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GolfWRX Morning 9: Perception shifts re: Woods, Reed, more in ’18 | Web Q-School update | Jim Nantz writes

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

December 7, 2018

Good Friday morning, golf fans.
1. Seismic shifts
Golf Channel’s Will Gray looks at some of the massive changes in public perception of some of golf’s biggest names.
  • “Golf is often billed as one of the purest meritocracies in sports. Play well, shoot low, and you’ll move up the rankings and into the biggest events. There is no head coach to woo for extra playing time, no front office to appease. No long-term playing contracts, either.”
  • “Tiger Woods went from a walking injury report to the eye-popping superstar that he’s been for much of his career. His match-play foil, Phil Mickelson, added fashionista and dance instructor to his ever-growing list of credentials.”
  • “Patrick Reed graduated from fiery villain to major champion, a transformation that can’t be undone with 100 post-Ryder Cup sound bites. Brooks Koepka went from Dustin Johnson’s workout buddy to the history books in the span of a summer, all while proving that perhaps Johnson should be viewed as his plus-1 rather than the other way around.”

Many more in the full piece.

2. Meanwhile, in South Africa…
At the time of this writing, Charles Schwartzel is 8 under for his second round and leads the field by a stroke at the South African Open. First-round leader, Louis Oosthuizen, has been unable recapture the magic of his opening-round 62 thus far; he’s 1 over through 11. Ernie Els, after looking promising yesterday, has fallen eight strokes off the pace.
3. Q-School update
Andy Johnson at the Fried Egg has the update from Web Q-School.
  • “Bryan Bigley and Braden Thornberry are tied for the lead after one round of Web.com Tour Q-School in Arizona. The duo each shot rounds of 62 on Thursday in pursuit of earning that coveted top spot in Q-School. They are being chased by dozens of others though, with twenty-four players shooting 66 or better during the first round.”
  • “Just behind the leaders is a trio at 63; Andy Zhang, Michael Gligic, and friend of the program Vince India. Zhang famously qualified for the 2012 U.S. Open as a 14-year-old and recently played collegiately at Florida. Gligic is a Canadian who has played on the Mackenzie Tour for the last decade while also dipping his toe in the Web.com waters in 2017. India graduated from Iowa and has mainly played on the Web.com for the last few seasons. He did qualify for two PGA Tour events last season and notched his first career made cut in the Dominican Republic.”
Andy published the Q-School update in his thrice-weekly newsletter, which you can sign up for here.
4. LPGA 2019 schedule highlights
Golf Channel’s Randall Mell on the LPGA’s year ahead.
  • “More, more, more….That’s the theme behind the 2019 LPGA schedule released Thursday, but tour commissioner Mike Whan sees something else in the growth….”There’s less unpredictability,” Whan said. “I think that’s the cool thing. The schedule isn’t a big surprise. Most of our events are back again. We’re just growing our purses.'”
  • “The 33 official events on next year’s schedule are one more than this year and will feature a tour-record $70.55 million in total prize money, surpassing the 2018 record haul by $5.2 million…It adds up to more stability…Notably, there will be more diverse formats, with three new formats on the schedule…”We’ve grown to the point where we are able to do more of these fun formats,” Whan said.”
  • “The year will begin with one such event – the Diamond Resorts Tournament of Champions (Jan. 17-20), featuring LPGA winners from the last two years playing alongside celebrities and entertainers in Lake Buena Vista, Fla.”
5. World Long Drive schedule released
Also on the subject of scheduling, Kevin Casey at Golfweek writes…”The World Long Drive Association announced its 2019 schedule on Thursday with a significant addition.”
  • “The 2019 World Long Drive schedule will now include an inaugural event called Celebrating Service: Fort Jackson. The tournament will have a division represented by military service members competing alongside World Long Drive athletes.”
  • “The inaugural event will be among six World Long Drive tournaments to air on Golf Channel in 2019.”
6. PGA Tour Live is now NBC Sports Gold
Golfweek Staff report...”For those subscribers to PGA Tour Live, the service will have a new home for U.S. fans in 2019.”
  • “It was announced in July that the PGA Tour and NBC Sports Group had made a partnership and that NBC Sports Gold – NBC Sports Digital’s direct-to-consumer live streaming product – would be the U.S. home for PGA Tour Live in 2019.”
  • “The new PGA Tour Live will provide exclusive live coverage of featured groups from 28 PGA Tour events beginning at the Desert Classic and running through the Tour Championship.”
  • “Active PGA Tour Live subscribers will soon receive an email from NBC Sports Gold with instructions to complete account set up.”
7. From the desk of Jim Nantz
Nantz penned another installment of his column for Golf Digest, and well, here’s how he begins.
  • Sept. 23 was the first full day of autumn. Summer had officially passed, and my mood was matching the melancholy of Mother Nature’s final cycle of the seasons. It was the third NFL Sunday of the year, and my family had joined me in Minnesota for the weekend. While covering the Vikings-Bills game, I opened our broadcast as usual with, “Hello, friends.” Tony Romo and I covered Buffalo’s surprising victory and rejoiced during commercial breaks as we watched Justin Rose take the FedEx Cup at East Lake and Tiger complete his remarkable comeback with a parade down the 18th fairway. But this day was different.”
  • “It marked what would have been my beloved father’s 90th birthday. He’s been gone 10 years now, after a 13-year unwinnable battle with Alzheimer’s. They say time heals all wounds, but sometimes you wonder. It wasn’t supposed to end this way for Dad. He was an athletic, strapping, fit, bright and brilliant man who easily could still be with us. We had plans to experience the road together. There would be football weekends, basketball boondoggles and countless golf trips. Always golf.”
8. Davis Riley to turn pro
Now at Golf Channel (from Golfweek) Brentley Romine writes…”Alabama senior Davis Riley has decided to forego his final semester of eligibility and turn professional.”
  • “The news was confirmed to Golf Channel by Crimson Tide coach Jay Seawell on Thursday. Riley informed his coaches and teammates of his decision during the Thanksgiving break. While the news came as a surprise, Seawell knew Riley, a gifted athlete and ballstriker, was ready to make the jump.”
  • “Riley, a 21-year-old senior from Hattiesburg, Miss., was a decorated junior golfer when he arrived at Alabama, having twice finished runner-up at the U.S. Junior Amateur and represented his country at the 2014 Junior Ryder Cup. During his time at Alabama, Riley was twice an All-American and helped the Tide to a national runner-up finish last season. He amassed one win and nine top-5s in his career, and finished with a 71.3 scoring average.”
9. Golf Academy of America closes
Golfweek’s Jason Lusk…”Golf Academy of America, which operated five locations around the United States, is ceasing operations after 44 years in the business of training hopeful golf professionals.”
  • “The privately held Education Corporation of America, which owned the five golf schools, announced Wednesday that it would shutter all of its roughly 80 campuses in the wake of declining enrollment and losing its accreditation. Employees have been notified that their positions will be eliminated, and most of the company’s approximate 20,000 students will not be able to able to finish their programs unless they were in their final semester.”
  • “Golf Academy of America said on its website that it has trained more than 11,000 students, with graduates employed in the golf industry in all 50 states and around the world. Its five campuses are in Myrtle Beach, S.C., San Diego, Dallas, Orlando and Phoenix.”
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  1. Hawkeye77

    Dec 9, 2018 at 3:13 pm

    Good example of more of what this site needs for articles.

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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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Morning 9: Improving golf coverage | Oral history of TW’s “best shot” | Nichols: Charity matches were great…but why no women?

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1. Match-inspired innovations for improving golf coverage
Golf Digest’s Shane Ryan with a few thoughts…Mid-round interviews…There’s no really good reason beyond mild annoyance to the players that this couldn’t work, even in the current COVID-19 environment, provided that safe social distancing is practiced. In the major team sports, coaches are obliged to give interviews, and players will occasionally speak at halftime or between periods. There are no “coaches” in that same sense in golf, but the game happens at a slower pace, and a 60-second walking interview between holes is not too much to ask. I don’t think there’s a reasonable argument that it’s overly disruptive, especially if planned in advance.”
  • …”Mic’d up players and caddies…In exhibitions past, we’ve witnessed players with live microphones, but the purpose behind it is dreaded “banter,” which typically comes across as hollow, forced and not very funny. But if players and caddies wore mics during a round, producers could find riveting audio that captures natural conversation or impromptu strategy sessions. Phil serving as a mentor for Tom Brady was riveting and hopefully stokes our appetite for similar mid-round insight…”
2. An oral history of Tiger’s “best shot” 
Cameron Morfit for PGATour.com…(This is just the introduction to a fantastic piece that talks to Bob Weeks of TSN and Steve Williams, among others!)…”Had it slipped between Tiger Woods’ 6-iron and golf ball, one rogue grain could have sunk his hopes of winning the RBC Canadian Open in 2000, becoming the first since Lee Trevino in 1971 to win golf’s Triple Crown – the U.S., British, and Canadian Opens in the same year.”
  • “So was it the ultra-fine margin? The stakes? The absurdly improbable physics of the shot itself?”
  • “Yes. Yes. And yes. All of these things compelled Scott Verplank, among others, to call it “the greatest shot I’ve ever seen in my life,” Woods’ 218-yard masterstroke from the wet sand at the par-5 18th at Glen Abbey. Woods’ caddie Steve Williams would return to the bunker once the commotion had died down, still struggling to get his head around what he’d seen. Others have made the same pilgrimage and tried to visualize what Woods had, tried to feel what Woods felt, for this was magic.”
3. Thrive? Struggle? Survive? 
Golfweek’s Adam Schupak contemplates what’s ahead for the golf industry…”These are strange times living through a global pandemic. Suddenly, golf courses are packed in a way the industry hasn’t experienced since Tiger Woods was revolutionizing the game in the late 1990s and former PGA Tour Commissioner Tim Finchem was predicting 50 million golfers by 2020.”
  • “Well, that didn’t happen, but golf has been given this new-found seal of approval highlighting its healthy aspects and its ability to provide safe recreation. As courses across the country re-open there is pent up demand among golfers to get out and play. Tee sheets are mostly filled and former golfers and those trying out the sport for the first time are emerging out of the woodwork desperate to be in the sunshine and doing something, anything that has been deemed “COVID OK.” There is renewed belief that golf can grab a bigger piece of the pie among recreational and entertainment options.”
4. Where were the women?
Golfweek’s Beth Ann Nichols wonders…How can there be downside to two Sundays of golf taking center stage and raising mega-money for COVID-19 relief?”
  • “Well, there is no a downside, but it could’ve been more. As LPGA player Mel Reid tweeted during the TaylorMade Driving Relief Challenge, the broadcasts could’ve represented all of golf.”
  • “They could’ve included women.”
  • “…It would’ve been great to see an LPGA player and her sponsorship partners get in on the action in a similar fashion.”
  • “The TaylorMade event could’ve been a mixed-team format. Maria Fassi and Paula Creamer are both in Florida. Some of TaylorMade’s female stars could’ve also called in during the broadcast as Jon Rahm did. Staffers who could’ve called in include Natalie Gulbis, Muni He and Charley Hull. Sung Hyun Park, who speaks limited English, was involved in a charity exhibition in South Korea with current No. 1 Jin Young Ko. Women’s golf frequently takes center stage in that part of the world.”
5. 80% of golf retail open
From the NGF Q…”The number of physical golf retail outlets that are back in business continues to increase – from off-course stores and specialty club-fitters to green grass pro shops.”
  • “Approximately 66% of golf course pro shops are open at facilities that are open to play, the equivalent of almost 9 million square feet, although some states and counties have limitations on the number of customers permitted at one time. That percentage is up from 36% at the start of the month, but is unchanged over the past week as pro shops in at least 10 states (including Michigan, New Jersey, Illinois and New York) have government mandates that say they must remain closed inside to customers.”
  • “Meanwhile, approximately 79% of off-course golf retail stores were open (in terms of total square footage) through May 25. This is up from 73% last week and 59% two weeks ago. In early April, only about 4% of the 6.5 million square feet of total off-course golf specialty space was open to in-store traffic. Roughly 81% of all off-course retail stores are now open to customers.”
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GolfWRX Classifieds Spotlight (05/27/20): Adams, Mizuno, Ping

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At GolfWRX, we love golf equipment plain and simple

We are a community of like-minded individuals that all experience and express our enjoyment for the game in many ways. It’s that sense of community that drives day-to-day interactions in the forums on topics that range from best driver to what marker you use to mark your ball, it even allows us to share another thing – the equipment itself.

One of the best ways to enjoy equipment is to experiment and whether you are looking to buy-sell-or trade (as the name suggests) you can find almost anything in the GolfWRX BST Forum. From one-off custom Scotty Cameron Circle T putters, to iron sets, wedges, and barely hit drivers, you can find it all in our constantly updated marketplace.

These are some of the latest cool finds from the GolfWRX BST, and if you are curious about the rules to participate in the BST Forum you can check them out here: GolfWRX BST Rules

Member Gator5 – Adams CMB Irons

Forged – check, Multi-Material construction – check, cool as all heck because these clubs are sweet and Adams made some really cool gear – check!

To see the full listing and additional pictures check out the link here: Adams CMB Irons

Member Ksears – Brand New Mizuno MP20 Irons

Did someone say brand new Mizunos??? What else could you really want from a forged blade beside being meticulously crafted and forged in Japan – as well as being priced lower than retail.

To see the full listing and additional pictures check out the link hereMP 20 Irons

Member 1hellaofashot – Ping G410 7 Wood

Speaking from experience let me just say this “stop denying the inevitable and embrace the 7 Wood” It’s endlessly versatile, more forgiving than a hybrid, and because this one for sale is a Ping G410 it is adjustable. Here’s your chance to dial in your own par 5 killer.

To see the full listing and additional pictures check out the link here: Ping 7 Wood

Remember that you can always browse the GolfWRX Classifieds any time here in our forums: GolfWRX Classifieds 

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