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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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Morning 9: A 6-man playoff in Turkey | Wild Schwab Cup finish | Hatton’s Tin Cup moment

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1. A six-man playoff under the lights
Reuters report on Tyrrell Hatton’s last-man-standing effort in Turkey...”England’s Tyrrell Hatton beat Austria’s Matthias Schwab on the fourth playoff hole to clinch his second Rolex Series title at the Turkish Airlines Open in Antalya on Sunday after a dramatic six-man playoff.”
  • “For the first time at a professional golf tournament, the floodlights were switched on at the Montgomerie Maxx Royal course for the playoff as the six golfers battled for the $2 million prize money.”
  • “Hatton, overnight leader Schwab, American Kurt Kitayama, South Africa’s Erik van Rooyen and Frenchmen Victor Perez and Benjamin Hebert entered the playoff after they all finished with a 20-under overall score after 72 holes.”

Full piece.

2. Maggert holes out for win but McCarron gets the cup
Golf Channel’s Will Gray…”Maggert’s hole-out from 123 yards on the third extra hole ended the 2019 PGA Tour Champions season in spectacular fashion. Entering the final round of the Charles Schwab Cup Championship with a one-shot lead, Maggert needed a birdie on the last hole of regulation to force a playoff with Retief Goosen. But with Goosen in tight on the third extra hole, Maggert’s wedge approach took two hops and found the hole and spark a fairway celebration.”
  • “The eagle gave Maggert his first victory on the over-50 circuit since he won four times during the 2015 season…While Maggert and Goosen battled it out in overtime for the tournament title, the fate of the season-long Charles Schwab Cup also hung in the balance. Goosen was in position to win both trophies with a playoff win over Maggert, and he would have become the first PGA Tour Champions rookie to earn the season-long prize.”
  • “Instead Maggert’s victory meant that McCarron finally won the Charles Schwab Cup after a number of close finishes.”

Full piece.

3. A home game win
Golfweek’s Beth Ann Nichols…“For a second straight year, a Japanese star won on home soil at the Toto Japan Classic. Ai Suzuki, a five-time winner on the Japan LPGA this season, now has the chance to join the LPGA after claiming the first-place check of $225,000.”
  • “It was my dream, so I feel like I want to challenge,” said Suzuki, through a translator, of joining the LPGA. “But I can’t speak English. And I need to talk to my family because I need their support. I am not good in moving around, traveling and food.”
  • “Suzuki has until Nov. 18 to make a decision on LPGA membership. If she decides to pass, she’ll be eligible for six sponsor exemptions in 2020 along with the all five major championships and the HSBC Women’s World Championship. She would not be in the field for the 2020 Diamond Resorts Tournament of Champions.”

Full piece.

4. Korn Ferry Q-School update
Golf Channel’s Brentley Romine does the Lord’s work rounding up all the Korn Ferry Tour Q-School action. He writes…”the field for the final stage of Korn Ferry Tour Q-School is set.”
“The final four of five second-stage sites wrapped up on Friday, with advancing players moving on to final stage, set for Dec. 12-15 at Orange County National in Winter Garden, Fla.”
5. Tin Cup moment
Paging Roy McAvoy… The ever-entertaining Eddie Pepperell was the author of a grim episode at the Turkish Airlines Open…via the Golf Channel Digital team…”Eddie Pepperell is one of the European Tour’s more intriguing personalities and he added to his persona on Saturday at the Turkish Airlines Open by playing the role of Roy “Tin Cup” McAvoy.”
  • “Per The Associated Press…England’s Eddie Pepperell did not even finish his round and was disqualified for failing to complete the fourth hole, his 13th of the day.”
  • “Pepperell was 2 over for the round after dropping shots on the second and third and then hit his approach to the next into the water guarding the green. In a scene reminiscent of the ”Tin Cup” film, Pepperell had several more attempts – even his caddie could not say for certain whether it was four or five – before informing playing partners Martin Kaymer and George Coetzee that he had run out of balls.”

Full piece.

6. Fowler out of the Mayakoba
A hidden element of the Prez Cup decision, perhaps? Steve Dimeglio for Golfweek…
  • “In a text message to Golfweek, Fowler said at the tail end of his honeymoon – he got married the first week of October – he came down with Campylobacter jejuni, which is among the most common bacterial infections and leads to cramps, fever, pain and diarrhea.”
  • “Fowler said he started feeling the effects of the intestinal bacterial infection Oct. 26 and didn’t started getting back to normal until Nov. 7.”
  • “It was not a fun stretch,” Fowler wrote. He added he is taking medicine to combat the last stages of the infection and just didn’t have enough time to properly prepare for the Mayakoba Golf Classic, where he’s finished second and in a tie for 16th the past two years.”

Full piece.

7. Making things harder
An interesting take from Geoff Shackelford for Golfweek…
“With world No. 1 Brooks Koepka potentially missing the Cup while rehabbing his left knee, Fowler seems likely to be his replacement. Fowler finished a spot ahead of Reed on the Presidents Cup points list and his easygoing nature suggests he might have been open to being left off the initial roster to give Reed a welcome-back confidence boost.”
  • “Woods has his reasons, but to any impartial observer, he made the already difficult tasks of serving as a playing captain more complicated by adding Reed in an event where pairings would have been easier to make with Fowler in town. Woods will be juggling the role of lineup making, reintroducing Reed to the American team room and needing to keep his game sharp. Not many could handle all of that. Which is exactly what appeals to someone who thrives off of steep challenges at this point in his illustrious career.”

Full piece.

8. Kendall Dye is hardly alone
Golfweek’s Beth Ann Nichols makes an interesting point regarding the Kendall Dye advice-seeking saga…
  • “None of the players or caddies – on both the PGA Tour and LPGA – interviewed by Golfweek for this story can recall having seen a player flash fingers or verbally ask for club information.”
  • “In that instance, Dye is an exception…And it’s perfectly legal for media to obtain club information. Caddies flash fingers to on-course reporters in every marquee group.”
  • “But that doesn’t mean the advice rule isn’t broken in other ways throughout professional golf on a regular basis.”
  • “Caddies flash numbers to players and caddies,” said one veteran LPGA player. Because rules violations are a sensitive topic, Golfweek spoke to caddies and players about the issue on the condition of anonymity. “That’s really not uncommon. I bet it happens in every group at least once during the round in every tournament.”

Full piece.

9. First loser, indeed
Ryan Herrington of Golf Digest with this observation…“To the victor goes the spoils, and in the case of Tyrrell Hatton, those spoils were plentiful. In holding on under the lights to win a six-man playoff at the Turkish Airlines Open on Sunday afternoon/evening, the 28-year-old Englishman earned the $2 million first-place check with the event being part of the European Tour’s lucrative Rolex Series events.”
  • “Given the unique circumstances of the victory, however, the discrepancy between what Hatton took home and what the fivesome of runners-up-Erik Van Rooyen, Kurt Kitayama, Matthias Schwab, Victor Perez and Benjamin Hebert-at Montgomerie Maxx Royal course in Antalya, Turkey, made was particularly pronounced. A solo second-place finish at the tournament was worth $828,000, but because you had to add the prize money for the third, fourth, fifth and sixth places, then divide the aggregate among the five players, the amount was diluted to $430,589.98.”
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Tour Rundown: Incredible finishes on Champions, European tours

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As darkness fell in Antalya, the the first event in the European Tour playoff series came to a conclusion. Light stanchions had been illuminated for two playoff holes, when the final putt missed. In Japan, the Asian swing of the LPGA came to a conclusion. And the old guard of the PGA Tour Champions stood its season-ending event in Phoenix in the most dramatic fashion of all. Snows fell, then evanesced, in my home area, reminding me that played golf is precious, and televised golf that matters, is a commodity. On, then, with our Tour Rundown for Monday, November 11th. Take special care, at the 11th hour, of the 11th day, of the 11th month, to pray for peace.

Hatton outlasts the world at TAO on European Tour

An entire-season of storylines materialized at the Maxx Royale on Sunday. It happened, dramatically, over the final hour of the tournament. Kurt Kitayama, the reborn American golfer, reached the clubhouse first at 20-under par. He was soon joined by Erik Van Rooyen, Victor Perez, Tyrrell Hatton, Benjamin Hebert, and Matthias Schwab, the 3rd-round leader. Schwab had an opportunity to win it all in regulation, but was unable to make birdie at the last. The sextet returned four times to the 18th hole, to decide matters. Van Rooyen was eliminated in round one, with bogey. The French duo, Hebert and Perez, dropped away on the 2nd go-round, also with bogey. Kitayama went by the wayside on the 3rd cycle, when par was no longer good enough. On the 4th return in extra time, Schwab made bogey and Hatton was the champion.

Where Schwab lost: His greenside pitching. In regulation and on the 4th playoff hole, the Austrian had an opportunity to get a greenside pitch within birdie range, but bombed it 25 feet past both times. Schwab consquently 3-putted after the second miscue, costing himself a chance on a 5th playoff hole.

How Hatton won: He pitched in for birdie on the first playoff hole, when it was birdie or go home. He also outlasted the other golfers, allowing them to make mistakes. They did, and the experienced winner rode off with a trophy, pride, and prize.

Suzuki claims TOTO for home country on LPGA

Ai Suzuki has a decision to make. The young professional from Japan has officially earned membership on the LPGA Tour for 2020. Will she opt-in and match her skills with the world’s best? Suzuki stood tied for 1st after round one, then atop the board by herself after a 2nd-round 65, the low round of the week. Perhaps the most important stretch of the week was the first 7 holes on Sunday; she played them in 4-under par. The fiery start served notice that a 63 would be needed to catch her. In a post-round interview, Suzuki admitted that her inability to speak English probably drops her chances of joining the tour in 2020, to 20%. Some day, she acknowledges, but not quite yet.

How Suzuki won: One bogey. Say it out loud…O-N-E-B-O-G-E-Y all week. The 11th hole on Friday, during round one. Beyond that, 18 birdies.

How the others lost: More bogeys. Hyo Joo Kim (2nd place by 3 shots) had a solitary bogey as well, but she added in a double, and one birdie fewer. Minjee Lee (3rd place by 6 shots) made 3 bogies on Sunday alone! Suzuki wasn’t indomitable; she simply played error-free and made birdie putts when they beckoned.

After Montgomerie walks off, Maggert walks OFF to win Schwab Cup Championship

Colin Montgomerie holed his final shot of the 2019 PGA Tour Champions campaign from 100-odd yards away. The eagle 3 jumped him up from T7 to T4, and certainly eased the pain from the bogey he had just made at the 17th hole. Who knew that this was the warm-up for what would happen in the playoff? Let’s set the scene, and then let your mind take over. Jeff Maggert and Retief Goosen tied at 21-under par, 2 shots clear of 3rd place Woody Austin. As the two men headed to the 18th tee to settle matters, calculations were made. If Goosen were to win the playoff, he would win the week and the year. If Maggert were to emerge victorious, the week’s bauble and booty would be his, but the season-long Schwab Cup would go to Scott McCarron. The combatants parred the 18th, then birdied it a second time, to move the drama needle. Off to the 17th hole they went. After Goosen reached the green with his approach, Maggert stepped up and 2-hopped his wedge into the cup. These guys are STILL good, living under par.

How the field lost: Not enough birdies. Sounds silly, but Maggert set a high bar with 63 on opening day. It was matched, by Miguel Angel Jimenez in round 3. Maggert followed his Oakmont Miller with 65-69-66. It took a 64 from Goosen on Sunday to catch the Texan.

How Maggert won: Well, let’s call it a walk-off eagle. Unlike many other times on tour, when he didn’t have the grit to close a tournament, Maggert did not falter on this day. He birdied the 72nd hole to reach the playoff, then birdied the 74th to remain alive. With Goosen inside 10 feet for birdie, Maggert would have had a tap-in for his 3, had fate not intervened.

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Tiger Woods chooses Finau, Woodland, Reed, and….himself as his Presidents Cup picks

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Tiger Woods has named himself, Tony Finau, Gary Woodland and Patrick Reed as his captain’s picks ahead of next month’s Presidents Cup.

Both Woodland and Finau are set for their debuts at the event, while Reed will be competing in his third consecutive Presidents Cup. For Woods, it will be the 15-time major champion’s first appearance at the biennial tournament since 2013.

Speaking on the decision to pick himself as playing-captain for the event, Woods stated

“The players, they wanted me to play in the event. It’s going to be difficult, but I also have three amazing assistants in Fred (Couples), Stricks (Steve Stricker) and Zach (Johnson). So that helps a lot.”

Both Rickie Fowler and Jordan Spieth are big-name omissions from the team which will feature five rookies. Spieth will be missing his first team event since 2012, while Fowler has been on each U.S. team since 2014.

Speaking on the call to leave Fowler out of the side, Woods stated

“That was a tough call to make. He’s a friend of mine. We kept it short. There was no need for a long call. I’ve been on both sides I haven’t been picked. I get it. He’s obviously going to hurt not being there.”

Woods’ four picks are all higher ranked in the OWGR than any of the players of the International side, but the 43-year-old warned that statistical advantage goes out the window once play gets underway next month.

“On paper we certainly have the advantage in the world ranking. Our players have earned that by playing well around the world and playing well in big events. But when we start out on Thursday, it’s 0-0. We’ve got to go out and earn points to win the cup.”

Woods’ decision to choose himself as a player next month means that he will be the first playing captain at team events since Hale Irwin in 1994.

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