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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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Viral star, Hosung Choi, set for second start on the PGA Tour

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Hosung Choi, the man who has become a viral internet star due to his unique golf swing, made his PGA Tour debut at the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am earlier this year, and the South Korean is set to make his second start this summer, after accepting a sponsors exemption to play the John Deere Classic.

Choi missed the cut on his debut at Pebble Beach, firing rounds of 72-75-77 while playing alongside the likes of Jerry Kelly and Aaron Rodgers.

The 45-year-old won the 2018 Casio World Open at the back end of last year but has been quiet on the golf course in 2019. Besides his missed cut at the AT&T Pebble Beach, Choi has only made two other appearances, missing the cut at the Kenya Open and finishing T12 at the Singapore Open.

Those who have bought tickets for this year’s John Deere Classic in July can look forward to all of Choi’s beautiful eccentricities.

 

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Morning 9: Nelly! | Ogilvy on Rules changes | Phelps on watching Tiger | Nantz: “Best event I’ve covered”

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

April 18, 2019

Good Thursday morning, golf fans.
1. Meanwhile, on the LPGA Tour…
…some actual golf action, to begin…
AP Report on round one of the Lotte Championship…
  • “Nelly Korda took advantage when Hawaii’s tough trade winds took a break.”
  • Korda rolled in the last of her nine birdies at the 18th in a bogey-free round of 63 Wednesday for a one-shot lead after the opening round of the Lotte Championship at Ko Olina Golf Club.
  • “I got here Saturday and I swear I couldn’t even walk because it was so windy,” said Korda, who is making her Lotte debut. “But I like the place. Everyone is really friendly and it just feels good to be here.”

Full piece.

2. Ogilvy on Rules changes
…the always interesting, abundantly informed Australian sounds off…
Writing for Golf Australia…
  • All of which brought me immediately back to the notion that the idea of simplifying rules almost automatically makes them more complicated. That it is what almost always happens when a committee decides something. I actually have some experience in that area, when I was on the PGA Tour Player Advisory Council…”
  • “…There were so many contingencies because a committee was involved. And it seems to me the same thing has happened with this ball-dropping thing. Nobody in the world now knows how to drop the ball properly. So we have a more complex situation than we had on December 31, 2018.”
  • “But it should be so simple. All we have to do is make it easy for a player to get the ball from hand to ground so that the game can continue. It’s that straightforward. But now we have a situation where you have to stand a certain way – you can’t bend your knees – and you have to drop from this exact height; not too low or high. The simplest thing in the world is now complicated.”
Also notable: this statement...”I have to think 99 percent of golfers have never consulted the rulebook on that one and things have been fine as far as I can see. This is really just a pro golf issue. So what is the point in foisting it on everyone?”
3. Phelps on watching Tiger
…how one GOAT got in prime position to watch another…
Tyler Lauletta at Business Insider…
  • On Wednesday, Phelps spoke with NBC Sports about how he wound up at the Masters in the first place, explaining that it had always been a dream of his to attend the tournament, and him being there for Woods’ big comeback win was more luck than anything.
  • “A mutual friend is a member,” Phelps said, explaining how he got his invite to one of the most difficult tickets in sports. “A buddy of mine called me Monday before the Masters. ‘I have a ticket? Do you want to go? I have a plane. Do you want to go?’ I was like, awesome, I’m going to the Masters for the first time.”
  • “As to how Phelps fell into front row seats to watch Woods tee off at No. 16, he says it came down to a helpful strangers that got to the tournament early on Sunday.”
  • “We started walking around the course and ran into a couple of nice people who had gotten to the gate early, at 3:30 a.m,” Phelps said. “They said, if you ever want to come back and sit on 16 with us, we have a couple of chairs. We got lucky, met a super nice guy working there that had some seats set up in some primo spots that we just had some pretty amazing access to.”
4. Even Stevie watched!
…tuning in for his former boss…
TVNZ report…
  • “Writing for Australian outlet the Player’s Voice, Williams says he now concentrated on playing golf rather than watching – until Monday morning earlier this week.”
  • “…I try to keep up with the news and will read about golf – but I just don’t watch it. Ever.
  • “Except for last Monday.”
  • “Fourteen years! It’s almost impossible to believe. And it had been 11 years since his last major – the US Open at Torrey Pines – which he had no right to win thanks to his torn cruciate ligament and fractured tibia.
  • “But that’s Tiger Woods – he does things no-one else could dream of doing.”

 

5. OWGR points for the Tour Championship
…two sets of books…
Doug Ferguson writes...”The PGA Tour will continue to keep a traditional score, even if it won’t be published, so that world ranking points can be awarded.”
  • “The Official World Golf Ranking board met last week at the Masters and approved a PGA Tour proposal that awards full ranking points based on where players would have finished without the staggered start.”
  • “The No. 1 seed in the FedEx Cup starts the tournament at 10 under, with the No. 2 seed at 8 under, and then 7 under, 6 under and 5 under. The next five players start at 4 under, all the way down until Nos. 26 through 30 begin at even par.”
6. “Best event I’ve ever covered”
…says Jim Nantz regarding the 2019 Masters…
The Washington Post’s Ben Strauss quoting Nantz…
  • “I’ve done 34 Final Fours, had Super Bowls, Peyton [Manning’s] farewell. It’s been 48 hours since it ended, and I’d say it’s going to feel about the same 10 years from now,” said Nantz, who has already called this year’s Super Bowl and Final Four in addition to the Masters since February. “It’s the best event I’ve ever covered. And I feel very fortunate to have been in that spot.”
7. DeChambeau’s grip change
…much lighter, but still Jumbo…
Andrew Tursky at PGATour.com on the pre-Masters overhaul…
  • “After a 14-hour range session in Dallas the week before the Masters, Dechambeau made a 75-gram reduction in his oversized JumboMax grip weights in his Cobra clubs. His new grips, made from a different lightweight compound, now measure just more than 50 grams, considered to be a “normal” weight by industry standards, despite their relatively massive size. He also changed from True Temper Dynamic Gold X7 shafts – extremely heavy and stiff iron shafts – to Dynamic Gold Tour Issue S400 shafts, which flex more than his previous gamer shafts.”
  • “Ever since he came on TOUR, DeChambeau used JumboMax grips on his clubs that measured about 125 grams per grip. He now works on his equipment with Cobra’s TOUR Operations Manager Ben Schomin, who says Dechambeau has improved his wedge play since first coming out on TOUR, but lately DeChambeau had struggled to find consistency with the flight of his wedges. The main issues were that spin was inconsistent and they tended to fly too high. For his part, Schomin built him wedges that used weld beads on the heel to help with face closure. While Schomin says it helped, DeChambeau — currently T105 in Strokes Gained: Around the Greens — wasn’t satisfied with his wedge play.”
  • “Schomin and DeChambeau, chasing consistency with the wedges, decided to begin testing different variables. As it turned out, DeChambeau liked the feel of a 50-gram grip, versus his old 125-gram grips, and the new build allowed DeChambeau to flight the wedges lower, and gain spin and launch consistency.”
8. An interesting note on Masters coverage
…how did Molinari set himself up for his water-destined third shot at the 15th?…
Golf Digest’s Alex Myers…
  • “Thanks as always to ClassicTVsports.com for charting all the shots televised during the final round of a major. The site confirmed what I believed to be true while being in and out of the Augusta National media center on Sunday: Molinari’s second shot on No. 15 never made it on TV.”
  • “Even after his disastrous double bogey on No. 12, Molinari arrived at the Augusta’s final par 5 tied for the lead with Woods, Brooks Koepka, Dustin Johnson, and Xander Schauffele. So why wasn’t his second shot shown? Well, it was just a layup after a poor drive, but that punchout from the right pine straw proved to be pivotal. It wound up running through the fairway and into the left rough. It should be noted you can see the shot on the Masters digital platforms, which, remarkably, attempted to show every shot from the tournament.”
  • “Although Molinari only had 79 yards for his third, which was shown live, his angle was so extreme that his golf ball caught a pine tree and dropped into the pond guarding the green. A surprised Molinari, who had just one bogey through the first 60 holes of the tournament, never recovered from his second double bogey in four holes. Meanwhile, Woods hit two great shots on the hole to find the green. And two putts later he had the solo lead for the first time all week, a lead he would not relinquish.”
9. Ho Sung mania is coming to the John Deere Classic
…the fisherman’s swing returneth to the PGA Tour…
The tournament announced Chou has been handed a sponsors exemption to the July tournament.
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Meteorologist received death threats for interrupting Masters coverage during most-watched morning golf round of all time

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Tornados brewing in the Georgia area meant an earlier start than usual for the final round of the Masters, and one CBS46 meteorologist was to receive death threats for interrupting coverage of the event to update residents in the area of the conditions.

Ella Dorsey took to Twitter on Sunday to report not just the vile abuse she was receiving, but also the importance of the work she was doing which cut into local Masters coverage.

Per The Weather Channel who spoke to local experts, who while being prepared for the backlash in interrupting the coverage to warn residents, were stunned by the level of abuse of some. On the subject, station news director Steve Doerr said

“The venom around this was insane, even by social media standards.”

CBS released its viewing figures for Sunday’s morning round, with an average of 10.8 million viewers tuning in to watch Tiger Woods claim his fifth green jacket. That total bested the 8.56 million number, according to Nielsen data, from the 2000 Open Championship which previously held the morning record.

According to CBS, the broadcasts viewership peaked between 2.15 and 2.30 ET with 18.3 million tuning in.

 

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