGA season. Just not the tour’s Player of the Year award. LPGA officials announced on Tuesday that Ariya Jutanugarn has wrapped up that honor with a lead in the season-long points race that can’t be erased.”
  • “During a year in which 24 different players have claimed titles in 29 LPGA events, the 22-year-old native of Thailand has been the closest to a consistent force, winning three times and posting 15 top-10 finishes in 25 starts. Her performances gave her 219 points in the Rolex POY standings, 83 more than Sung Hyun Park. A win earns you 30 points, but with Park not playing at this week’s TOTO Japan Classic, Jutanugarn is a mathematical lock for the title.”
4. Topgolf charges on. IPO ahead?
Geoff Shackelford writes…”Topgolf Executive Chair Erik Anderson was the featured interview at the Octagon Sports Marketing Symposium Tuesday and said the company hopes to be in 50 markets by year’s end with aggressive plans to expand stand-alone and other off-shoot versions of Topgolf.”
  • Quoting Eric Fisher from SportsBusinessDaily…:
  • “Roughly half of Topgolf clientele were not initially active golfers, though play at their facilities has translated to some increases in play at traditional courses. Roughly half are aged 18-34, a highly coveted demo by every other sports property. “The big idea for us was take out a lot of the barriers of golf, such as around time, cost and skill, and make it about fun and community,” Anderson said.”
  • And this on a possible looming IPO is of note:
  • “Anderson said Topgolf is considering an IPO for the company, but did not provide specifics around the likelihood of that or a potential timetable for a decision. “We are a candidate to go public for sure. It would be silly to say otherwise. … We’re probably an interesting public company, like Starbucks was given how people connect with us.”
5. European Tour sticking with Saudi Arabia event
AP Report…”The European Tour is pressing ahead with staging a golf event in Saudi Arabia for the first time next year despite the kingdom facing mounting criticism for its involvement in the killing of journalist Jamal Khashoggi.”
  • “The Saudi International, to be played from Jan. 31-Feb. 3, was in the 2019 schedule announced by the tour on Monday….There was no mention of the tournament in the press release published by the tour, despite it being new and featuring Dustin Johnson and Masters champion Patrick Reed in the field.”
6. …and adding an event in Kenya
From the European Tour…”The European Tour continues to extend its global reach with Kenya Open Golf Limited (KOGL) confirming the Kenya Open Golf Championship will join the International Schedule as a new event next year.”
  • “Following the tournament’s continued success on the European Challenge Tour for the past 25 years, the Kenya Open will see an elevated prize purse of €1.1 million and a full-field event to be held at the Karen Country Club from March 14-17, 2019.”
  • “Before joining the Challenge Tour schedule in 1991, the Kenya Open witnessed some memorable winners, including the late, great Seve Ballesteros and fellow Masters Tournament winner Ian Woosnam.”
7. Meditation makes you a better golfer…eventually
A morsel from Sam Weinman’s excellent look at the potential benefits of navel gazing for golfers.
  • “…Among Pollard’s central arguments is that for all our technological progress, the human body has remained virtually unchanged from man’s earliest days fending off regular physical threats, which is why we process stress the same whether it’s an unpleasant email or a bear attack. This disconnect between how we live now, and the biological constraints of our bodies and brains, can explain why we often feel scattered so much of the time, and why even the mundane stresses of everyday life can elicit profound physical reactions.”
  • “This is the little glitch in our system,” Pollard said. “We are entrenched in a dysfunctional state of defensive living because the way we’re living now is so far removed from how we’ve biologically evolved.”
  • “What does this have to do with our ability to hit a drive in the fairway? Plenty, actually, because the same forces that leave us feeling frequently disjointed also factor into our performance on the course.”
8. Paddy has a point…
Credit to GolfMagic for this Harrington (presumptive captain of the 2020 European Ryder Cup team) quote…
  • “Thankfully whoever is the captain next time around is playing at Whistling Straits, which is a European style golf course,” said Harrington, who is a red-hot favourite to take the European reigns at the Wisconsin layout.
  • “Let’s face it, if we were going to Riviera [Country Club], that would be so hard for the Europeans to win on that style of golf course, just US to the bone there…There’s so many golf courses that they could go to in the States. They should just turn up in Hazeltine every year, their cup of tea and gives such an advantage.”
  • “Hazeltine, the US just knew. A stats guy came in and said, look, we make more birdies than them so if we make this into a birdie fest, we should win…We knew going into France, make par be very precious, and Europe will have an advantage, and it proved that way.”
9. Getting started on the right foot
From the Fried Egg’s excellent newsletter (get off my lawn!)…”Jordan Spieth makes his first appearance since the Ryder Cup at a venue that he has never played. In fact, this is Spieth’s first time playing a fall series event since 2015. After missing the minimum number of tournaments last season, it is assumed that Spieth is making these fall season starts as a sort of reparations for his misbehavior.”

 

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GolfWRX Spotlight: Golf Drawn’s custom golf art

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I recently converted an extra bedroom in my house into a home office (golf-themed, of course). In my search for stuff to put up on the walls, I came across a company that was doing something different. They had a booth at this year’s PGA Show showing off some of their unique work, and when I dug in a bit more, I realized it was a really innovative product for the golf community. So, I reached out to the people at Golf Drawn to see if they could help me create a piece for my office.

Golf Drawn is a custom design and illustration service that specializes in creating original, hand-drawn course routing designs of your favorite club. Any club. That’s the best part. They can draw any course in the world using the wonders of satellite imaging.

Goat Hill Park

Brooklawn on Wood Canvas

Streamsong

“We began just as we still do now, by drawing up folks’ home tracks,” said Anthony Malky, Owner and Creative Director at Golf Drawn. “Whether it was a par three, municipal course, top-100, or whatever. Our whole deal was that we would draw any course….and we still do. There’s yet to be one that we couldn’t execute.”

If you’ve spent any time looking around for golf art or memorabilia, you realize how big a deal that actually is. The top-100 courses get all the love. Golf Drawn is filling a void out there and providing custom art focused on your favorite local course.

“We receive the course request from you and get to work on creating the design,” said Malky, “Once the design is complete, we send you proofs, and then you choose background color, labeling, frame and any additions.”

Popular additions to the framed prints include images of the scorecard table, compass to show direction of the course routing, alternative club logos, etc…

And Golf Drawn can then put that routing design or logo on a tee-shirt, sticker or other items if you like as well. Every new design requires a one-time design fee to get the work completed. But once that design is done, it is free to put on any framed print or tee in the future for anyone. Tee-shirts are becoming a rather popular item on the website.

If a course has been renovated or simply no longer exists, Golf Drawn has worked directly from old photos or original course plans to recreate the old track you remember. And, of course, Golf Drawn can do the famous courses as well. It’s a great way to commemorate a favorite round, hole in one, or once in a lifetime score.

My local club is Colonial Country Club in Fort Worth, Texas. They already had a design drawn of Colonial, so it wasn’t hard to customize what I wanted and finish the order. I added the columns logo to the top left corner and script location on the bottom right.

So how did this all begin? Anthony Malky grew up in Oakmont, Pennsylvania. He caddied at Oakmont Country Club for over a decade…and even got to play the course on some Mondays. He loves golf, just like we all do. And he started drawing courses as a hobby.

“I began drawing up the clubs that meant a lot to me,” Malky said. “After some time, at the urging of others I made an Instagram. I had a ton of course designs done and figured might as well post them for folks. From there, the Instagram took off, that turned into a website…then the custom orders started coming.”

Fast forward a couple of years, and Golf Drawn now has an entire wholesale catalog of unique products, over 250+ club accounts, and products stocked in shops around the United States, United Kingdom, and Canada. That is pretty impressive for a business that does everything in-house with a fully customizable product. And keeping prices low has always been a goal for Malky, as he remembers a time when he wanted to buy golf art himself but found everything to be overpriced and low quality.

Sticker Variety Pack

“We’ve tried to keep our prices, minimums at wholesale, all low and cost effective,” Malky said.  “That was part of the initial start too, allowing people to get their course drawn up, framed, etc. for a price that anyone could pay. Not some outlandish design fee or commission type setup.”

Prices per print with framing included

The supply is working hard to keep up with the demand. Golf Drawn is still a small operation and Malky does all of the designs himself. There is a team that helps with operations and a few sales reps across the country, but the business definitely remains small. That is intentional. Malky believes that allows Golf Drawn to offer a personal, high-level service to each individual customer. And it allows the company to remain focused on the reason they got started in the first place.

“It’s always been about shedding light on and propping up courses and places that otherwise wouldn’t be,” Malky said.  Giving attention to and making that local municipal course look as good as a top-10 track. Getting the par-3 course by your house designed, framed and up on a wall, highlighted in a way that many people have only seen the big courses like Pebble, Pinehurst, Oakmont. It’s always been about highlighting the places and the memories that mean so much to people.”

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Report: 2020 Open Championship set to be cancelled; R&A releases statement in response: “continuing to work through options”

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This year’s Open Championship will be cancelled outright by the R&A due to the Coronavirus pandemic, according to a report from Golf Digest.

Per the report, an unnamed source has divulged to the publication that the championship will next take place in 2021 with St. Andrews hosting the event. Royal St. Georges, due to host the 2020 Open Championship, would instead host the 2024 edition.

According to Golf Digest’s source, insurance has played a pivotal role in the decision making. As with Wimbledon, the Open Championship has an insurance policy that protects itself against a global pandemic if the event is cancelled by a specific date.

On Wednesday, the R&A officially announced that the 41st Curtis Cup would be played in 2021 while the organization also moved the British Amateur and British Women’s Amateur from June to August.

Though unconfirmed, this would mark the first major championship of 2020 to be cancelled outright, with the Masters and PGA Championship having been officially postponed.

*UPDATE*

On Thursday morning, in light of the speculation surrounding this year’s Open Championship, Martin Slumbers, Chief Executive of The R&A, released a statement where he said the R&A are “continuing to work through our options for The Open this year.”

“We are continuing to work through our options for The Open this year, including postponement. Due to a range of external factors, that process is taking some time to resolve. We are well aware of the importance of being able to give clear guidance to fans, players and everyone involved and are working to resolve this as soon as we can. We will give a further update as soon as we are in a position to do so and thank everyone for their support and understanding in this challenging situation.”

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Report: Woods-Mickelson Part 2 likely to happen in May and will feature two other sporting superstars

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Earlier this week, Phil Mickelson teased “The Match” Part 2 on his social media, and according to a report from CNBC the exhibition, though unconfirmed, is likely to take place in May and will include both Tom Brady and Peyton Manning.

On Monday evening, golf journalist Robert Lusetich stated that the potential “The Match” Part 2 would likely involve NFL legends, Tom Brady and Peyton Manning in a two on two contest.

Now per CNBC’s report, who claim that “a person familiar with the negotiations” confirmed the story to them, the contest is organized by AT&T’s WarnerMedia and the PGA Tour, and would likely take place in May with the proceeds going towards coronavirus relief charities.

The report also claims the event would likely not be a pay-per-view contest, with plans also in place to feature big names throughout the PGA, NFL, and National Basketball Association.

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