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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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Morning 9: Spiething again? | Daly requests cart for The Open | Ben Hogan doc coming

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

May 24, 2019

Good Friday morning, golf fans.
1. Finau leads, Spieth 1 back at Colonial
AP report…”If Jordan Spieth is going to end a victory drought that’s approaching two years, he picked a good place to give himself a chance.”
  • “Spieth opened with a 5-under 65 at the Charles Schwab Challenge on Thursday in his second Texas homecoming in three weeks — coming off his best finish of the season at the PGA Championship — and trailed Tony Finau by one shot. Roger Sloan joined Spieth in the tie for second.”
  • “Back when he was collecting trophies regularly three years ago, Spieth won on the cozy course made famous by Ben Hogan, and that was between a pair of second-place finishes in Fort Worth. So when it comes to feeling good about his game, Spieth’s in the right place, just a few miles from his hometown of Dallas.”
2. Meanwhile, at Oak Hill
AP report…”Scott Parel took advantage of ideal scoring conditions Thursday morning to shoot a 4-under 66 and take the first-round lead in the weather-delayed Senior PGA Championship.”
  • “The gusting afternoon wind, which buffeted flags and shook hospitality tents across Oak Hill Country Club’s East Course, hadn’t yet fully arrived when Parel closed with birdies on the par-4 17th and 18th. Retief Goosen, Marco Dawson and Ken Tanigawa were a stroke back.”
  • “The round was completed just before 9 p.m., about a half-hour after the sun set, and 14 hours after the first group teed off. The long day was the result of late-morning thunderstorms that caused a delay of 2 hours, 15 minutes.”
3. Bronte!
And another AP report…“Bronte Law chipped in for eagle on the par-5 third hole and shot a 6-under 65 on Thursday for a share of the lead in the Pure Silk Championship with Anna Nordqvist and Jennifer Song.”
  • “Law added a birdie on the par-4 seventh – her 16th hole in a bogey-free round at windy Kingsmill Resort.”
  • ”Started finding myself with a good score. Nothing more to it,” Law said. ”On days like this when it’s windy just got to keep grinding all day, take the chances when they come.”
4. Finau’s grip switch paying dividends…
Tony Finau is in the grips of the claw…
PGATour.com’s Mike McAllister with Finau’s remarks…
  • “It’s something that I’ve kind of been thinking,” said Finau, who entered this week ranked T-100 in Strokes Gained: Putting this season. “It’s an itch I wanted to scratch … To me, it was just perfect time. … If I feel like something is better, I’m not afraid to change, no matter the results.”
  • “In truth, the move to the claw may not be as dramatic as it seemed. Finau said he often has practiced with the claw in order to make sure his left hand is in the proper position.”
  • “I’m left-hand dominant when I roll the stick,” he explained. “I used to putt cross-handed for about five years. Been putting conventionally now for a couple years.
  • “But I just wanted to switch it up. I haven’t been putting great … Standing over the ball, the most important thing is, do you feel like you’re going to make the putt or not? Outside of everything else, do you believe you can make the putt?
5. Strong start for (Edoardo) Molinari…
After 1 in Denmark…
  • “Edoardo Molinari will take a share of the lead into day two of the Made in Denmark presented by FREJA after high winds made scoring tricky in round one at Himmerland Golf & Spa Resort.”
  • “The three time European Tour winner had got to seven under but, as the winds increased, he gave up two late bogeys to sign for a 66 and a share of the lead at five under alongside Spaniard Alejandro Cañizares and English trio Tom Murray, Matthew Southgate and Paul Waring.”
  • “Defending champion Matt Wallace – fresh off finishing third at the US PGA Championship – was in the group at four under, with 46 players within three shots of the lead.”

Full European Tour report.

 

6. Ben Hogan doc
Geoff Shackelford discusses the upcoming Golf Channel documentary about the Hawk…
  • “Producer Israel DeHerrera kindly let me screen parts of Hogan knowing my affinity for all things Ben Hogan and research into the Hawk’s Los Angeles years. All I can say: it’s the film you hoped would be delivered on Hogan’s incredible life and times.”
  • And a bit of the press release…
  • “Hogan (trailer), a two-part biopic on 64-time PGA TOUR winner Ben Hogan chronicles one of the greatest comeback stories in sports history, reflecting on the Texan’s indelible impact on professional golf in spite of a near-fatal automobile accident that put the prime years of his career in serious jeopardy. Coming from humble beginnings, the film examines Hogan’s incredible journey to becoming one of the greatest golfers of all-time, serving as the inspiration for the 1951 motion picture “Follow the Sun”. Being presented with limited commercial interruption by Charles Schwab, Hogan’s two parts – Monday night’s “Perseverance” and Tuesday night’s “Perfection” – will be narrated by Emmy Award-winning actor Kyle Chandler, and be produced for GOLF Films by 13-time Emmy Award winner Israel DeHerrera.”
7. Monahan talks gambling again
Golfweek’s Dan Kilbridge…
  • “Speaking at the Sports Business Awards Wednesday night, Monahan implied the Tour is working on new gambling developments that will be announced by the end of the year.
  • We’ve spent a lot of time over the last two and a half years clearly understanding all of our options and getting ourselves in a position where we can participate,” Monahan said. “Participate with the right partners, and participate in a way that we think resonates with fans. Without getting in front of it, I think you can expect to hear developments from us in the second half of this year.”
  • “The Tour has been testing an upgraded version of its data system called ShotLink Plus, according to Sport Techie, and Monahan has already announced a deal with IMG Arena to distribute data directly to betting operators.”
8. Daly requests cart for Open
Golf Channel’s Will Gray…”After driving his way around Bethpage Black last week, John Daly has submitted another request to use a cart when The Open heads to Royal Portrush this summer.”
  • “Daly petitioned the PGA of America under the Americans with Disabilities Act for the use of a cart at last week’s PGA Championship, citing his ailing right knee. While a similar request for the U.S. Senior Open was denied last summer by the USGA, he was approved by the PGA and used a cart en route to rounds of 75-76 and a missed cut on Long Island.”
  • “We have received a request from John Daly to use a buggy at The Open, and it is currently under consideration,” said an R&A spokesperson.
9. Heckuva putting performance
Golf Digest’s Alex Myers points out that…“Starting on Colonial’s back nine, Spieth was four under through eight holes before a double bogey on No. 18. But while big numbers have been derailing the 25-year-old Texan all season, he rallied to make four more birdies (against one bogey) on the back nine, including one on his final hole after knocking an approach shot to six feet on the par-4 ninth.
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Tony Finau goes to the claw grip; fires a 64 to take the early lead at Colonial CC

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Tony Finau tied his lowest round of the year on Thursday at the Charles Schwab Challenge, and the impressive opening was fueled by a move to the claw grip on the greens.

Finau’s 64 has put him on top of the leaderboard after day one at Colonial Country Club, and after his opening round, Finau explained to reporters the reason behind the change-up on the greens this week, stating

“I just wanted to switch it up. I haven’t been putting great I feel like, and standing over the ball the most important thing is do you feel like you’re going to make the putt or not. Outside of everything else, do you believe you can make the putt? So for me, I needed to switch something.”

The switch proved very effective on Thursday, as Finau gained over three strokes on the greens on a day where the American managed to hit just three fairways in total.

Finau previously used the cross-hand technique on the greens earlier in his career for a period of five years, but this is the first time the 29-year-old has made the change to the claw grip in tournament action despite using the technique at times on the practice green.

Sitting T100 for strokes gained: putting this season, Finau told the media on Thursday that the time was right for a change this week at Colonial CC, saying

“But I just wanted to switch it up. I haven’t been putting great. I needed to switch something. Decided to try the claw today and it worked out. If I feel like something is better, I’m not afraid to change no matter the results. I’ve been playing OK. I feel like it was just time. Like I said, I think it was just time to scratch that itch and see how it goes.”

Finau begins his second round of the Charles Schwab Challenge today at 12.44 PM ET alongside Brian Harmon and Patton Kizzire.

 

 

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Morning 9: What clubs would a mid-handicap hit at a major? | NCAA Women’s champs | Marty Jertson speaks

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

May 23, 2019

Good Thursday morning, golf fans.
1. What clubs would a mid-handicap hit at a major?
Cool stuff from Golf Digest’s E. Michael Johnson…
  • “A USGA study once suggested that average golfers only hit the green from the rough 13 percent of the time. But that was data collected at a resort course, not major championship rough. It’s probably safe to say that the average chopper would never hit the green from the rough at any distance that required a full swing. Indeed, Cobra Connect’s data from Arccos shows that an Average Joe hits the green only a third of the time with only his 8- and 9-iron and his wedges, clubs he’d only be using on Bethpage Black’s two par 5s. Maybe.”
  • “In fact, according to the numbers, he would only hit the green on about one in four chances with his 6- and 7-irons, one in six chances with his 5-iron, one in eight chances with his 4-iron and just one in 10 chances with a 3-hybrid. And about that 3-wood? According to the numbers, the average golfer’s GIR percentage with that club, as they say, has no grade point average.”
  • “All of those missed greens (and the attendant tragic golf despair and perhaps some measure of physical injury) then would be compounded further by plenty of around-the-green misadventures and misplays. Arccos data suggests the average 15-handicap gets up and down less than one in five times. Furthering this ugliness would be all those 3-putts, which Arccos data suggests might happen on at least four holes a round, particularly at major championship speeds.”
An example of the calculations…
1st hole, par 4, 430 yards
Koepka: Driver, half-lob wedge
Average Joe: Driver, 3-wood
2nd hole, par 4, 389 yards
Koepka: 4-iron, gap wedge
Average Joe: Driver, 6-iron
2. NCAA Women’s champs
Golfweek’s Adam Woodard with the report…“For the seventh time in program history, Duke is the 2019 NCAA Div. I Women’s Golf National Champion after defeating Wake Forest 3-2 in an all-ACC final match at Blessings Golf Club.”
  • “I couldn’t feel more proud than I do right now,” said Duke head coach Dan Brooks. “We’ve had a tough team all year long and they were tough this week.”
  • “It was Duke’s anchor, Ana Belac, who put the first point on the board in the national championship match. The Blue Devil junior defeated Wake Forest freshman Vanessa Knecht 5&3 to give Duke the early lead.”
3. A confident Spieth following PGA
Golfweek’s Steve Dimeglio…”His history bodes well as Spieth seeks his 12th PGA Tour title. And his solid performance in last week’s PGA Championship at Bethpage Black restored some much sought after confidence and has him energized at Colonial.”
  • “This is the best I’ve felt in quite a while. I’m very happy,” Spieth said after he tied for third in the PGA Championship, six shots behind victor Brooks Koepka.
  • “…But on a course that favored bangers like Koepka and fellow Bash Brother Dustin Johnson, who finished second, Spieth rode four days of strong putting and worthy iron play to get into contention on the weekend.”
  • “I knew that it was unlikely on this golf course that I was going to have a chance to win, and that’s a humbling feeling for me,” Spieth said. “But I knew that if I played the course the right way, had the right mentality, kept putting the way I’ve been putting, that I would be in it and having a chance to make some noise.
4. Oak Hill weather
AP Report…“It didn’t take long for Jay Haas to be reminded of how gusting winds can wreak havoc on players attempting to navigate the narrow fairways of Oak Hill Country Club’s East Course.”
  • ‘”Got here on Sunday night and played nine holes Monday, and it was blowing, what, 25, 30 (miles per hour),” Haas said with a laugh Wednesday, a day before the Senior PGA Championship opens.’
  • “In some ways, the 65-year-old’s experience was no different than his previous visit to the Rochester suburbs 11 years ago. That’s when Haas overcame frigid conditions, heavy wind gusts and a one-stroke final-round deficit to finish with a 7-over 287 and win his second Senior PGA title.”
5. Johnny’s back
Our Gianni Magliocco...”Johnny Miller is back sharing his opinions on the game on Callaway’s new podcast: Real Golf Talk, which aired its first episode today (listen here on Soundcloud).”
  • “The longtime NBC golf announcer retired from broadcasting earlier this year, but Miller now features alongside avid golfer and television host Chris Harrison on the podcast, which will air six episodes in 2019 and eight in future seasons.”
6. Marty speaks!
Good stuff from PGATour.com’s Andrew Tursky talking with Ping’s (now legendary?) Marty Jertson…
  • Tursky: “Can you describe how tough the conditions were on the weekend, and put those weekend rounds into perspective? Like, what would say a 5-handicap shoot out there?”
  • Jertson: “Oh man. My caddie and I were talking about that a lot… ‘What would a scratch golfer shoot? What would a 5-handicap shoot out there?’ Let me put it this way: We had a hard time finding the golf balls in the rough with an army of spotters. So if you played by the real rules of golf where you had 3 minutes to look for your golf ball and you put a 5-handicapper out there, no joke I think they would shoot – if they followed the textbook rules – they would shoot 120 or more, because they would be losing so many golf balls in the rough and you only have 3 minutes to find it. Yeah, it was brutal. The ultimate test of precision and accuracy in terms of… you had to hit it both long and straight. You couldn’t do one or the other. You had to have both. That’s why I think some of the commentators and whatnot really like that style of golf.”
7. GolfWRX chats with Ryan Palmer
JN: Do you have a home field advantage here at Colonial?
RP: To a point, I guess. Obviously, I have played this golf course in every type of wind. I mean, I know certain holes play shorter than they are. So, a little bit of an advantage because I don’t put much stress into the golf course itself. I just know it. And of course, James, my caddie, knows it. And that is nice. But I do put more pressure on myself because I want to play well here
  • JN: What are your thoughts on not having a full bag club sponsorship?
  • RP: It is just a matter of playing with what I like. When I first got on tour, you would sign a full deal and it was pretty good. Now you are signing for balls and all 14 clubs. I love the Taylor Made driver but they cut out the driver only deals. They went just full line. Fortunately, with the help of Mike Chisholm and Chisholm Sports, I have some great corporate partners. United Rentals, a great deal with Unisys, RBC. I am able to have these corporate sponsors allow me to play what I want. I made some comments like ‘two hundred grand is not worth an equipment contract on tour because of what you can make that week.’
  • So, I got ribbed a little bit for making that comment but honestly it is not worth it in today’s game. We play for so much money now each and every week that by the time you get a $200,000 deal, you’re paying taxes and management, at the end of the day its worth a top 20-finish. And then you have to play those clubs all year long, whether you like them or not. So now I can play whatever putter or iron or driver I want. I am only under contract with ball, shoes and gloves. Footjoy and Titleist. I test and I tinker now and then but I always go back to what I have performed with in the past. I stand over a tee shot and I think, I know I hit this driver this way at this tournament at this particular moment. Why would I change?
8. Why it was great: Bridgestone’s J33R driver
For your viewing pleasure, a new video series from GolfWRX in general and equipment expert Ryan Barath in particular.
  • This video series breaks down why certain clubs maintain such a cult following, and what made them so popular to begin with.
  • The first club in this series is the Bridgestone J33R – a driver from 2005 that was both hard to find and extremely sought after. Ryan Barath breaks down some of the design attributes that still makes this a great club today.
9. Golf jokes!
Mark Townsend at National Club Golfer rounds up some of the worst…
Best golf jokes: Caddiesmack
  • A golfer walks off the 18th green, hands his putter to his caddie and says, “Kid, you’ve got to be the worst caddie in the world.”
  • The caddie replies: “Sir, that would be too much of a coincidence.”
  • Verdict: Not bad and a punchline that most of us weren’t expecting. Quick and to the point though how you’re going to bring this one to the table is anyone’s guess.
Best golf jokes: Clucking mad
  • A golfer sliced a ball into a field of chickens, striking one of the hens and killing it instantly. He was understandably upset, and sought out the farmer. “I’m sorry,” he said, “my terrible tee shot hit one of your hens and killed it. Can I replace the hen?”
  • “I don’t know about that,” replied the farmer, mulling it over. “How many eggs a day do you lay?”
  • Verdict: Better and unlike many of its golfing jokey contemporaries the punchline can’t be said to yourself about a third of the way in. Quite quirky for a golf joke and, told in the right manner, might be worth using.
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