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GolfWRX Morning 9: The Match takes and takeaways | Winning with the most unique swing in golf

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

November 26, 2018

Good Monday morning, golf fans. Hope your weekend was somewhere between Phil Mickelson’s and Bleacher Report’s.
1. Winners, winners, chicken dinners
With the so-called Silly Season in full swing, we have plenty of winners to congratulate this week (I’ll see your “silly” and raise you $9 million, says Phil Mickelson).
First up, a duo…At the World Cup of Golf — which is not exactly on par with the World Cup of soccer — Thomas Pieters and Thomas Detry of Belgium took the trophy.
  • AP Report…”The Belgians had a few anxious moments on the back nine Sunday but held on to shoot a 4-under 68 and claim a three-stroke win, despite a determined late run by Australia and Mexico.”
  • “The sunny skies and lack of wind on Sunday was a far cry from Friday, when driving rain and gusty winds meant there were more scores in the 80s than in the 60s.”
  • “Belgium shot 71 on Friday, tied for the low score of the day and one of only four scores under par, and shared the lead going into the third round. Many golfers said the Friday conditions were the worst they had ever played in.”
  • “Pieters and Detry shot 63 in much-improved weather on Saturday in the four-balls (best ball) and took a five-stroke lead into the final round of foursomes at Metropolitan.”
And on the European Tour, it was the week of Aaron Rai.
  • EuropeanTour.com report.…”Aaron Rai claimed his maiden European Tour title after holding off fellow Englishman Matthew Fitzpatrick to secure a one-shot victory at the Honma Hong Kong Open presented by Amundi.”
  • “The 23 year old never actually surrendered the lead on Sunday but saw his six-shot overnight advantage cut to a single stroke by Fitzpatrick during a thrilling final-round battle in the pouring rain at Hong Kong Golf Club.”
  • “Five-time European Tour winner Fitzpatrick had fired seven birdies in his first 16 holes to pile the pressure on Rai but his challenge faltered when he carded his first bogey of the day at the 17th to give his compatriot a two-shot cushion with one hole remaining.”

Full piece.

2. …but more importantly
The peerless Ho-sung Choi won on the Japan Golf Tour.
  • “The unique swing of Ho-sung Choi made him an internet sensation over the summer. Now it’s made him a champion on the Japan Golf Tour.”
  • “Choi’s exaggerated follow through created a social media frenzy earlier this year, when he contended at the Korean Open and fell barely short of a qualifying spot in The Open. Here’s a refresher”
  • “This weekend, he was still employing those same mannerisms, but this time they delivered a one-shot win at the Casio World Open after Choi closed out a final-round 67 with a two-putt birdie on the 72nd hole.”
  • “Choi finished the week at 15 under, one shot ahead of Aussie Brendan Jones. At age 45, Choi now has his first worldwide win in more than five years and is expected to climb inside the top 200 in the world as a result.”
3. Shackelford on Tiger-Phil

In a fitting post-mortem of The Match, Geoff Shackelford looked at the great, the good, and the bad from Shadow Creek.

A few morsels….

  • The Great…Charles Barkley: He should have been on the full broadcast, in hindsight. He got right to the point as Tiger and Phil struggled horribly to read Shadow Creek’s greens. He jousted as only he can with Justin Verlander’s Tweets, too. But sadly, Barkley also was not around for the last couple of hours to put a bow.
  • The Audio: Turns out, a feed of just open microphones would have been enough for most people. Phil was in hard sell mode early but once he settled into a normal round of golf, basically narrated the proceedings. Tiger chimed in with enough to make a player-only feed functional had that been an option.
  • The Bad…Announcers Talking Over Players: Everyone was guilty at some point and I’m sympathetic to the cause as this was not a normal broadcast crew, not a normal match and an unprecedented amount of sound for a sporting event to take in.
  • “Still, to miss out on Mickelson asking Russell about a rule of golf change he just does not comprehend and several other side chats about shots, was tough for the core golf fan. The more novice viewer may prefer announcer storytelling, which is why lead announcer Ernie Johnson trampled over so much talk.”
  • “The Champion’s Belt: Sensational buckle design, simple brown leather look but uh, it didn’t fit Phil Mickelson, who looked visibly annoyed he couldn’t put it on. Next time, let’s make two belts, one for those with subcutaneous fat and one for those without.”

Full piece.

4. The future of The Match concept
A few thoughts from the “golf on TV” guru, Martin Kaufmann.
  • Kaufmann makes a number of points as to what ought to change going forward. Here are a couple.
  • “This should go without saying, but get the basic stuff right. Nothing irritates consumers more than the sense that they’ve been ripped off, and that’s how a lot of people felt Friday afternoon after paying $19.99, then learning that Bleacher Report was streaming it free. Fortunately, most cable and satellite providers – in addition to Bleacher Report – offered refunds or credits.”
  • “Speaking of the basics, how could the organizers spend two months planning the event but forget when the sun sets? Finishing under the lights on a rinky-dink par-3 hole was more unsatisfying than ending the World Cup on penalty kicks.”

Full piece.

5. Another take…
Golf Channel’s Rex Hoggard…”Following the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling in May striking down a federal ban on sport betting, Tour officials took a keen interest in how The Match integrated the “in-play” gambling aspect into golf. Throughout the day the winning odds fluctuated wildly, with both players coming down the stretch at even money, and the various prop bets also gained momentum with neither player ever taking more than a 1-up lead.”
  • “There was also an underlying sense that this was only the beginning. Many involved with The Match envision the event becoming an annual staple with a limitless collection of would-be challengers – from Tiger playing Hideki Matsuyama in Japan to Lefty matching up against the likes of Justin Thomas.”
  • “Those involved plan to take some time to read the room before committing to another Match, which is probably prudent given the push back from some fans who balked at the $19.99 tab to watch the event on pay-per-view and reports of technical difficulties for some who purchased the event that prompted officials to air it live and for free online.”

Full piece.

6. …and another suggestion for what should come next
GolfWorld’s Dave Shedloski…”The question going forward is this: Should there be a sequel? And the answer is obvious because, again, the encouraging numbers Levy referred to say there probably will be one. But it says a lot, and not good, when the HBO 24/7 program and the promotional trailers were vastly more intriguing than the 22-hole golf exhibition. The problem is, this still needs Tiger, who sells with reputation and popularity, and Phil, who is the showman.”
  • “But it will take more. Turner should take one more stab at getting The Match right, only have a team format. The rumors of an Asian duo taking on the Americans will not cut it. Bring us Justin Thomas, who is brash and jocular, and pair him with his loquacious buddy Jordan Spieth. There will be no dead air. There will be jawing. You have a generational hook. See how that sells.”
  • “Give us Perez, who will not be afraid to mix it up verbally. An example: When he was asked how he was selected for the broadcast team, Perez replied flatly, “I have naked pictures of Tiger.” Yes, put him in there with the brashest and mouthiest player you can find. Ian Poulter maybe? Or pair the petulant Tyrell Hatton with emotional Bryson DeChambeau and let those two potential powder kegs loose with live mics. Northern Ireland has two well-spoken unfiltered talkers in major winners Rory McIlroy and Graeme McDowell. Heck, have a lottery and let two unknown Web.com Tour guys go at the pair.”

Full piece.

7. International Team turnaround ahead?
Ben Everill at PGATour.com reports…”Speaking at the announcement of Geoff Ogilvy as his first captain’s assistant for the biennial match up against the U.S. team Els believes things are on track for a turnaround after a huge run of American dominance.”
  • “A year ago the U.S. team were comprehensive winners in New Jersey to the tune of 19-11, taking their record to 9-1-1 over the Internationals in the competition.”
  • “But with their recent defeat in the Ryder Cup to Europe Els feels the door might be opening to finally wrestle back the ascendency come December 11-14, 2019…Changes he has already overseen in meetings with U.S. captain Tiger Woods and PGA TOUR Commissioner Jay Monahan include a new one-year points selection policy, rather than the old two-year system, ensuring his top eight automatic places are taken by players in form.”
  • “Of course this means he now has four captains picks instead of the previous two, once again allowing flexibility into his lineup. Els has also been given more say in the golf course setup as the home team, and also gets to choose the order of play.”

Full piece.

8. Praising Mike Whan
Golfweek’s Beth Ann Nichols…”Early in Mike Whan’s tenure at the LPGA, three of the tour’s four majors were on shaky ground. Before he could rebuild a respectable schedule, Whan first had to make sure the pillars were in place. There were no guarantees.”
  • “Fast forward to 2018, when Whan played alongside Women’s British Open champ Georgia Hall in a pro-am one day after CME announced its plans to double the season-ending purse to $5 million. Though only a rookie, Hall was well aware she had come onto the scene at an opportune time.”
  • “I’m really lucky to be playing right now,” she told him. Against these players, on these venues, for this kind of money.
  • “The LPGA has not arrived by any means, not by a long shot, but Whan’s reflections at a recent State of the Tour address served as a reminder of the distance traveled.”
9. Yip-free Barkley
The delayed results of the Haney Project? Single-minded determination? The intercession of the golf gods? Whatever the cause, it looks like Charles Barkley’s full-body convulsion of a golf swing now resembles, well, a golf swing.
 Check out Chuck’s action here (c/o Alison Lee) .

 

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2 Comments

  1. Tim Schoch

    Nov 26, 2018 at 9:16 am

    Erm, Twitter, opinions. Please don’t flame the grammar 🙂

  2. Tim Schoch

    Nov 26, 2018 at 9:13 am

    Rounding up golf’s loudest mouths is all and good, but it is the audience (the paying customer all-important to the entire golf industry) who will determine success or failure of on-air and in-ink events and round-ups.

    So I suggest you tap in to Tweeter and other SM and give us a fair sampling of opinion before, during, and after the Match and other events. (Did public opinion change pre- to post- event? Indeed it did–Breed is hitting that topic right now.) Columnists want readers and often their opinion’s are diluted with promotion tactics. Let’s hear the people, and that, Ben, would help your presence and persona on GolfWRX, along with your traditional reportage.

    I say all that because I “feel” a trend in golf toward even more elitism and commerce. Increasing sales doesn’t grow the game.

    Someone once said (me) “Don’t look back to see who is catching up, look forward to make sure you end up where you want to go.”

    Carry on!

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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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