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GolfWRX Morning 9: No Ryder Cup worries for Captain America | $50K to caddie for Tiger | WGHOF shakeup



1. No worries for Captain America
Golf Channel’s Rex Hoggard...”The fallout from Reed’s comments has continued and on Wednesday at the Hero World Challenge he was asked if he felt his status as “Captain America” had been damaged.”
  • “No, still 3-0 in [Ryder Cup] singles,” Reed said.
  • He added…”It’s something that I love and cherish and hopefully will continue playing really good golf when I represent the country and keep on bringing it in those events,” he said. “Being 3-0 in singles is something cool because you always want to feel like you can be counted on toward the end, especially during a Ryder Cup.”

Full piece.

2. Tough stuff for Senden
Our Gianni Magliocco…”As challenging and unpredictable as golf is, professional golfers can usually count on one thing, making contact with the ball. However, when John Senden attempted to rip his tee shot at the par-5 ninth hole in his opening round at the Australian PGA Championship, the Aussie’s club snapped mid-swing producing an air shot.”
  • “Despite not causing himself a severe injury, Senden did wound his hand during the bizarre incident, and after deliberating with a rules official, things got even worse for the Aussie. After failing to make contact with the ball, rules officials told Senden that not only would that swing count as a stroke but that he would also be forced to play his next shot from the original high standing tee. A decision that left his fellow countryman Geoff Ogilvy seething.”

See the swing here.

3. Rickie remains ready
Matthew Rudy at Golf Digest on Rickie Fowler remaining patient as he enters his third decade…even while being lapped by younger talents.
  • “Fowler is starting his 10th season on Tour, and measuring by cash he’s been wildly successful, with more than $34 million in career earnings on the course and at least that much off. Still, his 2018 season was a fair representation of his career. Fowler won the last Hero World Challenge with a spectacular final-round 61, but didn’t record a “real” victory the rest of the season. He even made his traditional appearances on major championship leaderboards at Augusta and the PGA and was counted on to be one of the leaders of the American Ryder Cup team.”
  • “I had a fairly consistent season — put myself in contention a lot, put myself in great positions at the majors — I just never got the job done,” Fowler said. “It’s not like it was a bad year by any means. I just didn’t win.”
  • “He’s right, but his career record — four wins, including the 2015 Players Championship — is also starting to suffer in comparison to a pack of similar-age and similar-profile players at the top of the world ranking. Bryson DeChambeau just won his fifth tour event at the end of the 2018 season, while fellow 25-year-old Jordan Spieth has 11 wins and three majors to go with his 2015 FedEx Cup title. Patrick Reed is the same age as Fowler and has won six times including the 2018 Masters. They’re all chasing Rory McIlroy, who turns 30 in May and has 14 PGA Tour wins and three majors along with seven other wins in Europe”

Full piece.

4. A $50K loop
ESPN’s Bob Harig on the winning bidder from a Tiger Jam auction to caddie for Tiger Woods during the Hero pro-am…”The joke among Jim Williams and his friends back home near Chicago was that the extent of his golf-bag-carrying experience barely covered hauling his own clubs from the truck of his car to the clubhouse.”
  • “And so there he was on Wednesday morning, lugging that big tour bag with Tiger Woods’ name on the side while working for the 14-time major champion over four-plus hours at Albany Golf Club during the pro-am for the Hero World Challenge.”
  • “From 12 inches of snow in Chicago on Sunday to 75 degrees and humid in the Bahamas on Wednesday, the physical challenge was far outweighed by the experience. And the high price paid at a charity auction was worth it.”
  • “Once in a lifetime,” said Williams, 53, who lives in St. Charles, Ill. “Tiger’s been great. A lot of fun. He’s been great to talk to, about golf, his kids, his family, everything. Easy to talk to, and better than I expected, really. A lot of fun.”

Full piece.

5. Rai 
Alistair Magowan profiled the singular Aaron Rai.
  • English of Indian descent, Rai offered a unique perspective on the poverty of Indian golfers on Tour…”Rai says traditional values could be a reason why there are relatively few Indian golfers on Tour, but he also admits there have been some rare cases of him being subjected to racism, which may also be a factor.”
  • “But he says the rise of golfers of Indian descent across the globe is another sign that “the perception of golf is changing” and becoming “a lot more acceptable and more inclusive”.”
  • “He cites 22-year-old Indian golfer Shubhankar Sharma, who won twice on the European Tour last season, as “an amazing player, a great symbol for India and already a superstar”.
  • “Then you’ve got Julian Suri from America who also has Indian origins from his father’s side and Jack Singh Brar, who is British Asian and has just had a incredible year on the Challenge Tour. He will have a great career ahead of him.”
6. Scheduling difficulties
Golf Channel’s Rex Hoggard…”The PGA Tour’s dramatic makeover of its schedule beginning in 2019 prompted a number of changes to the European Tour’s lineup, with the latter circuit shifting five of eight Rolex Series events after the Tour Championship.”
  • “In theory, the moves should have made it easier for players who play both tours to fulfill their membership requirements, but that doesn’t seem to be the case for Henrik Stenson.”
  • “I think for me it actually made it harder on the PGA Tour because in a way changing the PGA [Championship] from early August and putting that into the spring, that would actually occupy a tournament that I potentially could have played before,” he said on Wednesday at the Hero World Challenge.
  • “In the summertime, I don’t play anything in America, so that’s why I’m losing out on one there. So yeah, it’s going to be pretty packed for me.”
7. 3 new jobs for Greg McLaughlin
Press release…make of it what you will, but clearly some folks thought a major change at the organizations in question was in order, and they’re particularly enamored of Mr. McLaughlin!
  • “Greg McLaughlin named World Golf Foundation CEO & President of The First Tee Newly consolidated role to bring together direction and leadership of World Golf Foundation,  The First Tee, World Golf Hall of Fame”
  • “The World Golf Foundation Board of Directors announced today that Greg McLaughlin will assume the combined roles and responsibilities of World Golf Foundation Chief Executive Officer & President of The First Tee.  McLaughlin most recently served as President of PGA TOUR Champions, since January 2015; prior to his role at the TOUR, he was CEO of the Tiger Woods Foundation for 14 years.”
  • “McLaughlin will strategically direct the World Golf Foundation, The First Tee and World Golf Hall of Fame, expanding the reach, impact and global prominence of each and ensuring financial performance and sustainability. McLaughlin will serve as a leader among the world’s top golf organizations, and a key ambassador and spokesperson for the game of golf.”
8. The pursuit of average
PGA’s Mike McAllister on Keegan Bradley setting a low (but wise) bar for his flatstick work.
  • “This is going to sound weird, but my goal is just to putt average,” he said Wednesday on the eve of the Hero World Challenge.
  • “Actually, it’s not weird if you look at the rest of Bradley’s game. Last season, he ranked second in Strokes Gained: Approach-the-Green. The year before, he ranked 10th in Strokes Gained: Off-the-Tee. The year before, he ranked 25th in Strokes Gained: Around-the-Green.”
  • “He knows he can put all those elements together, and indeed he ranked 14th in Strokes Gained: Tee-to-Green last season. In the last six years, he’s never ranked outside the top 30 in that category.”
  • “Putting has been his nemesis, thanks in part to the anchored putting ban that forced Bradley, among others, to make major adjustments in their game a few years ago. The way Bradley figures it, his game from tee-to-green is good enough to give him a chance in every start … as long as his putting doesn’t derail him.”
9. The official GolfWRX Gift Guide arriveth
Just a friendly PSA that the GolfWRX Holiday Gift Guide went live yesterday.
If you’re looking for items to add to your list for Santa or for the golfers in your life, check it out here.
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Tour Photo Galleries

10 interesting photos from the Honda Classic




GolfWRX is live this week from the 2020 Honda Classic at PGA National’s Champion course (par 70: 7,125 yards) in Palm Beach Gardens, Florida.

The field this week is stacked at the top, and it includes Brooks Koepka, Rickie Fowler, Justin Rose, Tommy Fleetwood, Louis Oosthuizen and more.

Last year, Keith Mitchell canned a 15-footer on the 72nd hole, outlasting Rickie Fowler and Brooks Koepka.

Check out all our galleries below, along with highlights from PGA National.

General galleries

Special galleries

Vijay Singh using custom Mizuno MP-20 irons with lofts modified enough they had to stamp new numbers. Link to his full WITB

Camilo Villegas with old-school Air Jordans

Close up of Tommy Fleetwood’s putting grip

Luke Donald with a new putting training aid

LA Golf has a couple of new shafts

Brooks Kopeka with his pink and white Nike Air Zoom Infinity Tour shoes

Odyssey Stroke Lab Ten with new sightlines.  Link to galleries and discussion

Kevin Streelman is a huge Chicago Cubs fan, so he went to a spring training game and had the players sign his staff bag (to be fair, he probably took just the panel and not the whole bag)

Jim Furyk has gone back to his standard length putter and cross-handed after trying the arm-lock style for a while.

Kyle Stanley’s coach is taking a worm’s-eye view of Kyle’s alignment and stroke.

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Morning 9: Koepka talks golf | Tiger’s Champions Dinner menu | Tour caddies and hot seats



1. Koepka talks golf
Adam Woodard at Golfweek…The former World No. 1 – who now sits third behind Rory McIlroy and Jon Rahm – opened up in great detail in a profile in GQ about what he would change about the game of golf, a sport that he truly loves despite some outside perception.
  • “One thing I’d change is maybe the stuffiness,” said Koepka, who’s never viewed himself as just a golfer. “Golf has always had this persona of the triple-pleated khaki pants, the button-up shirt, very country club atmosphere, where it doesn’t always have to be that way. That’s part of the problem.”
  • ...”Everybody always says, ‘You need to grow the game.’ Well, why do you need to be so buttoned-up? ‘You have to take your hat off when you get in here.’ ‘You’re not allowed in here unless you’re a member – or unless the member’s here.’…
  • …”I just think people confuse all this for me not loving the game. I love the game. I absolutely love the game,” said Koepka. “I don’t love the stuffy atmosphere that comes along with it. That, to me, isn’t enjoyable.”

Full piece.

2. Fajitas and sushi
“Being born and raised in SoCal, having fajitas and sushi was a part of my entire childhood, and I’m going back to what I had in 2006,” Woods said. “So, we’ll have steak and chicken fajitas, and we’ll have sushi and sashimi out on the deck, and I hope the guys will enjoy it.”
  • “Woods also said he’s considering serving milkshakes for desert like he did during the 1998 dinner.”
  • “That was one of the most great memories to see Gene Sarazen and Sam Snead having milkshakes that night in ’98,” he said.”

Full piece.

3. Why a tour caddie is always on the hot seat 
The Undercover Tour Caddie writeth again…“I’ve been lucky to partner with 18 players on the PGA and developmental tours, four of which were longtime appointments. I’ve also been fired 17 times-and among my friends, that’s on the low end of the spectrum…”
  • “The majority of the time, the breakups are amicable and done in person. I consider myself friends with almost all the players I’ve worked for, and though there were some strong emotions from both sides when it came time to disband, I get it. This is a business, and they’re making a business decision. Plus, you don’t want to burn any bridges. I’ve had two guys toss me aside after a month’s work, only for them to circle back within the year, one of which ended up sticking for five seasons.”
  • “There have been callous splits. In the early 2000s, I was trying to get my guy to hit an 8-iron on an approach at the 71st hole. He was adamant that 9 was the play. I strongly, but respectfully, said he needed to club up. He went with the 9; his ball came up short of the green, and he couldn’t get up and down. That bogey dropped us out of the top 10. He fired me after signing his card, claiming he needed someone “who has faith in me.” Hey, I had faith-faith that his 9 was the wrong club.”

Full piece.

4. The best part of Tiger’s Masters win…
Golf Digest’s Dave Shedloski…”Last April at Augusta National Golf Club, behind the 18th green, after tapping in for a one-stroke victory and fifth Masters triumph, there were hugs all around, none sweeter than those from his daughter and son.”
  • “I think what made it so special is that they saw me fail the year before at the British Open. I had gotten the lead there and made bogey, double, and ended up losing to Francesco,” Woods said. “To have them experience what it feels like to be part of a major championship and watch their dad fail and not get it done, and now to be a part of it when I did get it done, I think it’s two memories that they will never forget. And the embraces and the hugs and the excitement, because they know how I felt and what it felt like when I lost at Carnoustie … to have the complete flip with them in less than a year, it was very fresh in their minds.”
  • “It’s a long and rambling thought, and totally justified in the context of all the emotion woven into the two experiences. Some things are just difficult to express cogently, and the struggle with doing so only underscores their impact.”
5. Dream of Coul is dead
Golfweek’s Forecaddie…”Coul Links was supposed to be Scotland’s next great links golf course. Envisioned to be built by Coore-Crenshaw on a protected wildlife site in Embo on dunes near Dornoch, those hopes took a serious blow on Feb. 21, when the Scottish government denied planning permission for a project spearheaded by golf course developer Mike Keiser.”
  • “I’m moving on. I have so many other projects,” Keiser tells The Forecaddie. “God bless Dornoch.”
  • “In its decision notice, Scottish Ministers determined that the proposed development would adversely affect the local environment, stating in their findings that the “likely detriment to natural heritage is not outweighed by the socio-economic benefits of the proposal.”
6. Koepka: Great round of golf with Trump
Golfweek’s Adam Woodard…“In a profile in GQ, Koepka…talked about a recent round with President Trump…Koepka, his father, younger brother Chase and President Trump “had a blast” at Trump’s course in West Palm Beach.”
  • “It was nice to have my family there, my dad, my brother. Anytime it’s with a president, it’s pretty cool,” said Koepka. “I don’t care what your political beliefs are, it’s the President of the United States. It’s an honor that he even wanted to play with me.”
  • “I respect the office, I don’t care who it is,” added Koepka. “Still probably the most powerful man in the entire world. It’s a respect thing.”

Full piece.

7. Tiger on lengthening Augusta National 
Golf Digest’s Daniel Rapaport…”Augusta National has been at the forefront of trying to keep it competitive, keep it fair, keep it fun, and they’ve been at the forefront of lengthening the golf course,” Woods said. “Granted, they have the property and they can do virtually whatever they want. They have complete autonomy. It’s kind of nice.
  • “But also they’ve been at the forefront of trying to keep it exciting as the game has evolved. We have gotten longer, equipment changed, but they’ve been trying to keep it so the winning score is right around the 12- to 18-under-par mark, and they have.”
8. Inside the Bear Trap
Golf Channel Digital team…“Here’s a look at some of the notable Bear Trap stats according to the PGA Tour (all figures since 2007, when the tournament moved to PGA National):”
  • “Among non-majors, the Bear Trap ranks as the third-toughest three-hole stretch on Tour at 0.644 over par on average. It’s behind only Nos. 16-18 at Quail Hollow (+0.873) and Nos. 8-10 at Pebble Beach (+0.673).”
  • “The Honda Classic field is a combined 3,629 over par across the Bear Trap and 4,934 over par across the other 15 holes at PGA National.”
  • “543 different players have played at least one competitive round at the Honda since 2007, with 76 percent (415) of them hitting at least one ball in the water on the Bear Trap.”

Full piece.

9. San Diego muni renovations (including Torrey)
Jason Lusk of Golfweek…“San Diego’s city council has allotted $15 million for upgrades and renovations to the city’s three municipally operated golf facilities including Torrey Pines’ South Course, site of the 2021 U.S. Open, according to a report Tuesday by the San Diego Union-Tribune.”
  • “…The $15 million approved Monday by the city council also will include contract work at San Diego’s other municipally operated golf facilities at Balboa Park and Mission Bay, the Union-Tribune reported. The courses will remain open during the jobs that include installing new irrigation systems and drainage, replacing and repairing cart paths, renovating bunkers and tree work.”


*featured image via Augusta National/the Masters

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Tour Rundown




Only two of the world’s featured tours were in action this week, but the golf that they provided was memorable and historic. Not the type of historic that you find in school books, but certainly the type that golf aficionados point to, down the road. On the one hand, a prodigious yet poliarizing talent demonstrated complete control down the stretch, during his march to a 2nd World Golf Championship victory. On the other, a precocious competitor joined into a talented triumvirate with a marvelous birdie at the last, to secure an inaugural PGA Tour championship.Tuesday Tour Rundown is back, for this week only!

WGC-Mexico flies away in the hands of Patrick Reed 

Golf Twitter, depending on your perspective, is either entertaining or inflamatory. As happens in the world today, people take sides. In the case of Patrick Reed, that’s not difficult. One either forgives (or denies) Reed’s free interpretation (on multiple occasions) of the rules and their enforcement, or one preserves a disregard for a leading player who simply doesn’t act like one. What isn’t up for debate, is Reed’s seizure of this week’s World Golf Championship in Mexico. What looked for so long like a Bryson-DeChambaeau win, ultimately stowed away in Patrick Reed’s check-on pouch.

The tournament came down to the aforementioned duo. Both Jon Rahm and Erik Van Rooyen swam along the margin, but neither made enough of a Sunday move to figure in the outcome. Both, in fact, tied for 3rd place, 2 back of DeChambeau and 3 behind the champion. Bryson and his on-display muscles barged out of the 10th-hole gate like a man (and muscles) on a mission. Birdies at 4 of the first 5 holes on the inward half, staked him to a 2-shot advantage. Over the closing four, however, the magic went away, and a bogey at the penultimate hole brought him back to 17-under par.

Reed looked like a man playing for second. His long game was nothing exceptional, but his putter kept him afloat, time and again. And then, whatever DeChambeau had in his water bottle, came over to Reed. Birdies at 15, 16 and 17 suddenly brought the 2-shot advantage to the 2018 Masters champion. Even the cough of an expectorant fan, mid-backswing on the 18th, was not enough to convulse the champion. A closing bogey made the margin closer than it was, and Reed jumped from 33rd to 5th in the FedEx Cup standings.

PGA Tour Puerto Rico is Viktor Hovland’s debut decision

It wasn’t as mauling as Tyson Fury’s technical decision over Deontay Wilder, but Viktor Hovland and Josh Teater came down the stretch in Puerto Rico, like a pair of pugilists. The young Norwegian, Hovland, was pitted against the career grinder, Teater. First it was the veteran, with 3 birdies on the opening nine, to reach minus-19. Hovland chipped away, with a birdie at 5, and a 2nd at 10. And then, Teater hit Hovland with a right-cross (or Hovland hit himself with a sucker punch; you make the call.) Triple bogey! A startling six at the 11th, dropped Hovland into a tie with Teater (bogeys of his own on 10 and 11) who now had new life … and new pressure.

To his credit, Teater didn’t back down. He made birdies at 15 and 17, to recoup the lost shots at the turn. Unfortunately for him, tour victory the first would have to wait. Hovland, the Oklahoma State alumnus, made a sensational eagle at the 15th, to counter Teater’s birdie, and reclaim the advantage. The pair reached the 18th tee, a par five, all square, and it was there that Hovland dealt the final thrust. He took every bit of break out of a 25-feet birdie putt, and banged it into the hole. With the win, Hovland joined Matthew Wolff and Collin Morikawa as anticipated winners who actually won. Now comes the hard part: winning again and reaching a new echelon of champion.

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