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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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News

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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Equipment

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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