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GolfWRX Morning 9: Reed leads the Hero…and Ryder Cup drama continues to follow | Ailing Tiger?

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

November 30, 2018

Good Friday morning, golf fans.
1. Reed in the Hero lead
AP Report…”Patrick Reed and Tiger Woods are about as far apart as can be on the leaderboard after one round of the Hero World Challenge.”
  • “Reed showed no sign of fatigue in his travels from Dubai to Hong Kong to the Bahamas in successive weeks, making birdie on three of his last five holes Thursday for a 7-under 65 and a share of the lead with late-entry Patrick Cantlay.”
  • “Woods was never under par at any point and opened with a 73, eight shots behind, tied for 16th in an 18-man field.”
2. Cantlay’s sinus surgery
Patrick Cantlay is tied for the lead after the first round at the Hero World Challenge…he’s also recovering from some pretty significant surgery.
  • Golf Channel’s Rex Hoggard…”The week after Shriners, I flew to Miami and I had a deviated septum surgery and then a sinus surgery,” Cantlay said. “So I was out for a good week where I was mostly in bed, so I didn’t really have any time to think about it.”
  • “Cantlay said he’s struggled with sinus issues since he was a child and has had issues sleeping in recent years. After trying an assortment of other treatments, he decided to have the surgery.”
  • “I’m still working through it just because of my nose is still healing from the surgery,” Cantlay said. “So all the inflammation isn’t down, but it’s getting there.”
3. Ailing Tiger, bottom of the leaderboard
Hoggard again…”After a full year of relative health it’s no longer a staple of every post-round press conference to ask how Tiger Woods is feeling, but on Thursday at the Hero World Challenge he was spotted walking gingerly.”
  • “Woods finished the day with a 1-over 73 and was tied for 16th in the 18-man field. Afterward he was asked if there were any issues with his ankles.”
  • “I’ve struggled with my ankles over the last few months. Still the same issues,” Woods said. “They’ve just been sore for months,” he said, “just wear and tear.”
4. Reed, Spieth not speaking
Our Gianni Magliocco…”If you thought that the messy Ryder Cup fallout involving Patrick Reed was a thing of the past, then think again. Ahead of the Hero World Challenge in the Bahamas, Reed revealed that neither he nor Jordan Spieth had reached out to each other since the biennial event to clear the air after their relationship appeared to break down at Le Golf National.”
  • “When asked to comment on the matter, Reed put the ball firmly in Spieth’s court, stating: “He has my number,” according to the New York Post’s Mark Cannizzaro.”
  • “Reed’s issue with Spieth arose in the aftermath of the 2018 Ryder Cup after reports emerged that Spieth no longer wanted to partner Reed in the four-ball or foursomes format. Reed, as well as his wife and mother in law, criticized Spieth following the U.S. teams defeat in Paris, and now Reed has stated how changes to the usual pairings to appease one or two individuals on the side was detrimental to the U.S. team.”
  • “You had to look at the breakdown of all the guys on the team and what was best for the entire team, not just one or two individuals. So you split up Jordan and I, right? Then you split up Justin Thomas and Rickie Fowler, who have played great golf together … groupings that had been proven successful in that format. So it was about the team, not one or two individuals.”
5. “Golf Netflix”
Discovery CEO David Zaslav was interviewed on CNBC yesterday. While that interview may be notable, Geoff Shackelford’s commentary on it is more so.
  • He writes…”Like many stories on Tiger’s new deal with Discovery and the PGA Tour, this interview Discovery CEO David Zaslav glosses over one key element of the Tiger Woods-is-coming-to-your-living room-next-year-narrative: he’s not, if you live in the United States. (At least not on Discovery’s GolfTV, he will be seen on PGA Tour Live, Golf Channel, NBC, CBS and TNT, among others). “
  • “Nor is Tiger going to be seen on American screens until 2022 at the earliest as part of this content play that more like the PGA Tour building its own network while wisely consolidating its international presentation, as something looking to satisfy viewers.”
  • More interesting for those on the television side of this story is the increasingly debatable vision of a world where we all watch things on a phone. Zaslav emphasizes repeatedly in this interview with CNBC’s Squawk Box, even holding up his phone twice to highlight his predictable “Netflix” comparison.
6. Tiger’s best
Cool stuff from the folks at Golf Digest rounding up Tiger Woods’ best/most iconic shots from his more than 20 years on Tour.
A few examples…
  • 1996 – Hole-in-one, 14th hole, Greater Milwaukee Open
  • 1997 – Hole-in-one, 16th hole, Phoenix Open
  • 2000 – Bunker shot, 18th hole, Canadian Open
  • 2006 – Eagle, 14th hole, Open Championship
7. The Jutanugarns’ good deed
Amy Rogers at LPGA.com on the charitable efforts of the Jutanugarn sisters in Thailand to build a house for a local family.
  • “In Suphanburi, Thailand Chalouey Tetpan lives in a one-room warehouse storage unit with his wife and two daughters. It’s the only place they can afford to live….But it won’t be their home for much longer.”
  • “Ariya and Moriya Jutanugarn launched a foundation during the last year to assist children and families in need in their native Thailand. One of their first projects is the construction of a new home for Chalouey and his family. Wednesday, the Jutanugarn sisters along with their friends and family took part in the construction of the new home, which the Jutanugarns are financing in partnership with Habitat for Humanity in Thailand. The sisters read several applications and immediately wanted to help the Tetpan family.”
8. Streamsong Black is GD’s Best New Course for 2018
Golf Digest’s Ron Whitten…”Reinvention and reaffirmation are the themes of Golf Digest’s Best New Course winners for 2018. The Black Course at Streamsong Resort, the third 18 at the hugely popular central Florida golf mecca, prevails in the Public Course category. This Gil Hanse design introduces a new concept to American golf, the jumbo-size green, and the surprising manner in which that idea came about is a big part of its story.”
  • “This is Hanse’s third Best New win, after Rustic Canyon in 2002 and the remodeled TPC Boston in 2007. Streamsong Black won in a close contest over Mammoth Dunes, the second 18 at another extremely popular golf resort, Sand Valley in central Wisconsin. This David McLay Kidd design features huge fairways, some 100 yards wide, all edged in sand, an idea he introduced five years ago at Gamble Sands in eastern Washington. In third place is the Craddock Course at the Retreat & Links at Silvies Valley Ranch in east-central Oregon, one 18 of a reversible design by architect Dan Hixson. Its counterpart companion, the Hankins Course, routed in the opposite direction with a couple of alternate holes, finished fourth.”
  • Congaree in southeast South Carolina is the best new private track.
9. Reed-Woods
Via Dan Kilbridge at Golfweek, we’ve heard from Patrick Reed about frictions with Jordan Spieth, now hear from Tiger Woods about tensions with Patrick Reed! (Reed, if you’ll recall, didn’t exactly embrace his pairing with Tiger)
  • “We spoke after the Ryder Cup for a long period of time,” Woods said. “We talked amongst us and it will stay between us.”
  • “It’s between us and we’ll be handling it between us,” Woods said.
  • Reed said similar: “Whatever I talk about with other players and other guys stays between the guys.”

 

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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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