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GolfWRX Morning 9: Strong words from Player | More DQ drama | OWGR silliness

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1.  Rickie still has time
Our Gianni Magliocco writes that while another Cobra staffer (Bryson DeChambeau) is outpacing him, Rickie Fowler ought not to be written off just yet.
  • “Just like Fowler, Norman is considered an underachiever in the game. You probably don’t need to be reminded about Norman’s major tally of two, regarded as a severely disappointing return for a man of his talent. But his total of 20 PGA Tour victories combined with his 331 weeks sitting atop the world golf rankings is enough to show that the Australian had an illustrious career.
  • “Before Norman’s 30th birthday, the Australian had yet to capture a major championship. The current world number one, Justin Rose, has nine victories on the PGA Tour, but only broke through to win his first when he was 29, and his only major success so far came at the age of 32. While Phil Mickelson’s first of his five major triumphs also arrived at the age of 33.”
  • “The growing negative judgement that has begun to wrap itself around Fowler may be the American’s biggest hurdle to overcome. It wasn’t that long ago that Dustin Johnson was being branded as a major championship choke artist by some, before he changed the narrative with a brilliant display at Oakmont to win his maiden major title.”
  • “Fowler has far less scar tissue to deal with than Johnson did, particularly at major championships. While it’s convenient for some to conclude that as he approaches his 30th year he has failed to live up to both the hype and promise that was displayed when he first broke onto the Tour, history suggests that the Californian still has plenty of time to create his legacy in the sport.”
2. Speaketh the Black Knight
Gary Player offered a few thoughts on growing the game (via a Reuters report).
“There are so many big events, big attendances, big sponsors, massive money for the players, but what we need is to build the courses for the average man. The pro is not that important. It’s the average person who comes to the course, to enjoy the game and have fun. That is key.”
  • “Golf courses need flatter greens, wider fairways and not so many bunkers to make them [amateurs] enjoy the game. Amateur rounds are down because they are too expensive and too slow.”
  • “There must be no restrictions on the weekend golfer. Let them enjoy the round. There used to be the long putter, that was then banned. To hang with that, let them use it.”
  • “We want them [amateurs] to come out and enjoy themselves. We’ve done too many things to chase them away from the game instead of getting them into the game.”
3. A siren-induced injury
Golfweek’s Brentley Romine…”DeChambeau injured his right hand on Saturday night while trying to pump up the crowd at an NHL game in Las Vegas.”
  • “DeChambeau was a special guest of the Las Vegas Golden Knights and was asked to “ring the siren” before the start of the third period. While cranking the air horn, DeChambeau said Sunday that he “ripped part of my hand off.'”

Full piece.

4. TW overtakes Spieth in OWGR
Brentley Romine again….”Woods, who hasn’t played since winning the Tour Championship, was ranked 13th following his victory at East Lake. Spieth, however, hasn’t been ranked this poorly since before he won the 2014 Emirates Australian Open.’
  • “The last time Woods was ranked better than Spieth? Aug. 23, 2014, when he was 12th and Spieth 13th.”
5. Rose’s lame duck No. 1 session
Brooks Koepka will be back at the top…despite not playing.
  • James Corrigan at The Telegraph...”The vagaries of the world rankings system have come under renewed scrutiny with the revelation that Justin Rose’s latest reign as world No 1 will last just seven days – despite the fact that neither he or Brooks Koepka are playing this week.”
  • “Rose, 38, enjoyed a night of celebration on Sunday after achieving what he called “the double whammy” of successfully defending the Turkish Airlines Open and displacing Koepka as the game’s best player.”
  • “However, the Englishman’s second triumph of the year only moved him 0.05pts clear and the complexities will see Koepka reclaim the crown on Monday, despite the latter continuing to rest and opting against teeing it up in the Mayakoba Classic in Mexico.”
6. Bobby Jones and the multi-tee reversible 9
While Jones only offered his name to the Bobby Jones Golf Course in Atlanta, his descendants played a big part in an innovative redesign of the track.
  • Golfweek’s Martin Kaufmann…”On Nov. 5, however, a thoroughly reimagined Bobby Jones Golf Course will reopen to the public. Rather than 18 holes, it will be a far more workable nine-hole reversible course. It has a new, two-sided practice range, something that didn’t previously exist, and a six-hole short course that probably won’t be ready for play until next summer. The range will become the new practice home for Georgia State University’s golf teams.”
  • “The layout incorporates the Longleaf Tee System, with eight tees per hole – a reflection of an effort to welcome young golfers and those with disabilities. The entire course, except for greens, will be cut at fairway height, according to architect Bobby Cupp. That will make all of those tee boxes seem less intrusive while also enhancing playability.”
  • ‘”What we have trouble recognizing nowadays is the almost-radical impact Bobby Jones had on the game,” Jones said of his grandfather. “People forget he was a mechanical engineer by training. He had a passion for making golf more accessible to the average player, so much so that when he designed Augusta National, that golf course was incredibly radical for its day. It allowed the average player to play it and have a fantastic time, but it also challenged the expert player.”‘
7. Chen’s caddie has a different perspective
Not a great development for the embattled Doris Chen, as he caddie has broken ranks from the report offered by the golfer.
Via Randall Mell at Golf Channel…”Valer [Chen’s caddie] said neither he nor Chen saw the ball being moved, but while they were looking for the ball, it was Chen’s mother who announced she discovered the ball…And when Chen and Valer set up to assess the lie, a woman came running from out of a nearby house, with the woman telling them that the ball was moved by a spectator. She was pointing directly at Chen’s mother.”
“She said ‘That person right there kicked your ball,'” Valer said.
“Valer said he didn’t know if Chen’s ball was lying out of out of bounds when it was moved, but the fact that they were so close to being out of bounds, and that Chen’s mother was being accused of moving the ball, made the circumstances a potential “disaster.”
Valer said he told Chen that they needed to call a rules official….”Doris said, ‘No, I’m going to play the ball,'” Valer said. “I told her, ‘If you don’t talk to a rules official, you could be disqualified.'”
Full piece, including a recap of the varying accounts.
8. Quothe the Bryson
On getting comfortable closing out tournaments...”I would say just on a general basis that it’s something that I’ve derived in my brain…It’s like I have this black space and it’s just of my hands and arms and body and I see it and I just take it back and have this neurological sensation or input that I have for applying force to the club. There is a track to it. I see it and in that vision. Some people look and envision shots, do all that, but I just create it in my brain.”
9. From waiter to tour pro
Liam Johnston’s path to the European Tour has been anything but standard.
  • Via BBC Scotland…”The 25-year-old from Dumfries only turned professional at the end of 2017, believing he couldn’t make it as a pro.”
  • “And after doing enough in the UAE at the weekend, the Challenge Tour golfer earned a Tour card for next year.”
  • “I didn’t feel I was good enough to play professionally,” he told BBC Scotland.///”I worked for a couple years to fund my seasons, waiting at my local hotel and working behind the bar at night, and at a golf driving range during the day.”
Read the full story of an atypical professional odyssey.

 

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  1. po' boy

    Nov 8, 2018 at 1:14 am

    Bobby Jones was not a graduate mechanical engineer…. he dropped out of engineering after one year and then turned to lawyering after his golf career… a wise move…

  2. Walter

    Nov 6, 2018 at 1:46 pm

    Great comments by Gary Player, unfortunately there are no courses that are going to make those changes to please the golfers playing their courses, NONE! Courses are always crying they don’t make enough money as it is and Gary wants them to put out money to actually change their course to make it more player friendly, not going to happen. As for getting newly being built courses to follow his suggestions, right, how many new courses are built in NA every year, maybe 1 or 2 if that.

    • the dude

      Nov 6, 2018 at 2:42 pm

      ^..this!….(and) when players can just play the up tees……take one turn at putting….no marking putts….ya miss the second one…..bug off…

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Morning 9: Koepka is king | How Brooks got it done | Chamblee eats crow

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

May 20, 2019

Good Monday morning, golf fans.
1. Koepka is king
What can you say? Unless you feel our reaction to Brooks Koepka finishing the round he began with a seven-stroke lead just two in front (rather than, say, 10), Sunday was a mere polishing of the crown of the greatest major championship golfer since early 2000s Tiger Woods.
  • A few good takes from Sports Nation’s Brendan Porath…”Koepka did what he does at the majors and became the first player in the history of golf to hold back-to-back U.S. Opens and back-to-back PGA Championships. He’s now won four of his last nine major starts and even when he’s not winning, he’s around rattling the cage of the leaders. Like Tiger coming at you in his peak, Brooksy coming will only continue to be the most nerve-wracking of chaser options if you happen to be a leader at a major.”
  • “…We’ve seen him now win majors on soft courses, windy courses, firm courses, bomber’s courses, and courses considered strategic masterpieces. We’ve seen him come from behind on the weekend and win from in front on the weekend. We’ve seen him hold on under the pressure of this vanishing margin and in the mania of Tiger whipping St. Louis crowds into a frenzy while making at charge at him.”
2. The near turning point
Golf.com’s Dylan Dethier on the scene after Brooks Koepka made bogey at 11, 12, and 13 and what it was like on the ground…
  • A morsel…”Koepka may have thought the same thing, and attempted to play his iron shot past the front pin. But whether from adrenaline, miscalculation or just pure smash factor, Koepka’s ball pierced through the wind and airmailed over the back, nearly 30 yards long of the pin.”
  • “It’s hard to say with certainty why the Long Island mobs had suddenly turned on Koepka. He’s hardly the most popular Tour star, but crowds generally favor chaos, too. The combination of factors turned them boorish as Koepka approached his ball.”
3. Shane Ryan’s Sunday BK diary
I could pick any entry from Ryan’s singular minute-by-minute format, so here’s a taste…
  • “6:31 p.m.: I am far from the first one to make this observation, but it bears repeating: Feels like a really, really bad idea to let the people of Long Island host a Ryder Cup. This is going to be a madhouse in 2024. And now it’s time for Koepka hit his drive on 18, which can’t lose the tournament for him, but could probably win it…but that’s not happening. It’s in the sand left, and there’s still some juice in this orange.”
  • “6:35 p.m.: This may be too reactionary right now, but it feels like, at the very least, this is going to chip away at Koepka’s facade of invulnerability. Because this was a little ugly, even considering the course. And now he’s on the downslope of the bunker, and though he makes a good out, he still has to hit a good wedge to give himself two putts for the win.”
4. How long will the major reign of Brooks last?
Cameron Morfit (with an assist from Padraig Harrington) examines the question
  • “Brooks is young; he might get to double figures,” three-time major winner Padraig Harrington said after missing the cut earlier this week. “It’s a numbers game. He’s young enough that he could do it. Why wouldn’t you talk about getting to 18? He’s cracking them out at a fair pace.”
  • “Koepka, 29, put the lie to his own prediction that the winning score would be around even or a bit better. But he may prove himself right in suggesting before the tournament that he could perhaps get to double digits in major wins. If he keeps this up, he could get there quickly.”
  • “Players drift in and out,” said Harrington, a six-time PGA TOUR winner who won his three majors, the 2007 Open Championship and ’08 Open Championship and PGA Championship, in just 13 months. “Pretty much if you watch everybody’s career, they get about 18 months where they truly peak. Whether they’re 100th in the world and they become 50th, or 50th and it becomes 20th, or 20th and it becomes 10, or 10 becomes 1, I don’t know.”
5. Chamblee eats crow
On Sunday night’s edition of “Live From the PGA Championship,
  • “He’s made a believer out of me,” Chamblee said. “I don’t know that anybody saw this coming,” Chamblee said, referring to Koepka’s four major championship wins in two years. “We saw his talent. We knew how good he was. We knew how far he hit it. We knew that he had good touch around and on the greens. But how is it that a man who’s only won twice in regular Tour events shows up at the events with the thickest pressure, that mean the most, with the most mental hurdles that everybody else trips over, and he just glides right over them, one by one by one? That’s miraculous, is what it is.”
6. Runner-up slam
AFP report…”Back-to-back major runner-up efforts have given Dustin Johnson confidence in his game even as he settled for a career Runner-up Grand Slam by finishing second Sunday at the PGA Championship”
  • “…Johnson, whose only major win came at the 2016 US Open, has runner-up major finishes at the 2011 British Open, 2015 US Open, last month’s Masters and the PGA.”
  • “But he’s in good company with the “Second-place Slam” alongside Jack Nicklaus, Arnold Palmer, Greg Norman, Phil Mickelson, Louis Oosthuizen, Tom Watson and Craig Wood.”
7. How Koepka avoided collapse
The New York Post’s Mark Cannizzaro…
  • “Surely, after the way he’d manhandled the brutal Black Course for the first 3.5 rounds, the steely Koepka would be as rock solid as anyone to complete the job.”
  • “Until it looked like he wasn’t.”
  • “With Johnson hanging around, Koepka started skidding out of control like a car with bald tires in a rainstorm on the LIE, carding four consecutive bogeys on Nos. 11, 12, 13 and – of all places – the par-3 14th, the shortest hole on the course, where he shocked himself by airmailing the green.”
  • “Those gaffes, along with a Johnson birdie on No. 15 (he was the only player in the field to make birdie on 15 in all four rounds), turned what was once a seven-shot lead into a throat-drying, one-shot differential.”
8. Meanwhile, at the U.S. Senior Women’s Open…
John Strege at Golf Digest…
  • “Helen Alfredsson predominantly is a recreational golfer these days, better than most recreational golfers, of course, but Nassaus and skins games with friends, however spirited, don’t remotely replicate tournament golf.”
  • “Yet Alfredsson, always competitive, often fiery so, somehow cobbled together a game better than good enough to compete, good enough to win a national championship.”
  • “Alfredsson, a 54-year-old Swede, won the second U.S. Senior Women’s Open at Pine Needles Lodge and Golf Club in Southern Pines, N.C., on Sunday, defeating Juli Inkster and England’s Trish Johnson by two strokes. She received $180,000 for the victory.”
9. Jena Sims: Denied
Important, no? But an awkward moment plenty are talking out…and sure to be a meme if it isn’t already.
  • Rod Ardehali for the Daily Mail…”The pair are filmed walking together with Koepka deep in thought as his rivals, including fellow champion Dustin Johnson, mounted a charge on his lead.”
  • “Sims gets close to him twice and tries to give him a kiss but he shrugs it off and continues walking. When she goes back in again, the golfer pulls back – to the ire of his girlfriend, who folds her arms and walks ahead of him.”
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Brooks Koepka can’t stop defending major titles

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All right, it’s only two, but its two-consecutive PGA Championships…on the heels of two-straight U.S. Open titles. Thanks to the PGA moving up three months, he kinda-sorta has both doubles at the same time.

Brooks Koepka fought the golf course, his swing, the competition, and the self-inflicted pressure that he strives to minimize, and came out a winner. His margin of victory over workout pal Dustin Johnson was two strokes. Johnson had his chances but failed to capitalize. Can you fault him? If you had told him on Wednesday that he would be the only man to shoot all four rounds in the 60s, he might have anticipated a trophy at week’s end. Not to be. Despite a sequence of stumbles, Koepka parred the odd 18th hole and earned his sixth PGA Tour title and fourth major championship.

Here are five reasons he did it.

5. Dustin Johnson might be a one-off major winner, after all.

What they said couldn’t be done, was in Johnson’s grasp. Koepka’s apparently-insurmountable, 7-shot advantage had withered to 2 mere blows, and the man responsible for the winnowing was Dustin Johnson. The man from Myrtle was 3-under on the day, and stood a mere 12 feet from a 4th birdie at the 10th. Behind him, Koepka was even for the day, and about to birdie the 10th hole from 2 feet. Johnson missed, then bogeyed the 11th. What if DJ had made his birdie, and the roars had erupted. Would Koepka have stuffed his ridiculous, 160-yard lob wedge for a kick-in birdie? Probably not. DJ had to be perfect on Sunday, and when he most needed the endurance and the mental fortitude, both were lacking.

4. Koepka survived

I’ve played BPB and I’ve watched my high school golfers compete on it during New York state federation play. It is as difficult as you saw today. One bad swing leads to a bad hole, and it might lead to a run of four bogeys, as Koepka had on holes 11-14. He bogeyed a par five! He bogeyed a flip-shot par three!! He then turned around and parred the two most difficult holes of the closing stretch. Despite another bogey on his nemesis, the 17th, Koepka had enough wiggle room to limp home with par for a 2-shot victory.

3. Koepka elevated his game when needed

There was a point when the lead was down to one stroke, but if not for this shot, Koepka and Johnson would have been tied. The champion knew the adrenaline he was feeling, which explains the ludicrous thought that a gap wedge would fly 158 yards in the air. It did, and the ball settled two feet below the hole at the 10th. No matter what was happening in front of him, Koepka was about to shave a stroke from par. Golfers who choke a tournament away never make shots like this one.

2. Despite this…

I don’t have any words to describe this exchange. Your guy is trying to win a major, and somehow, it seems to be about you?

1. Karma

Doing a kind thing when you least need to do a kind thing, leads to Shivas, the god of Irons, smiling down on you.

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PGA Championship: 5 things we learned on Saturday

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Day three at Bethpage promised to differ from the first 48 hours of the 2019 PGA Championship. With a halved field and no 10th-hole tee times, odds of missing your tee time were reduced, even for David Lipsky. Brooks Koepka began the day with a 7-stroke lead, but the chance to chase him down depended on one of two scenarios playing out.

The first demanded similar course conditions to days one and two. In that situation, someone would shoot 63 or 64, hoping Koepka remained at par or higher. Conditions were different, as the wind picked up and then swirled, sending a higher number of tee shots into the rough and beyond. As for the second, well, it required Koepka to balloon to a mid- to high-70s score, allowing a score anywhere below par to make up ground. Neither one happened, and Koepka left the state park with the same lead as he had 24 hours prior. We still learned quite a bit on Saturday, so have a look at the 5 most important things we learned on Saturday at the 2019 PGA Championship.

5. New names made their presence known

Ardent followers of professional golf have read about Jazz Janewattananond, Harold Varner III and Luke List, but until today, none had made a dent in the first page of a major professional event. Each sits at -5, tied with Dustin Johnson, seven blows behind Koepka. Varner will accompany Koepka on the Sunday march, but all four of the minus-fives will play either for 2nd spot, or the coveted “If Koepka should falter” trophy.

4. How do you come from THAT far behind?

Simply put, you need to make six birdies at least, get to 9 or 10 under par, and pray for rain. Koepka’s swing looks like it’s here to stay. He doesn’t get tired physically, and he isn’t under the weather. Yesterday, I predicted that Matt Wallace would hit more shots like this one. I stand by that prediction, and expect Wallace (at -4) to be the only one of the chasers to give Koepka a run. Wallace is playing for the same sort of legitimacy as the leader. Koepka wants to be a part of the conversation for best golfer in the world; Wallace wants to be much more than an afterthought when Ryder Cup 2021 comes around. Sunday will put the Englishman in another class.

3. Spieth and Scott went quietly away

No one likes to foretell doom and gloom, unless they go by the name of Bran Stark. It is someone’s job to predict such things in golf, and the team of S and S shared the cloak of most likely to play above par on Saturday. The Jordan Spieth who gutted out the 2015 US Open at Chambers Bay was not present today. The Adam Scott who played through the rain to defeat Angel Cabrera in the 2013 Masters playoff was also unavailable. Bethpage is a big, brawny golf course. With the exception of Lucas Glover in 2009, it rewards big, brawny golfers.

2. Is Bethpage a boring place to play a major championship?

I don’t think so, but I’m not convinced that this was the best set-up for it. If the PGA likes birdies, tell me how they went from 10 billion birdies in the event’s first half, to quite a few less on day three? Something changed, or perhaps the course caught up with the conditions. There is a lot of thick rough out there…why? Increase fairway width by 10%, so that balls that barely miss, have a chance at redemption. Move the tee markers up on number six and make it a drivable par four for at least one round. Do the same on number eighteen, just for one day on the weekend. If Koepka is on his game for day four, anticipate a nice time for a long nap.

1. Will Brooks Koepka seal the deal on Sunday?

All signs point to Yes, and major championship number four, and possibly the blessing of Pope Brandel of Chamblee. However, we did see a few flinches on Saturday, and we would like to mention them here. To begin, his putting distance control was erratic. Did you see that first putt on 17, from 20 feet? The one that went 75% of the way to the hole? Brooks made his share of 5-feet putts today, but if the distance control gets weird tomorrow, and the short putts start spinning out, well then… Another area of concern was driving. He can’t be perfect, but with the big stick in his hands at all times, the big miss might be coming. If BK goes wide right or left and makes a big number, the confidence might be shaken.

All right, I’m searching for a needle in a haystack of straws at which I’m grasping. Got that? It’s a double metaphor, because a double metaphor is what is needed to keep Koepka from holding PGA and US Open trophies for the 2nd consecutive cycle.

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