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GolfWRX Morning 9: Spieth Spiething again? | Should golfers wear helmets? | Bryson & the flagstick

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

November 2, 2018

Good Friday morning, golf fans. On this day in 1947, the United States won the first post-WWII Ryder Cup at Portland Golf Club, 11-1. Ben Hogan captained the American squad, Henry Cotton the British. Interestingly, Hogan, 35, played in one match; Cotton, 40, in four.
1. Spieth Shining at Shriners
Maybe the other Spieths helped him sort things out?
PGATour.com’s Ben Everill…”While Peter Uihlein (-8) leads the Shriners after round 1, Jordan Spieth’s 5-under start and strong putting performance garnered plenty of attention.”
  • “Jordan Spieth was much maligned for his efforts on the green last season where he ranked 136th on the PGA TOUR in Strokes Gained: Putting.
  • “It was a critical component in the 25-year-old’s fall to 31st in the FedExCup – the first time in his career he failed to make the TOUR Championship.”
  • “Through the morning wave he gained almost three strokes on the field to rank second in Strokes Gained: Putting.”
Another good sign…”On Thursday he was 14 of 14 inside 10 feet…”Really solid inside of ten feet today, even with somewhat trickier ones as the wind picked up coming in,” he said.”
2. Nerd out? No thanks
Credit to Geoff Shackelford for spotting this line in Jordan Spieth’s post-round press conference and offerring-what I think to be-a strong and accurate take. That said, I’m not sure Ben Hogan or Tiger Woods would have gone in depth about the nuances of what they were working on.
  • “Q. Will you nerd out a bit on us on those things you were trying to do?……JORDAN SPIETH: I can’t, you know, because that’s a competitive advantage for myself.”
  • Shackelford writes…”Last I heard, golf is an individual sport where the competition is not reading your offensive schemes and making adjustments to your chip shots. Furthermore, if you hit a ball in the rough, your playing partners cannot capitalize on knowing what you worked on this off-season to hit a better recovery shot, can they? Really?”
  • “I can’t think of a single thing he could have said that would have aided the competition. Such insights are probably only interesting to family, friends and fans. If PGA Tour players no longer feel free to talk about how they are moving their ball back an inch in the stance, or “revealing” that their play from 100-120 yards was an off-season focus, press conferences will be getting very short! And very awkward.”
3. Bryson and the pin
Speaking of nerding out...
Our Gianni Magliocco…”Bryson DeChambeau is well known for being a nonconformist in the golfing world, and the 25-year-old lived up to that status once more when he announced that he plans on leaving the pin in when he putts in 2019 as doing so will be permitted under the Rules of Golf. Speaking at a photo shootwith Golf.com, DeChambeau stated that his strategy would depend on the coefficient of restitution of the flagstick (naturally).”
“‘It depends on the COR, the coefficient of restitution of the flagstick. In U.S. Opens, I’ll take it out, and every other Tour event, when it’s fiberglass, I’ll leave it in and bounce that ball against the flagstick if I need to.”
Also on the DeChambeauian front: Check out the video of our Q&A with L’Artiste about his…paintbrushes.
4. Rory junior clubs
TaylorMade and company staffer Rory McIlroy have joined forces to develop two sets of junior golf clubs. The 4-Plus set, not surprisingly, is for players 4 and up, and the 8-Plus set, is for, well, you get the idea.
  • Marketed as “Rory Junior Golf Sets,” a driver, fairway woods, rescue, irons, wedges and a putter are all included. The 4-Plus set has five clubs, while the 8-Plus has two additional irons.
  • According to TaylorMade, the sets utilize technologies from other company products with lengths, lofts, and shaft flexes optimized for juniors (example: easy-to-launch 16-degree driver).
Full piece, including set specs, photos.
5. Recommendation: Golfers should wear helmets
Well, here we are. An expert opinion that golfers ought to wear helmets. You can’t argue with the statistics and the relative danger, but…really?
  • From the folks at GolfPunk…”How do you fancy the idea of being asked to wear a crash helmet to play golf?…That’s what is being proposed in a bid to reduce golfing-related injuries, a health & safety expert has revealed. Chris Hall, of Protecting.co.uk, a health and safety and employment agency, said that thousands of pounds are paid out each year in claims for head injuries from misjudged golf balls.”
  • “Statistics suggest between 16 – 41% of amateur golfers are injured each year with the potential for working days lost to golfing injuries high enough to prompt businesses into lobbying for improved safety measures.”
  • “A number of insurance companies and private businesses are wanting to reduce the financial burden of golfing injuries and are pushing for greater protection for players. Golf had an injury rate of 1.8 per 1,000 while rugby’s injury rate was 1.5 per 1,000. Mr Hall, spokesman for Protecting.co.uk, said golf needed to follow the safety measures introduced by other sports.”
Ergo: Wear a helmet.
6. Deep dive into what was eating Jordan Spieth in 2018
Kyle Porter at CBS Sports puts on his investigative garb. A bit of his breakdown…”Spieth also noted this week that it’s actually the rest of his game that he’s been pouring time into. He felt that even though the stats showed a marked decline in putting, it was his iron play and driving that got worse as the year went on, whereas his short game got better.”
  • “I think if you look at the trend, say second half of the season on, my short game started to get better but the long game progressively fell,” Spieth said.
  • “‘I knew I had more work to continue on the short game, but needed to address a bit of the long game as well. To be honest, my rookie season I think was my best statistical driving season. I think I ranked in the top 15 in strokes gained off the tee. I hit it five yards further now, yet have not sniffed a top 15 in that category. That’s a goal.'”
  • “It’s a worthy goal. The best drivers (and best ball-strikers) on the PGA Tour are traditionally among the highest earners and win the most tournaments. Spieth won’t be doing any of that, though, if the putting doesn’t get at least a little bit better.”
7. Trump Doonberg to get a big upgrade
Peter Flanagan at Bloomberg with the news that the Trump Organization is plowing some serious cash into Trump International Golf Links & Hotel, Doonbeg.
  • “The Trump family is making a move at its golf resort in the west coast village of Doonbeg. TIGL Ireland Enterprises Ltd, the company that controls the operation, is seeking permission to build a ballroom and “leisure facility building” including a restaurant, as well as 53 homes for short-term tourist accommodation, according to a planning notice published on the local authority’s website.”
  • “The plans would cost about 40 million euros ($45.6 million) over three to four years, Joe Russell, General Manager at Trump International Golf Links & Hotel, Doonbeg, said in a phone interview.”
  • “The application comes almost two years after the resort published plans to build sea defenses around the property. That plan is currently before the national planning board. The defenses remain a “key issue” to protect the hotel and golf course, Russell said.”
8. Ogio brand refresh
Our Gianni Magliocco writes…”Just over a year ago, Callaway Golf acquired Ogio International, Inc., for $75.5 million. Plenty in the golf space wondered what the folks in Carlsbad would do with the company. Well, we no longer have to wonder. Today, the golf bag (and luggage, backpacks, and apparel) manufacturer unveiled a global brand refresh. New products, website, and logo are all components of the change.”
  • “Speaking on the news of the brand refresh, Harry Arnett (Ogio President and Callaway SVP of global marketing) said.”
  • “Innovation is the driving force of everything we do. Change is obviously critical for any brand, especially one that has been around for 30 years like we have. The products we are launching represent the very best in design, quality, and performance. It’s an exciting step forward for our company and we know current fans and potential new fans of OGIO will love the new direction.”
  • Along with the refresh, Ogio also announced the release of two new golf bags, which you can see in the full piece.
9. Hmm…
Golf.com’s steward of the game’s blackletter, Rules Guy fielded the following query.
  • “I’m a player who can’t wait to see the ball go in (or miss) the hole when putting, so I tend to look up too early. To cure this habit, I wrote “Don’t look” up on top of the putterhead as a reminder. A buddy hinted that I may be violating a rule. Am I?”-ROMY DIONISIUS, TEMPE, ARIZ.
  • “In a word, no … assuming that you’re using, say, a Sharpie. Engraving is also legal. You could run into issues that might render the club nonconforming by taping or otherwise fastening instructions to old Billy Baroo. So, please, no Post-It notes or dry-erase boards.”
Sorry, Romy. I guess this means the passages from Dave Pelz’ Putting Bible I have written on the sole of my Craz-E Mallet…

 

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  1. Little Debbie

    Nov 2, 2018 at 9:57 am

    Chris Hall of Protecting.co.uk needs to understand the ole “Its better to keep your yapper shut and make people wonder if you are stupid rather than open it and PROVE you are” motto

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Ian Poulter plays final round in 2 hours and 22 minutes, fires his best round of the week

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The debate regarding pace of play in the game of golf is rarely far from the surface, and on Sunday at the DP World Tour Championship, Ian Poulter showcased the benefits of speeding around the golf course.

It took Poulter just two hours and 22 minutes to complete his final round at Jumeirah Golf Estates (Earth Course), and what’s more, is that while flying around the golf course, the Englishman recorded his best score of the week, firing a round of 69.

After the round, Poulter, who is well known for his dislike of slow play in the game stated

“I’m a quick player. I don’t like slow play, so today was quite refreshing. It didn’t matter where I finished… I just wanted to get back for breakfast.”

Poulter isn’t the first player to play a final round in rapid time, with Wesley Bryan and Kevin Na both beating the Englishman’s time over the past couple of years. At the 2016 Tour Championship, Na darted around the course in just under two hours, while at the 2017 BMW Championship, Wesley Bryan took less than 90 minutes to complete his final round,

Interestingly, in all three of these cases of speedy play, the players shot their best round of the week while playing at their quickest.

So GolfWRXers, does playing fast bring out the best in a golfer, or is this another case of a player performing well when the pressure is off?

Let us know what you think!

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Is “make more birdies” really the best advice to shoot lower scores?

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I often hear golfers say, “I need to make more birdies to shoot lower scores.” This statement has been uttered by the team I currently coach, and through three tournaments this fall, it got me wondering how accurate that statement was for our level of play.

Our players’ scoring averages range from 74 to 87, having played in a minimum of two tournament rounds and up to seven tournament rounds. Most often, I have heard the statement above from our players who are in the middle to higher end of the scoring averages. So, I took a look into our scoring breakdown using the data we collect with GameGolf.

Here are the rankings of birdies per round for the seven players who have traveled this fall

1 2.7
2 1.42
3 1.17
4 1
5 0.5
6 0.42
7 0.33

The difference from the top to the seventh spot is 1.09 birdies per round. The player with the top spot has a scoring average of 74, and the player in seventh spot has a scoring average of 84.67.

Here are the rankings of double bogey/worse for the seven players who have traveled this fall

1 0.42
2 0.85
3 1
4 1.42
5 2
6 2.5
7 4

The difference from the top to the seventh spot is 3.58 doubles/worse per round. Again the player at the top has the 74 scoring average and the player at the bottom has the 87 scoring average.

Diving a little deeper, the players on the team with the top three scoring averages (74, 77.29 and 78) occupy the top three spots in both of these rankings. And taking a look at all the players’ differentials, their rank stays the same compared to their scoring average rank.

The fact that many golfers overlook when making the statement “I need to make more birdies to score better” is that each hole accounts for about 5.5 percent of your round. So, if we take our player who averages one birdie (minus 1) and 2.5 doubles/worse per round (plus 5, conservatively), 5.5 percent of her round is birdies and 13.75 percent of her round is doubles/worse.

If she were to simply focus on making more birdies per round to “balance out” the current 2.5 doubles/worse per round, she would need to increase to five birdies per round. That would be a jump up to 27.5 percent of her round. Compare that to shift a focus to minimizing the doubles/worse category. If this same player could even shave her doubles/worse to 1.5 per round (plus 3,  conservatively), it accounts for 8.25 percent of her round.

If we take a look at the top five scoring averages from the LPGA, Women’s DI and Women’s DII we see the scoring averages range from 68 to 72. While the birdies per round range from 2.4 to 4.8. An interesting thing to note from these numbers is that both the low scoring average and best birdies per round do not come from the LPGA players. While difficulty of the course setup may play into this factor, it can highlight that those women who are playing to make a living are making sure that they are keeping their cards clean of the big numbers because they do not have enough holes to make up for those errors with birdies.

While birdies are always more fun to celebrate, in stroke play you are better off to learn how to turn doubles into bogeys and bogeys into pars for better scores.

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GolfWRX Morning 9: Rolex Series ends with a whimper? | Poulter’s <3 hour round | Don't forget about Patrick

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

November 19, 2018

Good Monday morning, golf fans.
1. Another victory for CH3…finally
After an impossible-to-believe 11 years without a win, and a complete bag overhaul just weeks ago, Charles Howell III is a PGA Tour victor again.
  • Sean Martin of PGATour.com…”Charles Howell III made a 15-foot birdie putt on the second hole of a playoff with Patrick Rodgers on Sunday in The RSM Classic to end an 11-year victory drought.”
  • “Howell dropped to his knees and buried his head in his hands, then tearfully embraced wife Heather and children Ansley and Chase – neither of whom were born when he last won on the PGA TOUR at Riviera in 2007.”
  • “Howell earned $1,152,000 and a return trip to his hometown of Augusta, Georgia, in April to play in the Masters for the first time since 2012.”
  • “The way I started today, I just honestly thought I shot myself in the foot again,” Howell said. “I thought that was pretty much over. I had seen this movie before.”
2. Oh, Danny boy!
Golfworld’s Ryan Herrington…”Come Sunday at Jumeirah Golf Estates, however, Willett managed to make amends. A closing four-under 68 to take the title at the DP World Tour Championship, the European Tour’s season finale, by two strokes over Matt Wallace and Patrick Reed.”
  • “It’s been a lot of hard work,” said an emotional Willett after birdies on three of the final five holes helped him stand beside Francesco Molinari, who claimed the season-long Race to Dubai title despite finishing T-26 for the week. “It’s been tough.”
  • Tied for the lead with Reed entering the final round of the European Tour’s 2018 season finale, Willett reflected on Saturday evening on just how “tough” it had become. He was candid and forthcoming about the difficult times.
  • Willett also had this to say…”I was in a very, very dark place…There was no light coming through the trees. Just a big f—ing stump in front of my ball. I was despising golf, because it was like Groundhog Day, turn up, be in pain and repeat.”
3. Redemption for Lexi
Keeley Levins on Lexi hoisting a trophy again….”The redemption story is a sweet one for Thompson. Last year at the same event, on the same 18th green, Thompson missed a two-foot putt that likely would have won the tournament. That gave Ariya Jutanugarn an opening; should she birdie the final two holes she would win the CME Group Tour Championship, and to strip Thompson of Player of the Year honors. Jutanugarn made the back-to-back birdies, and what would have been a storybook ending to Thompson’s season turned into a bit of a nightmare, tempered only by the $1 million bonus Thompson earned for winning the season-long Race to the CME Globe.”
“This time, Thompson could have five-putted the 18th green and still walked away with the win. She missed the birdie putt and had about two feet coming back for par. She confidently holed it, her 18-under total giving her a four-shot victory over Nelly Korda. Instead of consoling hugs from her friends and family as she walked off the 18th green, this year she shared the winning moment with her brother Curtis, who after failing in a Monday qualifier to make the field in the PGA Tour’s RSM Classic, was pressed into service as her caddie. Then she was showered in celebratory champagne.”

Full piece.

Beth Ann Nichols writes….”Thompson’s 10th career win on tour might turn out to be the most significant.
  • “It’s helped out tremendously with my attitude just in general,” said Thompson, “just showing the hard work that I’ve been putting in these last – well, this whole year really … just to see that pay off in these four days was huge for me. I’ve been waiting for that moment.”
  • “One year ago Thompson’s family looked shell-shocked on the 18th green at Tiburon Golf Club. She’d won the $1 million bonus, but ashort miss on the 72nd hole kept her from claiming spoils that money can’t buy…Thompson tried push away the pain – her mother’s battle with cancer, the four-stroke fiasco at the ANA Inspiration, the 2-footer at CME, the snide comments on social media.”

Full piece.

4. Ariya the incredible
Golf Channel’s Randall Mell…Jutanugarn did something that’s never been done before.
  • “She completed an unprecedented LPGA sweep burying an 18-foot birdie putt Sunday to end her season at the CME Group Tour Championship….It was, by the way, her 470th birdie of the season, a tour record.”
  • “Jutanugarn wrapped up the Vare Trophy for low scoring and the season-long Race to the CME Globe’s $1 million bonus. She added those to the Rolex Player of the Year Award, LPGA money title and Rolex Annika Major Award that she had already clinched.”
5. Don’t forget Patrick!
While he didn’t get the W, Rex Hoggard puts Patrick Rodgers extraordinary weekend in context.
  • “Patrick Rodgers made the cut on the number at the RSM Classic and began the weekend at Sea Island Resort a dozen strokes off the pace.
  • “Rodgers posted rounds of 61-62 on the weekend to get into a playoff with Charles Howell III at 19 under par. His 123 total over his final 36 holes was the lowest closing weekend in PGA Tour history.”
  • “Rodgers final round included a 30 on his closing nine and a birdie at the 72nd hole from 8 feet to get into overtime. In the playoff he failed to convert birdies putts on both extra holes and his runner-up showing was his best finish on Tour since he finished second at the 2015 Wells Fargo Championship.”
6. Australian Ancer
Mexican phenom Abraham Ancer took the Australian Open with a steady final-round showing.
  • AP Report…”Abraham Ancer went into the final round of the Australian Open with a five-stroke lead. With a few ups and downs along the way, he won it by the same margin…The Mexican golfer, making his first trip to Australia, shot a final-round 69 Sunday to finish with a 16-under total of 272 at The Lakes.”
  • “His lead was reduced to four strokes a few times. But Ancer’s shot of the day came on the fourth hole where he hit his pitch shot from just off the green well left of the flag, then watched it hit a slope and roll back down to finish in the hole for a birdie.”
7. Sour finish?
Alistair Tait points out that the European Tour can’t be happy with the whimper with which the season wrapped.
  • “So much for Keith Pelley’s goal of getting the top European Tour players to play more on their home circuit. It didn’t exactly work out in the season-ending $8 million DP World Tour Championship, Dubai.”
  • “Pelley launched the lucrative Rolex Series two years ago with intention of ensuring Europe’s top players competed more on their home tour. What tour pro wouldn’t want to play in a tournament worth a minimum $7 million? And who in their right mind would turn down a $13 million, season-ending event (an $8 million prize fund and $5 million bonus pool for the top 10 players)?”
  • ” How about Justin Rose, Paul Casey and Rafael Cabrera Bello? They didn’t seem to get Pelley’s memo. All three sat out the DP World.”
  • Tait writes declaratively...”Rolex might think otherwise. The luxury watch company probably couldn’t care less about the 100th ranked player. Star players skipping lucrative events isn’t what they signed up for.”
8. Speedy, Poulty!
Ryan Herrington….”Teeing off first at 7 a.m. at the DP World Tour Championship, and playing as a single, Poulter decided to make his final round of the 2018 European Tour season a memorable one … and give new meaning to the Race to Dubai.”
  • “Poulter sped around the Earth Course at Jumeirah Golf Estates in Dubai in 2 hours and 22 minutes…”It didn’t matter where I finished … I just wanted to get back for breakfast,” Poulter joked afterward.”
  • “Indeed, when you’re starting 20 strokes off the lead and tied for last, the incentive has to come from less obvious places…Impressively, the pace didn’t do anything to hurt his score; he shot a three-under 69.”
9. Odyssey R-Ball + additive manufacturing
An interesting one, here, for watchers of the future of the golf equipment space.
Our Giani Magliocco…”Callaway has announced the company has signed a consultancy agreement with GE Additive’s AddWorks team, with the aim of improving its equipment through the potential of additive manufacturing. According to GE Additive’s website, additive manufacturing is a process that creates a physical object from digital design, enabling the creation of lighter, stronger parts and systems.”
  • “What does this mean for Callaway’s equipment?...The opening project from the agreement is a redesigned Odyssey R-Ball Prototype putter head. Callaway originally developed the Odyssey R-Ball Prototype as a tour preferred model in Japan, which consisted of removing the front ball from the original 2-ball design. Callaway, through additive manufacturing, has optimized the acoustics of the putter while retaining the preferred shape and performance.”
  • “Brad Rice, director – R&D, Advanced Engineering at Callaway, speaking about the process, stressed that the use of additive manufacturing is the future to the production of equipment in the game of golf, stating”
  • “Additive manufacturing is a new tool; which is quickly going beyond the aspirational phase, and into the functionalization phase of the technology. Callaway needs to learn how to use this tool well because it is inevitable that 3D-Printing of production parts is going to happen – it is the production method of the future.”
9b.Gambling infuses Tiger-Phil with life?  
A bonus item this morning because, well, I can’t count…
  • Regarding gambling: No, not the players individually (although for Phil…) but rather, the match, ahem The Match, writes Eamon Lynch.
  • A taste…”None of this is to suggest that “The Match” is entirely without merit. Golf course architecture enthusiasts who pay $19.99 to watch will save $479.01 on the usual door charge to see Shadow Creek.”
  • “It’s also comparatively cheap entertainment, relative to the $100 that 4.3 million people parted with last year to watch Mayweather toy with McGregor for 10 rounds.”
  • “The real value of “The Match” is in blueprinting the vast scope that exists within golf for in-round gambling. Not just between players but on the scenarios they face. For every competitor there exists a deep reservoir of data – his average leave from all distances, his make percentage on putts of any length – that represents a wealth of predictive information. Incorporating that into every golf telecast, not just this one, would be manna for gamblers and considerably more engaging for casual viewers.”
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