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GolfWRX Morning 9: Captain Woods Down Under | Bush’s advice to Norman | Newsmaker: Growth of women’s golf worldwide

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

December 6, 2018

Good Thursday morning, golf fans.

1. Tiger Down Under

Captain Woods is in Australia for promotional, logistic duties for the 2019 Presidents Cup. A concern: the proximity of the Hero World Challenge to the competition in Melbourne.
  • AP Report…”U.S. captain Tiger Woods will have discussions with golf officials in Melbourne on how to best prepare his team for the 2019 Presidents Cup next December at Royal Melbourne.”
  • “Woods, in Melbourne for a promotional visit, said the talks later Thursday would focus on the options of the Americans playing his Hero World Challenge in the Bahamas, coming to Melbourne the week prior for practice with sand-belt techniques, or playing the Australian Open as the lead-up event at The Australian in Sydney.”
  • “We have to figure out some logistical things between now and then and that’s the reason I’m here,” Woods said.
  • “We’ve got a few meetings here today to try to get a plan going forward so we can get the best that we can at the Hero as well as get everyone here from the Bahamas rested and prepared and ready to play.”

Full piece.

2. Playing captain?
AAP report…”Tiger Woods has given the strongest indication yet that he will tee it up as a rare playing captain in the 2019 Presidents Cup at Royal Melbourne.”
  • “But 14-time Major winner Woods has declared he will accept the role of playing skipper — which has happened just once — if he is to earn automatic qualification for what will be a star-studded American team.”
  • “If I am part of the top eight, yes, I will play,” Woods told AAP in Melbourne.
Additionally, Woods indicated that if he and his vice captains agree the best way for him to help the team would be to accept a captain’s pick, should he be in that position, he would do so.
3. Worth keeping an eye on…
EuropeanTour.com report…”Ernie Els produced a stunning birdie blitz around the turn to share the early lead on day one of the South African Open hosted by the City of Johannesburg.”
“The four-time Major Championship winner is seeking a sixth title in his home Open and he delighted the fans at Randpark Golf Club as he moved to five under after 13 holes of his opening round.”
4. Return of the Roar
ESPN press release…”The historic comeback season of Tiger Woods will be documented in a prime time film debuting on ESPN on Sunday, Dec. 30 – Woods’ 43rd birthday.”
  • “Tiger Woods: Return of the Roar, airing at 9 p.m. ET, chronicles the 2017-18 season that saw Woods overcome career-threatening back surgery to win on the PGA TOUR for the first time in five years. Beginning with his return to competitive golf at the Hero World Challenge in Albany, The Bahamas, in late 2017 and culminating with his stirring victory at the 2018 TOUR Championship in Atlanta – the 80th of his PGA TOUR career – the film captures the season that reenergized the career of arguably the game’s greatest player.”
  • “With new, never-before-seen content, including multiple interviews with Woods, viewers will get behind-the-scenes access to PGA TOUR events central to Woods’ return, including the Valspar Championship and the TOUR Championship, featuring stylized off-speed cameras and inside-the-ropes viewpoints.”
  • “The film also will touch upon Woods’ growing role as a leader and mentor on the PGA TOUR, highlighting his role as Captain’s Assistant at the 2017 Presidents Cup and the announcement made in March that he will captain the U.S. Team at the 2019 Presidents Cup in Australia. Due to his remarkable comeback, Woods is in position to be the first playing captain since World Golf Hall of Fame member Hale Irwin at the inaugural Presidents Cup in 1994.”
  • “Featured are more than 60 interviews with PGA TOUR players as well as various professional athletes, all offering unique context to Woods’ comeback. The film also includes a new interview with Woods’ caddie, Joe LaCava, on his front-row seat to this historic season.”
5. Return of the Luke
Cameron Morfit at PGATour.com…”Luke Donald hasn’t played a shot on the PGA TOUR since he missed the cut at the RBC Heritage in April, but he will tee it up with partner Andrew Landry at the QBE Shootout starting Friday.”
  • “Donald, who will turn 41 later this week, missed six months with a lower back injury in 2018. In nine starts he made just three cuts and earned 42 FedExCup points, and he will start the 2019 season on a major-medical extension.”
  • “The state of the game is unknown,” he said after his pro-am round Wednesday. “We’ll see. I’ve been able to work hard the last couple months with no pain. I’ve certainly been putting in the time, but to bring it from your home course out here into a competitive situation, we’ll see how it goes.”
6. Newsmaker: The women’s game globally
Continuing to count down the top-10 newsmakers of the year Golf Channel in general, and Randall Mell in particular, write the global growth of women’s golf is the No. 9 entry.
  • Among other developments, Mell notes...”Back in the spring, Augusta National Golf Club stepped up, announcing it would launch the Augusta Women’s National Amateur in 2019. It’s a 54-hole event that will conclude with the top amateur women in the world playing the final round at Augusta National’s iconic venue.”
  • “In November, Suzy Whaley was elected president of the PGA of America, becoming the first female to hold that position in the 102-year history of the organization.”
  • “In December, the LPGA announced that CME Group CEO Terry Duffy would double the purse for the season-ending Tour Championship in 2019 and raise the winner’s check to $1.5 million, the largest in the history of the women’s game. It is notable that it will be greater than the first-place check was in 33 of 47 PGA Tour events last season.”
7. Bush’s advice to Norman
Greg Hardwig of the Naples Daily News, via Golfweek…”Norman even sought out Bush’s advice when the office of President Clinton, a Democrat, contacted Norman about playing golf with him because he was coming to Australia. Norman, who is a Republican, wasn’t sure about playing with Clinton.”
  • “I don’t want to play with him because I don’t really like a lot of things he’s trying to recommend,” Norman told Bush.
  • “Bush gave a very direct answer.…”Greg, you shall respect the Office of the President of the United States,” Bush said.”
  • “I said ‘Yes, sir’ and I played with President Clinton,” Norman said.  “It was all about the office, and respect for the office, regardless of the person who’s in it.”

Full piece.

8. Pepperell’s path to Bettinardi
Eddie Pepperell is a singular quantity in to world of golf, so it’s not surprising that the Englishman has taken a unique route to becoming a Bettinardi staffer.
  • 20 months ago, the two-time European Tour winner walked into Core Golf in Thame, Oxfordshire, and bought four putters, including a Bettinardi Studio Stock No. 8.
  • Pepperell, who jumped from No. 513 to No. 38 in the OWGR since putting the Bettinardi in play in April 2017, won’t have to pay for his putters any more. He joins the likes Francesco Molinari, Haotong Li, and Matt Kuchar as a Bettinardi staffer, the company announced the today.
  • “I’ve tried a number of putters and time and again, it’s the one model I keep coming back to.” said Eddie. “Positively I won’t have to buy a Bettinardi putter again, but having bought four putters from Core Golf I’m just hoping I haven’t put them of business as a result!” he added.

Full piece.

9. Epic Flash sighting
We spotted both Steve Stricker and Kevin Na hitting Callaway Epic Flash woods on the range of the Ritz Carlton Golf Resort ahead of the QBE Shootout in Naples, Florida, today.
  • The Epic Flash and Epic Flash Sub Zero showed up on the USGA’s conforming list just this Monday.  As with all photos from that registry, however, the images were both in black and white and only of the sole of the club. Fortunately, with apparent Tour seeding and testing under way, we can catch a glimpse of the color scheme, face, and crown designs.
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  1. Johnny Penso

    Dec 6, 2018 at 12:03 pm

    Just my opinion, but the greatest thing to happen to Women’s Golf now and forever, would be the creation of the Women’s Masters, played at Augusta, within 1-2 weeks of the men. It’ll suck for the members but IMO it’ll play on network tv extremely well, the predominantly male audience will love it and it’ll be a ratings success bonanza for women’s golf. Use the same CBS crew that does the Masters, same camera setups etc. An instant golf classic.

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Lightning strike at Tour Championship injures six spectators; play to be resumed Sunday morning

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The third round of The Tour Championship was suspended this evening and won’t be resumed until Sunday morning after lightning strikes caused injuries to six spectators.

Play was suspended at East Lake approximately 30 minutes before the serious incident occurred. A lightning bolt is said to have struck a tree near the 15th green/16th hole, and according to reports, debris from the strike has caused the injuries to the six spectators.

According to the Tour, none of the injuries appears to be life-threatening after EMT tended to those hurt immediately and transported them from the property via ambulance for further medical attention.

Speaking on the incident, a PGA Tour spokesperson stated

“The safety of our fans, players and partners is of the utmost importance. We will provide further updates as they become available.”

The third round of the Tour finale is set to resume at 8 AM ET on Sunday.

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Morning 9: Tour Championship | Brooke Henderson | Decline of cookie-cutter swings

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By Ben Alberstadt (ben.alberstadt@golfwrx.com; @benalberstadt on Instagram)

August 23, 2019

Good Friday morning, golf fans.
1 New normal
After 1…Xander Schauffele, Brooks Koepka, and Justin Thomas are all tied at the top.
PGATour.com’s Mike McAllister…
  • “I guess it was a little bit strange,” said Casey when asked about teeing off eight shots behind. “It was nice once everybody was on the golf course.”
  • Unlike previous TOUR Championships in the FedExCup era, there’s only one leaderboard needed this week. Once the leaderboard started to fill up Thursday, and players knew exactly where they stood, it seemed, well, a bit normal.
  • “It didn’t feel that much different, to be honest with you,” said 2016 FedExCup champ Rory McIlroy, who started five shots behind Thomas but shot a 66 and is now just a stroke off the lead. “… I sort of had the mindset this week that I’m starting on even par, and I’m going to try to shoot a good four-round total and see where that leaves me at the end of the week.”
  • Said Koepka: “You could say I played it like a five-day event. I knew I was three down and … by the time the turn comes, try to get back to all square.”

Full piece

2. Brooks in the buff
Golf Channel’s Rex Hoggard on BK’s ESPN Body Issue shoot…
“Koepka said the photos were taken at The Floridian in the spring and prompted him to lose 22 pounds in four months. Although he was pleased with the photo shoot he did acknowledge that there were some strange moments.”
  • “Getting naked is a bit weird; the first time you actually pull that robe off in front of 30, 40 people,” said Koepka, who was tied for the lead at East Lake after an opening 67.
  • “He said the weirdest moment came on a tee box as the photographers attempted to get a “face on” shot while Koepka’s swing coach Claude Harmon III was giving a lesson around the corner.
  • “I see Claude teaching this maybe 12-year-old kid, and his mom is just over here. I’m like, this is awkward. And Claude’s peeking around the corner laughing,” Koepka laughed. “You know, it’s fun. I’m pretty sure everybody that was at the golf course saw me that day, but whatever.”

Full piece.

3. Women’s Canadian Open
Defending champ, national hero is one back…
Golf Channel’ Randall Mell…”Henderson, 21, picked up right where she left off a year ago.”
  • “With a 6-under-par 66, she seized sole possession of the lead through the morning wave at Magna Golf Club. A strong gallery was there early to support her bid to win the national women’s open in back-to-back years.”
  • “To get a solid round like this in in front of them I think is really a confidence booster for me,” Henderson said. “Gives me a lot of momentum going into the next three days.”
  • “Henderson’s ball striking was sharp. She hit all but two fairways and all but two greens in regulation and converted seven of the birdie opportunities she gave herself, against a single bogey.”

Full piece.

4. Mr. East Lake?
Golf Channel’s Carson Williams…”There’s something about East Lake that seems to bring out the best in Xander Schauffele.”
  • “Just the style of this tournament being a limited field. It’s pretty exclusive,” Schauffele said. “It’s very relaxed. For how important and how topnotch this tournament is, it’s a very surprisingly relaxed week.”
  • “Schauffele certainly looked relaxed in Thursday’s opening round of the Tour Championship. He began the day at 4 under, six back of leader Justin Thomas, but quickly made up the ground and ultimately signed for a bogey-free, 6-under 64 to take a share of the lead with Thomas and Brooks Koepka.”
5. Scandinavian Invitation
AP report…”Wade Ormsby holed a 4-iron from 196 yards for eagle on his way to shooting a bogey-free, 8-under 62 at the Scandinavian Invitation, giving him the first-round lead in the European Tour event on Thursday.”
“The Australian’s eagle at the par-4 14th hole came in an opening-nine 28, after starting his round at No. 10. He also rolled in six birdies, including three straight from the 16th hole.”
6. Grayson! 
Golf Channel’s Will Gray…”Former PGA Tour winner Grayson Murray opened the Albertsons Boise Open with a 7-under 64 to grab a share of the lead in the second leg of the Korn Ferry Finals.”
  • “Murray won the 2017 Barbasol Championship, but his PGA Tour exemption for that win expired earlier this month. He was sidelined for much of the summer with an injured back, not playing on Tour after withdrawing from the Valero Texas Open in April. But Murray made a pair of rehab starts on the Korn Ferry Tour, including a T-2 at the Rex Hospital Open, and is participating in the three-event Finals as part of a medical extension.”

Full piece.

7. Timing Bryson
Joel Beall and the Golf Digest folks kept tabs on Bryson at East Lake…
  • “This comes with a caveat. DeChambeau was often the second player to hit, his drives a good 30 to 40 yards farther than Reavie. As such, he often had a generous amount of prep that wasn’t clocked (we didn’t time him during Reavie’s setup and shot). Even with the asterisk, DeChambeau’s average time of 43.57 seconds is more nuanced than the number conveys.”
“Almost half his approaches took less than 30 seconds, with a personal-best of 20.34 seconds at the par-4 eighth. However, there was no middle ground. If he wasn’t pulling the trig fast, it was a drawn-out process, even on a punch-out at the fifth (one minute, nine seconds) that went all of 30 yards. Aside from the third hole, there wasn’t much wind to calculate, and DeChambeau mostly kept his ball out of trouble. That he spent more than 40 seconds in three instances, including the punch-out, after waiting on Reavie (37.82 seconds average on approach) was somewhat odd. Although it did lead to this gem from a marshal on the fifth: “He’s trying to make Thanksgiving dinner when all he needs is a PB&J.”
8. Cherishing the experience
AP Report…Vancouver’s Michelle Liu was excited about striping her opening tee shot Thursday at the CP Women’s Open, but the 12-year-old left her history-making LPGA debut frustrated.
  • “Definitely wasn’t my best performance, I would say,” Liu said after opening with a 9-over-par 81. “My chipping wasn’t where it needed to be.”
  • Liu became the youngest player to tee it up in the 47-year history of Canada’s national women’s open, but she shed some tears of frustration in the end.
  • “Pretty disappointed about my score,” Liu said.
9. Decline of the cookie-cutter swing? 
 
Golf Digest staff….”We asked four top teachers from Golf Digest’s national and state rankings to discuss how (or if!) this new “freedom” will trickle down into the amateur player’s weekend game.”
What does a player like Matthew Wolff mean for golf?
  • “Rick Silva (Movement 3 Golf, Highland Park, Ill.): If you had walked down the range at a tour event the past 20 years, you’d have seen a lot of the same swings-almost robotic ones. I think the resurgence of individuality on tour is a great thing, and a real opportunity. It’s going to give tour players and recreational players permission to go beyond the numbers they see on a launch monitor or the images in a video to find what works for them.”
  • “Nick Clearwater (GolfTEC Vice President of Instruction, Denver): If I was a casual observer of golf from my couch, I’d be excited about the future of the sport. There are all these young players with fresh attitudes and different swing styles. It’s exciting. But how some of the swing stuff moves down to the average player is going to be terrifying! There are still plenty of people who think that the most noticeable thing is the most important thing, and the starting point for what you should be working on.”
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Tour Photo Galleries

10 interesting photos from the Albertsons Boise Open

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GolfWRX bypassed the PGA Tour’s Tour Championship in the early part of the week (we made it there Thursday!) for the road less traveled this week: The Korn Ferry Tour. Specifically, we have a full buffet of photos from the range at the Albertsons Boise Open, including a full plate of WITB looks.

Here are 10 interesting photos from the Albertsons Boise Open.

This spread of Scotty Cameron Circle T putter covers will have enthusiasts drooling

Is this tee marker edible?

Name a better-dressed pro than Morgan Hoffmann…

Brandon Crick’s Pingman-stamped Glide wedge

The TaylorMade Boise Open headcover features a Boise St. blue turf background

D.J. Trahan’s Grateful Dead dancing bear headcovers are money

J-Gore! Cheers to the 2002 champ!

Sweet orange paintfill on Kevin Doughtery’s PXG 0311T 4-iron

Idaho (potato) fries aplenty on Scotty Cameron’s superb Boise Open headcover

I was unaware Will Zalatoris nickname was Beavis. But a look at this wedge and a look at this photo have me pretty convinced it is

All our galleries from the Boise Open

General galleries

WITB, special galleries

 

 

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