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GolfWRX Morning 9: Holly Sonders finished with golf for Fox | How Matt Wallace made it | Golf’s best Halloween costume

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

November 1, 2018

Good Thursday morning, golf fans. It’s fricking November already. While teeing it up in 40-50-degree weather may be less appealing than doing so when the mercury is a bit higher, you’ll wish you did so once the snow falls. And for those of you in the Floridas, Arizonas, and Californas of the world. Count your blessings!
1. Holly Sonders out at Fox (golf)
While she’ll continue with the network in some studio capacity, the former Golf Channel host will no longer be part of Fox’s golf coverage, Golfweek’s Forecaddie writes.
  • “‘I’m incredibly proud to have been a part of Fox Sports’ USGA coverage,” Sonders said when contacted by The Forecaddie. “The entire golf team has become like family and I learned a lot working alongside them. I look forward to continuing my relationship with Fox Sports as I transition into a studio role and am excited about the opportunities ahead of me.'”
  • “Sonders was in contract negotiations four years ago with Golf Channel when Fox Sports offered a lucrative deal to join its newly-acquired USGA coverage package. At the time, Sonders was the second big hire after Greg Norman, who lasted one season with the network as the lead analyst. Sonders was hired as a studio host and also was expected to work as an NFL sideline reporter. She continues to work select studio shows as well as college football broadcasts.”
2. Don’t drop the choke, Zinger!
Shane Ryan filed an excellent plea for Paul Azinger, once he’s sitting in Johnny Miller’s chair, to continue one of Miller’s signature expressions: choking. Azinger previously indicated he’ll refrain from use of the phrase.
  • A taste of Ryan’s writing on the matter…”To call someone a choker in golf is to heap scorn on a human who can’t hide, and who is already suffering from an overload of pressure in a game that’s particularly vulnerable to minor tensions-a game where the slightest mechanical deviation can result in an errant shot, and where that errant shot can be ruinous even in an otherwise perfect round. Where perfection is required, and where it is unbelievably hard to achieve, the word “choker” feels a little cruel.”
  • “But it’s also honest, and it’s also necessary. Johnny Miller would occasionally use the word “choke” as the lead analyst on NBC Sports…”
  • And another…”2. Anyone who follows televised golf knows that the players are a little coddled by announcers not named Johnny Miller-especially in comparison to other sports-and the fact that NBC Sports is a “partner” with the PGA Tour is an economic reality. Still, it’s a little strange to hear a media member, especially a kinda-sorta-journalist, say of the players that he wants to help “build their brand.” In golf’s realpolitik, it’s no conflict of interest at all, but it does feel like Azinger is grinding the last flickering embers of perceived media independence into ashes under his heel. It certainly makes him sound more like an aspiring Nantz than an aspiring Miller.”
3. Breathing DeChambeau
Never change, Bryson DeChambeau. Credit to Steve Dimeglio at USA Today for your daily dose of the singularity that is Mr. DeChambeau.
  • “‘Breathing is a monster part of resting,” said DeChambeau, 25. “Breathing in a way that will help get your brain into a parasympathetic state instead of a sympathetic state. It’s to make it easy on yourself to get to a more of a sleep state rather than a stress state.'”
  • “‘You can breathe in a stressful way. Or you can breathe in a relaxed state. Breathing in the proper state gets you into a state where you digest food better and calms your brainwaves down. “That helps you get into a state of recovery.'”
4. Matt Wallace riseth
It’s November 1, which in the confines of the golf mediaverse is apparently…Matt Wallace Day? Multiple stories on the surprise European standout hit the wires, including an item in the New York Times by John Clarke that looks at Wallace’s effort to improve his technique with coach Matt Belsham.
  • “Belsham said he would have to change fundamental techniques of hitting the ball to reach the level he wanted to play; he also told Wallace that he was nowhere near that level. “He was brutal and blunt, which was exactly what I needed,” Wallace said. They worked hard on his swing with the theory the swing makes the ball do what it wants to do. “He was brilliant,” Wallace said.”
  • “As his swing changed, Wallace was approached by the veteran caddy Dave McNeilly in 2017. “That was really cool,” Wallace said. “I had in my head the idea that a caddy should be young. You see a lot of very young caddies on tour now. That’s what I thought I wanted. Someone I could talk about sports, cars, golf and life. And that is completely the wrong thing for me. Coming out on tour, you need knowledge and history. The caddy needs to know every course we play like the back of his hand.””

Full piece.

5. Chris Kirk a Mizuno man
GolfWRX staff report…”While we don’t know all of the details yet, Chris Kirk announced on Wednesday night via Twitter that he is starting a partnership with Mizuno this week at the 2018 Shriners Open.”
“Kirk had beenpreviously gaming Mizuno irons, but we spotted him last week with a bag mostly full of Mizuno clubs. In the new setup, he had Mizuno JPX 919 Tour irons, a Mizuno MP-18 MMC Fli-Hi driving iron, a couple Mizuno T7 Raw wedges, and an unreleased Mizuno ST 190G driver.”
6. Geoff Shackelford out of the running for USGA Senior Communications Manager
Shackelford skewed U.S. golf’s governing body while offering commentary on the folks in Far Hills job posting for a senior communications manager. A taste of Shack’s tone…
(job posting) “Shape and promote impact-driven activities of the association outside of championships to a wide array of traditional and social media/influencers that deliver positive media impressions and organization attribution, both inside and outside of endemic golf outlets”
  • (Shackelford) “Or what’s left of them.”
“Build relationships and deliver a regular cadence of communications to and with influential and emerging media, internal subject-matter leaders, and external USGA stakeholders to develop rich storytelling opportunities and show the USGA’s impact on the game, to include development of the organization’s Annual Report”
  • (Shackelford) “Put Barstool Sports at the front of whatever modern device is your Rolodex. To the Executive Committee, it’s a Rolodex.”
7. Lowry bouncing back?
The affable Irishman feels he’s on the verge of a return to form, writes Irish Golf Desk’s Brian Keogh.
  • “With his fortunes on an upward curve since The Open and buoyed by his runner-up finish to Sergio Garcia in the Andalucía Valderrama Masters two weeks ago, he tees it up with his confidence on the rise.”
  • “”The goal is still the same, next March to try and be in the top-50 in the world,” said Lowry, who is 71st right now and 42nd in the Race to Dubai knowing that the top 30 on the final money list will qualify for The Open at Royal Portrush.”
  • “”I like these next three weeks and I feel I can move a further move up the standings as my golf is good and my confidence is high. I just need to go out there and do the business.””
Lowry also added this sound bit of advice...”You can get down on yourself and the game can get down on you, it just shows me that there is light at the end of the tunnel.”

Full piece.

8. Place your bets!
Odds to win the Shriners Hospitals for Children Open (via Bovada)
  • Rickie Fowler 11-1
  • Tony Finau 11-1
  • Jordan Spieth 12-1
  • Bryson DeChambeau 14-1
  • Webb Simpson 16-1
  • Gary Woodland 18-1
  • Patrick Cantlay 18-1
  • Aaron Wise 20-1
  • Cameron Champ 28-1
  • Beau Hossler 28-1
9. Winning golf Halloween
You’ve either seen a king-sized candy bar’s worth of pictures of professional golfers in Halloween garb or absolutely none, depending on your persuasion. Either way, after careful consideration, I believe this costume(s) to be the most spooktacular (sorry).
  • While, Michelle Wie, Hally Leadbetter, and company technically donned their furry garb for pre-Halloween festivities last week, the simplicity, coordination, and “only golf fans” now element makes the Shark, (Golden) Bear, Tiger, and Black Knight my pick (photo from Wie’s Instagram).
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12 Comments

12 Comments

  1. Regina George

    Nov 5, 2018 at 12:10 am

    Do not trust Holly Sonders. She is a fugly sl ut.

  2. Laura Davies

    Nov 2, 2018 at 4:21 pm

    Imagine how nasty Holly looks in the morning when she rolls out of bed. Buzz, your girlfriend, WOOF!

  3. ogo

    Nov 2, 2018 at 2:40 pm

    h00ly s00nders is my kind of girl…. w00 h00

  4. Golf golf golf

    Nov 1, 2018 at 6:48 pm

    In the realm of women broadcasters in professional golf, hands down, the best is Amanda Balionis. She’s very knowledgeable and has the chops to interview guys as they come off the course. Holly… not so much. She’s all hair, plastic and b**bs.

    • Rodney Dangerfield

      Nov 2, 2018 at 2:27 am

      Amanda is gorgeous and charming. Holly looks like a 45 year old por n star and is a stone cold bit ch. She is obviously stupid too. Only a fool would marry an old guy with no money and tons of baggage.

  5. aga

    Nov 1, 2018 at 4:07 pm

    Holly is outstanding … 😮 😮 😮

  6. Tom

    Nov 1, 2018 at 12:17 pm

    She can’t work outside in the heat anymore, if she does, she might melt all the plastic in her.

  7. ht

    Nov 1, 2018 at 10:08 am

    to her credit, she’s putting on a gun show! girl stays fit

  8. ht

    Nov 1, 2018 at 10:07 am

    That’s a bit aggro, but I agree that she’s taken the plastic surgery several steps too far. I really hate how normalized it’s all become

    • aga

      Nov 1, 2018 at 4:10 pm

      … but she can really swing that club around her handicaps… :-p

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WRX Retrospective: Interesting photos from the 2019 Masters

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As of now, we know the 2020 Masters is going to have to wait until November. The tournament will be as exciting as it will be interesting since it will be the first modern glimpse into Augusta National beyond April.

It has also given us the great opportunity to look back with hindsight 20/20 (that was very much an unintended pun) at our pictures from 2019 to showcase some of the most noteworthy and interesting, including some potential foreshadowing of the week that was to come.

2007 Masters champion Zach Johnson isn’t one to change putters too often, but he must have been searching for something last year when testing out this TaylorMade Spider.

This was Viktor Hovland’s last Masters as an amateur. He won low amateur honors and went on to capture the same distinction at the U.S. Open at Pebble Beach.

TaylorMade always does a wonderful job with major-themed accessories and bags. 2019 was no exception.

Little did we know at the time this was taken, this man would be leading heading into Sunday’s final round. How the tables turned so quickly.

Callaway’s collab with Seamus Golf lead to these flower-themed headcovers.

We can’t forget that Tuesday practice day was rained out and the course was closed at 10 a.m. to both players and spectators. It wasn’t the warm spring kickoff many had hoped for!

Although it was short-lived, it was a rainy Tuesday for all, including caddies.

The weather broke on Wednesday and the view up the 10th hole never gets old.

Did you realize two-time Masters champ Bubba Watson’s Flightscope has a custom pink paint job?

Inexpensive snacks and beverages are always a highlight of any Master’s visit.

The 2019 Masters featured pre-bulked Bryson, who also happened to have a custom FlightScope X3. He looks like a veritable stick!

They say a picture says 1,000 words, but in the case of Tiger Woods, we had no idea how many words would be written come Sunday.

A peek into the bag of Gary Woodland, who would go on to become the U.S. Open Champion only a few months later.

Special shoutout to Gary Woodland’s caddy Brennan Little, who hails from St. Thomas, Ontario, Canada, and is obviously a big Toronto Blue Jays fan. He was also on the bag for Mike Wier’s win in 2003.

Although the relationship was short-lived, Sergio used some very cool custom Toulon putters while on staff with Callaway Golf.

The eighth green is one of the most interesting and mounded on the course, there’s not a bunker to be found but danger lurks everywhere.

Undulations at No. 1 are a sight to be seen at ground level.

The iconic, understated clubhouse of ANGC.

The tucked-away first tee spike cleaner is something every course should have.

And of course, the iconic 12th, where so much would be decided come Sunday.

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2020 Open Championship canceled; PGA scheduled for August, U.S. Open for September, Masters for November

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The R&A has officially scratched the 2020 Open Championship due to the current Coronavirus pandemic in a statement today.

While this seemed poised to be the professional golf schedule news of the day, shortly thereafter, the Augusta National Golf Club, European Tour, LPGA, PGA of America, PGA Tour, The R&A, and USGA released a joint statement regarding the fate of the other three major championships as well as play on the LPGA and European Tour. 

First, the canceled major: The 149th Open Championship will now take place in 2021 from 11-18 July, and the R&A will transfer over tickets and hospitality packages purchased for the Championship to next year’s event.

St. Andrews, which was due to host the 150th Open Championship next year, will instead host the event in 2022.

In a statement published on the R&A’s website, Martin Slumbers, Chief Executive of The R&A, said

“Our absolute priority is to protect the health and safety of the fans, players, officials, volunteers and staff involved in The Open. We care deeply about this historic Championship and have made this decision with a heavy heart. We appreciate that this will be disappointing for a great many people around the world but this pandemic is severely affecting the UK and we have to act responsibly. It is the right thing to do.

“I can assure everyone that we have explored every option for playing The Open this year but it is not going to be possible.

“There are many different considerations that go into organising a major sporting event of this scale. We rely on the support of the emergency services, local authorities and a range of other organisations to stage the Championship and it would be unreasonable to place any additional demands on them when they have far more urgent priorities to deal with. In recent weeks we have been working closely with those organisations as well as Royal St George’s, St Andrews Links Trust and the other golf bodies to resolve the remaining external factors and have done so as soon as we possibly could. We are grateful to all of them for their assistance and co-operation throughout this process.

“Most of all I would like to thank our fans around the world and all of our partners for their support and understanding. At a difficult time like this we have to recognise that sport must stand aside to let people focus on keeping themselves and their families healthy and safe. We are committed to supporting our wider community in the weeks and months ahead and will do everything in our power to help golf come through this crisis.”

Shortly therafter a joint press release from the Augusta National Golf Club, European Tour, LPGA, PGA of America, PGA TOUR, The R&A and USGA was circulated by email, which revealed the PGA Championship is now slated for August, the U.S. Open for September, and the Masters for November.

From the press release.

USGA: The U.S. Open, previously scheduled for June 15-21 at Winged Foot Golf Club in Mamaroneck, New York, has been officially rescheduled for September 14-20 and is confirmed to remain at Winged Foot. 

The R&A: The R&A has decided to cancel The Open in 2020 due to the current Covid-19 pandemic, and the Championship will next be played at Royal St. George’s in 2021. The Open was due to be played in Kent, England, from July 12-19, but it has been necessary to cancel the Championship based on guidance from the UK Government, the health authorities, public services and The R&A’s advisers. 

PGA of America: The PGA of America is announcing today that the PGA Championship is now scheduled to take place August 3-9 and will remain at TPC Harding Park in San Francisco, California.  The PGA Championship was originally slated for May 11-17 but was postponed on March 17.

Augusta National Golf Club: Augusta National has identified November 9-15 as the intended dates to host the 2020 Masters Tournament, which was previously scheduled for April 6-12 and postponed on March 13.

Additionally, the release noted the Ryder Cup will still be contested September 22-27, at Whistling Straits in Kohler, Wisconsin.

For those updating their schedules at home, the release also included this handy summary.

  • TO BE CONFIRMED: June 15-21 (formerly U.S. Open week) – potential PGA TOUR event
  • CANCELED: July 13-19, The Open Championship, Royal St. George’s GC, Sandwich, Kent, England
  • TO BE CONFIRMED: July 13-19 (formerly The Open Championship week) – potential PGA TOUR event
  • TO BE CONFIRMED: July 27-August 2 (formerly Men’s Olympic Competition week) – potential PGA TOUR event
  • CONFIRMED: August 3-9 – PGA Championship, TPC Harding Park, San Francisco, California
  • CONFIRMED: PGA TOUR’s season-ending event/FedExCup Playoffs
    • August 10-16 – Wyndham Championship, Sedgefield Country Club, Greensboro, North Carolina
    • August 17-23 – THE NORTHERN TRUST, TPC Boston, Norton, Massachusetts
    • August 24-30 – BMW Championship, Olympia Fields CC, Olympia Fields, Illinois
    • August 31-September 7 (Labor Day) – TOUR Championship, East Lake Golf Club, Atlanta, Georgia
  • CONFIRMED: September 14-20 – U.S. Open, Winged Foot Golf Club, Mamaroneck, New York
  • RECONFIRMED: September 22-27: Ryder Cup, Whistling Straits, Kohler, Wisconsin
  • CONFIRMED: November 9-15: the Masters Tournament, Augusta National Golf Club, Augusta, Georgia
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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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