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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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Greg Norman: “If I had to do it all over again, I would go to one-length clubs”

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Greg Norman has never been a man to shy away from speaking his mind, and during Saturday’s Golf Channel broadcast of the QBE Shootout, the Australian declared that if he had the opportunity to begin his career again, he would do so with single-length irons.

Norman stressed how his experience while experimenting with Cobra King One Length irons led him to conclude that single-length irons are more beneficial than standard irons because “your spine angle stays the same” no matter what club you are using.

“Believe it or not, if I had to do it all over again as a 13 or 14-year-old, I would go to one-length clubs,” Norman said. “I actually had a set made for me when [Bryson DeChambeau] first came and joined, and I got it straight off the bat. When you think about it, my 4-iron and my 8-iron are the same length, but my ball flight was so good on all of them because your spine angle stays the same.”

The Australian went on to say that anyone looking to introduce their kid to the game of golf, should give them single-length irons to optimize their chances of success.

“I think parents now, for longevity, golf is a sport you can play your entire life, so if you look at that motion that [DeChambeau is] going through there, it’s such an effortless motion. He’s stacked up beautifully. At the end of the day, the motion is so simple through there. So the one-length golf club, in my humble opinion, give a kid at six, seven, eight…get him used to it and he’ll do well.”

Norman won 88 times in his career, including 20 wins on the PGA Tour and two major championship victories. Could the Shark have achieved even more if he had have used single-length irons during his career instead of standard irons?

Let us know what you think, GolfWRXers!

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Web.com Tour hopeful suffers heartbreaking finish to miss out on Tour status by one stroke

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With the careers of many players hanging in the balance at Web.com Tour Q-School, the agony of those who miss out matches the ecstasy of the few that make their way through the brutal process.

On Sunday, there was one particular man who suffered the agony of missing out more than others.

Patrick Sullivan was inside the top-40 and heading for his status on the Web.com Tour for 2019 before it all went wrong. Playing the back nine of Sunday’s final round, the 35-year old faced a birdie attempt on the 14th green but struck his ball off the green and into the water. Sullivan ended up making a costly double bogey on the hole and followed the error with another bogey on the 15th hole.

To his eternal credit, Sullivan showed incredible resolve. Needing to play his final three holes in four-under par, Sullivan managed to make a birdie and an eagle before heading to the final hole.

A three on 18 was a must, and Sullivan faced a nerve-jangling four-footer to claim his Web.com Tour status for next season. The putt, however, slid by, leaving him one shot outside of the magic number.

Golf can be a cruel sport at times.

Sullivan does, however, have conditional status for next year, meaning he will have the opportunity of playing events through Monday qualifiers.

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GolfWRX Morning 9: Louis king again | Q-School craziness

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

December 10, 2018

Good Monday morning, golf fans.
1. King again!
Louis Oosthuizen captured his home country’s open for his first win in three years.
  • Ryan Herrington writes…”Louis Oosthuizen was already the winner of a historic Open title, but on Sunday he claimed arguably a more meaningful one to the 36-year-old. With a closing 67 at Randpark Golf Club in Johannesburg, Oosthuizen posted a runaway six-stroke victory over France’s Romain Langasque at the South African Open, his home country’s oldest tournament.”
  • “I wish the family was here,” said a tearful Oosthuizen, ending a nearly three-year winless drought. “The crowd was great this whole week, it was nice to do it for them.”
  • “It was Oosthuizen’s eighth career European Tour triumph, four of which have come in events in South Africa. But this was the first time he’s won his country’s Open after playing in the event for the first time since a third-place finish in 2010.”
2. St. Simons boys triumph
Patton Kizzire and Brian Harman, both residents of St. Simons Island, joined forces to win the QBE Shootout.
  • PGATour.com’s Cameron Morfit …”We’re normally trying to get into each other’s heads,” Kizzire said after the St. Simons Island, Georgia duo shot a best-ball, final-round 61 in blustery weather to reach 30-under and win the unofficial QBE at Tiburón Golf Club. “And this week he was nice to me, which was kind of weird.”
  • Added Harman: “I was hoping I wasn’t going to throw him for a loop.”
  • “For the second straight year Graeme McDowell finished second, this time with a new partner, Emiliano Grillo. They made par on 18 to finish 29-under, one back.”
  • “Three teams shared third, two back: Charles Howell III and Luke List, who was 9-under on his own ball over the last nine holes as they shot 61; Kevin Na and Bryson DeChambeau (62); and Charley Hoffman and Gary Woodland (63), their highlight coming when Woodland aced the 202-yard 5th hole.”
3. A horrific stolen clubs story…with a happy ending
From our Gianni Magliocco…:”Web.com Tour Q-School is well known for being a gruelling process, and while 49 players graduated over the weekend, one man was forced to go to hell and back to do so.”
  • “Cody Blick sat three shots outside of the desired Top-40 heading into Sunday’s final round, and on waking up that morning to prepare for the biggest round of his life, the 25-year-old realized that his clubs had been stolen.”
  • “Blick took to social media immediately, desperately hoping that anyone could help him, offering $5k no questions asked should his clubs be returned.”
  • “Blick was unable to recover his clubs though, meaning he was forced to put together a mishmash of different clubs before Sunday’s final round. According to the Mackenzie Tour Twitter account, they consisted of the “Superintendent’s driver, pro shop’s wedges, random irons and a heavier than usual putter.”
  • “After all of that, Blick pulled off a miracle. The American fired a sensational round of nine-under par 63, which included birdies at his final three holes, to take him into the coveted Top-40.”
4. Walker: Q-School Medalist
PGATour.com Staff report...”With a tight leaderboard down the stretch at Final Stage of the Web.com Tour Qualifying Tournament, University of Virginia alum Danny Walker emerged from the pack to birdie his final three holes and claim medalist honors at 27-under at Whirlwind Golf Club. Coming from the fourth-to-last group, Walker posted an early 9-under 63 before waiting for his fate as the final groups finished. With the victory, Walker earns fully-exempt status on the Web.com Tour in 2019.”
  • “Players who finished top-40 (and ties) earned guaranteed starts next year. This year, the cutoff came at 18-under 270 with 49 players earning guaranteed starts.”
  • “I’m super excited right now – my goal was to come top-10 this week, so I wasn’t really thinking about winning,” Walker said. “But I’m excited about it now obviously and relieved to have the week done, it’s a stressful week for everybody so it feels good to play well.”
5. The Shark wishes he went single length!  
Here’s an interesting note (or maybe just a Cobra staffer hyping a product his sponsor has cornered the market on among major OEMs).
  • Golfweek’s Dan Kilbridge…”The equipment issue came up on air Saturday afternoon while Norman was watching Bryson DeChambeau. The 25-year-old has already picked up five PGA Tour wins using Cobra King One Length irons, and Norman said he wishes he could have put them in play when he first started out as an amateur.”
  • “Believe it or not, if I had to do it all over again as a 13 or 14-year-old, I would go to one-length clubs,” Norman said. “I actually had a set made for me when (DeChambeau) first came and joined Cobra Puma and I got it straight off the bat. When you think about it, my 4-iron and my 8-iron are the same length, but my ball flight was so good on all of them because your spine angle stays the same.”
  • “I truly do believe that,” Norman said. “I think parents now, for longevity, golf is a sport you can play your entire life, so if you look at that motion that (DeChambeau’s) going through there it’s such an effortless motion. He’s stacked up beautifully. At the end of the day, the motion is so simple through there. So the one-length golf club, in my humble opinion, give a kid at six, seven, eight … get him used to it and he’ll do well.”
6. Steph’s tourney to Lake Merced
Golf Channel’s Will Gray...”A new PGA Tour event in the Bay Area hosted by NBA superstar Steph Curry is now expected to debut next fall at Lake Merced Golf Club.”
  • “According to a San Francisco Chronicle report, the club’s membership voted “overwhelmingly” to approve an estimated $3.6 million in renovations that are viewed as a “prerequisite to holding the tournament.” The planned changes will reportedly be overseen by Rees Jones and could stretch the Daly City, Calfornia, course beyond 7300 yards.”
  • “Lake Merced has hosted an LPGA event four of the past five years, with Lydia Ko winning three times. It is slated to host the LPGA’s MediHeal Championship from May 2-5 next year. The Curry-hosted event is expected to take place in September as part of the fall portion of the 2019-20 season and likely close to the Safeway Open, which is annually played in Napa.”
7. LET in Limbo
Golfweek’s Alistair Tait…”The 2019 LET Qualifying School is scheduled Dec. 16-20 in Morocco. Once again, those players who earn one of the 25 cards have no idea how many tournaments they will play next year. The LET has yet to publish its 2019 schedule.
  • It cost $1,450 to enter this year’s Q-School. Imagine getting your dream job and having no idea where, when and if you’ll be working?”
  • “There were just 15 events on this year’s LET schedule. Two of those – the $3.25 million Ricoh Women’s British Open and $3.85 million Evian Championship – were majors and basically out of reach for most Q-School grads. The $1.5 million Aberdeen Standard Investments Ladies Scottish Open is essentially an LPGA event and also is off-limits to most Q-School grads. In other words, those who earned cards were playing in low-purse events.”
  • “By low purses we’re talking between a low of $140,000 for the Jabra Ladies Open to $500,000 for the Hero Women’s Indian Open. The first four events on this year’s schedule were co-sanctioned with the Australian Ladies Professional Golf Tour. Two of those were worth just over $100,000. You don’t have to be a math genius to work out that traveling to, and accommodation in, Australia isn’t cheap. Even a top-10 finish in those events could leave players taking a loss on the week.”
8. Pining for the Q-School of yore?
According to the Forecaddie, some Tour vets are feeling a bit of nostalgia.
  • “For almost 50 years, the PGA Tour Qualifying Tournament was the coliseum for Sansabelt soldiers, where battle-scarred veterans and fresh-faced rookies fought it out over six days to earn their stripes. For every career launched at Q-School, many others crashed to earth. Stories from that make-or-break week are plentiful and almost always painful. Like Steve Haskins, a journeyman who entered the arena 14 times but never made it out with a Tour card.”
  • “Even those who survived the gauntlet have scar tissue. It’s been 35 years since Brad Faxon’s only trip to Q-School, but he can recall it with forensic detail still. Fall 1983, TPC Sawgrass, 108 holes with a cut after 72.”
  • “I shot 71 in the fourth round to move way up,” Faxon said. “Then rain and lightning came and they cancelled everybody’s scores. Next day I shot 76 and went from the top 10 to, like, 50th place.” He narrowly made the cut and secured a card that he kept for almost three decades.
9. Q-School heartbreak
Move over, Cody Blick…
  • Golf Digest’s Joel Beall…”Sullivan, a 35-year-old journeyman who missed 20 of 23 cuts on the Web.com Tour last season, looked to be in fine standing to retain Web status for 2019, in 23rd place heading into the final round of Q-School at Whirlwind G.C. in Chandler, Ariz. Unfortunately for Sullivan, on a day when the field went low, he hovered around par for 13 holes, and then had the bad fortune of finding the water on the 14th hole.”
  • Sullivan tweeted…”We’ve heard all the QSchool horror stories over the years. I was wondering if anyone had ever putted it into the water on the back nine to miss by one? If not…..dibs.”
  • “Sullivan ultimately made a double, and followed with a bogey on the 15th. And while he did mount a commendable charge, answering with a birdie on the 16th and eagle on the 17th, Sullivan missed a four-footer on the final hole.”

 

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