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GolfWRX Morning 9: Kuchar’s working vacation | Golf’s costliest equipment switches | Golf’s most hyped

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

November 9, 2018

Good Friday morning, golf fans.
1. Heckuva working vacation
Golf’s quintessential dad brings the family to Mexico with good results so far…
  • AP Report…”Matt Kuchar decided at the last minute to play the Mayakoba Golf Classic and made it look like a smart move Thursday….Kuchar missed only two fairways at El Camaleon Golf Club and kept bogeys off his card for a 7-under 64 that gave him a share of the lead with Dominic Bozzelli and PGA Tour rookie Kramer Hickok.”
  • “Kuchar has gone more than four years since his last PGA Tour victory. His 64 was his lowest opening round on tour since a 64 in the 2017 Phoenix Open.”
  • “It’s a bit of a working vacation,” said Kuchar, who brought his family to the resort. “I had a good time at the office, as well.”
2. Meanwhile, in Phoenix…
AP Report…”Paul Goydos and Tim Petrovic shot 8-under 63 on Thursday to share the lead in the Charles Schwab Cup Championship, leaving points leader Bernhard Langer seven strokes back in the PGA Tour Champions’ season finale.”
  • “In sunny, 80-degree conditions at Phoenix Country Club, Langer parred the final nine holes for a 70. The 61-year-old German star opened with a chip-in eagle on the par-5 first, but had two front-nine bogeys.”
  • “Goydos also eagled the first and closed with a birdie on the par-5 18th. He won the 2016 event at Desert Mountain.”
3. And at Gary’s event…
The latest from South Africa…”Sergio Garcia saw his lead cut to three-shots midway through a low-scoring second day of the Nedbank Golf Challenge hosted by Gary Player.”
  • “A remarkable 64 on day one of the seventh Rolex Series event of the season handed the Spaniard a four-shot lead overnight and he turned in 33 in round two to get to 11 under.”
  • “England’s Ross Fisher was putting together a brilliant round and he picked up seven shots in 12 holes to emerge as the nearest challenger at Gary Player Country Club, two shots ahead of countryman Matt Wallace, local favourite Louis Oosthuizen and China’s Li Haotong” (EuropeanTour.com)
4. …and at the Blue Bay
LPGA.com report…”Thailand’s Ariya Jutanugarn shot a 3-under 68 in Thursday’s second round and holds the 36-hole lead at the 2018 Blue Bay LPGA. After consecutive bogeys at holes 5 and 6, Jutanugarn reeled off three straight birdies at holes 7-9, and twice nailed back-to-back birdies on her inward nine, including a 15-footer from off the green to close out her round at No. 18.”
  • “I feel great,” said Jutanugarn. “I felt like I made lots of birdies because this course so tough. That’s why I feel like I make a lot of birdies.”
  • “At 7-under 137, Jutanugarn, who already has three wins this season, holds a three-stroke advantage over a trio of players at 3-under 141 – her older sister Moriya Jutanugarn, AmericanJennifer Song and Mexico’s Gaby Lopez. First-round leader Thidapa Suwannapura shot a 3-over 75 on Thursday and is tied for sixth going into the third round.”
5. The costliest equipment switches
Superb stuff from Jaime Diaz, here (on the eve of Justin Rose’s presumptive switch to Honma).
A taste…”Payne Stewart had won the PGA and U.S. Open when he left Wilson to sign a $7 million dollar deal with Spalding in 1994. Forced to use game-improvement perimeter weighted irons for the first time — as well as as the two-piece Top Flite ball — Stewart lost much of his distance control and ability to shape shots. He went from sixth on the money list in 1993 to 123rd in 1994. In 1995, Spalding allowed him to switch to a forged blade, and played better. But when he won the 1999 U.S. Open, Stewart didn’t have a club contract and was playing a mixed bag that included Mizuno MP-14 irons.”
6. Schedule switcharoo already working?
On the subject of switches, Rex Hoggard offers this perspective on the already apparent beneficial effects of the PGA Tour’s schedule shakeup.
  • “Although the major changes to the Tour schedule are still months away – with the first piece of the overhaul coming in the form of The Players Championship’s return to March – Monahan can already point to the earliest ripples of change.”
  • “You can see it on Thursday’s tee sheet at the Mayakoba Golf Classic, with the likes of Jordan Spieth and Rickie Fowler at an event that just a few years ago was very much an afterthought for the Tour’s best and brightest.”
  • “Real change doesn’t come to the fall portion of the Tour’s wraparound schedule until next year, when the lineup is expected to expand from eight events to as many as 11. But big changes in 2019 have prompted many, including Fowler and Spieth, to start exploring new options.”
  • “You are seeing right now at the first part of the season more top players playing and trying to get themselves in position as we flip the switch and get into the new year,” Monahan told GolfChannel.com. “It’s important not to be too far behind and to be in a solid position for the FedExCup.”
7. The Prince of Hype
Shane Ryan dusted off his hype-meter to determine who the hypiest of them all is (deciding between Cameron Champ and Bryson DeChambeau).
A taste…”To answer this important question, I’ve designed a hype-meter that pits the two against each other in various critical hype categories. Like DeChambeau, it’s scientific. Like Champ, it’s powerful. And like golf itself, the wearer of the princely crown shall be decided by the greatest format of all: match play.”
“Category 1: The Name…Bryson DeChambeau is an excellent name. It’s complicated, exotic and extravagant. It sounds a little like a masked medieval knight who wins a joust and then kills the evil king using chivalry. Translated from French, the surname means “of the fields,” which is apt for golf. It is, in most ways, good. But “Cam Champ”? Sorry Bryson, “Cam Champ” is iconic. It has echoes to short, legendary names like Babe Ruth and Tiger Woods, it works great in its longer form (Cameron Champ), and, well … it has the word “champ” in it. With its simple elegance, it makes “DeChambeau” look a little gaudy, like the name equivalent of Kramerdressing like a pimp….Score: CHAMP leads, 1 up”
8. Sybi steps in
PGATour.com’s Cameron Morfit…”Damon Green, caddie for Zach Johnson, went down with illness after 14 holes and could not continue in the first round of the Mayakoba Golf Classic.”
  • “Sybi Kuchar, wife of Johnson’s playing partner Matt (7-under 64), took the bag for the last four, during which Johnson made an eagle and went 2-under to salvage an even-par 71.”
  • “He hadn’t been feeling well the last few days,” Johnson said of Green. “I’m assuming he was dehydrated, but I don’t know. Matt saw Damon struggling, and I did, too. He didn’t look right. PGA TOUR staff brought him in. I’d like to say it was the first time, but it’s happened like four times at Maui, NORTHERN TRUST at Bethpage, and a couple other places.”
  • Green later confirmed he was suffering from dehydration and received an IV.
How about ZJ kicking the man while he’s down!
9. Ryder’s joggers
Love ’em or hate ’em? Sam Ryder donned a pair of slim black joggers for the final round of the Safeway Open (in which he shot 62).
  • Greg Monteforte with a little background on the jogger maker, Greyson…”Founded in 2015 by Charlie Schaefer, Greyson has quickly gained popularity with TOUR players thanks to Schaefer’s creative and thoughtful designs. First worn on TOUR by Morgan Hoffmann, the brand has attracted Luke Donald, Kelly Kraft, Fabian Gomez, and rookie Kramer Hickok to its wolfpack
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2 Comments

2 Comments

  1. ogo

    Nov 9, 2018 at 11:02 pm

    Pro equipment changes reveals the difference between pro swing and the swing of 99.95% of the rest of golfers worldwide. If gearheads were able to ‘feel’ the pro swing they wouldn’t recognize what is happening. True muscleback blades are real golf clubs… not the rubbish being marketed nowadays.

  2. Bob

    Nov 9, 2018 at 10:19 am

    Just go all the way and put these cucks in yoga pants.

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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 ??

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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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