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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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Tour Photo Galleries

10 interesting photos from the Honda Classic

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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

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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

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@asiapacgolfgrp

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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