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GolfWRX Morning 9: Hero OWGR point debate | Ryan Palmer on not having an equipment deal | Callaway Epic Flash

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

December 4, 2018

Good Tuesday morning, golf fans.
1. Further complaints re: Hero OWGR points
It’s Steve Scott at The Courier voicing his displeasure with the OWGR point buffet in the Bahamas.
“The top 11 in the World Rankings are eligible – but don’t always play – and the remainder is made up of invitations at Tiger (or the sponsors’) discretion. And of course Tiger always plays, even when he was on one leg with a bad back and 1000-and-something in the world rankings himself.”
  • “It is – charitably – a knockabout event for Tiger and his pals at the end of a long season. However, in terms of the Official World Golf Rankings, it carries as much weight as the Scottish Open, or the Dubai Desert Classic, or the Shell Houston Open.”
  • “Incredibly, you get as many OGWR points for winning Tiger’s charity tournament as you do for winning our national open and those other prestige events.”
  • “In fact, finishing 18th out of 18th at the Hero World Challenge – there’s no cut, of course – gets as many OGWR points as finishing 48th at the US Open; a major championship that features 156 of the world’s top players on some of the most difficult courses which attracts a qualifying entry of around 10,000 in some recent years.”
  • Scott also makes this point re: the tournament host…”The prime beneficiary of the unbalanced, unfair ranking points from the Hero World Challenge has been, unquestionably, Tiger himself. Having not played for many months after back surgery, he finished seventh in last year’s event and jumped 538 places in one bound. He could have gone sixth had he won at the weekend, but his 17th place finish saw him drop a place to 14th.”
2. Ryan Palmer on switching irons, not having and equipment contract
Last week, Johnny Wunder talked with three-time PGA Tour winner Ryan Palmer on his Gear Dive podcast. While the pod has nearly 5,000 listens on Soundcloud, we saw plenty of WRX Members asking to, well, see some of what Palmer had to say in the form of a transcript or article.
Here are his remarks about not having a club deal
  • “Well the problem today is, you’re having to sign the full bag. I mean, with TaylorMade, you’re having to sign the full staff, the ball. Titleist, full clubs, the ball. Callaway, I mean, Callaway will get you in a driver deal. TaylorMade doesn’t have anymore driver deals out there. Ping is obviously full staff, full clubs. So it’s just, guys, are not wanting to sign away every club in their bag. I mean, for me, I got an Odyssey putter, Vokey wedges, Srixon irons, TaylorMade woods.”
  • “You know, honestly, some of the contracts aren’t worth what the money we’re playing for. That’s the way I’ve always looked at it, the last few years, and, I’d rather take the clubs I’m comfortable with and have confidence in than going out there with something I’m not used to just get a couple hundred thousand more dollars.”
  • “I think these young guys today, come out here, and then they leave the Web, and then automatically, “Who can I sign with, where can I sign?”…They’re getting bad advice, from a lot of, from the people giving them advice, you know? There’s people out there trying to make a buck off them. They think, “Here sign this deal with this company, this club company, because somebody on the outside is getting an extra kickback.”
  • “Guys don’t realize, you sign a $400,000 contract with whoever…Go finish top 10 twice, and you’ve made it, you’ve made that money. So it’s almost, that’s my approach, and, you know, Mike Chisholm, my manager, close personal friend of mine first, but, we talk about it all the time. And, to me, and he knows, there’s more money to be won on the golf course then there is off the golf course when it comes to equipment.”
3. Keith Sbarbaro speaks
Andrew Tursky chatted with TaylorMade’s TP of Tour Operations following staffer Jon Rahm’s win.
“Q: Rahm’s putter specs, 2.75 degrees of loft, 69 degree lie angle and 37 inches long, have gone largely unchanged since 2017, if I’m not mistaken. Has he made any recent tweaks? I saw after the Ryder Cup he briefly switched back to a black and white SuperStroke putter grip, but he won at the Hero using the Ryder Cup European grip. Was that just a sentimental thing, or is there something about that grip he likes better?”
  • “SBARBARO: Yes it’s the same specs since he came to TM. We have tried 36 inches and he struggled with short putts, and have also tried lines on the spider and nothing works better than 37-inch blank spider. As far as the grip, it’s been the same grip the entire time; he switched to Ryder Cup grip for obvious reasons and has just stuck with it. I don’t think he switched grips after the Ryder Cup.”
  • “Q: What does Rahm find beneficial about his Hi-Toe wedge (60 degrees) versus his Milled Grind wedges (51 and 55 degrees)? Is there anything special about his wedge grinds to help them perform better for him? “
  • “SBARBARO: Like the P750, Rahm was involved with he development of the high-toe wedge. The grind is very simple, we just removed two degrees of bounce from the market version. He tried a few different options and settled on this one. First week out with it was Dubai last year and he won, which included a great chip on the 71st hole to save par. He has said he might not have gotten the up and down without the high toe.”
  • “Q: Rahm plays a TP5x #10 golf ball. Why the number 10? And why the TP5x versus the TP5? “
  • “SBARBARO: He plays the #10 because in soccer, the best player/captain typically plays #10. Obviously, he’s a major soccer fan so it translates into his equipment. And why the TP5x? Because he was shocked by the performance; it’s the longest ball he had ever hit and the best ball in the wind. He picked up one club and 8-10 yards off the tee from the Titleist he was playing. When he turned pro he was concerned about the ball; it actually wasn’t in his contract to switch into the new ball until Jan. 2018. He saw the performance benefits at a testing (the one we turned into a commercial) and made the switch immediately. That commercial is as real as it gets.”
4. ROG changes
Ryan Herrington runs down the impending changes to the Rules of Golf (with handy phrases no less!)
“Accidents happen…The controversy over Dustin Johnson’s ball moving on the green during the final round of the 2016 U.S. Open exposed the old rules for being too harsh when it came to what many considered tickytack infractions. New language, first adopted through Local Rules since 2017, states there is no penalty if you accidentally move your ball (or ball marker) on the green. Put the ball back, and you’re good to go. The same applies if you’re searching for a lost ball and mistakenly move it.”
“The fix is in…Golfers often complained about the silliness of letting players fix a ball mark on the green, but not a spike mark. What’s the difference? With no good answer, officials now will let you fix everything without a penalty. You can also touch the line of your putt with your hand or club so long as you’re not improving it.”
“A lost cause…To improve pace of play, golfers now have just three minutes to search for a missing ball rather than five. Admit it, if you hadn’t found it in three minutes, you weren’t finding it anyway.”
5. Behold, the Epic Flash!
Speculation has been rampant in the GolfWRX forums for month that Callaway’s 2019 driver offering will be called the Epic Flash. And it stands to reason that, like the Rogue, the company could offer a Sub Zero version of the driver.
  • All models feature a sliding rear weight, similar to what we saw in the original Epic. Not surprisingly, the company incorporates its ball-speed boosting Jailbreak Technology in all four models. As with the Callaway Rogue Sub Zero, the Flash Sub Zero looks to feature a forward-placed weight.
  • The drivers are also rumored to included a successor to X-Face VFT: “Flash Face” technology.
6. Hope on the PGA Tour Latinoamerica
Superb stuff from Brian Wacker ostensibly looking at life for PGA Tour Latinoamerica golfers, but the star of the piece is one Harry Higgs. Wacker’s lead is some of his best writing.
  • “If Harry Higgs never hits another shot, his golf life will have already been better than most. The 26-year-old SMU alum counts Cypress Point among the favorite courses he has played, and he once pegged it up alongside former U.S. president George W. Bush. He played with 43 at Preston Trail, an old line Dallas club where legend has it that Mickey Mantle made his way around all 18 in the buff, and where women and anyone under the age 21 still aren’t permitted.”
  • “It’s a rule that has been applied to everyone from Byron Nelson to Jordan Spieth, the former on one occasion respectfully asked to depart for showing 17-year-old phenom Scott Verplank around the place. For good measure, Higgs says that if he were not a professional golfer, he’d like to be a senator, governor or the President; his first tee entrance song would be the Star Spangled Banner; and that he’d like to trade places with any billionaire with a private jet.”
7. The battle of the diabetic golfer
Tyrone Smith of BBC Scotland Sport talked with 25-year-old Hannah McCook, one of the county’s top prospects about dealing with type 1 diabetes.
  • She offers an interesting, first-hand description of something most of us never have to think about on the golf course.
  • “Before a round, I have to make sure my blood sugar levels are stable,” she tells BBC Scotland.
  • “They drop quite a lot when I am warming up, and as soon as I tee off the adrenaline spikes them, so it is catching them before it goes too much.
  • “I’m always thinking about it, rather than just thinking about where the pin placements are, or what the wind is.
  • “In one way that takes my head away from the golf a little bit, but at the same time it is more to worry about.”
8. For your listening pleasure
The latest installment of Knudson & Westphal’s Mondays Off was a good one!
  • Caddies challenging Steve to matches seems to be a big thing at his club lately! Do you take them on, maybe teach them a lesson or lose and never hear the end of it?
9. What do we have here?
TaylorMade tweeted a smoke-and-mirrors teaser for its February driver release. It included this shot of some interesting face technology…
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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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