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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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The DailyWRX: What’s buzzing on social media 6/5/2020

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With everything going on, I wanted to find some humor out there…hope you all can find some time to have a chuckle, it helps.

I relate to this on so many levels…

My game therefore I am trash.

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Send this to a trash golfer ????

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It’s funny…

But the guy might do it cuz he’s so damn savage.

I’m in…

Once again…

I love the shots and tips that come out of these vids…..but these backyard setups continue to solidify that I have failed at life…SMH. My jealousy rages.

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Rainy Wednesday…we going skippin!

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He is a literal walking ray of golden sunshine…

He’s inching up my list of favorite player…just sayin’.

DM @johnny_wunder for anything good

 

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Morning 9: U.S. Open could feature fans after all | LPGA skins match? | Singh WD’s from Korn Ferry event

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1. Singh bows out of Korn Ferry opener
Adam Woodard reports we will unfortunately not be getting the Singh/Schnell pairing we were hoping for…“Vijay Singh caused quite a stir a few weeks back when the three-time major champion’s name appeared on the field list for the Korn Ferry Tour’s first post-pandemic event at TPC Sawgrass’ Dye’s Valley Course June 11-14.”
  • “On Sunday, the PGA Tour confirmed Singh has withdrawn from the Korn Ferry Challenge. Golf Channel was first to report.”
  • “Singh riled up golf Twitter – Korn Ferry Tour pro Brady Schnell, in particular – with his initial decision to enter the KFT event. Being a lifetime PGA Tour member, The Big Fijian was eligible to enter the event because he wasn’t playing in the Tour’s return to play that same week at the Charles Schwab Challenge at Colonial Country Club in Fort Worth, Texas.”
2. Still no fans at Colonial
Golf Channel’s Rex Hoggard…”Despite a revised state order that would allow fans to attend next month’s Charles Schwab Challenge in Texas, the PGA Tour plans to proceed without fans for at least the first four events when play resumes.”
  • “The PGA Tour’s primary focus continues to be the health and well-being of all involved with our tournaments and the communities in which we play,” a statement from the Tour read. “We plan to resume play at the Charles Schwab Challenge with the event – and the three to immediately follow – closed to the general public.”
3. Lynch on player mics
Golfweek’s Eamon Lynch has a few thoughts on one of the most-discussed matters coming out of The Match 2…“The most compelling possibility raised by “The Match II” is having players wear microphones during tournament play, and this week the European Tour said it will encourage players to be mic’d when it resumes action in July. The ET’s chief executive, Keith Pelley, exhibits more confidence in golfers agreeing to this than any of the people I know who produce live tournament golf for a living. Those producers will unanimously tell you it’s near impossible to get a simple walk and talk from a PGA Tour player, much less an intimate audio feed for 18 holes of competition.”
“The absence of mic’d competitors in tournaments isn’t because producers don’t want greater access. For all their garrulousness on social media, even younger Tour players maintain an old school mentality passed down from generations of Curtis Stranges and Raymond Floyds, who were as about as approachable as a piranha with toothache when they were working between the ropes. There is also a cost attached. “The Match II” was carefully stage-managed, with players held up along the way to ensure they were live at the right times. That won’t happen in tournaments with 156 guys in the field. Sure, you can stream a single group wired for sound, but for network broadcasts you’ll add the expense of a production staffer to monitor all the chatter for gems and a tape operator to cue it up (and armchair critics will still bemoan that it’s tape-delayed).”
4. Stymied LPGA skins match
Wherefore art the women in these charity matches? Apparently, we’d have already seen an LPGA skins match featuring top players, but for a lack of financial backing…
Golfweek’s Beth Ann Nichols has the full story…
“It’s all in place:
  • “Two courses are interested in hosting
  • Twelve players have agreed to compete
  • If they can pay for TV production, Franzen says they have the full support of the LPGA to work with their broadcast partners
“The idea is to deliver two days of skins matches to outlets around the globe. Players will have the ability to choose which COVID-19 relief fund they want their winnings to go toward.”
“But here’s the deal: Franzen needs funding. Lots of it.”
5. USGA: USO could feature fans
ESPN’s Bob Harig…”But the United States Golf Association is now optimistic about keeping the championship at Winged Foot Golf Club in suburban New York City and remains hopeful that spectators in some limited form will be able to attend.”
  • “The organization had been working on contingency plans to move the tournament to another venue, if necessary.”
  • “We are focused singularly on Winged Foot,” John Bodenhamer, senior managing director of championships for the USGA, said in a phone interview Friday. “Once we got the September dates, that was our thinking. Time is on our side. We did look at multiple scenarios, but given the recent news we felt we could focus there.”
  • “Winged Foot is a special place for us. And the golf course will be amazing. And to be able to do this in New York, where things have been so challenging, will put an explanation point on it. We see Winged Foot as our sole focus.”
6. Fill-in Tour event?
Rob Oller, Columbus Dispatch, syndicated in Golfweek…“Columbus could be in the mix to host a second PGA Tour event the week before the Memorial Tournament scheduled for July 16-19, two sources confirmed to the USA Today Network on Friday.”
  • “The Columbus-based tournament would serve as a temporary fill-in for the John Deere Classic, which was scheduled to be held July 9-12 in Silvis, Illinois, but canceled on Thursday because of concerns over the coronavirus pandemic. It was to be the first tour event to include spectators.”
  • “…Other leading alternative site is Detroit with Lexington, Kentucky, and Carmel, Indiana, also possibilities. (This story was updated on Saturday, May 30, to include new information from the Akron Beacon-Journal, a member of the USA Today Network.)”
7. Mackenzie Tour cancels season
Carson Williams at Golf Channel…“Border restrictions, mandatory quarantines for those who enter Canada and gathering restrictions in all provinces because of the coronavirus pandemic were just a few reasons that led the tour to cancel its season.”
  • “With growing uncertainty surrounding the border and the 14-day quarantine regulations, among other factors, we’ve weighed all of our options and concluded that it is not feasible to play this summer,” Mackenzie Tour Executive Director Scott Pritchard said in a press release. “With the safety of the communities we play in mind, as well as the well-being of our players, sponsors, tournament-organizing committees, volunteers and golf course staff, we came to the realization that this is the best decision for everyone involved.”
  • “Mackenzie Tour members have been sent information detailing eligibility for the 2021 season. Those who have earned status at three 2020 Qualifying Tournaments will keep their status for next season. For the Qualifying Tournament entrants who have not yet competed, they will be guaranteed a spot for the 2021 event.”
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Morning 9: Latest memo from Tour to players | Phil’s post-Match perspective | Greg Norman’s regrettable take

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1. Latest “bubble” memo
Golf Channel’s Rex Hoggard details the most recent communique from Tour to its players…“In a memo sent to players on Wednesday, tournament director Michael Tothe outlined many of the protocols that will be required when play resumes on June 11 at Colonial including the four Fort Worth, Texas, hotels that will create the foundation of the circuit’s “bubble” for the week.”
  • “The core of the PGA Tour’s plan to return was always about testing, but it’s a fine line to walk. In two weeks, at the Charles Schwab Challenge, we’ll find out if it will be enough.”
  • “Players are allowed to stay in individual RVs or rental homes but they are being encouraged to assure the health and safety of their accommodations if they choose to stay outside the bubble.”
  • “Players were also informed where COVID-19 testing will occur when they arrive in Fort Worth as well as meal options at Colonial, which will be limited to grab-and-go lunches in order to follow safety protocols.”
2. Little John finishes second at Crooked Stick 
Kyle Neddenriep, Indianapolis Star…Daly II made that same walk on Wednesday, up the 18th fairway for the final round of the inaugural Dye Junior Golf Invitational at Crooked Stick.”
  • “I think a lot of guys have re-watched the 1991 PGA tournament,” Daly II said. “I watched it every night before the tournament. (Watching him) walk down the 18th with all of the fans everywhere was pretty cool. He started as the ninth alternate and didn’t expect to play. For him to win, it was a ridiculous story. He loves it.”
  • “Daly II put together a remarkable tournament in his own right, finishing a three-way tie for second place behind winner John Marshall Butler of Louisville, Kentucky. Daly II was 4 over for the two-day, 54-hole event, which featured 33 of the top high school boys players in the country and 33 of the same on the girls’ side.”
3. Phil open to wearing mic
Golf Channel’s Will Gray…”Speaking on the Dan Patrick Show, Mickelson admitted that he didn’t expect the same level of banter during a typical Tour event with a seven-figure prize on the line, but he’d nonetheless be willing to broadcast his inside-the-ropes dialogue.”
  • “I would be open to the idea because of how it’s being received, and some of the insight and so forth,” Mickelson said. “But you don’t have the play between individuals. I had a partner, and Tom and I could talk back and forth. And maybe you could get some of that with the caddie, but having a partner is much more intimate and you have much better conversation.”
4. …wants annual Match
AP report…”Phil Mickelson, fresh off the success of Sunday’s charity golf exhibition with Tiger Woods, Peyton Manning and Tom Brady, says he would like to see “The Match” become an annual event.”
  • “I think you could showcase guys like Steph Curry and Michael Jordan or Tony Romo and Patrick Mahomes, who are all good golfers, elite talents and have great personalities,” Mickelson told the Los Angeles Times in a column published Wednesday. “Those personalities are going to come out with this event. Or you could have someone who loves the game and is competitive but is really entertaining like Larry David and Bill Murray. I think that could shine.”
5. More audience info
Interesting stuff from Geoff Shackelford…“According to Showbuzzdaily.com, almost 1/3 of The Match 2’s audience was in the coveted 18-49 demo and the number was even better on on TruTV, also meaning there are people of any age group who know how to find TruTV”
  • “About 30% of The Match’s audience landed in the 18-49 demo despite the 44.5 average age of the participants…The numbers for TaylorMade Driving Relief with a foursome averaging 29.5 years”
  • “That’s 25% of the almighty buyers for a younger, supposedly more millennial-friendly group of golfers. And a grand total of (at least) 860,000 fewer viewers 18-49.  While not a huge difference in the percentage department, The Match did rout Driving Relief in overall audience and even took chipped away at NASCAR’s ratings.”

Full piece.

6. After a long layoff, how do the pros play?
Dylan Beirne, 15th Club for PGATour.com, examines the question…“As we might expect, there’s a clear relationship between performance and the number of weeks a player has been off. We can analyze how well players perform by comparing our estimate of their ability (how we would expect them to perform) to how they actually performed.”
  • “Generally, players taking small breaks of two weeks or less are marginally better than expected, while longer breaks result in an average drop in performance of between 0.1 and 0.2 strokes per round. For context, a drop of 0.2 strokes per round is about the gap between 100th- and 135th-ranked players in the world. It’s a significant change, but not enormous.”
  • “Additionally, the drop in performance after a 10-20 week gap is quite consistent across different levels of players. Top-50 players in the world are affected by a similar amount to those outside the top 50.”
7. A really bad take from Greg Norman
I mean, what else can you call it? A man who has a history of obtuseness and putting his fin in his mouth outdid himself with unfounded speculation about the Kobe Bryant helicopter crash in an interview with Michael Bamberger…“I asked Norman about the January helicopter crash in Los Angeles that killed all nine people aboard, Kobe Bryant and his daughter, Gianna, among them. I asked Norman if he had any insight, from his own experience as a helicopter pilot, and as an elite athlete who has flown often in helicopters as a passenger, into the tragedy.”
  • “Yes – yes,” he said. His voice was sober. “Probably pilot error and pressure from the back,” Norman said. Norman could imagine the legendary basketball player saying, “‘Get me through this; get me there. I’ve got to get my daughter to this game.’
  • …”My instructor and I had a saying, ‘If you can’t see through it don’t fly through it.’ If I was flying to Doral or Orlando or Naples and there was fog, we just put it down and waited it out.”
8. Sprint to the Cup
Ben Everill at PGATour.com…“The COVID-19 pandemic and the resulting cancellations and postponements of tournaments leaves just 11 eligible tournaments over a 10-week stretch for players to qualify for the Playoffs and a chance at the $15 million bonus that comes with the season-long FedExCup crown.”
  • “While the top 125 will not double as the cutoff for TOUR cards next season in this reduced schedule, it will remain the mark to get into THE NORTHERN TRUST, the first of three Playoffs events in the chase for the FedExCup.”
  • “Gone is the luxury of extended rest between starts for those sitting way back on the list, such as Koepka, who was just starting to find his feet again on a return from injury when the pandemic halted play in March.”

 

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