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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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PGA Championship: 5 Things We Learned On Saturday

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

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

5. New names made the heir presence known

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

4. How do you come from THAT far behind?

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

3. Spieth and Scott went quietly away

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

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

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

1. Will Brooks Koepka seal the deal on Sunday?

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

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

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PGA Championship: 5 things we learned Friday

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Don’t worry, we’ll get to him. You have to be patient. Some interesting stuff happened at Bethpage Black on Friday, but doesn’t something always go down in metro?  Some late stumbles ensured that the plus-fours would see the weekend in a competitive fashion. Not talking knickers, mind you, but the guys who shot 72-72. All right then, enough with the musings, on with the 5 things we learned on day five of this week.

5. El Gato Con Rayas won’t be winning the Slam this season

Tiger Woods had history with BPB, doncha know?! Some things have a due date, an “it’s not you, it’s me” moment. 2k19 was that for TDubs and the Black. He fought, mind you. He birdied his 27th hole, but that was followed by 4 boges in 5 holes. He didn’t have his A nor his B game this week, so he didn’t walk away a beaten man. Just as well, as that guy who just wants respect went low again, opening up a 7-stroke lead at the halfway point. So that you know, I’ll take bets on Eldrick bagging either the U.S. or British Open championships. He’s coming out of 2019 with 16 majors, bank on it.

4. Three of your teachers made the cut

There are 3 shields on the leader board, and they will be there until Sunday. Marty Jertson, Rob Labritz and Ryan Vermeer stood tall as Friday dusked. They looked at their loved ones and said, simply, “I can’t believe it; I did it. I made the cut.” No matter what happens over the next two days, this triumvirate might as well be named Vardon, Taylor and Braid. They showed the golfing world that fellows who work a day job in golf, can prepare and perform at the level of the world’s finest touring professionals. Cheers to you, gentlemen.

3. Spieth and Scott are done; Wallace is your man

Despite this prank, or perhaps because of it, Matt Wallace is my pick to overtake Burger King and win the 2019 PGA Championship. If you can hashtag a chip on someone’s shoulder, Wallace has had a massive one since he was snubbed by Thomas Bjorn last fall for the Euro Ryder Cup team. The Englishman made 6 birdies on day two, and shows no signs of stopping. He’ll make 8 birdies on Saturday, mark my words. That should send a signal flare that even BK notices. Oh, Jordan Spieth and Adam Scott? They had their day of glory. They’re done.

2. They might be workout bruhs, but…

…enough is enough. DJ was poised to be the schizz until BK said “?Habla usted back-to-back US Open?” He’s now on the cusp of B2BPGA, and that’s something that the golfer currently known as Paulina’s will not stomach. Not with brother Austin in his bag. Not with all of South Carolina pulling for him. Johnson won’t be paired with the leader on Saturday, so he’ll have to make some noise on the first 4 holes to get muscles’ attention. He can do it, but can he sustain it? This weekend, he will.

1. How did this guy get an invite, again?

Just messing with you, B to the K. This guy epitomizes values: goes overseas to meet new people and learn the game the hard way; works his arse off in the gym to get large and fit; shows no fear when faced with adversity and greatness. I can’t promise I never dissed Brooks Koepka in previous pieces, but man, he sends a message. 7 birdies each day. 0 bogies day 1, 2 bogies day 2. If he keeps making buckets of birdies, t’ain’t no one gonna catch him. Here’s to you, Brooks, and whatever choice of swimwear is yours, today. Records? They nice.

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Morning 9: Koepka’s 4.5-hour middle finger | The monster Tiger created? | Daly on why he’s playing

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

May 17, 2019

Good Friday morning, golf fans.
1. Koepka: “One of the best rounds I’ve played”
BK opens the PGA with a 63…
  • AP’s Doug Ferguson…“At times overlooked even after winning three majors in the last two years, Koepka gave thousands of fans a round to remember Thursday morning at brawny Bethpage Black with a record-setting start to his title defense in the PGA Championship.”
  • “He had a 7-under 63, making him the first player in 101 years of the PGA Championship to shoot that score twice. He broke the course record at Bethpage Black and became the first player to post 63 at a major in consecutive years.”
  • ”That was one of the best rounds I’ve played probably as a professional,” Koepka said. ”This golf course is brutal.”
2. Lackluster Tiger
A PGATour.com staff report…
  • “Woods drove the ball well enough to contend at Bethpage Black, but his steady ball-striking was outweighed by too many sloppy shots when he had short clubs in hand.”
  • “Bethpage Black is a long, brutish course lined by rough so thick that players are struggling even to hit mid-irons out of it. Woods missed just four fairways while hitting driver off a majority of the tees. And he had birdie putts on nine of his final 10 holes to steady himself after making two double-bogeys on his opening nine. But he three-putted twice on his back nine and signed for a 72. He sat nine shots off Brooks Koepka’s lead after that frustrating first round.”
  • “It wasn’t as clean as I’d like to have it for sure,” Woods said. His score was about three-quarters of a shot below the field average in the morning.
3. Also…
Golf Digest’s Dave Shedloski on those who also played well Thursday…
  • “The group, all at one-under 69, includes World No. 1 Dustin Johnson, three-time major winner Jordan Spieth, ageless wonder Phil Mickelson, former PGA champion Jason Day and the major-starved Rickie Fowler. All but Fowler played in the afternoon when conditions were a bit more stringent.”
  • “Yeah, it’s difficult,” said Mickelson, when asked about Koepka’s early scoring salvo, “but you just have to stay in the present because if you start chasing a score like that, it won’t come to you, and you’ll end up making big mistakes.”
  • “I’m very pleased with it,” said Johnson, who played alongside Spieth and Spaniard Jon Rahm, who was at even par. “I felt like I hit it really well, drove it good and hit a lot of greens, gave myself a lot of opportunities.”
4. The monster Tiger created
ESPN’s Ian O’Connor…
“This is all Tiger’s fault, of course, because he inspired a generation of golfers who grew up watching him. Koepka was 6 years old when Woods won his first of 15 major championships — the 1997 Masters. Though Koepka’s father, Bob, used to tease his high school classmates for earning letterman jackets for golf because, he said, “I didn’t think it was a sport,” Woods helped make golf a viable option for Brooks and other versatile young athletes who lived in the gym and preferred to look more like NFL strong safeties.”
5. No tip of DeChambeau’s cap to Bethpage’s length
Golf Channel’s Will Gray…
“DeChambeau opened with a 2-over 72, carding just two birdies, and he now trails Koepka by nine shots. Speaking to GolfChannel.com, he shared his viewpoint that when it comes to major championship venues, longer does not always mean better.”
  • “If you really want to prove who the best champion is, it’s not a long-drive contest. That’s why they have long-drive contests out here,” said DeChambeau, who actually won the long-drive contest at last year’s PGA at Bellerive. “It’s about precision. So when you start making it really tight, I get the tight part. But when you start lengthening it to the amounts that they’ve been lengthening it to, I just personally think that it’s a mess-up.”
6. A 4.5-hour middle finger
“I’ve been flipped off a few times in my life – probably not as often as you’d think – but I felt like he was giving me the finger for 4 1/2 hours out there today,” Chamblee said on Thursday night’s edition of “Golf Central Live From the PGA.”
  • “I gotta tell you, I enjoyed it,” Chamblee continued on Thursday, referring to Koepka’s round. “Outside of his immediate family, I can’t think anybody who enjoyed that round more than I did.”
7. Why play?
1991 PGA champion John Daly on why, with little chance of making the cut and motoring around the course in an Ez-Go, he is playing the PGA Championship.
Adam Woodard at Golfweek…
  • “It’s very awkward (to use a cart) and it’s almost to a point where it’s embarrassing,” he added, noting that he’d prefer to walk.
  • As as a past champion, Daly said he feels “obligated” to keep playing, if able.
  • “I don’t want to ride all the time, but if I don’t, I won’t be able to finish. I enjoy playing and I’m still competitive. It’s not really ego, I feel committed.”
8. Meanwhile, Eamon Lynch with the definitive Daly-taking-a-cart roasting
“There were cheers, for sure. There always are, whatever his failings. But around the grounds at Bethpage Black there is also an unmistakeable sense that the Daly Show is a tired act, that he is afforded courtesies that his conduct long ago cost him any right to expect. Sure, he earned his spot in the field as a former champion, and he has been legitimately granted a cart. But professional pride and sportsmanship should have rendered moot a decision on availing himself of either.”
9. When official yardage books don’t conform…
This is golf in the year 2019 files…
  • Golfweek’s Beth Ann Nichols…“The official yardage books that were given to teams for this week’s NCAA Division I Women’s Championships are actually non-conforming.”
  • “The grids for 10 of the 18 greens were deemed too big. Coaches were informed of the problem during a meeting after Wednesday’s practice round.”
  • “We’re just going to go to Office Depot and get some sticker labels and cover up all 18 of them,” said Purdue coach Devon Brouse.
  • “Officials didn’t specify which of the 10 holes were in violation.”
  • “It’s 1/16th off,” said Arkansas coach Shauna Estes-Taylor. “It’s less than a freckle.”

 

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