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GolfWRX Morning 9: A “FedEx Cup” for the Web.com Tour? | Shots of the year | Tigermania 2018

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

December 14, 2018

Good Friday morning, golf fans.
1. Web.com moving to a points system 
Following approval by the PGA Tour policy board, the Web.com Tour will move to a FedEx Cup-like points system in 2019.
  • Golf Channel’s Rex Hoggard…”The PGA Tour policy board approved a provision that will transform how success is measured on the Web.com Tour, from earnings to a points-based system similar to that used on the PGA Tour.”
  • “According to a memo sent this week to members, a points-based system – as opposed to prize money – to determine eligibility was widely supported in a player survey in 2017.”
  • “Like the FedExCup format on the PGA Tour, points will be awarded based on a player’s finish, with 500 points going to the winner of regular-season events. The winner of the final regular-season event (WinCo Portland Open) will be awarded 600 points and the circuit’s three Finals events will award 1,000 points to the winner.”

Full piece.

2. Dunhill Championship Update

EuropeanTour.com report...”David Lipsky fired a bogey-free 66 to set the clubhouse target and open up a one-shot lead on day two of the Alfred Dunhill Championship.”
  • “The American is making his first appearance at Leopard Creek Country Club this week and an eagle and four birdies moved him to eight under as he made himself right at home.”
  • “Scott Jamieson has two top fives in this event and he continued that form to match Lipsky’s score and sit at seven under alongside fellow Scotsman Marc Warren….Doug McGuigan made seven birdies on the back nine to record the lowest nine holes of the season and make it three Scots in the top four a further shot back.”

Full piece.

3. Speaketh the Shark

While the Greg Norman didn’t watch The Match and was no fan of the spectacle, he would like to see the return of other made-for-T.V. money games.
  • Golfweek’s Kevin Casey quoting Norman…”I thought the Skins Game was a good thing every year because the players had to earn their way into it,” Norman said. “(‘The Match’) was just two players being invited to play. I’d like to see the Skins Game come back in some way, shape or form.”
  • “Norman expounded here, pivoting to the fact there are a lack of mixed men’s and women’s competitions….He pointed to the old JCPenney Classic as an example of how such events can bring intrigue, and that he hopes to see future growth in this realm.”
  • “Those events (mixed men and women) I think should come back on the calendar,” Norman said. “We saw what Lexi Thompson did last week and the year before at the (QBE) Shootout, she did a phenomenal job. Obviously (the women) can hold their own. I’d like to see a little bit more integration with that because you see it a lot in tennis and other sports … I’d like to see something like that happen in golf too.”

Full piece.

4. Shots o’ the year 

Golfweek’s Dan Kilbridge assembles his top 10 shots of the year.

Here are two.

  • “Tiger Woods, British Open…Woods had just taken the lead when his tee shot at No. 10 found a bunker. What he did next was unbelievable to watch in real time and likely the best shot he hit all season.”
  • “Brooks Koepka, PGA Championship…Clinging to a one-shot lead with three holes to play, Koepka pured a 4-iron from 248 yards out and proved he wasn’t going to flinch down the stretch while securing his third career major title.”

Full piece. 

5. Golf success begins at 30?
Golf Digest’s Brian Wacker, on the occasion of Rickie Fowler’s 30th birthday, catalogued a few players whose greatest successes on Tour have come in their third decades.
  • “Phil Mickelson...Lefty is perhaps the modern-day poster boy for hitting your stride in his 30s. It’s easy to forget that he didn’t win his first of five majors until he was 33 at the 2004 Masters. Sure, he picked up 16 titles on tour in his 20s, including one while still an amateur, but he nabbed 23 of his 43 PGA Tour wins, including his other four majors, in his 30s.”
  • “Justin Rose…The Englishman fared a lot worse than Fowler did early on, missing 21 straight cuts his first year as a pro. He recovered just fine, winning twice in the U.S. and four more times on the European Tour in his 20s. But it wasn’t until Rose’s 30s that his career really took off with seven wins on the PGA Tour, including the U.S. Open at Merion, four more on the European Tour, a gold medal in the Olympics and a spot atop the Official World Golf Ranking. And he still has another season-and-a-half before he turns 40.”
  • “Bubba Watson…The long-hitting Watson didn’t even make it to the PGA Tour until he was 27, so naturally most of his success came in his 30s. Watson’s first victory came at 31 at the 2010 Travelers Championship, and he has since added 11 more wins to his résumé, including two Masters titles in 2012 and 2014 as well as a World Golf Championship before turning 40 in November.”
6. Rules crash course
Jason Lusk at Golfweek rounds up 15 rules-related items you need to know for 2015.
  • Here’s one of ’em…”Flagstick…Players will be permitted to leave the flagstick in the hole while playing a shot from the green, and there is no penalty if the ball strikes the flagstick. In the past, players had to pull the flagstick from the hole or have somebody else (a caddie or another golfer) tend and pull the flagstick before the ball struck it.”
  • “This rule was changed to help speed up play, but it might have implications beyond pace of play. For example, PGA Tour player Bryson DeChambeau has said he will leave the flagstick in the hole even on short putts because he believes the flagstick will help keep more shots from racing past the hole. There has been research by several players and students of the game, including by short-game guru Dave Pelz, that claimed players have a statistically better chance of a ball dropping into or coming to rest near the hole if the flag is left in place.”
  • “It still will be against the rules to position the flagstick in such a way as to create a perceived benefit. That is, you can’t intentionally lean the flagstick forward in the hole to try to deflect a ball downward. The flagstick still must be placed upright in the center of the hole unless a player finds that it is leaning in a certain direction when he or she arrives at the green. In that case, the player could leave the flagstick as they find it or center it in the hole.”
7. Update on Bubba’s retirement plans
Via Bunkered…
If you recall...”Not long after winning the 2014 WGC-HSBC Champions, he said he would consider retiring from golf if he got to ten PGA Tour wins….”I’m going to keep trying until I get to ten, and then I’ll switch it from there,” Watson told AP. “Or retire.”
  • But now…“He is now at 12 PGA Tour wins following glory at the WGC-Dell Match Play and Travelers Championship and has set his sights on 15 victories, which could get him into the Hall of Fame.”
  • “Am I Hall of Fame worthy? I’m going to be dead honest with you – it would be the most joyous occasion in my life when it came to the game of golf,” he said. “I can’t tell you if that’s in or not. But my new goal is three more, see if I can get to 15.”
8. Tigermania 2018
Continuing the outlet’s “Newsmakers of the Year” series, Golf Digest’s Joel Beall takes a look back at the readings on the Tigermania meter in 2018.
  • From….”Jan. 4: Announces he’ll start season at Torrey Pines…This wasn’t necessarily a surprise; Woods had played-and more importantly, looked-relatively well a month prior at his Hero World Challenge, and the Farmers Insurance Open served as his opening tournament in 2017. Still, given Woods had appeared in precisely one official PGA Tour event in the previous 29 months, the routine announcement was like the first warm day of winter, offering hope that the long, vapid coldness was coming to an end….Tigermania-meter: Prepare the twirls.”
  • To…”Sept. 23: Wins the Tour Championship…A birdie at the first pushed his lead to four and cranked the crowd volume to 10. The next 13 holes were part golf tournament, part homecoming parade. The issue became slightly in doubt on the 16th and 17th, but a knee-knocker save on the latter sealed the day, transforming the 18th hole into a coronation. The king, back on his throne, marching down the aisle with his people by his side. The greatest comeback since Hogan was complete: Tiger Woods was a winner once again…Tigermania-meter: I’m not crying. You’re crying”

Full piece.

9. $500 set of clubs challenge
Our Trey Buchanan lays out this scenario in a fun piece…”You have a golf trip planned in two weeks. One day after work, you head to your car to hit the range and get some grinding in for the trip. As you walk to your car you notice your car has been broken into and your clubs are gone. Not good. You need new clubs for the trip but aren’t in a position to shell out the $2,000-$3,000 for a brand new set. What are your options? I recommend hitting the used market.”
  • “Every year, thousands of used golf clubs go on the market. Some of the clubs had a rough life and some have barely been hit. As an exercise to see what you can get for your dollar, I browsed one of the web’s largest used golf equipment sites (3balls.com) with a budget of $500 for a full set of clubs in my specs. What I found was really interesting.”
  • Here’s the big stick he went with...”Driver…Since I play a low loft driver with a low launch, low spin shaft, I knew I was in for a challenge with finding a driver. Once I took a minute to search, I found this beauty of a driver. I remember hitting the Ping G10 back in the day, and it was one of the most forgiving drivers at the time. Plus, it was very close to my specs at standard length, 7.5 degrees, and a mid-launch Grafalloy shaft.”

 

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Francesco Molinari splits with caddie Pello Iguaran

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Francesco Molinari has parted ways with his caddie Pello Iguaran, who has been on the Italian’s bag for the last four years.

The 2018 Open Champion will now employ Jason Hempleman until the beginning of 2020 where Mark Fulcher will then take the reigns. Fulcher caddied for Justin Rose for 11 years, in which period Rose won the U.S. Open and Olympic Gold.

The 36-year-old announced the decision via his social media accounts, where he stated

“It’s been nearly 4 seasons of incredible emotions and really productive work, but unfortunately relationships sometimes come to an end, even if it’s not what we wish for.Pello will always be a member of my team and more importantly my family. He’s one of the most hardworking, loyal, positive, reflective people I’ve come across during my career.

We’ve had both good and tough times on the course, but most importantly we both grew together and as individuals during our time together. Best of luck for the future and thanks for an amazing run together Jason Hempleman will be on the bag until the end of the season. Mark Fulcher will be on the bag at the start of 2020.”

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It’s been nearly 4 seasons of incredible emotions and really productive work, but unfortunately relationships sometimes come to an end, even if it’s not what we wish for. Pello will always be a member of my team and more importantly my family. He’s one of the most hardworking, loyal, positive, reflective people I’ve come across during my career. We’ve had both good and tough times on the course, but most importantly we both grew together and as individuals during our time together. Best of luck for the future and thanks for an amazing run together Jason Hempleman will be on the bag until the end of the season. Mark Fulcher will be on the bag at the start of 2020. Sono state quasi 4 stagioni di emozioni incredibili e lavoro davvero produttivo, ma sfortunatamente le relazioni a volte non finiscono come tutti vorremmo. Pello sarà sempre un membro del mio team e, soprattutto, della mia famiglia. È una delle persone più laboriose, leali, positive e riflessive che ho incontrato durante la mia carriera. Abbiamo avuto momenti belli e momenti difficili sul campo, ma soprattutto siamo cresciuti insieme e come individui durante il tempo insieme. Buona fortuna per il futuro e grazie per una fantastica esperienza insieme Jason Hempleman sarà il mio caddie fino alla fine dell’anno. Mark Fulcher sarà il caddie dall'inizio del 2020 •••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••

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In the period Molinari and Iguaran were together, some of the highlights include Molinari’s win at The Open Championship in 2018, the BMW PGA Championship, and the 2019 Arnold Palmer Invitational. However, since April, Molinari has failed to record a top-10 finish.

 

 

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Morning 9: LPGA, LET partnership? | Ryder Cup ticket fiasco | Alfredsson: Senior women’s golf dynamo

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By Ben Alberstadt
Email me at ben.alberstadt@golfwrx.com and find me at @benalberstadt on Instagram and golfwrxEIC on Twitter.

October 17, 2019

Good Thursday morning, golf fans.
1. “True partnership”
Golf Channel’s Randall Mell on an exciting development for women’s golf…
  • “The LPGA and Ladies European Tour have renewed talks that could lead to “a true partnership” between the two organizations.”
  • “LET Board Chair Marta Figueras-Dotti sent a letter to LET players this week informing them of the discussions. She told players that a dialogue was “in full swing” to create a “50-50 joint venture” between the tours.”
  • “LPGA and LET officials said in a joint statement Wednesday that while it’s too early to publicly discuss specifics, they are working to complete terms of a new agreement in time to present it to LET players at their annual meeting on Nov. 26 in Spain.”

Full piece.

2. Alfredsson!
AP report on the emerging dynamo in women’s senior golf with the 2019 double…
  • “Helen Alfredsson added the Senior LPGA Championship to her U.S. Senior Women’s Open title, rallying Wednesday at cold and windy French Lick Resort to sweep the two major championships of the season.”
  • “Three strokes behind Juli Inkster entering the day, Alfredsson closed with a 2-under 70 for a three-stroke victory. The 54-year-old Swede was the only player to break par on the final day at the Pete Dye Course and, at 2-under 214, the only one under par for the week.”

Full piece.

3. And on Jeju Island…
AP report…An was on!
  • “In the first event of a three-tournament PGA TOUR swing through Asia, Byeong Hun An was the first-round leader in his home country at THE CJ CUP @ NINE BRIDGES with an 8-under 64. Joaquin Niemann sits a stroke behind in second.”
  • “Jason Day’s attempt to impress International team captain Ernie Els for a spot at the Presidents Cup took a positive turn when the Australian shot a 6-under 66 to sit two strokes off the lead and in solo third after the opening round.”

Full piece.

4. Ticket fiasco
Oh boy. JR Radcliffe at the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, syndicated in Golfweek…”Tickets for the Ryder Cup at Whistling Straits in Kohler, Wisconsin, next year sold out in less than 50 minutes on Wednesday, and fans on social media were furious with the process.”
  • “Tickets for the Ryder Cup at Whistling Straits in Kohler next year sold out in less than 50 minutes on Wednesday, and fans on social media were furious with the process.”
  • “The Ryder Cup website did indicate: “Due to high demand, having an access code does not guarantee you a chance to buy tickets. Available inventory may vary depending on when you’re able to access the sale.”
5. “Better options”
ESPN’s Bob Harig suggests Lefty doesn’t think he’s getting picked for captain Woods’ squads…”Mickelson said Wednesday that he doesn’t expect an at-large pick from U.S. Presidents Cup team captain Tiger Woods and that he does not believe he is deserving.”
  • “There are much better options of players that have played consistently at a high level that deserve to be on the team,” Mickelson, 49, said in South Korea at the CJ Cup, a PGA Tour event he is playing for the first time. “Even if I were to win, I have not done enough to warrant a pick.
  • “I’m not asking for one. I don’t expect one. I think there are a lot of better options for the U.S. side.”
6. 58 penalty strokes!
Golf Digest’s Alex Myers on a wildly penal occurrence…”Lee Ann Walker was assessed 58 penalty strokes after it was discovered she had violated Rule 10.2b several times over the course of the first two rounds at the senior major being played at the Pete Dye Course in French Lick, Ind. Implemented earlier this year, the rule prohibits caddies from lining up golfers on putting greens, among other spots on the course. And as Walker found out, there is no limit to the amount of penalty strokes a player can incur for breaking it.”
  • “In a statement released by the Senior LPGA Championship Rules Committee, the harsh decision came after Walker notified a rules official during the second round on Tuesday that she had been violating the rule. Obviously, Walker didn’t realize this until it was pointed out to her by a fellow caddie on her fifth hole. Walker then went through her round so far as well as the first round on Monday to determine just how many times she broke the rule. Considering the total, she was obviously being lined up by her caddie on most putts.”

Full piece.

7. BK vs. Rory
Our Gianni Magliocco…”The 29-year-old, who was speaking to the AFP ahead of this week’s CJ Cup, has been on the PGA Tour since 2015 and has won four major’s in that period, while McIlroy’s last success at a major championship came back in 2014.”
  • “I’ve been out here for, what, five years. Rory hasn’t won a major since I’ve been on the PGA Tour. So I just don’t view it as a rivalry.”
  • “The world number one then further reiterated his lack of belief that there is currently a serious rivalry in golf and laid out his intentions to remain at the top of the sport for the foreseeable future.”
  • “I’m not looking at anybody behind me. I’m number one in the world. I’ve got open road in front of me I’m not looking in the rearview mirror, so I don’t see it as a rivalry. You know if the fans do (call it a rivalry), then that’s on them and it could be fun. Look I love Rory he’s a great player and he’s fun to watch, but it’s just hard to believe there’s a rivalry in golf. I just don’t see it.”

Full piece.

8. Meanwhile, at Q-School…
Golf Channel’s Randall Mell with the report on the action in Florida…”Germany’s going for a wire-to-wire victory at the LPGA’s second stage of Q-School.”
  • “Esther Henseleit grabbed a share of the second-round lead with a 5-under 67 Tuesday at Plantation Golf & Country Club in Venice, Fla., a day after fellow countrywoman Olivia Cowan took the first-round lead.”
  • “At 9-under overall, Henseleit is tied at the top with China’s Yan Liu (67), one shot ahead of Cowan (72), Thailand’s Prima Thammaraks (68) and American amateur Sierra Brooks, whose 66 equaled the low round of the day.”

Full piece.

9. LPGA Shanghai update
Golf Channel’s Randall Mell...”Nasa Hataoka should be getting more worldwide attention.
With two Japan LPGA Tour major championship victories in her homeland over the last month, she arrived for the start of this week’s Buick LPGA Shanghai on fire.”
  • “And she didn’t cool off in Thursday’s first round.”
  • “A 5-under-par 67 at Qizhong Garden Golf Club gave Hataoka a share of the lead with South Korea’s Amy Yang.”

Full piece.

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Marcel Siem disqualifies himself at the Open de France after believing preferred lies were in place

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Marcel Siem disqualified himself from the Open de France after racking up several penalty strokes during Thursday’s opening round.

The 2012 champion was under the impression that preferred lies were in place during the first round, which was not the case, and the German amassed a total of 10 penalty strokes after moving his ball in the fairway five times.

With his European Tour card in danger, Siem was in need of a good week in France, but as he explained on his Facebook page after exiting the event, his attention will now turn to Q-School in November.

Siem was nine holes into the event when he decided to disqualify himself.

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