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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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Phil phires a 60 | Lowry leads in Abu Dhabi | Bernhard the bricklayer’s son

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

January 18, 2019

Good Friday morning, golf fans.
1.  Desert Classic
A “rusty” Mickelson leads with nothing less than a 12-under 60…
Golf Channel’s Ryan Lavner…”If this is his idea of rusty, it could be another special year for Phil Mickelson…Before heading out to begin his 28th year on the PGA Tour, Lefty alerted his 250,000-plus Twitter followers that he was “excited” and “fresh” and “ready to get started,” but also, um, “rusty,” which is a golfer’s subtle way of suggesting that expectations should be lowered. Mickelson even told his playing partner, Aaron Wise, the reigning Rookie of the Year, as much before the round: “I’m rusty, so don’t expect much.”
  • “But Mickelson has been doing the improbable for nearly three decades now, and so maybe it shouldn’t have been such a complete surprise that in his first round of 2019, at 48 years of age, with no expectations, he carded his lowest score in relation to par in his long and decorated Tour career – a 12-under 60, to take the lead Thursday at the Desert Classic.”
  • “It was kind of a lucky day in the sense that I did not feel sharp heading in,” Mickelson said afterward. “Sometimes it’s just one of those days when it clicks.”
2. Meanwhile, on the LPGA Tour…
AP Report…”Nearly three months after Lewis became a mother, and six months after she last played on tour, she opened with seven birdies on Thursday for a 5-under 66 that left her one shot behind Brooke Henderson and Eun-Hee Ji at the Diamond Resorts Tournament of Champions.”
  • ”Pleasantly surprised,” Lewis said. ”Had pretty low expectations going into the day. Just really made a lot of putts. I had some weird shots, which I knew was going to happen having not played in a while. I don’t know where it came from, but I’m going to take it.”
  • “Henderson overcame a slow start with a bogey on the second hole and a par save on No. 3 at the Tranquilo Golf Club at Four Seasons. She birdied five of her last eight holes for a 65 to tie Ji, who had a bogey-free round.”
  • “The tournament – the first season-opener in Florida for the LPGA since 2015 – is only for LPGA winners each of the last two years.”
3. European Tour
A report from The National...”Shane Lowry has a three-shot advantage to take into Saturday’s final round of the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship presented by EGA.”
  • “A birdie at the 18th gave him a round of 67 to leave him on -17, three ahead of South African Richard Sterne.”
  • “An eagle on the final hole from Ian Poulter lifted the Englishman to -12 and gives him hope he can prevail on Saturday.”
  • “Pablo Larrazabal will start the final round on -11 ahead of a quartet of Maximilian Kiefer, Thomas Pieters, Soren Kjeldsen and Scott Jamieson.”
4. The bricklayer’s son
Bernhard Langer’s “My Shot” runs in Golf Digest this month.
A few morsels…
  • “My father built our house. When I was a boy, he would call on me to help him lay bricks. I would shovel the material for the mortar into a small mixing machine, then join him in laying the bricks, setting them carefully, one by one, using string to make sure everything was straight. I consider it a miracle to have come this far.”
  • “WE CADDIES were given four hand-me-down clubs to share. There was a 2-wood, 3-iron and 7-iron, all with bamboo shafts, and a putter with a shaft bent like an archer’s bow. By the time I was 12, I saved enough money to buy a new set of Kroydon irons. They weren’t top of the line, but they were shiny, new and all mine. I added a Blue Goose model putter that had a small indentation in the head. It was a magical putter, and I quickly became the best putter at the course, Golfclub Augsburg, and possibly all of Germany. One day the putter went missing. I frantically went through the members’ bags, and sure enough, found my Blue Goose with the indentation. But I was in a terrible situation. I couldn’t confront the member-he surely would deny everything, and I would be fired. So I kept it to myself. I never did get the Blue Goose back. I’ve spent the past 50 years looking for a putter that suits me as well.”
5. Latin American Am
AP Report…“Alvaro Ortiz of Mexico had an ideal start Thursday in hopes of turning his fortunes in the Latin American Amateur Championship, opening with a 6-under 66 to build a three-shot lead after the opening round.”
  • “Ortiz has been runner-up in the Latin American Amateur the last two years. He finished five shots behind Joaquin Niemann of Chile last year, and he lost in a three-man playoff to Toto Gana the previous year.”
  • “The winner earns a spot in the Masters in April, and is exempt into the final stage of qualifying for the U.S. Open and British Open.”
6. Pins in at Augusta National? Maybe…
Golf Channel’s Nick Menta…”Will players really be allowed to putt with the pins in during at the Masters?”
  • “Asked that question Thursday at the Latin America Amateur Championship, Augusta National chairman Fred Ridley didn’t say no.”
  • “Under the new Rules of Golf, which went into effect on Jan. 1, players are now allowed to leave the flagstick in while on the greens, as Bryson DeChambeau so eagerly demonstrated.”
  • “Addressing the possibility of Augusta National going against the Rules of Golf during Masters week, Ridley first thanked the USGA’s Mike Davis and R&A’s Martin Slumbers for their work, then preached a message of “consistency” at the game’s highest levels.”
  • “We will, as we always do, collaborate with the governing bodies. We will talk about those local rules and conditions that will be implemented,” Ridley said.”
  • “We think it’s important that there be some consistency in top championship golf, and so you should expect that the Masters Tournament, from a rules perspective, will look very much, if not the same, as what you’re seeing in the major championships and the professional tours.”
7. The weirdest lies in golf history
Great stuff here from Coleman Bentley rounding up some of the most absurd lies (and resultant shots) in golf history (although it’s hard to believe there’s any way his list could be comprehensive, but hey, headlines, and you have to admire the effort)
  • “Golf is a game of minutely controlled chaos. Atoms crashing into atoms. Weight swooping into inertia. A ballet of bounces, spins, kicks, and ricochets that goes wrong just as often as it goes right. The beauty of a such an unpredictable game-one of inches, not yards-however, is that when it goes right it’s spectacular and when it goes wrong, well, it’s equally spectacular. Beg to differ? Well, keep on begging, because as the weirdest, wildest lies in golf’s weird, wild history prove, chaos is a beautiful thing indeed.”
  • “Shane Lowry – 2018 Abu Dhabi Championship…Before Shane Lowry could tie the course record at the 2018 Abu Dhabi Championship, he first had to conquer Trash Heap Corner. P.S. If no one’s taking that couch, we might know a guy who’s interested.”
  • “Phil Mickelson – 2014 Barclays Championship…The Leave: Just to the left of Big Jeff’s Hotdog Haus. One day Phil Mickelson will save par from the surface of the moon. We’re sure of it. Until then, his walkabout at the 2014 Barclays Championship will have to suffice.”
8. Kang & McNealy
A couple of Las Vegas-based golf pros are a couple!
Golf Channel’s Randall Mell...”Danielle Kang watched Maverick McNealy with special interest when he was mic’d up on Golf Channel’s telecast of the Web.com Tour event in the Bahamas earlier this week.”
  • “They are dating.”
  • “Kang wasn’t sure whether to reveal McNealy is her boyfriend, but she couldn’t help herself.”
  • “He’s a dork,” she cracked when asked to review his running dialogue on Golf Channel. “But he’s my dork.”
  • “She was applying the Kang needle. Both she and McNealy live in Las Vegas. She said they met at a golf course there, The Summit Club.”
  • “He’s a sweetheart,” Kang said. “I have so much respect for him and vice versa.”
  • Aww!
9. Back in black!
Titleist 718 AP2 Black and AP3 Black released in limited quantities. Previously only available in a traditional chrome finish, the new Titleist 718 AP2 Black and Titleist 718 AP3 Black irons are finished with a sleek, high polish black PVD coating. The irons feature True Temper AMT Onyx shafts stock.
  • Titleist has unveiled new 718 AP2 Black and 718 AP3 Black irons in limited black finish that will be available to purchase from March 1.
  • Previously only available in a traditional chrome finish, the new Titleist 718 AP2 Black and Titleist 718 AP3 Black irons are finished with a sleek, high polish black PVD coating. The irons feature True Temper AMT Onyx shafts stock. The shafts’ powder coat matte black finish aims to minimize glare (in addition to looking cool). An all-black Golf Pride Tour Velvet 360 grip is standard as well.
  • Speaking on the move to release the irons in black, Josh Talge, Vice President, Golf Club Marketing said
  • “One request we heard from both tour players and amateurs, particularly those who have gravitated toward our Jet Black Vokey SM7 wedges, was if they could have these same irons in a darker finish. Our team spent a lot of time making sure the aesthetics were done just right. It’s a look that you just have to see.”
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Brooks Koepka with Mizuno JPX 919 irons, TaylorMade M5 driver in the bag at Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship

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Brooks-Koepka-Mizuno-JPX919

Brooks Koepka is in action this week at the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship equipped with a new driver and set of irons.

Golf.com’s Jonathan Wall broke the news, via Twitter, that Kopeka has TaylorMade’s new M5 Driver in his bag this week, as well as Mizuno’s JPX 919 Tour Irons.

The three-time major champ used TaylorMade’s M3 460 Driver and Mizuno’s JPX 900 Tour irons throughout 2018, and it appears as if Koepka is happy to make the transition to both manufacturers latest additions of those series of clubs right from the get-go in 2019.

Brooks-Koepka-Mizuno-JPX-919

Koepka is currently T13 after two rounds of play at the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship and sits five shots off the lead.

 

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European Tour members have heated exchange over cheating incident…from 2013

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Social media appears to have become the new playground for golfers to air their issues with each other, and this week it was the turn of two European Tour members.

The two men involved were Spain’s Gonzalo Fernandez-Castano and England’s Simon Dyson, and the subject of the feud revolves around a new change in the rulebook of golf. As of 2019, players are allowed to repair spike marks on the greens, an act which Dyson was found guilty of doing when it was prohibited back in 2013, and subsequently found himself slapped with a fine and a suspension.

Fernandez Castano kicked off the fun and games following his opening round at this week’s Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship. The Spaniard said how the new rule “will take some time to get used to” before adding the punchline  “Unless you are Simon Dyson and you have been doing it for years.”

The bad blood between Fernandez-Castano and Dyson appears to be fully down to Dyson’s misdemeanour in 2013, as one year later on Twitter when the Spaniard was asked for his opinion on Dyson; he bluntly replied: “Used to like him, not anymore”.

Asked why he hadn’t tagged Dyson in his tweet yesterday, the Spaniard claimed that the Englishman had blocked him, before Dyson took to the stage, with a different rationale. In a since-deleted tweet, Dyson stated that Fernandez-Castano didn’t have the cojones (or something similar) and stated that the Spaniard is a “sad little man”.

After getting that off his chest, Dyson approached the incident differently, saying that he, unlike Fernandez-Caetano supposedly, had moved on from the affair which occurred six years ago.

Nothing quite like a good old confrontation on social media with a peer to begin your professional year, eh?

 

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