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GolfWRX Morning Drive: Cam Champ’s crazy fitting | Even more rules-related drama | A pro-am with Bryson

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1 Because HE needed more distance…
Golfweek’s David Dusek with an interesting report on the young rocket launcher Cameron Champ’s fitting following his now famous cracked driver head.
  • “On Monday before the Shiners Hospitals for Children Open, {Christian Pena, Ping’s PGA Tour manager] built Champ a new gamer driver using the same components as in the driver that broke. However, Champ said he wanted to make the same swing but launch the ball slightly higher. To do that, Pena would need to add loft, which would also increase spin and reduce distance. Instead, Pena made some drivers with counterbalanced shafts that allowed him to make Champ a head with a heaver back weight. That increased the dynamic loft at impact.”
  • “Champ’s typical drive had been launching at 7 degrees with about 2,700 rpm of backspin, creating a carry distance of about 325 yards. Using the new shaft in his G400 Max, a prototype Accra TZT 265 M5, he started hitting the ball even farther.”
  • “The first he hit launched at 9 degrees, carried 15 yards farther and the ball speed was almost 198 mph,” Pena said, laughing. “We looked at each other and said to ourselves, ‘What the heck did we just do?'”
2. Rough stuff for Lumpy
Tim Herron is dealing with the onset of Dupuytren’s contracture.
PGATour.com’s Helen Ross explains…”Dupuytren’s, which is sometimes called the Viking Disease because it’s most common among people of Nordic descent, causes a gradual tightening of the tissue-like cords under the skin in the hand. As it progresses, fingers – most commonly the pinkie and ring finger – are drawn in toward the palm.”
  • “Herron’s father and younger sister both have Dupuytren’s. Treatment, when needed, can involve injections or using a needle to break the tissue that is keeping the fingers drawn. Surgery is another option.”
  • Herron isn’t there, yet. But the four-time PGA TOUR winner is watching how the disease progresses.
  • “About seven years ago I saw that I was starting to get nodules in my hand —  things that kind of pop up,” he says. “And I noticed in the palm of my hand that I was starting to get a firmness in the cord.
  • “The cord is the thing that hardens and actually holds your fingers down towards your palm. My fingers have not gone towards my palm yet, but I do have a lot of lumps and bumps on the palm of my hand.”
3. Rough Rules stuff
I mean, the rules are the rules, but…
Via Golf Monthly...”European Tour hopeful Gian-Marco Petrozzi lost out on a potential place in Q-School Final Stage due to a rare rules infraction….The Englishman received a two stroke penalty on his last hole which ultimately cost him the chance of a playoff for an alternate spot.”
“He was playing his final hole and had to hit a shot over a bunker and walked through the bunker to pace his yardage and then raked his footprints in the sand…That ultimately cost him two strokes for improving his line of of play, something covered in Rule 13-2.”
“After making a hole in one and finishing with 5 birdies in the last 6 to shoot 65 and make a play off for an alternate spot I signed my card then 20 minutes later found I was given a 2 shot penalty on the last hole for pacing out a yardage walking through a bunker then raking the footprints before walking back and hitting my shot over the bunker and onto the green.”
4. A pro-am with Bryson…
Can you imagine what it’s like to in one of pro golf’s unique pre-tournament 5-hour spectacles?
  • Golf Digest’s Joel Beall talks with a few of the men who teed it up with golf’s mad scientist.
  • “Bryson gave us a big warm greeting and was opposite of aloof,” said George Kaelin, an attorney and former owner of Full Swing Golf. “He remained engaging and interested in us. There was a ton of trash taking that was surprising. He told me he wasn’t use to giving reads to a guy who had side spin on putt.”
  • That outlooked was seconded by Ramsey.
  • “Upon meeting Bryson, I knew that there was a gap in the public perception of Bryson and the real Bryson,” Ramsay said. “He was very warm, fun, and easy to engage with. I was clearly the worst golfer of our foursome, and he took time to help me with my swing. He said, ‘It’s all about your radius, so I want you to show me you can hit behind the ball.’ When I did that, he remarked that he could see that I had ‘radius control’ so he taught me to tap the ground in front of the ball before every swing; I now do this every time as I feel it helps me create the right radius.
5. Exemptor Kaymer
Via Golf Digest…”While winning the U.S. Open bestows a five-year PGA Tour exemption, Martin Kaymer, winner of the 2014 championship at Pinehurst, lost his member status for 2016 due to appearing in just 13 events the prior season.”
  • “Gaining full eligibility to play on both tours-the PGA Tour and the European Tour-is a challenge,” Kaymer said at the time. “When coordinating my 2014-15 schedule I was forced to plan with a certain degree of risk.”
  • “Although he regained his card, it appeared Kaymer was facing a similar fate for 2019, as the 33-year-old made just 11 starts on tour this year. However, according to Kaymer, the tour has granted him a reprieve.”
6. Suzy Whaley
Helen Ross, again, with an appreciation of Suzy Whaley…
  • A morsel…”Whaley was just getting hooked on golf in Syracuse, New York, and she was good enough to compete in tournaments when her name was scratched off the entry list of a junior tournament for boys because she was a girl.”
  • “‘And now I’ve played in a PGA Tour event,” said Whaley, who at the 2003 Greater Hartford Open became the first woman in 58 years to qualify for a PGA Tour event. “Look how far we’ve gone. It’s not where we need to be, but we’re making progress. And that makes me smile.”
7. An ode to winter golf
Excellent stuff from Wes Valentine over at Fansided…
  • A morsel…”Can a person make a fluid, loose swing with four layers on? No, not really. If anything, November golf is the great handicap manager. Everyone loses significant distance and course conditions make every lie an crap shoot. In winter golf, nothing is taken for granted.
  • Like to take a big divot? Go ahead and schedule that rotator cuff surgery now. If you are a sweeper, prepare your hands for a high-voltage electric shock should you catch one thin. Sticking a divot repair tool into a socket is less jolting.”
  • “Throw in a wind that makes the eyes and nose water and it all adds up to a seemingly miserable experience….Yet there you are; hands wrapped around a warm styrofoam cup, a knit cap pulled snuggly over the ears, in righteous awe of a deserted course.
  • “And then there are your playing partners; your fellow frozen travelers. Like the crew of Admiral Byrd’s Expedition, you all plod along the tundra not because you like it, but because there is no other choice for the adventurous soul. It is in your blood. It is undeniable. This is what the truly devoted do.”
8. Further OWGR dragging
Golf Digest’s Joel Beall rightly points out the OWGR’s credibility has suffered this year and the critical djinn is growing.
  • “Complaints about the OWGR have been regular since its introduction in 1986, it’s byzantine formula and bias against certain tours leading to faux pas like the example above, or when Jordan Spieth grabbed the reins after a missed cut in 2015. But this season has especially highlighted the OWGR’s fickle nature. Since the Players Championship in May, the No. 1 ranking has changed six times between four players-Dustin Johnson to Justin Thomas, back to DJ, to Justin Rose, back to DJ, to Brooks Koepka, back to Rose (until next week when Koepka then marks switch No. 7).”
  • “In one regard, that fluctuation is understandable. Golf’s upper echelon is lush with firepower and a compelling argument can be made for a number of players as the current big kahuna. It should also be acknowledged that building a system to identify the best in this sport is not easy. In that same breath, to see the ranking kicked around like a hacky sack-particularly on the part of the calendar when, to all but the zealots, the season is over-siphons whatever juice is supposed to be inherent to the No. 1 honor.”
Beall offers a few thoughts on fixing a broken system. Full piece.
9. McIlroy sells
In today’s edition of “PGA Tour pro Real Estate Transactions”….Rory McIlroy has sold his 10,000-plus-square-foot Palm Beach Gardens abode for $11.5 million. He purchased the pad for $11.75 million in 2012.
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Rory McIlroy won’t watch Tiger-Phil match, claims the event has “missed the mark”

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Last month, Justin Thomas stated that there was zero chance of him watching Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson battle it out in Las Vegas for $9 million. Now, Rory McIlroy is the latest Tour player to say he won’t be tuning in.

McIlroy, while speaking on Tuesday at the DP World Tour Championship in Dubai, told reporters that Phil Mickelson had even offered to cover the pay-per-view fee for the Irishman when they discussed the match during a FedEx Cup playoff event earlier in the year. But McIlroy made it clear today that he wasn’t in the least bit interested in the event, stating

“Look, if they had a done it 15 years ago, it would have been great. But nowadays, it’s missed the mark a little bit.”

McIlroy’s comments should not be surprising. The 29-year-old is no stranger to speaking his mind, and we can only speculate on what exactly he meant with his statement that the showdown has “missed the mark a little bit.” If McIlroy is suggesting that this event has missed the mark due to the match airing on PPV, then he is likely to find many supporters of the game in agreement with him — the $19.99 price tag for the exhibition has not gone over well. Or, if the fact that neither player is putting up a dime of their own money for the contest is what has failed to pique McIlroy’s interest, then he is again likely to find many who agree with his view.

However, whether the showdown between Woods and Mickelson would have been a greater spectacle fifteen years ago compared to present day is debatable. Woods is currently a prohibitive favorite to win the contest on Thanksgiving Friday with odds of -225. But in 2003, an untouchable Woods against a major-less Mickelson could very well have been a mismatch.

The Match between Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson takes place on November 23 at Shadow Creek in Las Vegas.

What do you make of Mcilroy’s comments, GolfWRXers?

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GolfWRX Morning 9: No European Tour for Rory? | Interesting caddie moves | Save, don’t Pave

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

November 13, 2018

Good Tuesday morning, golf fans.
1. McIlroy relinquishing European Tour membership
Not hamstrung by European Ryder Cup qualification requirements in 2019, Rors will be focusing his efforts stateside.
  • AP Report…”McIlroy said on Tuesday at the World Tour Championship he intends to play only two full-field European Tour events in the first half of 2019 because of changes in the tournament schedule.”
  • “The three-time Race to Dubai champion said he’ll be spending most of his time in the U.S. because the Players’ Championship and the U.S. PGA Championship have been brought forward to March and May respectively. That has pushed the European Tour’s flagship event, the BMW PGA Championship, to September.”
  • “It is the result of the changes,” he said. “I don’t have to commit to anything until May, so I will not have played a European Tour event … I will play the WGCs and majors and events like that, but the true European Tour season does not start until July.
  • “The way the schedule has worked for next year, it is going to be different for a lot of guys. Everything is going to be so condensed between March and August, and that is why I am taking a big offseason to get myself ready … then go at it hard from March all the way through to basically the end of the season.”
2. Lexi, caddie split
She still has about 37 more to go until she catches Lydia Ko, but Lexi Thompson and her looper of two years have parted ways.
  • Digest’s Alex Myers…”While Thompson declined to provide any details, McAlpine confirmed to Golfweek’s Beth Ann Nichols he would not be on Thompson’s bag for the CME Group Tour Championship in Naples. McAlpine, a former Scottish Amateur champ, began caddying for Thompson in March of 2017 and was by her side when she got hit with a controversial four-shot penalty during the round of the ANA Inspiration.”
3. …also in caddie news…
Lee Westwood, keen to do his own yardages, etc, and unable to argue with the results, is keeping his girlfriend, Helen Storey, on the bag.
  • Golf Channel’s Will Gray…”Westwood, 45, will reportedly keep his girlfriend on the bag moving forward, including this week at the DP World Tour Championship. The decision means an end to Westwood’s 10-year relationship with caddie Billy Foster, as the two last worked together the week prior at the Turkish Airlines Open.”
  • “Lee wanted to work differently to everything we had ever done, which basically meant me just carrying the bag,” Foster said. “Ultimately it was no good for Lee and not fair on me either. So unfortunately the partnership had run its course, and we both knew that. Times change.”
  • “Westwood had his son, Sam, on the bag during a T-5 finish at last month’s Andalucia Valderrama Masters, but Storey appears to be the catalyst for his game. Storey caddied at the Made in Denmark in September when Westwood lost in a playoff, and she guided him Sunday en route to his first European Tour win since 2014.”
4. Good theater!
Martin Kaufmann, in his traditional post-mortem of the golf coverage during the weekend that was, liked what he saw from South Africa, Sunday.
  • “Entering Sunday, there was nothing to suggest that the Nedbank Golf Challenge hosted by Gary Player would be one of the most entertaining and emotional final rounds we would see on any tour in 2018. Frankly, I almost didn’t watch. But I’m glad I did.”
  • “Sure, Nedbank is the penultimate tournament in the European Tour’s Rolex Series. Sure, it had a strong field trying to capture the nearly $1.25 million winner’s check. So the tournament is a pretty big deal.”
  • “What was far more compelling, however, was the personal storyline that played out during the final round, with Lee Westwood’s unlikely victory after four winless seasons.
  • “Everyone fancies Westy’s chances,” anchor Dougie Donnelly said before Westwood’s opening tee shot.’
  • “That seemed to be a reach. Westwood had won at Sun City twice, but there was little to suggest that he had a back-nine 31 up his sleeve. But the announcing crew played a hunch, and it paid off.”

Full piece.

5. Austin Cook reflects
Interesting stuff from the “Tour pro writing with X” byline files. Austin Cook in Golf Digest.
  • “It’s Wednesday before the 2016 Web.com Tour Championship. I’m sharing a house in Jacksonville Beach, Fla., with my wife, Crys, and Zack Sucher and his wife. We’re hanging on the beach in 40-mile-per-hour winds as Hurricane Matthew approaches. I’m 27th in the standings, needing to move into the top 25 to earn my PGA Tour card for 2016-’17. And I had just missed the cut by one shot in the third event of the Web.com Tour Finals. We’re hitting balls on the sand, trying to have fun. Then my caddie calls: “The tournament’s canceled.” My season is suddenly over, my PGA Tour card ripped from me.”
  • “IT TOOK A LOT NOT TO CHUCK THE WEDGE I WAS HOLDING OUT INTO THE OCEAN. Zack and my wife just let me have a moment to myself. We had to evacuate the area, and so we drove from Jacksonville to Birmingham, where we’d stay for a night with the Suchers before driving home to northeast Arkansas. I wouldn’t calm down for a few days, but my wife’s advice sticks in my head: She said, “I know this is heartbreaking right now, but it’s gonna happen for you.” She was right. When you’ve worked hard for a lifetime for a goal, you’ve got to remember the bigger picture.”
6. Saving Canal Shores
A proposed butchery of the historic Illinois golf course is nearing a vote.
  • Golfweek’s Brentley Romine…”The proposal,submitted by Dick Keefe Development Corporation, calls for a road to be built through the 10th hole at Canal Shores Golf Club, located in both Evanston and Wilmette, about a mile from Northwestern University. The road would provide access to four homes set to be built near the course.”
  • “In other words, public land would be used for a private landowner The Metropolitan Water Reclamation District, which leases out the Tom Bendelow-designed North Shore layout, will vote on the proposal on Thursday.”
  • “The par-60, 18-hole course was founded in 1919 and has quite the history. Bill Murray and his brothers worked at Canal Shores (formerly known as Peter N. Jans Memorial Golf Course), and longtime PGA Tour golfer Tim Herron made his pro debut there, winning the course’s inaugural mini-tour event in 1994.”
And if you’re inclined, add your voice to the “save, don’t pave” chorus here.
7. A 49-year-old is on to the final stage of Web.com Q-School
Golfweek’s Kevin Casey...”The second stage of Web.com Tour Q-School may be one of golf’s greatest mental challenges….Pass through and you simply get a chance to earn a full Web.com Tour card. Fall short and you might have to look abroad for playing opportunities.”
  • “David Branshaw didn’t seem to have any nerves in this pressure-cooker….”I’m too old to worry about this stuff,” Branshaw said.”
  • “His attitude paid off as Branshaw closed the Brooksville, Fla., second stage site with three consecutive 68s for a 14-under 274 – a total that earned him a tie for 14th and a pass through to the final stage on the number.”
How can you not root for Branshaw?
8. A decision to make?
The Daily Mail’s Derek Lawrenson with some harsh words for the European Tour and players planning to participate in the upcoming DP World Tour Championship in Saudi Arabia.
  • A bit of what he had to say…”But when is a good time to announce that in the midst of the international outrage felt following the premeditated killing of the journalist Jamal Khashoggi at the Saudi consulate in Istanbul?”
  • ‘We’re monitoring the situation,’ said Pelley last week, as calls for the event to be cancelled have grown. It’s certainly a fraught decision for the Canadian, as the unease felt by many at the staging of high-profile sporting events in the kingdom has increased.
  • “It’s not a vast leap of the imagination to suspect the Saudis are using their oil wealth to lure sport into something of a devil’s pact, to present a more acceptable persona to cover up human rights abuses.”
9. Writeth the Maurice
We’re blessed with a Maurice Allen “My Shot” (with Guy Yocom) today. Just check out how it starts…
  • “I’M THE ROLEX-WEARIN’, DIAMOND-RING WEARIN’, kiss-stealin’, wheelin’-dealin’, limousine-ridin’, jet-flyin’ son of a gun, and I’m havin’ a hard time keepin’ these gators on the ground!” I screamed that at the top of my lungs to a national TV audience when I won the Volvik World Long Drive Championship in September. The line originated with Ric Flair, the pro wrestler who, next to Muhammad Ali, was the greatest self-promoter who ever lived. Long driving is a sport. It’s entertainment. The fans went crazy.”
  • “IN TRUTH, I DON’T WEAR A ROLEX. I have a couple of rings with diamonds in them from my long-drive exploits in Europe, but the stones are tiny. I’ve never flown privately in my life. I don’t ride in limos. Heck, I drive a Nissan pickup truck.”
  • I lead a simple life. I don’t even have cable TV or Internet in my house. I don’t go to parties and have never touched a drop of alcohol in my life. I don’t eat candy. I go to church. I’ve taken Advil, but only after surgery. Athletes and celebrities sometimes are usually wilder than their public persona. I’m just the opposite.
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Lexi Thompson splits with caddie ahead of LPGA Tour season finale

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Lexi Thompson has parted ways with Scottish caddie, Kevin McAlpine, prior to the LPGA Tour’s season finale CME Group Tour Championship in Naples, Florida.

McAlpine, who had been working with Thompson since March 2017, confirmed the split to Golfweek.com, after what has been a turbulent season for the 23-year old. Thompson, however, declined to provide any comment on the decision through her agent, Bobby Kreusler.

Thompson is in the midst of a winless drought on the LPGA Tour, dating back to September 2017, and has dropped four places to eighth in the Rolex Rankings since the beginning of the year.

The nine-time winner on the LPGA Tour has had publicized personal struggles to endure over the past 18 months, which include the passing of her grandmother and her mother’s cancer diagnosis within a short period. These issues caused Thompson to take a break from the game back in July, stating at the time “the events of the past year and a half have taken a tremendous toll on me both mentally and emotionally.”

Most recently, Thompson took to social media, to open up about her “self-image/body confidence,” which has garnered a very positive reaction from her followers. Thompson wrote that despite it maybe sounding “crazy” to some; she has been battling with the issue for years.

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So this is a pretty personal post and some people might think it’s stupid or that I’m crazy but I’m going to share it anyway…. one of the biggest issues I’ve gone through is my self image/ body confidence. When I was really young, I just ate what I wanted to, didn’t care about fitness at all or what I weighed. Then as I slowly got into fitness seeing the results, I started getting crazy about it, seeing the attention I was getting, doing certain photo shoots I never thought I would. I was putting my body through brutal workouts twice a day not really eating because I thought that’s the way I would lose weight and weighing myself constantly. I would compare my self to these stick thin or fitness models on Instagram, tearing myself down because I didn’t have the toned stomach or the big butt. As a girl I know body confidence is a huge part of life and what we all go through. You think you’ll be happy once you get this certain body? But will you really be? Maybe more confident and by doing it the right way is how u need to go about it. The only way you’ll ever be truly happy though is if you love yourself first. But what I want to share is that your not alone in any of your struggles. And what I’ve learned is that I’m not going to deprive myself in the one life I get to live, I’m going to enjoy life and my food . You should never compare your body to others it’s a never ending battle of being miserable trust me. Your body is your body, it is beautiful so embrace it ??

A post shared by Lexi Thompson (@lexi) on

The American has won a title on the LPGA Tour every year dating back to 2013; however, this week’s event in Florida represents her final chance to extend that impressive streak. If she is to claim victory in Florida this week, Thompson will do it without McAlpine on the bag, who helped her to two wins in 2017.

The LPGA Tour finale of the 2018 season, the CME Group Tour Championship, begins this Thursday.

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