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GolfWRX Morning 9: Rahmbo the Hero | Thoughts on Tiger’s 2019 schedule | TW Monster Energy drink?

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

December 3, 2018

Good Monday morning, golf fans.
1. Rahmbo!
AP Report on the Spaniard’s third W of the year...”Jon Rahm turned a potential shootout into a Bahamas breeze Sunday, closing with a 7-under 65 for a four-shot victory in the Hero World Challenge.”
  • “Starting the final round in a three-way tie with Tony Finau and Henrik Stenson, Rahm took the lead when Finau made bogey on the par-3 eighth hole, and the 24-year-old Spaniard never trailed the rest of the day at Albany Golf Club.”
  • “Finau was the last challenger until the 14th hole, when he went from a sandy area to a bunker and over the green, leading to double bogey. Rahm made birdie on the hole, and suddenly had a five-shot lead without much trouble to get in the way.”
Rahm reiterated the importance of playing against (and beating) Woods at the Ryder Cup…”That Sunday with Tiger is still the most emotionally, most important moment of my golf career…It means so much to play against Tiger. A couple months later, to win his event, it’s really special.”
2. Smith Down Under
Fox Sports Australia report…”Cameron Smith has tamed the early nerves before ousting good mate Marc Leishman to defend his Australian PGA Championship, immediately setting his sights on the world’s top 20.”
  • “The Brisbane talent overcame a wonky start to shoot a fourth-round 70 to finish at 16-under-par and beat Leishman (69) by two strokes in a Sunday shootout at Royal Pines…Smith looked dead and buried on the 12th but held his nerve to spoil Leishman’s best chance of a maiden win on home soil.”
  • “The win should propel him into the top 30 for the first time and give the 25-year-old confidence when he returns to the PGA Tour.”
3. The Great Hero OWGR point debate
Golf Channel’s Randall Mell isn’t loving the world ranking points awarded at the 18-player “unofficial” Hero World Challenge.
  • “The winner of the Hero World Challenge receives 48 world ranking points this week, the same as this year’s Houston Open, CIMB Classic, Dubai Desert Classic and Scottish Open.” That’s from Golf Channel numbers guru Justin Ray. Can anyone out there explain how that’s fair?
  • “Yes, this is a question that has come up every year since the event began awarding world ranking points in 2009, but it remains relevant because we’re still waiting to hear how that’s fair. The Houston Open is an official PGA Tour event with a 144-player field. The Hero World Challenge is an unofficial event with an 18-player field. So, again, somebody please explain how that’s fair? Yes, there were six top-10 players in the Hero World Challenge field. So what? It’s “unofficial” and the equal weight given to a long-standing official event like the Houston Open isn’t clear. Again, can somebody explain that.”
I can explain it: Extra incentive for players to play Tiger’s event, which the Tour has a vested interest in remaining strong.
4. Putting tips from Tiger
Jon Rahm bent Tiger’s ear at the Tour Championship for advice putting on Bermuda–could you imagine a similar situation a decade ago?
  • “‘He was putting next to me and I asked him, because I’m not the best putter on Bermuda grass and I know it’s kind of funny to say that now,” Rahm said. “I said, ‘Hey, Tiger can you please teach me how to putt on Bermuda?'”
  • “Woods laughed and offered some passing advice, “He told me it’s all about feel,” Rahm recalled…The episode wasn’t lost on either Woods or Rahm on Sunday at the Hero World Challenge, where the Spaniard rolled to a four-shot victory at Albany, which has Bermuda grass greens.”
5. Tiger at Kapalua?
ESPN’s Bob Harig floats the idea that Tiger Woods could start his 2018-2019 season at the Tournament of Champions.
  • “It is far from a done deal, and this week’s trip he is taking to Australia for the Presidents Cup could ultimately derail the idea. But Woods has not said “no” to the prospect of playing at Kapalua the first week of January, a departure from the past decade-plus, and something that has tour brass and TOC officials hopeful.”
  • “We’re going to sit back after I’m done with Australia and really get back into the gym and build up my bod, get it stronger and get some weight on me and see where I want to start the year and see how many events that I should play,” Woods said Sunday following the final round of the Hero World Challenge, where he finished 17th in the 18-player field.”
  • “I’m not going to play as many as I did this year. I played in too many this year, and that was from adding an event because I missed the cut at L.A. (Genesis Open) to qualifying to get in Akron (WGC-Bridgestone). Who knew that I could make it through all the playoff events. So all those events told a lot. I won’t be playing as much as I did (in 2018).”

6. Reduced schedule ahead for TW

After unexpectedly playing more tournaments than he has in a decade and showing signs of fatigue late in the year, Tiger Woods, a solid World Ranking in hand, plans to reduce his schedule this season.

  • PGATour.com’s Mike McAllister quotes Woods…”We’re going to sit back after I’m done with Australia and really get back into the gym and build up my body, get it stronger and get some weight on me and see where I want to start the year and see how many events that I should play,” Woods said.
  • “I’m not going to play as many as I did this year. I played in too many this year, and that was from adding an event because I missed the cut at L.A. to qualifying to get into Akron. Who knew that I could make it through all the Playoffs events? So all those events told a lot.
  • “I won’t be playing as much as I did last year. … That was just too much for my body to handle and I was not physically prepared for it. I hadn’t trained for that, so we’re going to make some adjustments for next year.”

Full piece.

7. Missed it by that much
Justin Rose was one Tony Finau 10-footer away from retaking the World No. 1 spot…doesn’t sound like he’s too upset about missing out though.
  • Rex Hoggard at Golf Channel…”Rose finished strong in the Bahamas with a 7-under 65 and was in a three-way tie for second place when he completed his round. It was noteworthy because the Englishman could have moved back to No. 1 in the ranking if he finished in a three-way tie for second or better at Albany.”
  • “It’s not a huge goal for me, but when you have these opportunities you want to take them,” said Rose, who has moved into and been bounced out of the top spot three times in recent weeks. “Obviously anytime you get to No. 1 you want to stay there, it’s a nice feeling.”
  • “Rose remained poised to again overtake Brooks Koepka, who moved into the top spot on Monday, until the final group reached the 18th green…With Jon Rahm poised for a convincing four-stroke victory, Tony Finau calmly rolled in a 10-footer for birdie to break out of the tie with Rose and move into second place, alone at 16 under.”
8. Meanwhile, in Mauritius…
EuropeanTour.com report...”Kurt Kitayama secured his maiden European Tour title in just his third event after claiming a two-shot victory at the tri-sanctioned Afrasia Bank Mauritius Open at Anahita.”
  • “The American, who earned his playing privileges at Qualifying School last month, carded an eagle, four birdies and two bogeys in his closing 68 on Sunday.”
  • “But it was not all plain sailing for Kitayama, who saw his lead reduced to a single shot when he missed his par putt from six feet at the 16th.”
  • “He held his nerve, though, holing from 20 feet for a birdie at the 17th to restore his two-stroke cushion, before safely parring the last to finish the tournament on 20 under par.”
9. A Tiger Woods Monster drink cometh?
Via Golfweek’s Dan Kilbridge...it seems TW and sponsor Monster could be teaming up for a beverage offering.
  • “Agent Mark Steinberg confirmed an extension was finalized a few months ago….”We just extended the deal with Monster, and so we’re looking at what the next stages are of that relationship,” Steinberg told Golfweek. “It’s been an awesome partnership and there’s been talk about potential of a licensed deal with Tiger and Monster. What that looks like and tastes like, we haven’t flushed that out yet, but we’re at least in discussions about it now.'”
  • “They’re looking to get something done ‘in the next few months,’ for a Woods-licensed drink, one which he would have serious influence on from a flavor and concept perspective.”
Serious influence from a flavor and concept perspective!
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3 Comments

3 Comments

  1. Elin Nordegren

    Dec 19, 2018 at 12:38 pm

    Monster Energy “TW” Grape Drink

  2. G Wizz

    Dec 3, 2018 at 1:04 pm

    Ive always been confused on the Tiger and Monster pairing.. C’omon Tiger you dont need the sponsor cash that bad and you are better than selling kids rotten teeth with the bonus early diabetes. Whats next? A vape sponsor?

    • Jamie

      Dec 3, 2018 at 11:26 pm

      Who drinks that dog vomit? I have never seen anybody buy it. Maybe it’s a 7/11 at 3am thing.

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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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