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GolfWRX Morning 9: Tiger’s altered expectations | Cam Champ vs. a pro long driver | Woodland’s WIlsons

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

November 28, 2018

Good Wednesday morning, golf fans.
1. Tiger the #content creator
Great for GOLFTV, and an interesting development in the golf mediaverse.
  • “Tiger Woods has signed a deal with Discovery, Inc., that will offer behind-the-scenes access on GOLFTV, the PGA Tour’s new global streaming partner.
  • “GOLFTV is the brand name for Discovery’s on-demand video streaming service that starts next year. It plans to collaborate with Woods on a wide range of programming designed to give viewers a closer look into Woods’ practice routines, life on the tour and some instruction.”
  • “I want to talk to golf fans and golfers everywhere, directly, and straight from me,” Woods said. “That’s important to me, talking about what we care about. What’s happening on the course, how to play better, how can I shoot lower scores tomorrow, how can I beat my friends?”
  • “The content will be owned exclusively by GOLFTV globally, including in the United States, where Discovery can still develop a distribution strategy.”

Full report here.

2. …and makes a hole-in-one…for the first time in 20 years
While it wasn’t in competition, Tiger Woods made his first ace in two decades. Here’s the story via Dan Kilbridge at Golfweek.
  • “Woods was playing with his 9-year-old son Charlie, TGR executive and good friend Rob McNamara and Fred Couples, who had aced the exact same hole just days earlier and told the group about it before they hit.”
  • “Woods took a little off a 5-iron to a back right pin on a shot that never left the flag, according to McNamara. A bunker was blocking their view of the hole from the tee box, but once they got to the green they saw a pitch mark about 15 feet in front of the hole.”
  • “We didn’t see it go in,” Woods said. “Somehow when we got to the green it was gone. I thought it might be over the back but I said no, I hit it a lot softer than that. And we get up there and then it’s in the hole.”

Full piece

3. Changing the conversation
The AP’s Doug Ferguson on Tiger Woods’ mindset entering the 2019 season.
  • “He turns 43 at the end of the year, and with age comes a dose of practical thinking…His expectations are high by his standards. Given the level of attention he draws, the expectations of everyone around him are sure to be much higher. He was asked if he was close to having the same expectations he did 15 years ago.”
  • “It’s not the same. It never will be. I’ll never feel that again,” he said. “To be what, 28 years old? Physically, I’ll never be like that. So expectations are different than they used to be, for sure. Now, can I still win? Can I still compete? Yes. Can I do it for the next 20 years? No. Because that’s not realistic.”
  • “Indeed, his expectations at the peak of his career were far different….”Just win. Win everything,” he said. “Because I felt like I could.”
4. Woodland’s Wilsons
Gary Woodland created a minor stir among Tour equipment junkies when he arrived at the Hero World Challenge with a set of unreleased Wilson blades.
He talked with PGATour.com’s Mike McAllister about the clubs after his Tuesday practice round.
  • “ON USING THE WILSON STAFF IRONS: “Obviously it’s a good time in the season to start testing some stuff. I had a bunch of stuff sent to my home. I hit these and loved them. They’ve been really good.”
  • “ON WHAT HE LIKES ABOUT THE IRONS: “It’s a new blade I believe they’re going to come out with next year. Through the turf has been phenomenal. Ball flight, trajectory all have been very consistent and what I’ve been looking for. … The big thing is consistent trajectory. When I look up, the ball is coming out of the window I want it to.”
  • “ON WHEN HE RECEIVED THE WILSON IRONS: “A couple of weeks ago. I’ve been off for the last two weeks so it’s been good. I think they look phenomenal. So traditional. Very clean. I haven’t signed a deal with anybody but they definitely stick out.”
5. Cam Champ vs. Tony Finau’s cousin in a long-drive contest
Golf Digest’s Brian Wacker on a battle of booming drives between Champ and Tony Finau’s cousin earlier this year.
  • “He had a long drive contest against my cousin, who finished second in the World Long Drive twice,” Finau, speaking at this week’s Hero World Challenge in the Bahamas, said of an impromptu showdown between Champ and Ben Tua’one, who was runner-up in the World Long Drive Championship in 2011 and 2012.
  • “They both went after it and both their [ball] speeds were right around 200 [m.p.h.], just over 200, maybe 202, 203,” Finau said. “Cameron was obviously a little more efficient, hitting in the center of the face. So his ball in Utah was going just over 400 yards, so it was quite impressive to watch.”
  • “Maybe once I had that type of speed and that type of length, but not anymore,” Finau said. “That’s pretty incredible. He has the flexibility and the length I’ve never seen before.”
6. A European Tour divide 
Colin Callander at National Club Golfer used the recent news of Rory McIlroy’s minimal 2019 European Tour schedule and the Q-School calamities of a few golfers to highlight the opposite ends of the spectrum for European Tour players (and hopefuls).
“Rory McIlroy caused something of a stir when he told the media at the DP World Tour Championship that he might play as few as two regular events on next year’s European Tour.”
  • “Professional golf is becoming an increasingly polarised game and at around the same time that McIlroy was planning his route to his next major title, three younger players were contemplating a much less lucrative life on the mini tours after rules infractions had, at least in part, cost them the chance of earning a tour card at the annual European Tour Qualifying School.”
  • “There is a very small margin between success and failure in professional golf and nowhere is that better illustrated than at Q School where dreams are made but where one loose shot or a single mishap can end a career. Sometimes before it starts.”
7. A final Woodsian note 
Tiger Woods spoke with SiriusXM’s Brian Katrek this afternoon at Albany in the Bahamas ahead of this week’s Hero World Challenge. We’ve heard everyone’s take on The Match, so we might as well hear what TW himself has to say. Here’s what he told Katrek.
  • “It was an experience that I think that was different for the game of golf and one that everyone had an opinion, whether it’s good or bad, I don’t care what it is, but everyone had an opinion, and that’s what we tried to stir up. Hopefully it was a positive experience for most. We tried to make it, it was a show, it was entertainment, but as I was explaining after, the press conference there, I got lost in the competitiveness of it. I started getting focused on trying to fight through it and trying to beat Phil.”
  • “And Phil and I were talking about it while we’re playing, he says I’m having a hard time talking. And I said, yeah, yeah, me too. I’m the same way because I’m trying to beat your brains in, and that’s how we’ve been our entire career. And so yeah, it was a little on the giddy side early, as we turned and he was up, then I flipped it to I was up, he got really quiet and then he started talking when he got up and then after I hole a shot on 17, he got really quiet.”

Full one-on-one interview via SiriusXM On Demand here

8. Following Phil’s lead
Our Michael Williams has recently taken up shooting clays and has traveled the world to hone his skills.
Discussing the new-found hobby, Williams writes.
  • “Phil Mickelson got a lot of attention for a tweet that showed him spending time on a firing range to prepare for the Ryder Cup. Mickelson wrote, “How is today’s long-range sniper shooting preparing me for the Ryder Cup? Meditation, controlling my thoughts, breathing, heart rate and connecting with the target are critical for both!”
  • “While it ultimately didn’t do him a lot of good in France, the theory was a sound one. The roles of equipment, technique, and mindset are almost identical in shooting and golf. These crossovers exist between golf and most shooting sports, but Phil should have been practicing at a sporting clays course instead of a sniper range.”
9. They were more tired
Geoff Shackelford spotted an interesting take here from Francesco Molinari in an interview with Golf Digest Italy’s Massimo De Luca.
  • “It’s difficult to pinpoint a specific reason. Undoubtedly the tricky setup of the course was a huge factor. But don’t forget, we lost all three of the first matches on Friday morning. If it hadn’t been for Tommy Fleetwood and me beating Woods and Patrick Reed, we would have been at 0-4, and it would have been really hard. We reacted by winning, 4-0, in the afternoon. But we didn’t kid ourselves. The more-experienced players worried about an American backlash, but with time we felt better on that course, which many of us know [as an annual European Tour stop for the French Open].”
  • “The key moment was Saturday morning, when only Justin Thomas and Jordan Spieth had earned a point. We saw that they were probably more tired than we were, also because the majority of them had been busy with the FedEx right up until the end. But you know how the Ryder Cup is. In fact, after the 2-2 Saturday afternoon, they attempted a comeback in the singles on Sunday. But we reacted well.”

 

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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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