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GolfWRX Morning 9: Pre-Match festivities | Making the case for equal PGA/LPGA Tour pay | TW & trash talk

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

November 21, 2018

Good Wednesday morning, golf fans.
1. Match preliminaries
Dave Shedloski on some of the action from the pre-Match festivities and associated ribbing.
  • “Very little news emerged from the affair, which was shown live on WarnerMedia’s B/R Live, though the two guaranteed that the opening hole should not be missed. When the subject of their side bets was broached – in which they risk their own money for charity – Mickelson layed out $100,000 that he could make birdie on the par-4 first hole. Woods responded by telling the left-hander to double the bet. What ensued was easily the most entertaining moment of the 45-minute chat.”
  • “Did you see how I baited him like that,” Mickelson crowed. “So, $200,000 I make birdie on the first hole.”
2. Mell makes the case for equal pay
The Golf Channel columnist argues against the pay gap between the PGA and LPGA Tours.
  • “Yes, women don’t draw the gate, TV audiences and media interest the men do, but they’re still climbing out of the ancient hole they started in, still battling thinking that limits views of what is possible.”
  • “There have been spectacular breakthroughs for females in sport, where the attention paid to women surpassed the men. The U.S. Open women’s tennis final drew more TV viewers in the United States than the men’s final did five times in this decade. The excitement the U.S. women’s soccer team has created at the World Cup stands as another example of what’s possible. So do Korean women in golf, whose popularity helps the women’s majors draw larger TV ratings than all the other men’s majors televised in South Korea, including the Masters.”
  • “More and more, women in golf are talking about the gender pay gap in their sport, not just in the prize money offered, but in endorsement opportunities. The tone ranges from frustration to anger to resignation.”
3. CH III talks with WRX
Our Johnny Wunder talked with Charles Howell III about his equipment switch and 11-year victory drought.
A few morsels...JW: Let’s talk about the golf ball. You go from a 2017 Pro V1x and you transition into the new Pro V1 proto…
“CH III: I loved everything about the Pro V1x ball off the driver and the 3-wood. Now, when the [2019 Pro V1] came out, what I found out was that I gave up no ball speed whatsoever, but I picked up a little bit of a softer feel and a little more spin around the greens. So for me, right away that was a home run. Now, I say that knowing that touch and feel around the green is highly player dependent. For me, I prefer a bit of a softer feel…I could find you 10 guys who prefer a firmer Pro V1x feel around the greens…but the cool thing was that I didn’t give up any ball speed with the driver whatsoever.”
“JW: Let’s talk a little bit about the last 11 years. We talked a little bit on the podcast with you about expectations and what you went through to get back to the winner’s circle. Just kind of man to man, how difficult was it at times. – knowing how good you are and being such an amazing player and then going on a drought like that – how difficult was that?”
“CH III: You know, there were a lot of times where I questioned everything I did from how I practiced, to how I prepared, to who I worked with…just everything. And eventually, I got to a point where I sat down with Grant Waite and Dana Dahlquist who I work with, and John Graham on short game, and I said, “OK, guys, do we really think that I’m doing this the right way?” And through some discussions…the answer was, “yes.” And [I said] let’s just stay the course. Let’s just keep doing this.”
“Golf’s a funny game. In Mexico, I missed the cut there, and I thought I played close to every bit as good as I did at Sea Island. I just didn’t quite score as well. That shows you how razor thin-edged this game is. You miss a cut, then you win a golf tournament. I think the most challenging part of the game is staying the course with stuff that you truly believe in and giving it time to work out, because it’s such a results driven game, and you want results yesterday. Between social media and the way golf is covered now, it’s “results, results, results.” I think the challenge is to stay patient amongst all that.”
4. TW likes trash talk
More pre-Match chatter…
  • Golfweek’s Dan Kilbridge…”Woods was asked if he’s more comfortable with this scene than people realize….'”When it comes to competing and talking a little bit, yeah. I do this quite a bit, it’s just that at tournaments you may not see it,” Woods said. “I’ve enjoyed playing practice rounds and do it a lot at home. A lot of guys on Tour either when I lived in Orlando or now in Jupiter, we go out and play and there’s always some denominations involved, always needling involved. … There’s non-stop banter and always trying to one-up another and chide one another. And I’ve always enjoyed it.”‘
  • “Mickelson, who spent a good part of the afternoon talking about Woods’ unique brand of trash talk, piped up….”It’s an important part of competition,” Mickelson said. “You have to learn how to compete and play your best under pressure and that’s the best way to do it, to have money matches against other good players.”‘
5. Singh v. Tour settled
Not a lot of details at this point, but the deer antler spray saga has come to an end.
  • AP Report...”Vijay Singh has settled his lawsuit against the PGA Tour over how it investigated his use of deer antler spray, ending more than five years of litigation less than a week before the case was to go to trial in New York.”
  • “Terms of the settlement announced Tuesday were not disclosed….”I’m very happy for Vijay that the matter has been resolved,” said Jeffrey Rosenblum, one of his attorneys.”
  • “Rosenblum declined further comment because of a confidentiality agreement. The PGA Tour said in a statement that the settlement reflects a mutual commitment to move forward “as we put this matter behind us.”
6. The most important measure of Tiger-Phil
AP column (presumably Doug Ferguson)
  • “There is no downside to Woods and Mickelson squaring off in a pay-per-view event on a beautiful golf course at Shadow Creek that everyone seems to know but hardly anyone has seen. But when the biggest upside is that there’s no downside, selling it becomes an uphill battle.:
  • “There will be plenty of talking, and Mickelson is rarely without words. There will be side action. That’s part of what makes this different from the “Showdown at Sherwood,” a Monday night exhibition between Woods and David Duval in 1999 when they were in their prime and battling for No. 1 in the world.”
  • “The question is whether it has a future.”
7. Gratitude
The folks at Golf Digest have put together a list of 20 things in golf to be grateful for ahead of tomorrow’s holiday.
Here are a few.
  • Right-edge putts
  • Marshals that let you sneak off the back
  • Gimme putts
  • Slow players who wave you through
  • Anytime Bryson goes full Bill Nye
  • Buddies’ trips
  • The friend who has the in at every local club
8. The European Team’s 15th Club
An interesting piece from Sean Ingle at the The Guardian on victorious Ryder Cup captain, Thomas Bjorn’s reliance on golf consultants 15th Club.
  • “Times have changed – a bit – since Michael Lewis wrote Moneyball but many in sport still prefer to trust their gut over any algorithm. Which is why a tweet last week from Thomas Bjørn, Europe’s 2018 Ryder Cup captain, was so unusual. After linking to apiece titled “How analytics helped reclaim the Ryder Cup”, written by Blake Wooster of the golf consultancy 15th Club, an enthusiastic Bjørn wrote “Stick to the plan!!! These guys played a vital role. Thanks for your hard work.”
  • “Bjørn, it turned out, had embraced data and analytics as “a useful addition to his toolbox” shortly after being named captain in December 2016, when he asked 15th Club whether he should pick two, three or four wildcards. The answer? Four. Because the data showed wildcards tend to perform better than those who qualify in the last couple of automatic spots. And so began a relationship that culminated in Europe’s thumping17½ – 10½ victory over USA in September.”
9. Meanwhile, at Metro…
The World Cup of Golf is having a little trouble getting off the ground this year.
  • AP Report…”Organizers of the 28-team event at Metropolitan Golf Club have moved up tee times by an hour for Thursday’s first round of the 72-hole stroke-play tournament that features fourballs (best ball) and foursomes (alternate shot) over two rounds each.”
  • “Heavy rain is in the forecast beginning in the early afternoon Thursday….Wednesday was mostly sunny after a big storm hit the course on Tuesday evening, bringing with it hail, high winds and plenty of rain.”
Here’s hoping things dry out at the revered sandbelt track.

 

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  1. steve

    Nov 21, 2018 at 1:06 pm

    I agree with Mell. The female golfers should be paid just as much as the male golfers despite not drawing anywhere near as much at the gate and not generating anywhere near as much TV or media interest. After all, these companies are sponsoring the men’s events just for fun, not to make money. They should be more concerned about women’s pay than making money for their investors. It’s only fair.

    Here’s a thought – If you generate some more interest IN AMERICA (where the LPGA Is actually played), more companies will want to sponsor you and your events, and the purses/sponsorships will go up. It really is as simple as that. Until then, maybe it’s time to start focusing on Korean companies for sponsorships since the interest in women’s golf is so much higher over there. I can guarantee you one thing – most of these companies aren’t paying high purses and giving out massive sponsorships in men’s golf because of TV viewership in Korea.

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Greg Norman: “If I had to do it all over again, I would go to one-length clubs”

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Greg Norman has never been a man to shy away from speaking his mind, and during Saturday’s Golf Channel broadcast of the QBE Shootout, the Australian declared that if he had the opportunity to begin his career again, he would do so with single-length irons.

Norman stressed how his experience while experimenting with Cobra King One Length irons led him to conclude that single-length irons are more beneficial than standard irons because “your spine angle stays the same” no matter what club you are using.

“Believe it or not, if I had to do it all over again as a 13 or 14-year-old, I would go to one-length clubs,” Norman said. “I actually had a set made for me when [Bryson DeChambeau] first came and joined, and I got it straight off the bat. When you think about it, my 4-iron and my 8-iron are the same length, but my ball flight was so good on all of them because your spine angle stays the same.”

The Australian went on to say that anyone looking to introduce their kid to the game of golf, should give them single-length irons to optimize their chances of success.

“I think parents now, for longevity, golf is a sport you can play your entire life, so if you look at that motion that [DeChambeau is] going through there, it’s such an effortless motion. He’s stacked up beautifully. At the end of the day, the motion is so simple through there. So the one-length golf club, in my humble opinion, give a kid at six, seven, eight…get him used to it and he’ll do well.”

Norman won 88 times in his career, including 20 wins on the PGA Tour and two major championship victories. Could the Shark have achieved even more if he had have used single-length irons during his career instead of standard irons?

Let us know what you think, GolfWRXers!

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Web.com Tour hopeful suffers heartbreaking finish to miss out on Tour status by one stroke

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With the careers of many players hanging in the balance at Web.com Tour Q-School, the agony of those who miss out matches the ecstasy of the few that make their way through the brutal process.

On Sunday, there was one particular man who suffered the agony of missing out more than others.

Patrick Sullivan was inside the top-40 and heading for his status on the Web.com Tour for 2019 before it all went wrong. Playing the back nine of Sunday’s final round, the 35-year old faced a birdie attempt on the 14th green but struck his ball off the green and into the water. Sullivan ended up making a costly double bogey on the hole and followed the error with another bogey on the 15th hole.

To his eternal credit, Sullivan showed incredible resolve. Needing to play his final three holes in four-under par, Sullivan managed to make a birdie and an eagle before heading to the final hole.

A three on 18 was a must, and Sullivan faced a nerve-jangling four-footer to claim his Web.com Tour status for next season. The putt, however, slid by, leaving him one shot outside of the magic number.

Golf can be a cruel sport at times.

Sullivan does, however, have conditional status for next year, meaning he will have the opportunity of playing events through Monday qualifiers.

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GolfWRX Morning 9: Louis king again | Q-School craziness

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

December 10, 2018

Good Monday morning, golf fans.
1. King again!
Louis Oosthuizen captured his home country’s open for his first win in three years.
  • Ryan Herrington writes…”Louis Oosthuizen was already the winner of a historic Open title, but on Sunday he claimed arguably a more meaningful one to the 36-year-old. With a closing 67 at Randpark Golf Club in Johannesburg, Oosthuizen posted a runaway six-stroke victory over France’s Romain Langasque at the South African Open, his home country’s oldest tournament.”
  • “I wish the family was here,” said a tearful Oosthuizen, ending a nearly three-year winless drought. “The crowd was great this whole week, it was nice to do it for them.”
  • “It was Oosthuizen’s eighth career European Tour triumph, four of which have come in events in South Africa. But this was the first time he’s won his country’s Open after playing in the event for the first time since a third-place finish in 2010.”
2. St. Simons boys triumph
Patton Kizzire and Brian Harman, both residents of St. Simons Island, joined forces to win the QBE Shootout.
  • PGATour.com’s Cameron Morfit …”We’re normally trying to get into each other’s heads,” Kizzire said after the St. Simons Island, Georgia duo shot a best-ball, final-round 61 in blustery weather to reach 30-under and win the unofficial QBE at Tiburón Golf Club. “And this week he was nice to me, which was kind of weird.”
  • Added Harman: “I was hoping I wasn’t going to throw him for a loop.”
  • “For the second straight year Graeme McDowell finished second, this time with a new partner, Emiliano Grillo. They made par on 18 to finish 29-under, one back.”
  • “Three teams shared third, two back: Charles Howell III and Luke List, who was 9-under on his own ball over the last nine holes as they shot 61; Kevin Na and Bryson DeChambeau (62); and Charley Hoffman and Gary Woodland (63), their highlight coming when Woodland aced the 202-yard 5th hole.”
3. A horrific stolen clubs story…with a happy ending
From our Gianni Magliocco…:”Web.com Tour Q-School is well known for being a gruelling process, and while 49 players graduated over the weekend, one man was forced to go to hell and back to do so.”
  • “Cody Blick sat three shots outside of the desired Top-40 heading into Sunday’s final round, and on waking up that morning to prepare for the biggest round of his life, the 25-year-old realized that his clubs had been stolen.”
  • “Blick took to social media immediately, desperately hoping that anyone could help him, offering $5k no questions asked should his clubs be returned.”
  • “Blick was unable to recover his clubs though, meaning he was forced to put together a mishmash of different clubs before Sunday’s final round. According to the Mackenzie Tour Twitter account, they consisted of the “Superintendent’s driver, pro shop’s wedges, random irons and a heavier than usual putter.”
  • “After all of that, Blick pulled off a miracle. The American fired a sensational round of nine-under par 63, which included birdies at his final three holes, to take him into the coveted Top-40.”
4. Walker: Q-School Medalist
PGATour.com Staff report...”With a tight leaderboard down the stretch at Final Stage of the Web.com Tour Qualifying Tournament, University of Virginia alum Danny Walker emerged from the pack to birdie his final three holes and claim medalist honors at 27-under at Whirlwind Golf Club. Coming from the fourth-to-last group, Walker posted an early 9-under 63 before waiting for his fate as the final groups finished. With the victory, Walker earns fully-exempt status on the Web.com Tour in 2019.”
  • “Players who finished top-40 (and ties) earned guaranteed starts next year. This year, the cutoff came at 18-under 270 with 49 players earning guaranteed starts.”
  • “I’m super excited right now – my goal was to come top-10 this week, so I wasn’t really thinking about winning,” Walker said. “But I’m excited about it now obviously and relieved to have the week done, it’s a stressful week for everybody so it feels good to play well.”
5. The Shark wishes he went single length!  
Here’s an interesting note (or maybe just a Cobra staffer hyping a product his sponsor has cornered the market on among major OEMs).
  • Golfweek’s Dan Kilbridge…”The equipment issue came up on air Saturday afternoon while Norman was watching Bryson DeChambeau. The 25-year-old has already picked up five PGA Tour wins using Cobra King One Length irons, and Norman said he wishes he could have put them in play when he first started out as an amateur.”
  • “Believe it or not, if I had to do it all over again as a 13 or 14-year-old, I would go to one-length clubs,” Norman said. “I actually had a set made for me when (DeChambeau) first came and joined Cobra Puma and I got it straight off the bat. When you think about it, my 4-iron and my 8-iron are the same length, but my ball flight was so good on all of them because your spine angle stays the same.”
  • “I truly do believe that,” Norman said. “I think parents now, for longevity, golf is a sport you can play your entire life, so if you look at that motion that (DeChambeau’s) going through there it’s such an effortless motion. He’s stacked up beautifully. At the end of the day, the motion is so simple through there. So the one-length golf club, in my humble opinion, give a kid at six, seven, eight … get him used to it and he’ll do well.”
6. Steph’s tourney to Lake Merced
Golf Channel’s Will Gray...”A new PGA Tour event in the Bay Area hosted by NBA superstar Steph Curry is now expected to debut next fall at Lake Merced Golf Club.”
  • “According to a San Francisco Chronicle report, the club’s membership voted “overwhelmingly” to approve an estimated $3.6 million in renovations that are viewed as a “prerequisite to holding the tournament.” The planned changes will reportedly be overseen by Rees Jones and could stretch the Daly City, Calfornia, course beyond 7300 yards.”
  • “Lake Merced has hosted an LPGA event four of the past five years, with Lydia Ko winning three times. It is slated to host the LPGA’s MediHeal Championship from May 2-5 next year. The Curry-hosted event is expected to take place in September as part of the fall portion of the 2019-20 season and likely close to the Safeway Open, which is annually played in Napa.”
7. LET in Limbo
Golfweek’s Alistair Tait…”The 2019 LET Qualifying School is scheduled Dec. 16-20 in Morocco. Once again, those players who earn one of the 25 cards have no idea how many tournaments they will play next year. The LET has yet to publish its 2019 schedule.
  • It cost $1,450 to enter this year’s Q-School. Imagine getting your dream job and having no idea where, when and if you’ll be working?”
  • “There were just 15 events on this year’s LET schedule. Two of those – the $3.25 million Ricoh Women’s British Open and $3.85 million Evian Championship – were majors and basically out of reach for most Q-School grads. The $1.5 million Aberdeen Standard Investments Ladies Scottish Open is essentially an LPGA event and also is off-limits to most Q-School grads. In other words, those who earned cards were playing in low-purse events.”
  • “By low purses we’re talking between a low of $140,000 for the Jabra Ladies Open to $500,000 for the Hero Women’s Indian Open. The first four events on this year’s schedule were co-sanctioned with the Australian Ladies Professional Golf Tour. Two of those were worth just over $100,000. You don’t have to be a math genius to work out that traveling to, and accommodation in, Australia isn’t cheap. Even a top-10 finish in those events could leave players taking a loss on the week.”
8. Pining for the Q-School of yore?
According to the Forecaddie, some Tour vets are feeling a bit of nostalgia.
  • “For almost 50 years, the PGA Tour Qualifying Tournament was the coliseum for Sansabelt soldiers, where battle-scarred veterans and fresh-faced rookies fought it out over six days to earn their stripes. For every career launched at Q-School, many others crashed to earth. Stories from that make-or-break week are plentiful and almost always painful. Like Steve Haskins, a journeyman who entered the arena 14 times but never made it out with a Tour card.”
  • “Even those who survived the gauntlet have scar tissue. It’s been 35 years since Brad Faxon’s only trip to Q-School, but he can recall it with forensic detail still. Fall 1983, TPC Sawgrass, 108 holes with a cut after 72.”
  • “I shot 71 in the fourth round to move way up,” Faxon said. “Then rain and lightning came and they cancelled everybody’s scores. Next day I shot 76 and went from the top 10 to, like, 50th place.” He narrowly made the cut and secured a card that he kept for almost three decades.
9. Q-School heartbreak
Move over, Cody Blick…
  • Golf Digest’s Joel Beall…”Sullivan, a 35-year-old journeyman who missed 20 of 23 cuts on the Web.com Tour last season, looked to be in fine standing to retain Web status for 2019, in 23rd place heading into the final round of Q-School at Whirlwind G.C. in Chandler, Ariz. Unfortunately for Sullivan, on a day when the field went low, he hovered around par for 13 holes, and then had the bad fortune of finding the water on the 14th hole.”
  • Sullivan tweeted…”We’ve heard all the QSchool horror stories over the years. I was wondering if anyone had ever putted it into the water on the back nine to miss by one? If not…..dibs.”
  • “Sullivan ultimately made a double, and followed with a bogey on the 15th. And while he did mount a commendable charge, answering with a birdie on the 16th and eagle on the 17th, Sullivan missed a four-footer on the final hole.”

 

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