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GolfWRX Morning 9: Feel-good stories of the year | Quotes of 2018 | Jack: TW’s swing is his best ever

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

December 17, 2018

Good Monday morning, golf fans.
1. Feel-good stories of the year
The whole of 2018 may have been a Tiger Woods feel-good story (on the heels of the 2017 Woods feel-bad story as a foil). However, TW was but a dish in a multi-course meal of homestyle favorites.
  • Golf Digest’s Joel Beall rounded up his top-15 feel-good stories of 2018. Included in his list…JoAnne Carner at the Senior Women’s Open
  • “JoAnne Carner’s legacy was well intact when she arrived at Chicago Golf Club for the inaugural U.S. Senior Women’s Open, but the player known as “Big Mama” left the Windy City by augmenting her legend status. Carner, who won the U.S. Open in 1971 and 1976, birdied the 18th hole to shoot 79, her age, in her opening round. Not bad for someone who hadn’t walked a golf course in 15 years.”
  • ...and Cody Blick
  • “Cody Blick needed to jump 34 spots in the final round of Q-School to earn Web.com Tour status. A challenge daunting in itself, especially so after Blick’s equipment was stolen following the third round. All Blick did is turn in a Sunday 63, highlighted by a back-nine 31, a score that vaulted him into the 25 to grab guaranteed starts next season. Not bad, given the borrowed set in tow. “Hitting bad shots was OK, almost, like, ‘Dude, I have a mismatched set. It’s not expected of me to hit good shots,'” Blick said. “In a weird way, that was comforting.” Sorry Johnny Miller, but there’s a new best all-time 63 in town.”
Matt Parziale, Sang Moon Bae, Lexi Thompson, and more in the full list.
2. Lipsky victorious 
Golfweek’s Alistair Tait…”David Lipsky will enter 2019 as European No. 1 after winning the Alfred Dunhill Championship in South Africa, the last event of 2018. He joins Kurt Kitayama as the two American winners, after Kitayama’s victory in the Afrasia Bank Mauritius Open.”
  • “Lipsky earned his second victory following the 2014 Omega European Masters with a two-shot win over Scotland’s David Drysdale. The 30-year-old Northwestern graduate entered the final round one shot behind ex-Augusta State player Scott Jamieson. A closing 4-under 68 gave him a 14-under 274 total and a check for just under $270,000.”
3. A victory for Love(s)
AP Report…”Davis Love III and his son Dru played so well Sunday that they set two scoring records, rallied from a three-shot deficit to win the PNC Father-Son Challenge and then wondered if they would get to play again.”
  • “Team Love shot 27 on the front nine at The Ritz-Carlton Golf Club to get in the mix, took the lead with a birdie at No. 11 and finished off their record round with four more birdies an eagle for a 16-under 56, breaking by one the 18-hole record in a scramble format.”
  • “They won by three shots at 26-under 118, another record in the scramble format….”Who knows? This might be our last time playing, so it was fun to finish it off,” Davis Love III said.”
  • “The 36-hole event is for players who have won a major or The Players Championship, and their partner cannot hold a PGA Tour-sanctioned card. Dru Love has played 17 times in the last two years on the PGA Tour, European Tour and Web.com Tour, but he has yet to earn a card and missed out in the qualifying tournament this year.”
4. LPGA Tour: Top 10 moments in 2018
Beth Ann Nichols rounded up the 10 most significant moments on the LPGA Tour in 2018.
  • Here are two…”Michelle Wie drained a birdie bomb from off the green on the 72nd hole in steamy Singapore to win for the first time since 2014. Wie took the HSBC Women’s World Championship, also known as “Asia’s Major,” in stirring fashion with a 35-foot putt that broke her out of a four-way tie for the lead. The LPGA’s resident needle-mover credited her family’s relentless belief for propelling her through a four-year drought.”
  • “Lexi Thompson’s sparkling performance at the season-ending CME Group Tour Championship – her first of 2018 – was among the most significant of her young career. Burdened from 18-months of hardship and disappointment, Thompson took a break mid-season to work on herself. It became obvious in Naples that her puppy, Leo, played a key role in helping Thompson feel like her old self. Her golf game looked vintage too, with the stock draw and old putter helping her back to the winner’s circle.”
5. Quotes of the year
The Golf Channel crew did some textual mining and assembled the best quotes of 2018.
  • “I never counted him out. When somebody said, ‘How is your [major] record, Jack?’ I said, ‘If Tiger comes back and plays I still think he’s got a shot at breaking my record.” – Jack Nicklaus on whether or not he believes Tiger Woods can still reach 19 major wins
  • “I would argue [Tiger Woods] got the least out of his talent of any player, maybe in history.” – Brandel Chamblee
  • ”I think I’m going to do exactly the same thing I did (Friday) night. I’m going to have a margarita as an aperitif, and then I’m going to have a nice bottle of Rioja (wine) and smoke a big fat cigar.” – Miguel Angel Jimenez on refusing to change his routine the night before the final round even with a three-shot lead (p.s. It worked.)
  • “Nope … He has my number.” – Patrick Reed, on whether or not he’s spoken to Jordan Spieth after the Ryder Cup.
6. Farewell, Charlie
Charlie Rymer is leaving Morning Drive for the greener pastures of retirement, golf, and charitable involvement.
  • Golfweek’s Forecaddie…”the Tennessee-born, South Carolina-raised Rymer confirmed he is departing the morning talk show for a scaled-back Golf Channel role in 2019.”
  • “Rymer said he’ll next be seen on April’s Drive, Chip and Putt Championship. He plans to relocate to Myrtle Beach, S.C., with wife Carol to play some golf, fish and focus on charity work for his favorite causes: junior golf and military veterans.”
  • “It’s been a wonderful run here, you guys are going to make me cry,” Rymer said at the conclusion of Sunday’s “Morning Drive” as he thanked the “hard-working men and women on the crew” along with his colleagues.”
7. Sports Personality of the Year!
BBC Report…”Italian golfer Francesco Molinari has been named World Sport Star of the Year at the BBC’s Sports Personality show.”
  • “The 36-year-old enjoyed a memorable 2018, most notably winning the Open Championship at Carnoustie in July to secure his first major and become the first Italian to win the title.”
  • “In September, he helped Europe to Ryder Cup victory over the United States. In doing so, Molinari became the first European player to win all five of his matches.”
8. Back on the bag
Brentley Romine writes…”Damon Green wasted no time finding a new boss…The 58-year-old Green and Zach Johnson parted ways last week after nearly 15 years, two majors and 11 total PGA Tour victories. Five days later, Green has agreed to caddie for Schniederjans beginning next year.”
  • “The news was first reported by The Caddie Network and confirmed to Golf Channel by Schniederjans’ agent.”
  • According to a report by Golfweek, Johnson’s agent helped facilitate a meeting between Green and Schniederjans, who played golf together last week at the Golf Club of Georgia before Green headed back home to caddie for Jim Furyk’s dad, Mike, in the PNC Father/Son Challenge in Orlando, Fla. On Thursday night, Green and Schniederjans reached an agreement over the phone.”
9. Tiger’s best swing ever? 
Quothe the Golden Bear…
  • “I think his swing is much better now than it ever was. The reason for that is Tiger was very much up and down with his head and I think that put a lot of pressure on his back.
  • “The fusion that he had, obviously was something he didn’t want but it was something he needed. … I didn’t think he would ever play golf as well as he’s playing.
  • “I never dreamed that he would play quite as well as he has and that the operation actually leveled out his head and leveled out his swing.”
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Tour Photo Galleries

Interesting photos from inside the Mizuno European Tour truck

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GolfWRX got an exclusive look inside Mizuno’s European Tour truck, thanks to the sleuthing efforts of one Rob Brooks, aka @GolfNation_ on Instagram.

Brooks captured plenty of shots of drool-worthy tour only goods, some good looks at the tools of the job, as well as some of the best photos of 2020 Mizzy wares—including the ST200 drivers—we’ve seen.

We have four jam-packed galleries for your perusal in the forums, but to whet your appetite, enjoy the Mizuno morsels below.

Check out all four of our galleries from the tour truck, below.

 

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Morning 9: Tiger & JT partners? | Reed fiasco smolders | Nicklaus’ Rolex auctioned for $1 mil

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1. JT to tee it up with Tiger?
Golf Digest’s Dave Shedloski...”If you would have told me when I was a kid that I could play on a Presidents Cup team with Tiger Woods as my captain, I probably would have fainted or something like that.”
  • “Get the smelling salts, because in all likelihood, Thomas will be paired with the captain for Thursday’s opening four-ball session at Royal Melbourne Golf Club.”
  • “Few players have grown closer to Woods than Thomas, 26, who is one of several PGA Tour players, including Tiger, who now call Jupiter, Fla., home. It was Thomas and Rickie Fowler, the latter whom Woods selected to fill in for the injured Brooks Koepka, who often reached out to Woods to play and practice with them as he slowly began his comeback”

Full piece.

2. Juniors + logos = $$?
Geoff Shackelford…”While junior golfers are now regularly clad in corporate logos, have their own tour reps and even endorse brands on their social media bios, the governing bodies are contemplating letting them take those endorsements to another level.”
  • “In Ryan Herrington’s Golf World look at where loosened and reimagined amateur status rules may go, he notes this late in the piece….Where USGA officials see the most opportunity for potential changes to the amateur rules to have a meaningful impact is if restrictions on accepting money for expenses were to go away. Particularly in the case for junior golfers whose families don’t necessarily have the financial resources to compete beyond a very local basis.”
  • Shackelford again…”While I have little doubt there are cases where this will be true and might do wonders for de-emphasizing privileged upbringings, I would hope some in the sport might question the need to corporatize our youth at increasingly younger ages”

Full piece.

3. Jack’s Rolex sells for $1 million
Roxanna Scott at Golfweek…”An 18-karat gold Rolex Day-Date watch that was worn by Jack Nicklaus for 50 years and then as he hoisted 12 of his 18 major championship trophies has sold at auction for $1 million.”
  • “Phillips in New York held the auction Tuesday as part of its “Game Changers.” Also up for auction was a Rolex GMT-Master reference 1675, which Phillips says belonged to Marlon Brando and was worn by the actor while filming “Apocalypse Now.”
  • “Bidding on Nicklaus’ watch, lot 18, began at $500,000. Experts on CNBC’s “Squawk Box” had speculated the watch could eclipse the record of $17.8 million that Paul Newman’s Rolex sold for in 2018. Despite the stature of the watch in golf’s history, the final bid didn’t come close to the record.”

Full piece.

4. Nowhere to hide
Shane Ryan on the Patrick Reed controversy, front and center still after P. Reed’s press conference failed to extinguish the blaze…
  • A taste…”What the journalist wanted to know was whether Reed expected specific backlash to his specific act in the Bahamas. He answered as if he was being asked a generic question about fan reaction to an opposing team, which is either missing the point or willfully evasive. There’s safety in numbers, and Reed was quick to turn the singular personal into the plural general.”
  • “It’s also, as these things go, a fairly intelligent tactic if your goal is to quash a story by starving it of oxygen. In fact, most of Reed’s press conference was a tour de force of media management by way of blandness, because no matter what he was asked over the roughly 20 minutes he stood before the gaggle of press, he responded with something broad, and something true, but something ambiguous nonetheless. If journalists were expecting an illustrative quote from Reed’s presser, they came away disappointed.”
5. Ogilvy’s keys to Royal Melbourne
Great work by Ben Everill for PGATour.com co-crafting a piece with Geoff Ogilvy on the Royal Melbourne vet’s keys to the course…
Here’s one…”Tee shots are all about position, not distance. The big-bombing Americans will need finesse as well as brawn this week.”
  • “Says Ogilvy: “The importance of your tee shot is not about being able to get it as close as you can to the green… it is important to get yourself in a position to find the right place on the green with your next shot.”
  • “You can’t outmuscle Royal Melbourne. Distance is valuable in some spots but sometimes it’s a 4-iron off the tee and sometimes it is a driver. Power is usually always an advantage but it is a balanced advantage here.
  • “You need to work out where to be by theoretically playing the hole backwards. Sometimes the rough on the correct side of the hole is better than the fairway on the wrong side of the hole. You have to find that position from the tee and that can be tough as it is very wide and the best position isn’t always obvious.”

See the full piece for the other 6 secrets.

6. Best courses built this decade
A few from Digest’s list of 13…
Old Macdonald, Bandon, Ore. – An ode to the Founding Father of American Course Design, C.B. Macdonald, Old Mac is the second course by Tom Doak and Jim Urbina at Bandon Dunes, and the fourth 18-hole course that opened. The brainchild of Mike Keiser and his respect to the old-school design elements of Macdonald, Doak and Urbina created some of the architects’ favorite template holes that sit on some of the most interesting topography on property.
Cabot Cliffs, Nova Scotia, Canada – Another sensational Bill Coore and Ben Crenshaw design, Cabot Cliffs overflows with variety with its southernmost holes in Lahinch-like sand dunes, its northernmost atop Pebble Beach-type ocean cliffs and bits of pine-lined Scottish highlands in between. The course has six par 5s, including three in the space of four holes, and six par 3s, plus an additional one-shot bye-hole aside the fourth. Sporting the same fescue turf mix as nearby sister course, Cabot Links, some tee shots seem to roll forever, but so do errant shots that miss greens. The cliff-edged par-3 16th is quickly becoming one of golf’s most photographed holes.
7. Economic benefits of an Open
Mark Rainey at News Letter…”The Open Championship at Royal Portrush generated more than £100 million of economic benefit for Northern Ireland, a new study has revealed.”
  • “The prestigious golf tournament returned to Northern Ireland for the first time in 68 years – having been staged at the north coast club back in 1951.”
  • “Commissioned by Sheffield Hallam University’s Sport Industry Research Centre, the report’s figures relate to the week of the tournament in July this year.”
  • “More than 237,000 fans attended over the four days of competition which was a record number for the Championship outside of St Andrew’s in Scotland, with 57.6% of spectators from outside Northern Ireland.”

Full piece.

8. Should Reed be limited? 
From the Golf.com crew…Given everything that’s happened, should the Patrick Reed controversy affect how much U.S. team captain Tiger Woods should play him?
“Jonathan Wall, equipment editor (@jonathanrwall): Not a chance. Tiger knew what he was getting when he burned a captain’s pick on Reed. Even in the aftermath of Bunkergate (Waste-Area-gate?), he stood up for Reed when the public was demanding he be bounced from the squad. The only thing that matters to Tiger this week is how Reed performs on the course. If he balls out, none of this will matter. And we all know Reed tends to play his best golf when he has a massive chip on his shoulder.”
“Alan Bastable, executive editor: (@alan_bastable): If Tiger doesn’t send out Reed in the first match, I’m boycotting the rest of the event. Better yet, Capt. Woods should pair himself with Reed – how better to support his controversial compatriot than to pace the fairways with him. Imagine the scene on the first tee. You’d feel the earth quake from Melbourne to Manhattan. Give the people want they want.”
9. Frank’s story
Sean Zak at Golf.com went on a fact-finding mission relating to the origin of Tiger Woods’ famed headcover. It’s made by Daphne Headcovers, but that is only part of the story…
  • “Spicer isn’t hiding those headcovers from you or me or some headcover burglar. She’s guarding against total catastrophe. If anything tragic happened to her nearby warehouse – which holds more than 10,000 headcovers and their decades-old designs – she would always have those six tigers in their own little cage. Consider them headcover insurance, because Spicer just never knows when Tiger Woods’ mother, Tida, will come calling again for a replacement.”
  • “Spicer, 56, is the always-smiling CEO of Daphne’s Headcovers, and through luck, persistence and a commitment to her customers (see above), she has provided the 15-time major winner with his world famous tiger headcover for 24 years. When Tida Woods phones, all other calls get dropped. It’s the most important business Spicer has.”
  • “I remember three dates,” she says with a chuckle. “The birthdays of my two children and the date that Tiger first won the Masters. That’s pretty much it.”

Full piece.

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Morning 9: Els, Woods on Reed controversy | Internationals relying on analytics? | Reed: Now, it’s personal

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1. Els, Woods on Reed controversy 
Golf Channel’s Rex Hoggard…”U.S. captain Tiger Woods said he spoke with Reed about the incident and that the conversation was “short and brief, to the point” and that the team has moved on.”
  • “I’m sure somebody [in the crowd] is going to say something out there. But I think that, in general, all the times I have been to Australia and have played here, the fans have been fantastic,” Woods said. “They are going to come out and it’s going to be bipartisan, as it should be. They are going to root for the Internationals more so than they are us. There’s nothing wrong with that.”
  • …”These guys are competitors. Obviously, they didn’t like what they saw, and they came out and obviously you guys asked them questions about it and, like Tiger, we’re moving on; we’ve got a cup to play for,” International captain Ernie Els said. “It’s got nothing to do with us. I think Tiger’s dealing with it and Patrick’s dealing with that.”

Full piece.

2. Els to shake things up…with data!
PGATour.com’s Ben Everill…”With input from the 15th Club – a data company that helped the European team win the Ryder Cup in Paris last year – Els has been delving into data and analytics to find his ultimate pairings on the Alister MacKenzie masterpiece.”
  • “….”The numbers haven’t shown exactly what I expected. It’s funny. A lot of the personalities I wanted together; the data shows they are not compatible,” Els confirmed to PGATOUR.com.”
  • “To convey that to the players has been tough. As you can expect, certain players want to play together — but I can show them if it is not compatible. Now the good thing is the guys are taking that in and actually listening to me whereas in previous years guys were quite adamant who they wanted to play with.” 

Full piece.

3. “Personal” 
Golf Channel’s Rex Hoggard…“At Royal Melbourne, Reed responded to Smith’s comments and his use of the word cheating.”
  • “It’s not the right word to use. At the end of the day, if you do something unintentionally that breaks the rules, it’s not considered cheating and at the end of the day that’s what it is,” Reed explained. “If you’re intentionally trying to do something, that would be considered cheating, but I wasn’t intentionally trying to improve a lie or anything like that, because if it was, it would have been a really good lie and I would have hit it really close.”
  • “Reed was also asked if Smith’s choice of words will have any impact on how he approaches this week’s matches.”
  • “It goes from wanting to beat those guys to it now turning personal, so it’s going to be a fun week,” he said.” 

Full piece.

4. Recovery day
Golf Channel’s Jay Coffin…”We’re still feeling it,” the U.S. Presidents Cup captain said. “I mean, I know I am.
  • “We’ll hit the wall sometime this afternoon and got to push through it and get through the gala dinner tonight. I think by tomorrow afternoon, we should all start feeling pretty good.”
  • “…The U.S. team charter plane took 26 hours to arrive from the Bahamas and they were not able to get to Royal Melbourne at all on Monday, something that Woods said was a blessing in disguise.”
  • “Today is an important day for us just to walk and to stretch our legs a bit. Getting in yesterday after a 26-hour ride in a luxurious tin can, it’s nice to actually get out there and feel some fresh air.”
5. Rory passed on $2.5 million Saudi payday
BBC report…”McIlroy did not deny reports that he had been offered a $2.5m (£1.9m) fee.”
  • “Amnesty International describes the Saudi regime’s human rights records as “heinous” but the country has been attempting to lure big sporting events to the kingdom, notably last Saturday’s world heavyweight boxing title fight between Anthony Joshua and Andy Ruiz Jr in Riyadh.”
  • “100%, there’s a morality to it as well,” added McIlroy about his decision to miss the event, which takes place from 30 January until 2 February.
  • “You could say that about so many countries, not just Saudi Arabia, but a lot of countries that we play in that there’s a reason not to go, but for me, I just don’t want to go.”

Full piece.

6. Els on Woods rivalry
ESPN’s Bob Harig…”The Big Easy won’t be playing, however, and simply brings a career’s worth of knowledge — and lots of scar tissue — to the competition that he’d very much like to see shift.”
“He’s not a bad golfer, you know what I mean,” Els said of Woods during a Tuesday morning news conference before both teams were to play practice rounds. “He’s one of the best, the best of my generation. It was a privilege to compete against him. I know I could have had a couple more events under my belt, but still very proud to have played against Tiger, and after all these years to be friends with him is another privilege.
7. Tiger putting team first
Golf Channel’s Jay Coffin…“Woods knows it’s a rarity to be a playing captain and said Tuesday at Royal Melbourne that he will play only when he thinks it’s in the best overall interest of his squad.”
  • “Whatever we deem as the best possible order for our team, that’s what we’re going to run with,” Woods said.
  • “…Each player is required to play two out of the first four sessions, so he’ll play at least that much. The curveball at the Presidents Cup often comes because of the format where captains match their pairings against each other. That could dictate how often Woods plays.”

Full piece.

8. Modernizing the rules of amateur status 
Golfweek staff…”Weeks after NCAA policy makers voted to allow student athletes to “benefit from the use of their name, image and likeness in a manner consistent with the collegiate model,” the USGA and R&A announced they are reviewing their Rules of Amateur Status.”
  • “The USGA and R&A don’t reference the NCAA in their news release Monday announcing that golf’s governing bodies will continue the joint effort to modernize the Rules by making them easier to understand.”
  • “But many who pay attention to golf will wonder if the two are related as the NCAA grapples with how to allow athletes to take advantage of name, image and likeness while making sure the benefits don’t feed into recruiting wars.”

Full piece.

9. Closest thing to Pine Valley?
Golf Digest’s John Huggan…”Ask Mike Clayton what he thinks are the best holes on the Royal Melbourne composite layout (12 holes from the West course, six from the East) that this week hosts the 13th Presidents Cup matches and the native Melburnian-one of the most respected voices in golf architecture-is quick to identify all 18. Which is no surprise. Almost universally hailed as the best course in the southern hemisphere, “the composite” is that good.”
  • “Royal Melbourne is the closest thing you will ever see to Pine Valley, where every hole is great,” says the former European Tour player. “I can’t think of another course where almost any hole would be the best hole on 90 percent of courses anywhere in the world. That’s Pine Valley. And that’s the composite course at Royal Melbourne.”
  • “Designed by Alister MacKenzie back in the 1920s, Royal Melbourne was the famed architect’s first attempt to create what Clayton calls “an inland Old Course at St. Andrews.” Another effort in a similar vein would follow a few years later at Augusta National, Cypress Point being the third part of what might be termed MacKenzie’s “Triple Crown.”
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