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GolfWRX Morning 9: Tiger turns down Saudi Arabia | Call him Brandel Langher? | What gives, PGA?

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

November 8, 2018

Good Thursday morning, golf fans. In the spirit of an election week, I’m pandering to the “bullet point free” readers today.
1. Brandel the next Bernhard?
It sounds like the Golf Channel’s most divisive analyst is keen to get out of the studio to put a peg in the ground on the Centrum Silver circuit.
The Forecaddie reports.
“When Brandel Chamblee entered a qualifier for the Senior British Open last summer it was his first competitive round of golf in a decade. The Golf Channel analyst won that qualifier to earn a spot in the field at the Old Course in St. Andrews, where he missed the halfway cut in his debut on the senior circuit.”
“The experience lit Chamblee’s competitive fire enough that he intends to play a lot more senior golf next year…The pint-sized provocateur told The Forecaddie that his goal is to enter at least six events on the PGA Tour Champions in 2019.”
“Why now? I realized that time is fading, you know?” said Chamblee, who turned 56 in July. “It used to be once you got past 55 the skills eroded. But with the success of numerous players post-55 – not just Bernhard Langer – I kind of thought I have another three or four years where I might be able to compete a little bit. I miss competing.”
2. $3.2 million  to play in Saudi Arabia? No thanks
The Telegraph’s James Corrigan with the exclusive…”Tiger Woods has turned down his biggest ever potential overseas pay cheque to play in the European Tour’s inaugural event in Saudi Arabia next year, amid the international outcry over the recent murder of a journalist.”
“In the past, Woods has travelled to such countries as China and the United Arab Emirates. Yet it is understood he deemed Saudi Arabia to be an excursion too far – even for at least £2.5m – an amount that apparently dwarfs anything he has received before for an official overseas tournament.”
3. Spieth returns to old driver, 3-wood
PGATour.com’s Cameron Morfit…”Making his first visit to the Riviera Maya for the Mayakoba Golf Classic this week, Spieth, the 2015 FedExCup champion, has gone back to the driver, 3-wood he’d played for the last five years. And it’s gone so well, he said, Vegas is a distant memory.”
“It’s way more positive than that,” Spieth said after his pro-am round on the El Camaleon Golf Course at Mayakoba on Wednesday. “Last week I just, I was looking at something different, and the performance just wasn’t coming out the same. It’s been totally different the last couple days for me here. I’ve been striking the ball extremely well, hitting a lot of the fairways, and the short game has been just-trying to improve a little bit more.”
Spieth had switched to a Titleist TS2 from a 915D2.
4. What is the PGA trying to hide?
Oh boy. Alex Miceli begs an interesting question in his Morning Read missive…
“The PGA of America is holding its annual meeting this week in Palm Springs, Calif. The gathering is being conducted in a bubble, with the media excluded from all aspects, including the likely election of the association’s first female president, Suzy Whaley.”
“The PGA of America issued the following statement about the absence of media coverage:
“The PGA Annual Meeting is primarily about governance and the discussion of Association matters. While there may have been a handful of exceptions over the years based on a specific element of the program (Hall of Fame announcements and celebrity guest speakers, for example), we don’t consider the Annual Meeting to be a media event. In fact, there have been several Annual Meetings with no media in attendance at all. We do invite some media to attend our National Awards Dinner and to interview our leadership immediately following the conclusion of the meeting. We believe this is the best way to manage any media interest without disrupting the governance process of our Association.”
“On its face, the statement seems disingenuous...First, how is it that the anticipated election of the PGA’s first female president doesn’t eclipse a Hall of Fame announcement or a celebrity guest speaker?”
“Second, as one former president told me, the PGA of America would have killed for press coverage in the past at annual meetings. So, why is this year in Palm Springs different?…The U.S. Golf Association allows media into its annual meeting….What is the PGA of America trying to hide?”
5. Melreese in trouble
Brian Wacker with the grim news…”The future of Miami’s lone city-owned golf course became more muddied on Tuesday when local voters approved a referendum that will allow city officials to forego the usual bidding process for public land.”
By a 60-40 margin, residents have provided a way for famed soccer star David Beckham and his wealthy real estate partners, Jorge and Jose Mas, to negotiate a deal with the city to use the land now occupied by International Links Melreese Golf Club and build a 25,000-seat Major League Soccer stadium, along with a hotel, offices and retail space.”
“The decision, understandably, hit the golf community in the area hard. The course has been around for more than a half century, has hosted the PGA Tour Latinoamericano Championship the past two years and is home to the Miami-Dade chapter of the First Tee, a program with 5,000 kids. It also helped produce tour players Cristie Kerr and Erik Compton.”
6. Rose to Honma is…happening?
Our Oct. 26 Forum Thread of the Day centered around Justin Rose’s potential defection from TaylorMade and move to Japanese luxury club brand Honma. Golf Digest’s Mike Stachura, the Morning Read, the Irish Times, and the Sun Times, have all added fuel to that fire.”
“And on the subject of fire, asked about the potential change following his Turkish Airlines Open win, Rose said..”Where there’s smoke, there’s fire.'”
Speculation had been rampant in the GolfWRX forums for weeks, with several members with connections to the company indicating they’d heard Rose would soon be a Honma man. For example, mallrat said: “A teaching pro at our club is on staff with Honma and told me the same thing on Weds.
Beyond the Englishman’s seeming admission that the rumor is true, his agent, Mark Steinberg is mum. Likewise, neither TaylorMade nor Honma has commented.
Suspicion as to why Rose, a long-time TaylorMade staffer and the No. 1 golfer in the world, would defect to a Japanese luxury brand with little presence on the PGA Tour centers around Mark King. The former TaylorMade president and CEO joined Honma as a consultant in August.
7. CNCPT
Our Andrew Tursky…”In recent weeks and months, we’ve seen photos and information surface regarding new “Titleist CNCPT-02” irons. That begged the question, “What about CNCPT-01 irons?” Well, it appears we may now have that answer.”
“A photo, allegedly of the “Titleist CNCPT-01” iron in question, was posted on Instagram today by user Chris92009, with Titleist Performance Institute in Oceanside, California as the tagged location.”
“Judging by the photos, it appears the CNCPT-01 irons will be the more forgiving option of the two CNCPT irons. As such, you’d expect the 01 irons to have slightly thicker soles and toplines, offering more forgiveness across the face, a higher launch, and higher ball speeds than the 02 irons. But, of course, that remains to be seen.”
“As some GolfWRX Members have speculated, it’s also likely these irons will come with a hefty price tag; one member, John Golia, said his inside information tells him $4,000 for an 8-piece set. That is simply speculation and rumor, however, until we have confirmation about the irons and their availability from Titleist itself.”
8. Desert Inn prevails
Geoff Shackelford notes…”The Strip’s historic Desert Inn course, rebuilt by Steve Wynn and then closed, is going to get new life after Wynn Resorts decided to abandon an ambitious expansion project. Oh, and they found out golfers were taking their money elsewhere.”
Quoting Richard Velotta’s Las Vegas Review Journal report…Company executives discovered that removing the golf course resulted in some loyal customers going elsewhere. Maddox estimated the company lost $10 million to $15 million of domestic casino business from people coming in for golf trips who decided to go elsewhere.
9. After airline loses his golf bag, Wesley Bryan…takes a spa day
Golf Channel’s Jason Crook…”An increasingly big part of being a professional golfer is having your golf clubs lost or broken by a commercial airline and then having a meltdown about it on social media.”
“Which is what makes this story so refreshing. Leave it to Wesley Bryan to show the world there’s another way…Bryan made it to Mexico early this week for the Mayakoba Classic. His clubs, however, didn’t get the memo.”
“But instead of tagging the airline and complaining to his thousands of Twitter followers, the 28-year-old took the bad break in stride – sending a heartfelt thank you to the airline from his day at the spa.”
Bryan posted this photo featuring the official garment of all spa days: the white bathrobe.
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5 Comments

5 Comments

  1. Tommy

    Nov 9, 2018 at 12:12 pm

    It’s L-A-N-G-E-R, not “Langher”

  2. geohogan

    Nov 8, 2018 at 10:16 pm

    Not a Tiger fan, but kudos to him for having the balls to turn down the Saudi’s.

  3. Tom

    Nov 8, 2018 at 11:24 am

    Suzy Whaley brags about being a woman to qualify for a mens’ PGA Tour event….what she fails to mention is she was allowed to play from the Ladies Tees!So much for “EQUAL” competition in our politically correct world. What a joke!!!

    That is like a woman running the 100 yard dash against men, but she gets a 15 yard head start….LOL!

  4. Jose Pinatas

    Nov 8, 2018 at 10:01 am

    I bet Trump is the guest speaker at PGA meeting. Might be the reason for no media and extreme secrecy….

  5. Golf Golf Golf

    Nov 8, 2018 at 7:32 am

    I love nothing more than the know-it-all Brandel Curmudgeon going out and attempting to qualify and play, only to “MC”. Kinda warms the heart.

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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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